If you are a homeschooler, then The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) is a curriculum company you want to know about. They are known for their curriculum in reading, writing, spelling and grammar, as well as creative teaching resources for your homeschool, including the tools that I am reviewing for you today.
IEW has three wonderful resources that will enhance whatever homeschool program you have in place: Timeline of Classics, A Word Write Now, and the Teaching with Games Set.
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I have been eyeing IEW curriculum for a while and eventually will be trying out several of their resources in our homeschool. When the chance came up to review a set of resources that can be used with whatever curriculum we already had in place, I was excited to give it a shot!
Timeline of Classics: Historical Context for the Good and Great Books
I love this resource! This is a huge list of classic literature, audio books, and videos that is organized by time period in an efficient format. I can quickly look up books appropriate for my kids’ ages and the time period we are studying in history, and find several great books to supplement our studies. In fact, you could even use this as a main history curriculum just using the resources listed! The time periods included are Ancients, The Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and The Modern World
This is a fantastic resource to have on hand and I have already put it to good use with our current history studies. Since we are still in the early history stage, I used the list in the Ancients (5000 BC – AD 400) list. The spreadheet lists the recommended books and shows the description or time period, title of the book, author, and level (elementary, middle school, or high school).
Here are the recommendations we checked out:
- The Kingfisher Atlas of World History: A Pictoral Guide to the World’s People and Events by Simon Adams
- A is for Adam by Ken and Mally Ham
- The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett
- History Through the Ages timeline by Amy Pak (we already had this)
- The Usborne Time Traveler (already had this too)
Coming up we’re looking at checking out some of the recommendations for Egyptian studies, myths, and ancient Babylon and Greece.
A Word Right Now
This is a handy thematic thesaurus that homeschool kids can use in their various writing efforts. There are different sections divided by categories: character traits, descriptive words, and movement and senses. The definition and synonyms for each word is given as well as literary quotes that include the word. In the appendix you will find some fun ideas for teaching, including games and some helpful literary definitions.
This is another great resource that will stay with us over time. I’m really glad to have it in our homeschooling library. My kids are all 7 and under so we had some fun looking at the different ways of saying some words during some read aloud sessions. I also used it some of my own writing projects. 🙂 I know that this will become even more amazing resource as my kids start more creative writing tasks this coming year!
Teaching with Games Set
This is my favorite resource among the materials I reviewed. It is full of wonderful game ideas that you can use to enhance the learning in your homeschool for every subject and every age! I love that there are games that don’t need any special materials at all, and we’ve already put many of them to good use!
The kit comes with a spiral bound book explaining all the games, two DVDs with recorded training sessions where you can learn about the games and see them in action, and a CD of bonus printables and tips as well as an ebook version of the spiral book. The kids and I actually watched some of the video sessions together. At first they seemed a bit dry but as soon as the women in the videos started playing the games there were smiles and laughter, and my kids were ready to do it themselves!
The games include “no-prep” games, matching card games, question games, math fact games, and “make as you teach” games. Each of the games includes a list of supplies, all the instructions you’ll need and, when applicable, printables you can copy out of the book. (You can copy the contents of this book for multiple children in the same family, but cannot duplicate any disc media content.) There are also handy notes with alternate games and tips on extending the games, such as accommodating different grade levels.
Of course, I gravitated to the “no-prep” games so we started by playing No-Noose Hangman, Wheel of Fortune, and Pictionary as a bible memory verse review. For example, the kids would use these games to guess the Bible reference or a phrase from a recent memory verse, and then we’d practice it together once they guessed the right verse. I can already se SO many applications of these games for other subjects!
Sum Fun is another one we used for my 1st grader and 2nd grader to practice their subtraction facts in a fun way. They were both struggling with those and this was a great activity to do during naps while the others were sleeping. I may have been called “the best mom ever” as well. 😉
There are many more games we can use right now and I have selections for science, history, and language arts already scheduled into the next month’s lesson plans! This is a fantastic resource for any homeschooling family.
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