Over the course of 2015 our family completed a whopping 59 reviews for the blog! We’ve done additional reviews which either weren’t for this blog, or didn’t make it here for various reasons. I didn’t think we were that busy last year! We even took some time off while my parents were visiting, as well as during a couple of other periods. Looking back, we’ve reviewed some awesome products and resources, and I thought it would be fun to do a post on our Top Products of 2015 as last year’s version was so fun.
I’ve divided up our favourites into several categories to make things a little easier.
We reviewed a few different math products, and this was a close race as each child had a favourite. Kallista preferred CTC Math, but the winner for last year was the one Tristan completed with dedication, GPALOVEMATH.
As a supplement, We all really enjoyed the Miss Rumphius Study Guide.
As an overall program, I’ve seen the largest improvement in the children’s abilities with Reading Kingdom. The children took a break over Christmas, but they’re back doing 1-2 lessons 4-5 times a week. Kallista enjoys it more than Tristan, however.
The art program that had us all drawing and painting (including my parents when she was visiting), was ARTistic Pursuits. This book is on our kitchen counter ready to pick up, open, and do an impromptu art lesson.
We tried out some very different science products that are hard to compare to each other. The most comprehensive of the programs was Visual Learning Systems.
The children enjoyed Brookdale House for learning to draw the countries of Europe. This year we’ll still be using it, but in a modified way.
The children tried two different Middle Ages classes. They were both filled with all sorts of information, but the winner this year is Time Capsule: Medieval England Unit Study. This choice was made because it was more adaptable to various ages, and it was so packed full of fun hands-on learning activities across a wide range of subjects.
We’ve reviewed loads of books, and read so many more over the past year. We have several favourites, but we’ve chosen My Very Own World Adventure by I See Me! as tops this year because of the personalization, and because it just meant so much to Kallista. It’s unlike any other book in the house, and one that Kallista will keep for her children.
Pick and Draw was the favourite game this year. Not only can you learn to draw, but you can also learn about emotions, language arts, and more if you also buy the book (affiliate link) along with the cards (affiliate link)
Tristan and Kallista enjoy classical music, and they really got into the spirit of things when they reviewed The Nutcracker. This one wasn’t a surprise for us, as we all love Maestro Classics (affiliate link).
I only reviewed one planner last year, but I didn’t need to try more. Homeschool Planet does just about everything you could ask for!
For Homeschooler Parents
I enjoyed taking the weekly course about Successful Homeschooling Made Easy. It’s a good resource, and something I will be returning to now and again when I need to refresh and re-evaluate what we’re doing.
Smartkidz Media Library is so packed full of educational resources, but it’s also so very entertaining that it’s a great match. World cultures, classical and jazz music, science videos, books, games, and even exercise videos. And newly added is a free kids’ radio station.
My children loved these Magformers magnetic building shapes from the first time they were opened. In fact, they are still in our living room and often Kallista can be heard in the early mornings building a new structure. These fantastic little pieces (affililiate link) are also educational – you can’t get better than that!
What a Year!
What a year! I honestly didn’t think we were that busy with reviews. But it’s been a privelige, and it’s also been fun and educational. There have been products we didn’t continue with, some we’re keeping aside to bring out again when the kids are a little older, and others that are still used a few times a week.
I’m not certain we’ll be just as review-crazy this year, but we do have a few in the works that I’m looking forward to.
Here’s to a great year ahead. Have you tried out any products over the past year (as a review product or just in general) that you’ve really loved, or that just didn’t meet your expectations? Share your experience with us in the comments and we can learn from each other.