Announcing: My Schoolhouse Review Crew Favorite Products for 2015- The Annual Blue Ribbon Awards

I know that I’ve said it before, but I am so extremely blessed to be a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. The Crew, if you’re not familiar with us, is a branch of The Old Schoolhouse magazine. Throughout each year, we’re using and reviewing homeschool curricula and other family friendly products so that you can get lots of information when you’re trying to decide what to buy for your family.

I love the Crew for many reasons. It’s an awesome group of supportive, encouraging friendship. And it’s provided a way for me to afford to try many, many things for our homeschool. I also love being able to provide the reviews because, as a shopper, I want to be able to really research something before I buy it- especially if I am buying online.

Favorite review choices from the Schoolhouse Review Crew products for 2015

Every year in November, we Crew members wrap up for the year and have a short break before we’re back in the thick of reviewing come January. We’ll welcome some new members and say goodbye to some who need to step away for a while. But, before we head off for a break, I want to join with some of my fellow Crew members to share some of my very favorite Crew review products. I’m sharing my blue ribbon favorites in Bible, language arts, math, history, science, fun products, and all around good picks. You can check out the link below (after 11-16-15) to read about the favorites from the whole Crew.

Bible Picks

One of my favorite all time Bible curriculums is Grapevine Studies. I’ve been using studies from Grapevine for some time now, reviewing for them previously. Recently we had the opportunity to review part of the Old Testament overview study- Creation to Jacob. I love the unique approach Grapevine Studies has of drawing stick figures to illustrate the Bible lessons we’re reading.

Drawing through the Scriptures with Grapevine Studies

Language Arts Picks

I’ve never liked most traditional spelling programs. Learning lists of words out of context seems easy for some kids who memorize well, but it doesn’t always transfer to really becoming a better speller. For the second time this year, we had the opportunity to review Spelling You See, a spelling program I love. It involves learning words in the context of a meaningful passage using chunking of sounds, copywork, and dictation.

Learning spelling in context with Spelling You See

I think my favorite review this year has been the opportunity to review the entire Teaching Writing Structure and Style course, along with the student intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing. This is a course I had heard much about in the homeschool community, but I didn’t really believe it could be as good as all the hype. I was totally wrong. It has revolutionized the writing process for several of my children, including my “hate to write” son. I have to admit I’ve become a true IEW fan, and I plan to continue using it for many years.

Teaching writing with the Institute for Excellence in Writing

Math Picks

I always love to review math choices because it’s a subject I’ve never been comfortable with and an area in which I think we’ve always struggled. This year I had the opportunity to review A+ Interactive Math, an online math curriculum from grades K- algebra. It’s one of the most complete programs I’ve ever seen.

A+ Interactive online math curriculum

As a supplemental math product, we recently reviewed Eat Your Math Homework from Ann McCallum books. This was a really fun, hands-on book with recipes that translated into math learning.

Teaching math concepts with hands-on recipes

History Picks

We love hands-on learning around here. One of the most fun reviews we’ve done this year was for the Project Passport World History: the Middles Ages study. This study from Homeschool in the Woods had so many fun projects, lapbook pages, reading, audio files, and more. We’ve learned much about the Middle Ages throughout this study, and I love the fun, hands-on projects.

Hands-on history learning with Homeschool In the Woods

Science Picks

Another great hands-on curriculum product we were able to review was the Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers book from Funtastic Unit Studies. This great book has hands-on science learning units for ages 4-13. We had lots of fun with the projects, and the younger girls- who were reviewing this with me- loved the experiments.

Fun, hands-on science unit studies

For a different approach to science, we also had the opportunity to review Surfing the Net: Science from The Critical Thinking Co. This book teaches some science concepts but also focuses on teaching kids internet research skills. They had practice searching with keywords, looking up specific sites, and using images and video.

Learning internet research and science concepts

Fun Products

We love, love, love the fun products that we get to try out. This year we had the opportunity to try out a variety of games from different vendors. We loved Tapple and Wonky, both from USAopoly.

Family games with USAopoly

All Around Favorites

One of the reviews that my younger girls and I all truly enjoyed was that of the Tales From the Circle C Ranch and lapbook. The Circle C Ranch books are written by Susan K. Marlowe and all feature Andrea Carter, a girl living on a California ranch in the early 1900s. Tales From the Circle C Ranch is a collection of stories about Andi Carter, a number of short adventures that fall within the time periods of the book collection.The accompanying lapbook was especially fun and provided learning extensions based on the stories.

Andrea Carter Tales From the Circle C Ranch and lapbook

Another fun favorite that we’ve reviewed before and had the opportunity to review again was a biography from YWAM. The biographies from YWAM feature Christian heroes and missionaries. They are very well-written and make excellent read alouds. Many also feature unit studies that accompany them. We reviewed C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller and loved it!

Great biographies from YWAM

Those are some of the things we’ve especially loved this year from the Crew reviews. If you want to find out the Crew’s blue ribbon winners, you can check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog after 11-16-15. And, soon, I hope I’ll be reviewing away again.

2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew Blue Ribbon Awards

And the official Crew favorites are…

Favorite Reading Curriculum: Reading Kingdom 
Favorite Writing Curriculum: Institute for Excellence in Writing 
Favorite Vocabulary Program: Dynamic Literacy 
Favorite Penmanship Program: CursiveLogic 
Favorite Literature Curriculum: Progeny Press
Favorite History Curriculum: Home School in the Woods 
Favorite Science Curriculum: Visual Learning Systems 
Favorite Science Supplement: Ann McCallum Books: Eat Your Science Homework 
Favorite Math Curriculum: CTC Math 
Favorite Math Supplement: SimplyFun
Favorite Christian Education Curriculum: Grapevine Studies 
Favorite Christian Education Supplement: Brinkman Adventures 
Favorite Foreign Language Curriculum: Middlebury Interactive Language 
Favorite Fine Arts ProductMaestro Classics 
Favorite Elective Curriculum: Apologia Educational Ministries: Field Trip Journal 
Favorite Audio Drama: Brinkman Adventures
Favorite Video:
Favorite Elementary Product: Star Toaster 
Favorite Middle School Product: The Critical Thinking Co 
Favorite High School Product: Writing with Sharon Watson 
Favorite College or College-Prep Product: Freedom Project Education 
Favorite Parent Product: Koru Naturals 
Best Resource I Didn’t Know I Needed: Homeschool Planet 
Best Online Resource: Super Teacher Worksheets 
Best e-Product: Home School in the Woods 
Just for Fun: USAopoly 
Kids’ Choice: La La Logic 
Teens’ Choice: YWAM Publishing 
All Around Crew Favorite: Institute for Excellence in Writing

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