Some favorite hands-off homeschooling items

With five children, I tend to get “talked out” fairly quickly – not only their talking to me and to each other, but my own talking as well.   I get tired of the sound of my own voice rattling in my ears, and love to have something to hand the children that is educational but keeps me out of it for the most part.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Leap Frog Letter Factory and Talking Words Factory – this has been instrumental in teaching my youngest 3 to read. We  play this often in the 3-5yo years.  Honestly, I’ve done *very* little formal reading instructing after this. With the exception of my dyslexic oldest child (who BTW didn’t watch the videos because I hadn’t heard of them yet), they picked it up over time, being read to often, and have been fluent readers at 5 years old.  And once a kid learns to read, they don’t need to rely on you for every little thing homeschooling wise. They can read their own instructions, or help a sibling, or can simply entertain themselves with a book.

DragonBox, DragonBox II, and Elements – these are  algebra and geometry apps that teach mathematical concepts through logical game steps. DragonBox is recommended for ages 5 and older, DragonBox II for 12+, and Elements is for 9 and older, although my 8 year old has finished all of them.  He’s on the upper side of math ability, though.

Audios of Story of the World I-IV (links to the first volume) – we listen to these in the car year after year, and they pick up more facts and make more connections as time goes on.

Any audiobooks, really – great for the car or lunch time when I’m talked out.  A great audiobook also hooks ME in and allows me to “escape” for awhile.  (Can I tell you how often I take the long way home from somewhere because I’m happy in my car with my audiobook?)

Learning Wrap Ups – When we bought these, I think they only had the basic math facts wrap ups. Now they have so much more: states and capitals, vocabulary, pre-algrebra, even music theory.

Khan academy – while their strength is still math, they have so many other subjects now, and are continuing to grow. My dd is enjoying reviewing fractions right now and learning to code.

Classical Conversations Audio CDs that contain the memory work from Classical Conversations- We were in a CC community last year, so they have a framework for how the things should be memorized and used, but this year we just bought the CDs and are listening with no pressure to memorize. With repetition they memorize anyway.

Netflix documentaries of all sorts! I can’t even begin to list all the different things they have learned through Netflix.

Liberty’s Kids and Magic School Bus videos. We also loved School House Rock.  And while we’ve never used it because I hadn’t seen it before today 🙂 , this Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego video looks like something we really would enjoy.

Video classes: We have a subscription to Homeschool Connections recorded courses, but there is also The Great Courses and any number of free open courses put out by various universities.
Memrise is not something we use but I keep meaning to check it out. It sounds like it would fit into our homeschooling style very well.

There is so much out there, but these are some of our favorites (and one that I’ve been meaning to check out for months).  Would love to hear of any less mom-intensive resources that your families enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Some favorite hands-off homeschooling items

  1. I wanted to add something I’ve been using and loving! I’m a major introvert who no longer needs to read aloud all the things now that we use Veritas Press Online Self Paced History! It’s simply wonderful and my kids beg to do the lessons. I can sip coffee and read my Bible while they get a super fun but thorough lesson on the computer. There are 5 different time periods for 2nd through 6th graders and it’s super Bible based. You can get it on sale for $100 several times per year and our family only uses one course for all our children because we don’t grade history in elementary school. Definitely check it out, sensitive mama!

    • Thank you for sharing, Jessica! I’m seriously considering a video course program for next year, for the reasons you state. Haven’t decided which one. Knowing me, a little from here, a little from there, LOL.

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