4. What are 1-3 of your favorite products (either personal or child-oriented)?
I love the books from The Critical Thinking Company. Their books cover all grade levels, including preschool, and numerous subjects and can be used as core curricula or to supplement. Many of the books that focus on critical thinking skills are formatted as fun activities, such as riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers, so my kids don’t see it as “learning.” My oldest daughter calls them her Fun Packets. Several of their products have won national education awards and help with not only homeschooling but also with public school students needing that extra boost to achieve higher grades and test scores.
My oldest daughter is dyslexic and, before I pulled her out of the public school system several years ago, her teacher told me that I just needed to “read to her more.” Really? I wanted to ask, “How much more do you want me to read to her when I’ve read to her every day since she was born?” but after years of dealing with this type of mindset, I realized it was pointless to argue. Since working from Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing With Ease series, my daughter has improved in leaps and bounds with her reading comprehension and writing skills. Although I am a little sad that she no longer needs me to read aloud to her anymore, I am extremely proud of her accomplishments.
As a side note, my daughter used to hate reading – obviously. The book series that changed her perception and got her to absolutely love reading was The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley. These were the first books she read on her own and told me, “Mom! When I read these books, I can actually see the pictures in my mind and understand what is going on!”
My third favorite product is Joy Hakim’s A History of US series. When I was younger, I hated history – I wasn’t homeschooled. So I did a lot of research trying to find a history book or series that wasn’t dry and boring. In fact, that’s a main requirement when I research for books on any subject: writing style and presentation have to be pleasing and as enjoyable as possible. I have two children with learning disabilities that make this necessary. My son has inattentive type ADD and dysgraphia, so focus is an issue. Both kids now love history and reading about it. Hakim talks to the reader in her books and allows them to imagine living in the specific time periods. There are also lots of pictures with interesting side-notes. The chapters are short, too, for shorter attention spans and great for reading aloud.
Next Friday – Part 4: Contribution To Community And Socialization