–FAVORITE RESOURCES BY TOPIC–

Recommended ResourcesMarriage:

Motherhood:

Recommended ResourcesDiscipleship:

Teaching our children about sex:

{As with anything else intended for your child’s consumption, if you have any concerns at all, I encourage you to review these materials first, before presenting them to your child.}

  • storymeTo begin the on-going conversation: This series — “God’s Design For Sex” — is EXCELLENT! — These 4 books target 4 different ages/maturity levels: The Story of Me (ages 3-5), Before I Was Born (ages 5-8), What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (ages 8-11), & Facing the Facts: The Truth About Sex and You (ages 11-14). We use these, reading them as written sometimes, but also using them as a launching place to dive deeper into conversations and questions our kids have at various stages. Note: these are meant to be read together.
  • The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made — This book offers both a large-text option for younger children, and a more detailed small-text option to read with older children, and gives the basics of marriage, sex, and babies in a biblical context. It also has a section at the end that talks about adoption and how Jesus grew in Mary’s tummy but was adopted by Joseph.
  • For those with a baby on the way and preschoolers who can sit still for documentaries, we’ve LOVED the visuals & explanations in National Geographic’s DVD, In The Womb. This gives an amazing narrative of the growth of human babies inside the womb, and our kids have absolutely been enthralled with it. There is also a corresponding book (also called In The Womb) that our children (after watching the video) enjoy flipping through to remind themselves about the incredible way God grows babies.
  • Boy/bodies: The Boys Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU(for pre-puberty and puberty boys) I turn this over to my boys around age 8-9, and we start talking through the coming changes.
  • Girls/bodies: The Care & Keeping of YOU: The Body Book for Younger Girls (for pre-puberty and puberty aged girls) I turned this over to my daughter around age 8 & we began talking through the coming changes for her body. 8 may seem young, but a LOT of girls are getting their cycles sooner than “they” used to in previous generations (perhaps due to hormones in the milk? perhaps due to hormones in the water?)… anyway, 8-9 seems about right if you want to be sure to “make it” before she gets her cycle. (Which I would highly recommend not letting her get to that point without giving her clear awareness of that coming event.)
  • For pre-pubescent and adolescents: Passport 2 Purity: A Life-Changing Getaway with your Pre-teen With each 12 year old in our home, we go through these materials, during a 2-day getaway. We’ve been so impressed with the material, the presentation, and the God-centered teaching throughout. It is heavy. It is serious. It presents needful information in the day & age that we live in, but it does so in a Christ-centered, full-picture of life way (i.e., wet dreams are not simply biological… they are preparing your body for the ability to become one with your wife one day, and to make children). This is a special getaway for us as parents, and for the preteen, every time. We listen to the material, go hiking, talk through the suggested questions, have our own discussions along the way, and make a lot of great memories. I can’t say enough good things about this program.

Home Education:

Recommended ResourcesHomeschool Curricula we love and use:

Recommended ResourcesWriting:

My Favorite Fiction:

Cookbooks:

GET ORGANIZED

Check out Mystie’s fabulous (and encouragingly realistic!) courses and books:

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8 Comments on Recommended Resources

  1. I’m curious, if you have time to answer. For homeschool, why did you choose these history resources over Story of the World? Also with Singapore math, I noticed your link goes to the workbooks. Do you find the workbook series is enough or do you think you need to buy the whole curriculum/teachers guides? I like the idea of just buying the different workbooks, but there seems to be some mixed reviews. Finally for reading and writing, do you have something in particular you recommend? Or do you use a conglomeration?

    I live overseas, so I’ll need to buy several years worth of homeschool materials at once without the opportunity to preview, so I appreciate your reccomendations!

    • Story of the World, I believe, is evolutionary in its beginnings. Mystery of History is completely Bible-Integrated chronological history. So, for me, that was the deal-breaker for SOTW, and why we opted for MOH. I know a lot of the popular programs/curricula that use SOTW did so initially because there was not (when they formed their curriculum) a complete 4-year cycle program available with MOH. That is no longer the case, as she completed and published the 4th (and final) modern history installment this last year, so (in my opinion) there is no compelling reason to use SOTW over MOH if you are a Creation-believing Christian.

      With Singapore math, we always only used the workbooks. I did not find the teacher’s guides helpful. (In fact, after an initial perusal, I never cracked them open.) That said, I’m pretty decent at math and up to 7th grade or so, didn’t encounter anything in their math curriculum up to that point that I felt needed coaching from a teacher’s guide.

      After 5th grade, we began using Saxon (not a philosophical problem with Singapore; I just found a good deal on Saxon and switched because we had it on hand and so it was FREE for me to use as opposed to purchasing further years in Singapore. (Just being honest. That was my reasoning.) 😉

      After 7th grade, we switched to Teaching Textbooks and now that’s what we have from 4th grade and up. (They, in case you don’t know, are about a year behind… i.e., 4th grade in TT is actually traditionally 3rd grade material, so we tend to use a grade up, or work through the material at a rapid rate.)

      Hope this helps.

      For reading, we just work simply according to the child’s level. I work on short vowel sounds first, then long vowels with e, then add in vowel blends, etc. When we lived overseas, I purchased a set of several dozen of those “step readers” so that we had plenty of appropriate-level reading material for them to practice with.

      Now, I have come to much prefer the old history and literature readers from the 1800’s through the 1960s in America. I can count on character as a part of those readers, and they are intellectually stimulating, interesting stories (as opposed to mindless, politically correct drivel… or character-focused fiction– like “Ironman” books for 1st graders– that you now find in books for children). I much prefer the old pioneer stories, explorers, and high-level history and world/geographical awareness you see in those old readers. (By that I mean books like this: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=vintage+school+readers&_sacat=0&_from=R40) PLUS– I love the color illustrations, and adult-like conversations rather than “cool” chit-chatty nonsense common to current readers.

      Our kids also REALLY enjoy these readers: http://amzn.to/1QbCfx2 They are similar to what I described above, but from a Mennonite perspective. So– they honor Scripture, excellent character, etc., but portray stories more in an Amish-style lifestyle. Which, again, is fine for me, because I like for them to have high moral integrity in the stories they’re reading, rather than it being what Charlotte Mason called “twaddle.”

      Hope this helps. I know that difficulty of living overseas and trying to order in advance. Blessings to you, Janelle!

      • Hi Jess,
        Yes, this was very helpful!! I didn’t know that about SOTW. And I am grateful on the ideas for math and reading too!

        Because of the obvious wisdom God has given you (which I sure appreciate being able to benefit from on your blog) and because of our similar educational philosophies, I sure appreciate your recommendations. Thank you!

        May The Lord continue to bless and use you much for His glory!
        By grace alone,
        Janelle

  2. Hi Jess! This is Dilara writing from Manila, Philippines. I had a question about new books, computer games and movies that are coming out now and are influencing the children. What GOOD books, clean movies and computer games would you recommend for the children and teenagers today. A lot of children seem to like or addicted to computer games which involve Witches, Occult and Magic. What is your opinion on that?

    • Hey Dilara! (I didn’t know you were in Manila!)
      We do not have anything to do with witches, occult, and magic. I believe that is giving a child an appetite for wicked things that are abhorrent to God, so we don’t do any of it. Yes, that means we don’t read books/watch movies that involve spell-casting, etc., even if it seems “innocent.”

      I suppose I should clarify though that we have read the Narnia series and watched and enjoy Tolkien’s books.

      As for good books/movies, for books, I tend to go for old classics. Not only are they cleaner, but the dialogue and verbiage is much more intelligent and written at a higher level. I share Charlotte Mason’s disgust for “twaddle” and so don’t buy many modern books. As far as fiction goes, we tend to buy older books, published pre-1960 (Dick and Jane, Hardy Boys, Happy Hollisters, G.A. Henty, Bobbsey Twins, and classic lit like Swiss Family Robinson, Count of Monte Cristo, etc.). Then I move my kids toward meaty biographies, interesting non-fiction (i.e., Dangerous Book for Boys, how to do origami, World War II planes, etc.).

      We tend to watch documentaries and choose movies very sparsely. There is not a whole lot coming out these days that is worth intaking, so we avoid most of it.

      Some shows we watch: I Love Lucy, Antiques Roadshow, baking competitions, Little House on the Prairie, Tudor Monastery Farm, Planet Earth, Amazing Race (there are often gay couples on this– this is just a fact of life we choose to address and talk about rather than outright avoiding), Liberty Kids, Magic School Bus (the only “magic” in this is that the bus makes them tiny so they can do scientific research at microscopic levels… it’s not really magic), Chopped, American Pickers, The Great British Baking Show.

      Movies we like as a family: Pixar movies, Mr. Bean, Count of Monte Cristo (note/heads-up: an outside-of-marriage pregnancy is at the heart of this story, so for your kids to understand it, it will have to be talked about), Elf, Little Women, Nativity Story, TONS of the BBC productions (Cranford, North and South, Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice). All of the Torchlighter movies are EXCELLENT (missionaries & martyrs—-> Jim Elliot, Eric Liddell, Perpetua, etc.).

      It is rare for us to watch movies. We don’t find a lot of it to be valuable, but we do watch some.

      We have just taken the line of not giving our kids an appetite for something they can’t continue in adulthood, and so a lot of books are nonsense (which we don’t want to give them an appetite for), and a lot of movies & shows are filthy. So we choose to do other things with our time and money. 😉

      Hope this helps.

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