This is Part 6 in our little homeschool series. Last week we talked about …
- how our family homeschool started
- planning, organization and motivation
- field trips
- The LITClub (interview with veteran homeschool mom and author, Ali Dent)
Today I’m going to share a list of miscellaneous resources I use to supplement our kids’ public education. If we homeschooled exclusively, I would likely build more in-depth units around some of these.
Ed Emberley’s Drawing Books : I had an Ed Emberley drawing book when I was a kid. Not long ago my mom found it in storage and returned it to me. It had started to fall apart, but my kids loved it just as much as I did! I cannot tell you how excited I was to see that this author-illustrator has produced many books since that original one.
What makes his drawing books unique are the simplistic instructions. The author asserts that if you can draw certain letters, numbers and line or dot styles,then you can draw anything. He then goes on to prove it with step-by-step instructions. I love these books because they instill creative confidence in our kids, but also because they teach young artists to take what they see and break it down into smaller, components that can be transferred to paper. These are key skills in basic art training, specifically for composition, proportion and visual translation.
Learn more about Emberley and all of his books HERE. He has different books for different age levels. We started with Animals. Our favorites now (ages 8 and 9) are in the Big Series (the “Big Purple Book” is pictured).
My Art Book by DK Publishing : Featuring 8 different artists or art styles, this book teaches kids about master works and then offers them age-appropriate projects that relate to or imitate the original pieces. It’s fantastic! All the supplies are listed (and easy to find). Step-by-step instructions allow room for creativity, but provide enough guidance to keep kids from getting out of control. I love it. In fact, I use this book frequently when I teach in the public schools once a month.
When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden : This book takes the true relational competition between two great artists to a funny, child-friendly level … using a pig and a bull. The illustrations immerse readers in the artistic styles, introducing them to the colors and identifying characteristics. Kids love the story. The back of the book provides bonus facts about the Picasso and Matisse.
The Boy That Changed the World by Andy Andrews : This picture book tells the true story of a farmer, an inventor, a vice president and a nobel laureate and how their connections and actions changed the world. Readers learn about Norman Borlaug, Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver. The book describes the “Butterfly Effect” and challenges readers to see what seemingly small actions of theirs might impact others in great ways.
MORE: The author’s website includes an Education tab. If you register there, you will gain access to all sorts of valuable materials designed to accompany this book — like readers’ guides, vocabulary and word study activities, comprehension questions, and cross-subject connections. Really fantastic stuff.
The Church History ABCs by Stephen J. Nichols and Ned Bustard : Organized in alphabetical fashion, this book highlights key figures in church history. Featured bios include Ignatius, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon as well as Zacharias Ursinus, Ulrich Zwingli, Queen Jeanne and Lady Jane Grey. The authors offer details that appeal to younger audiences, like the difference between Hippolytus and a hippopotamus and a hinted sibling rivalry between John and Charles Wesley.
MORE: The book website — www.churchhistoryabcs.com — provides additional activities, including coloring pages, handwriting worksheets, games and more. My favorite activity on the website is a timeline project that allows kids to place the key figures into chronological order.
The Who Was … Series by various authors : There are a ton of books in this series, all of which are fantastic biographies for elementary age readers. My kids love them. Through these books our kids have learned about famous athletes, presidents, artists, authors, and other key figures, both contemporary and throughout history. Most of these can be found in your local libraries, but if you’re interested in purchasing them, follow THIS LINK to learn more.
Passport to the World by Craig Froman : This is an “A to Z Guided Language Tour” that begins with the Tower of Babel then journeys through 26 different languages, their countries, their cultures and their people. Kids learn five phrases in each language, but they also discover facts about basic national facts, currencies, foods and festivals.
A Faith Like Mine by Laura Buller : Packed with full-color photographs, this book introduces readers to eleven different world religions. The bulk of the book focuses on the six largest — Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — offering basic details of their distinguishing faiths, holy books, holidays and traditions. It also talks about who, where, and how many people practice each of these faiths.
(Please note that this comes not from a Christian publisher and that the facts provided in this book are broad generalizations. I would use this as an introduction to world religions and then branch off into more detailed texts as the need arises.)
My kids love everything from National Geographic! We get their NatGeoKids! magazine and have collected several of their early reader chapter books on animals. In addition to these, I really like …
Passport into the Wild and The Wackiest, Wildest, Weirdest Animals in the World both by Jack Hanna : They’re just fun! The first one explores more than just animals. It talks about people and cultures and some of Jack’s adventures traveling the world. The second one acknowledges God’s hand in creation. It hits on basic facts about these crazy animals and what makes them so wacky. Again, readers get snippets of Jack’s humor and adventures in his journal entries.
It Couldn’t Just Happen by Lawrence O. Richards : This Gold Medallion Book Award winner is a hefty chapter book. It definitely needs to be gone through in a methodical fashion, but it is packed with scientific evidence that supports accounts in the Bible. It argues evolution and other prevalent theories.
Talk to me: What are your favorite educational books to share with your kids?