A. Additional parent helps specific to the age range 6-8 years old: Many of the titles recommended in the Parent Must-Reads Section and the section on Parent helps recommended for the age range of 0-5 years old are also appropriate for this age range.
Any Child Can Write is a classic beginning writer’s book filled with insights that can be used with any age. A favorite.
The Home Schooler’s Journal is an inexpensive way to keep track of what you have done or to plan your the week’s work for your child. Not as necessary as for high school years, but this Journal was helpful to show my children what was expected during the week (unless, of course, something more important came up!)
Unit Studies Made Easy. The idea behind a Unit Studies approach to homeschooling is that one theme can be used as the focus around which all subjects can revolve. This book is the classic one to demonstrate how that is done. Click on the link and read what others have to say about this book and about a Unit Studies approach to educating your children.
B. Language Arts and Literature specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
Alpha-Phonics Book Including CD ROM Version by Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld has always been our favorite learn-to-read program. It is inexpensive and is a true phonics program unlike many called by that name. Remember that readiness is the all-important word when desiring to have your child learn to read. Don’t push any program and don’t be afraid to allow the child to determine when he is ready.
The Bob Books Collections are boxed sets of little story booklets for beginning readers that cover all words your beginning reader will encounter as he learns to read. Great practice and a great companion to Alpha-Phonics!
- Bob Books, Collection 1: Beginning Readers and Advancing Beginners
- Bob Books Collection 2 Advancing Beginners and Word Families (Boxed Set)
- Bob Books, Collection 3: Compound Words and Long Vowels
- Bob Books Sight Words Collection Box Set [Kindergarten & First Grade]
Creating Books With Children.Here is one mother’s review: “I have used this book and shared it with many. It has encouraged my family to create several books. As a result, we have displayed our books in local libraries twice. I recommend this book highly for those who want to create family heirlooms!”
The WIN Program: Writing In Narrative. Book B. The Seven Sentence Story (The WIN Pogram). If your child is ready to write stories, this is the place to begin. Every story has 4 parts and a complete story can be written in as few as 7 sentences. However, most children don’t know where to begin or where to go next. This little-known (and difficult to find), gem takes the child through each of the 4 story parts as he is led to move from one part of his story to the next until he brings his story to completion. Can be used with any age child who is ready to write.
Listen My Children, and You Shall Hear, Third Edition. One of the more interesting exercises you can do with your child is to steadily increase his ability to listen and comprehend. Although research continues to emphasize the importance of good listening comprehension skills as the foundation for strong oral and written language, listening remains one of the most neglected areas of instruction. Listening is a critical skill needed for success in any arena. Listen My Children, and You Shall Hear, Third Edition addresses this significant issue. This revision of a classic collection of stories and exercises helps children develop listening skills, auditory memory, vocabulary, and imagination.
The Italic Handwriting Series teaches the child beautiful penmanship:
- Italic Handwriting Series Book A is for the very beginning writer by training the hand in letter formation and prepares him for the Books B and C (Book C begins cursive).
- Italic Handwriting Series Book B is for pre-cursive writing and prepares the student to begin Book C.
- Italic Handwriting Series Book C begins cursive penmanship that that leads to very attractive looking word formation! Our favorite penmanship program.
Build your library of great literature. “The one constant that can be found among the best students is the number of good books in the home.” (see other age groupings for more great literature recommendations):
- The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud
- The Best of James Herriot: The Favorite Stories of One of the Most Beloved Writers of Our Time
- Billy and Blaze Volumes #1-#8 Set of 8 Blaze and the Forest Fire Lost Quarry Mountain Lion Thunderbolt Blaze Finds the Trail Shows the Way Gray Spotted Pony
- Blueberries for Sal (Viking Kestrel picture books)
- The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Step-Into-Reading)
- Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
- Charlotte’s Web (Trophy Newbery)
- A Treasury of Curious George
- Daniel’s Duck (I Can Read Book 3)
- Bedtime for Frances (Trophy Picture Books)
- Fritz and the Beautiful Horses (Sandpiper Books)
- The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set (I Can Read Book 2)
- Katy and the Big Snow (Vol 2)
- Make Way for Ducklings (Viking Kestrel picture books)
- One Morning in Maine (Picture Puffins)
- The Runaway Bunny
- Stone Soup (Aladdin Picture Books)
- The Story about Ping
- The Story of Ferdinand
- A Tree Is Nice
- The Wind in the Willows
- The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Where the Sidewalk Ends: The Poems and Drawings of Shel Silverstein (25th Anniversary Edition Book & CD)
C. Science specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
Important Field Guides to have immediately at hand:
- Familiar Birds of North America: Eastern Region (National Audubon Society Pocket Guides). We like these small pocket guides for younger children because they contain the 100 most often seen animals and each page contains a full-page photo (better than drawings). Choose Eastern or Western books depending on where you live.
- Familiar Birds of North America, Western Region (The Audubon Society Pocket Guides)
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Butterflies Of North America
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Insects and Spiders (National Audubon Society Pocket Guides)
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Trees of North America : East (The Audubon S ociety Pocket Guides). As with birds, choose East or West depending on where you live.
- National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Trees of North America West
Brock Magiscope Basic Microscope, 20X Magnification. This is the best microscope for homeschoolers. Rugged! Basically unbreakable. Can be taken outdoors and used to magnify many objects including those microscopic. Ever stronger lenses can be added for ever greater magnification. A great science tool for homeschoolers!
Pets in a Jar: Collecting and Caring for Small Wild Animals (Puffin Science Books). Our favorite little science book for collecting critters, keeping them alive, and watching them live in your jar!
The Everyday Science Sourcebook, Revised 2nd Edition: Ideas for Teaching in Elementary and Middle School – PB320X. This sourcebook was created because science should be memorable, not memorizable. from the Introduction to The Everyday Science Sourcebook, Revised 2nd Edition Think of this unique reference book as Inspiration Central for elementary and middle school science teachers. Fully updated with content selected to build on the AAAS and National Science Education Standards, this new edition is full of hundreds of entries that can spark your thinking the next time you need to fill in a gap in your curriculum, add a fresh element to your textbook lessons, or extend and enrich hands-on activities. The Everyday Science Sourcebook is structured like an easy-to-use thesaurus. Just look up a topic in the Index, note the reference number, and then use that number to find a wealth of related activities in the Entry section. For example, looking up meteorology can lead you to notes on the Earth s temperature. From there, you ll see entries on how students can make a liquid thermometer, graph air temperatures, and measure the conversion of solar energy to heat energy. Six broad content categories provide the framework for the main body of this book, the Entry section: Inorganic matter Organic matter Energy Inference models Technology Instructional apparatus, materials, and systems The Everyday Science Sourcebook deserves a prominent spot on your bookshelf. Refer to it daily as a springboard for ideas that make science memorable.
The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature (Usborne First Nature). One reviewer said, “This colorful nature book is a compilation of seven 24 page books: birds, trees, flowers, butterflies/moths, wild animals, fish, and creepy crawlies. Each busy two page spread has a wealth of information in bits, typical of many Usborne books. Each picture and caption add to the overall topic with interesting facts, but there is not really any story being told. Although the book has a few fun activities such as searching for hidden pictures, it does not contain any nature experiments, outdoor activity suggestions, or the like.”
Handbook of Nature Study. A matchless handbook for decades, this classic work has been the natural history bible for countless teachers and others who seek information about their environment. Written originally for those elementary school teachers who knew little of common plants and animals, and even less about the earth beneath their feet and the skies overhead, this book is for the most part as valid and helpful today as it was when first written in 1911—and revised in the spirit of its authors by a group of naturalists in 1939. After all, dandelions, toads, robins, and constellations have changed little since then! And modern society’s concern with the quality of life and the impact of people on soil, water, and wildlife makes this book even more relevant. Nature-study, as used in this handbook, encompasses all living things except humans, as well as all nonliving things such as rocks and minerals, the heavens, and weather. Of the living things described, most are common in the northeastern states, and many, such as the dandelion, milkweed, and mullein, and the house mouse, muskrat, and red fox, are so widespread that people living outside the United States will recognize them easily.
Mysteries & Marvels of Nature. One of our kid’s favorite Usborne books. Just what the title says!
Wild Places: Mountains, Jungles & Deserts (Explainers Series). Another wonderful Usborne book!
Developing Critical Thinking Through Science: Book 1. Physical science experiments you can do in the house with materials readily at hand. Fun for the kids to do to teach their parents how things work. A favorite of ours.
D. Thinking Skills and Logic specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
Building Thinking Skills® Level 1. One of my adult sons actually credits this book (along with Books 2 and 3) with his ability to think clearly and be the top student in his college classes. We all enjoyed these books tremendously.
E. History and Geography specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
One historian has commented that history is driven by evil men imposing their wills on those who simply want to be left alone to live their lives in peace.
Others have said the study of history tends to follow one of 4 approaches:
What happened?: Facts and dates of historical events
Who made it happen?: Men and women who caused the events
Why did it happen?: Local and worldwide environment that caused the events
What were they thinking?: Worldview of individuals and societies that caused the events
Beautiful Feet Books offers a comprehensive history curriculum inspired by the Charlotte Mason (Living Books) Approach to learning. For 30 years, families have learned their history reading famous historical novels and historical fiction all while following BF Books’ study guides. All grades are covered. Topics include Ancient, Medieval, Early American, Modern US and World, Science, and Classical History. Learn History Through Literature.
TruthQuest History covers both World and American history with levels appropriate for each age. The program is written to look at history—not as a mere litany of human deeds—but as a way to help students probe for the beliefs which drove kings, artists, thinkers, warriors, scientists, and everyday citizens to behave in ways that affected the world and changed the future. Since God is the truth, spiritual principles should be placed at the center of every action, and history should be the study of how God is the central Figure as Initiator, Creator, and Establisher of the singular truths which alone bring security, strength, opportunity, and blessing. People may or may not believe in this Truth; however, one thing is certain: how individuals and societies respond to Truth always affects their impact on history. Thus, in TruthQuest History, we see the kings and commoners, wars and paintings, buildings and books, scientific discoveries and social issues, all in their rightful context: as indicators of the great issues at the core of life…which not only shaped the historical past, but are shaping our present and future! GO HERE to view this company’s many offerings.
Build your own library of great historical literature:
- A Lion to Guard Us
- The Boy Who Held Back the Sea (Picture Puffins)
- Clara and the Bookwagon, Level 3 (I Can Read Book)
- Set of Illustrated D’Aulaire biographies: Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, Columbus, George Washington
- If You Lived At the Time of the Civil War, If You Lived At the Time of the American Revolution, If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution, & If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island [4 Titles]
- The Josefina Story Quilt (I Can Read Book 3)
- The Drinking Gourd: A Story of the Underground Railroad (I Can Read Book 3)
- Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie (1st Avenue)
- The Little House
- A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)
- Wagon Wheels, Level 3, Grade 2-4 (I Can Read )
- Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Book 3)
- The Courage of Sarah Noble
- Ox-Cart Man
- The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the Ages (Explainers Series)
- The Long Way to a New Land (I Can Read Book 3)
- The Long Way Westward (I Can Read Book 3)
- What Were Castles For? (Usborne Starting Point History)
- Who Built the Pyramids Internet Linked (Starting Point History)
- Who Were the First North Americans? (Starting Point History)
- Who Were the Vikings? (Usborne Starting Point History)
- Who Were the Romans? (Usborne Starting Point History)
- Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims (Scholastic Biography)
- Stories of the Pilgrims
- The First Thanksgiving (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
If you… books are a series of short, colorful history books written for first readers:
- If You Lived In The Days Of The Knights
- . . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
- If You Were At The First Thanksgiving
- If You Lived In Colonial Times
- If You Lived In Williamsburg in Colonial Days
- If You Lived At The Time Of The American Revolution
- . . . If You Grew Up with George Washington
- . . . If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
- If You Lived When There Was Slavery In America
- If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln
- If You Lived At The Time Of The Civil War
- . . . If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
- If You Traveled West In A Covered Wagon
- If You Lived With The Sioux Indians
- If You Lived With The Cherokees
- If You Lived With The Iroquois
- If You Lived With The Indians Of The Northwest Coast
- If You Lived With The Hopi Indians
- If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island
- If You Lived 100 Years Ago
- If You Lived At The Time Of The Great San Francisco Earthquake
Maps and Globes (Reading Rainbow Books). This comprehensive look at geography and the environment, Maps and Globes, can take you anywhere—to the top of the tallest mountain on earth or the bottom of the deepest ocean. Maps tell you about the world: where various countries are located, where the jungles and deserts are, even how to find your way around your own hometown. If you take a fancy to any place on earth, you can go there today and still be home in time for dinner. So open a map, spin a globe. The wide world awaits you.
F. Math specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
Article by Alexa Mason Carter: Math Around You. Helping Young Children Learn to Think Mathematically.
Math it. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s also the best math drill facts “game” we’ve ever used. Go in with others to purchase it if necessary. Especially useful for the “hands-on” child or the child with ADHD. Your child can’t fail to learn his math facts using Math It.
Mathematical Reasoning Beginning 1 by the same publishers of the Building Thinking Skills series, these 2 books (Book 1 and Book 2) are wonderful introductions to math. We loved them!
Muggins & Knock-Out Wooden Math Games. What could be more delightful than a wooden game board, several sets of colored marbles and dice? Our kids’ favorite math game.
The Life of Fred: Why do we have to learn math from a book? Here is a radical thought: Why can’t math (and any other information for that matter) be learned in Context? By context I mean, learn something because you have a practical need to know that information.
For instance, we learned the Pythagorean Theorem by fencing in part of our backyard. Voila, an actual reason to know a math concept!
My next favorite way to learn a math concept (if you are stumped with creating a context) is to find a math game that will at least make learning the math concept fun.
My next favorite way to learn a concept is this: create a series of stories around a fictional character and put that character in situations where he must use math to make it through life.
Well, guess what? A fellow homeschooling family from Michigan just introduced me to Life of Fred. Fred is the brainchild of math professor, Stanley Schmidt, PhD who presents math concepts through the mind of a 5-year-old math genius and professor at a make-believe college. Fred is faced with all sorts of crazy situations in which he must use math to solve the problems faced by a typical (?) 5-year-old. This course begins with the most basic concepts of number recognition and ends with advanced Calculus. Filled with wonderful Fred adventures, one mother wrote that her child wanted his Fred books read to him at bedtime!
The books are large, hard-bound, and, compared to other hard-bound math books, cheap. The most expensive in the entire series (at over 500 pages) is Life of Fred, Beginning Algebra Expanded Edition: As Serious as It Needs to Be ($39.00).
The author recommends the titles listed below for this age/grade range.
- Life of Fred–Cats First grade, level 1
- Life of Fred–Dogs First grade, level 2
- Life of Fred: Edgewood Second grade, level 1
- Life of Fred–Farming Second grade, level 2
- Life of Fred–Goldfish Third grade, level 1
- Life of Fred–Honey Third grade, level 2
G. Music and Art specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
Artistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 1 An Introduction to Visual Arts. A delightful book for young children with over 185 colorful illustrations and great Master paintings. Lessons capture each child’s interests and imagination while introducing the fundamental principles of the visual arts. Parents read a simple ten-minute lesson with their child that includes art appreciation. The topic is pointed out in a full – color work of art by well-known Masters like Rivera, Chagall, De Hooch, Van Gogh and more. This time is followed with a project that allows children to immediately apply their new knowledge of the subject, while creating works of art from their own experiences and observations, making each piece produced personal and unique.
Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too. This perennial best-seller is the definitive guide for parents and teachers on how to encourage drawing. Mona Brookes’ easy-to-follow, lesson-by-lesson approach to drawing has yielded astounding results with children of all ages and beginning adults. Her unique drawing program has created a revolution in the field of education and a sense of delight and pride among the thousands of students who have learned to draw through her “Monart Method.”
Kids Create! Art & Craft Experiences for 3- to 9-Year-Olds. Over 150 creative craft and art activities for children ages three to nine years old. Laurie Carlson has captured the joy of creating while introducing the basics of working with paper and paste, clay and dough, printmaking, sculpture, and various other techniques. Includes time guides and degree of difficulty levels.
Keyboard Capers: Music Theory for Children. What an amazing idea: teach music theory through games! We introduced this book to homeschoolers years ago. It is now used by music teachers and parents who desire that their children learn the basics of theory while learning an instrument. Amazingly helpful.
Music Masters Full Set – 18 cds. What is so amazing about these 18 CD’s is that each classical composer’s music is interspersed with fascinating stories about his life. You will listen to them over and over and they will keep your kids enthralled even while on trips. Everyone loves these.
H. Miscellaneous specific to the age range 6-8 years old:
The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos. Originally published in 1935, this beloved Bible storybook is still a favorite with today’s children, parents, and teachers (including Ruth Bell Graham). More than 200 stories from the Old and New Testaments are retold in simple language appropriate for 4- to 12-year-olds, while remaining faithful to Scripture. Colorful illustrations enhance the text.
Choreganizers: The Visual Way to Organize Household Chores. When our children were young, we spent time looking for a “chore chart” that would actually work. We found it in the Choreganizer! Each Choreganizer comes with 48 colorful chore cards that represent chores like feeding pets or washing dishes. The chores are brightly illustrated and explained on each card, making them suitable for even the youngest child. Each child has a chart, and the parents assign chores by simply hanging the appropriate cards on the child’s chart. At the end of each day, if all the chores have been completed with a good attitude, the child is given tokens that can be traded for something at the Chore Store–a full-color, laminated “store front” included with each kit. (We didn’t use the Store as we didn’t feel it necessary).