As a home educator I spend most of my free time looking about for curriculum and searching what others use. We have a whole list of programmes and things we use, but I’m always nosey and want to see what others do too (it’s how you find new things right?!)
The girls are 4 (reception) and 6 (year 2… i think!) now and we’ve found some great products that we love and use daily. I thought I’d take this rare five minutes to share with you the curriculum and epic sites that I use for the girls home education.
*Some of these sites we have been gifted a subscription to now or in the past… all of these we love and either do pay for now or will as soon as our subscription is over. This post is not sponsored at all, I genuinely wanted to share.
Our Main Curriculum
Exploring Nature with Children (ENWC)
This is our main curriculum and one that is now very close to my heart. If you’d have said to me a year ago that nature would be at the heart of everything we do, i’m not quite sure I’d have believed you. But now, I can’t imagine education without it. ENWC is a year long curriculum that can be adapted to your child’s age and ability. I do this with both girls and they both get so much out of it (to be honest, I’ve learnt so much myself). The curriculum itself reminds me that we should spend more time outdoors and we go for many nature walks and notice things about the world that we haven’t before.
Each week has a different theme; from moss or lichen to pumpkins and winter pond study. There is so much to learn about the world around us and it really does help the girls to open up their minds, ask questions and go deeper into other topics too.
We start off our week with a nature walk, we then write/draw in our nature journals, study some art or a poem and do any activities (like pumpkin rolling, weighing, measuring and many experiments). ENWC can be used as an addition to your other curriculum… like I planned to… or as your main curriculum… because you’re bound to fall in love with it.
For Online Games/Worksheets/Lesson Preparation
Mrs Mactivitiy is full of amazing printables and fun ideas. We use the site to download everything from crafts to worksheets. Mrs Mactivity has some great new ideas and if you join the facebook group you can see just how much love is going into the site. Better still the yearly subscription is currently very low cost and you lock in for life!
Education.com does have a lot of worksheets on it, but if i’m honest, it’s rare I use these. We use education.com as a way to allow the girls to play specific education games in ‘lessons’ that I have set. I can use the site to track their progress throughout the year and if I want to do ‘tests’ at the end of the year too. I can leave the girls to ‘play’ on here by themselves while I get up to other things and know that they are doing constructive learning.
Twinkl is great for downloading full lesson packs on specific topics. The site is aimed at teachers as well as parents, so many of the resources follow the national curriculum, but it’s great to be able to download a whole pack on ‘plants’ and start the lesson with very little prep. We aren’t using the site at the moment as much as we have been, but we do go through stages of using it loads so I wanted to mention it here. Be prepared to use a LOT of ink and paper!
Reading eggs is a great online programme that helps teach children to read. The girls love to play games and enter the ‘playroom’ and will happily spend their Monday afternoon focusing on their reading skills without any problems.
Teach Your Monster To Read
Teach your Monster to Read is another great programme for kids. (This one is free online). Kairi and Naminé have often told me how much they enjoy helping their monster read and navigate space! Kairi has completed the whole programme, but could easily go back and start again. I love how the girls earn rewards as they play and can spend them as and when they like.
Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons (Affiliate Link)
This book was one of those things that I brought on amazon and never started… however when we finally did pick it up and give it a go, we fell in love! I tried many different reading techniques with Kairi and started to wonder if anything would work. She could read phonics but actually blending words seamed so hard. Without 10, 5 minute, lessons from this book Kairi was not only able to read words, but sentences too! I started the book with Naminé and she also picked it up just as fast. We are nearing the end of the book now and the girls can read whole stories along. My advice… ditch the phonics and grab this book!
Math Seed is the maths equivalent to reading eggs (you purchase them in a bundle). There are lessons, a playroom and quizzes that the girls can hop on and have a go at all without supervision. I love the emails i get to update me on how they are doing.
We’ve not been using this curriculum for long and if i’m honest, it’s a little confusing. (Where do I start!) However the idea behind the curriculum is great and I’m trying to integrate some parts of it into other activities. The main idea is to learn maths outside with everyday nature objects; sticks, stones or writing in snow!
Mystery Science is free for the first year and something that has completely sparked the girls imaginations! The idea is to watch a lesson and then teach it, but the girls use the videos to watch themselves and then we often do the experiments together. At 6, Kairi absolutely loves Mystery Science and has decided she wants to be a scientist when she’s older.
Blossom and Root Intergraded Science
Blossom and Root Integrated Science takes your children on an outer space adventure! Currently we are in talks with a girl on another planet, we are preparing for a long trip to see her and will be ‘traveling’ soon. First we need to work out what we need to take to survive on our journey, work out the best things to take from our planet to explain to others what its like and also build and craft a spaceship. We are only a few weeks into this (1 lesson a week) but the girls have had great fun. I personally can’t wait to make the spaceship and have a HUGE pie of cardboard boxes waiting and ready!
Other Curriculum and Programmes
Exploring Nature Around the Year (ENAY)
ENAY is a slightly more grown up curriculum from ENWC. Although they are separate, I feel that ENAY is a great addition or follow on from ENWC. We use this on days where we aren’t sure what to do as each day has it own prompt and looks into things a different way. It’s a great way to get yourself into nature journaling.
Although we don’t use this all the time, it’s totally worth a mention. Dulingo is great for learning new languages and can be used by almost any age. Currently the girls are both learning a little bit of French and are really enjoying it.
A game?! Minecraft is amazing for education and although we do have the education edition, we much prefer the bedrock or bedrock modded one. A recent example of our Minecraft use is when the girls were studying ancient Egypt. We had watched videos, completed printables etc and afterwards they logged onto Minecraft and set up a dessert world. They made a huge pyramid, with a sarcophagus inside, made a really long river for the river nile, added farm land and cats etc. They were talking all about what they were going to use to make it (what resources the Egyptians would have had), what buildings they would have needed, how they would travel around etc. Its a great resource for imagination, learning and fun!
Blossom and Root (B+R)
We haven’t dug into B+R much but it’s worth a mention. This curriculum comes with integrated math and science and is a nature based curriculum. We haven’t used it much due to using ENWC, but it looks like great curriculum and it’s honest worth buying just for the science.
Pawprint badges are amazing. Who doesn’t like getting a badge for completing a challenge! Each badge has a list of challenges and you can choose what to go for. Do you want to learn about how people celebrate Christmas around the world? Design your own zoo? Bake cakes for your local care home? Each badge has 4 parts; cooking, craft, game and misc! The challenges are so much fun and being rewarded with a badge at the end is great. We have many badges on the way to us and I can’t wait for the girls to get their next one!