We are eclectic homeschoolers and that definitely shows in this list. If you’ve attended any of my convention sessions you’ve likely head me talk about how we integrate many these items into our learning experience.
A list of some of the most-loved items in our child-led homeschool.
All of these products have been selected and tested by my kids. Some are updated versions of materials my teens loved when they were little, and others are new additions to our homeschool toolbox as I start this journey again with my youngest.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Books, toys, curricula, flash cards, games, workbooks, and more:
Dry erase markers are great but can be messy and often slide too easily over a writing surface, making them hard for little hands to control. I have found Crayola Dry Erase Crayons give just enough resistance to slow young writers down, giving them better control. Bonus: they create less mess and easily wash out of most fabrics too!
Build-a-Story Cards from Barefoot Books are fantastic for building storytelling and pre-writing skills. Because of the visual nature of these cards and the nearly limitless gameplay options these cards will grow with kids from the pre-reading stage into early creative writing lessons.
My 4yo loves the Melissa and Doug Turn & Tell Wooden Clock. With a dozen double-sided time cards and a self-check window to compare analog and digital time formats, this clock makes learning to tell time fun and easy.
This set of lacing beads helps develop fine motor skills as well as pattern recognition to help with early reading and math. The 20 cards included start with simple color and shape recognition patterns and build to more advanced challenges.
R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Earth and Environment 1 and Astronomy 1 are excellent curricula for young students with high academic needs. They are easily adaptable for asynchronous development without watering down the science concepts and have lots of fun, hands-on labs. Earth and Environment has the best environmental science lessons I have ever seen for young kids. By reading aloud, scribing for her, and acting as her “lab assistant,” I am able to let my daughter follow her passions now instead of waiting until she is older. My youngest also loves Dusty and Bunny, the space dust bunnies who narrate Astronomy; she even requests that I read it as a bedtime story!
From rain water to flower petals to carpet fuzz, my youngest is curious about everything. This pocket microscope with light travels with us nearly everywhere and is just the right size for little hands.
If you are looking for a hands-on math program to help you provide a strong foundation of numerical literacy, I highly recommend looking at what RightStart has to offer.
Where On Earth Atlas is a wonderful visual introduction to world geography, pair with When On Earth for a visual introduction to world history as well. These books provide a nice overview, be prepared to fall down rabbit holes and to add more resources for a deep dive.
Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One is more than just a cute picture book, it’s a story that teaches about stories! Learn about parts of a story while reading this book together and then practice some storytelling of your own. We love this book so much I have decided to write a storytelling unit study to go with it.
Voices in the Park is another great story to help build pre-writing skills. As children listen to the story of the same day at the park told through the eyes of different characters they will learn how a change in voice can change the whole story, as well as important lessons on perspective and empathy.
Storytelling is at the center of much of our homeschool activities. The World Treasury of Fairy Tales & Folklore: A Family Heirloom of Stories to Inspire & Entertain is my favorite fairytale collection. The academic notes and historical information make it a fantastic resource beyond your everyday read aloud stories.
We fell in love with Annabelle and Aiden as soon as the first book was released. This series is a fact-based, gentle introduction to big topics through lyrical verse and stunning illustrations. We find ourselves going back to these wonderful books over and over again; the characters have become favorite imaginary friends who are often included in pretend play.