Learn how to foster a love for learning, build confidence, and provide your children and students with learning strategies that will be useful for a life time of learning. Learn about cognitive, emotional & social stages of development and how to best teach and learn based on each child's current stage.
Includes several themed projects for ages 8-14, all kid-tested and best loved!
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Explore life-long learning and the Keys to unlock your personal genius and help your children or students unlock genius. Click below for regularly added and updated FREE excerpts.
Armstrong lays out what creative thinkers know about how children should be educated ... he asks what would happen if we turned the reins of educational policy over ... to eminent thinkers and creators like Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jr., Rachel Carson, Doris Lessing, Jane Goodall, and other seminal culture-builders. What might they say about the best way to educate a child?
DeMille's approach to education is compatible with all of the LOLIPOP principles. He examined the education of great thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson, and identified the common components that, throughout history, have produced thinkers and leaders.
This is a great book to start with. Most parents and even professional teachers teach in their own preferred learning style. This book will help you identify your child's learning style and so deliver instruction and choose curriculum that is the best fit for each individual child.
Based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, this book guides you through determining your child's personality and then responding accordingly as both a parent and a teacher to each unique personality. Choose curriculum and activities that are the best fit for your child's personality and so the most productive.
Learn about Erikson's social-emotional (psychosocial) stages and how people learn best within each stage of life.
Explore Piaget's Cognitive (thinking) Stages of development and how to best teach people at different ages and stages of their lives.
Moody. Reckless. Impractical. Insecure. Distracted. These are all words commonly used to describe adolescents. But what if we recast these traits in a positive light? Teens possess insight, passion, idealism, sensitivity, and creativity in abundance--all qualities that can make a significant positive contribution to society.
There are a few versions of this book, all explaining the same basic approach to parenting which can extend into teaching, so choose the one that applies best to you. The original Parenting with Love & Logic is a great place to start. There is also Parenting Teens With Love And Logic: Preparing Adolescents for Responsible Adulthood (if you have teens at home) and Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years.
For teens who are ready to take ownership of their education
or to inspire them for a lifetime of learning.
Get the main book along with the self-guided workbook. These books are written by the son of 7 Habits author Stephen Covey and will guide your teen in focusing on goals and meaningful endeavors.
Written by two navy seal commanders, this book gets right to the point of accepting personal responsibility in life. No excuses! Since you are the only person you can truly control, learn how to accept responsibility and learn when events go wrong and go right. (Parental Notice: Contains some bad language)
Building on the keys of Thomas Jefferson Education (classics, mentors, simplicity, inspiration, time, quality, and life-long learning), this book guides teens in uncovering their unique purpose and moving in the right direction toward the goals needed to fulfill that purpose.
This book is written by brothers, Alex & Brett Harris, who themselves have experience with doing hard things. They address a generation who has been encouraged to make excuses and shy away from anything too challenging. Many teens (and even adults) believe that if they encounter roadblocks or difficulties while pursuing their goals then that must mean they should turn back. This book explains why and how that misbelief needs to be overcome.
Subtitled "The secrets about money that you don't learn in school", which is quite accurate. But I would add, the essential aspects to earning and wisely managing money that every teen should know (adults too, but let's start them young if we can)
Stories have power. Each of us is living a story, and once we understand that we can control our own story, we become empowered to accomplish almost anything. I purposefully did not title this Classic "Books", because it is more about stories. A classic story can come in the form of a book, movie, song, poem, painting, photo, and so many mediums. A classic story explores the meaning of life, the nature of individuals and societies, and transcendent ideas. A classic story has depth and levels so that it teaches something new each time it is encountered. Classic stories teach important lessons with minimal personal risk. We can learn from characters who suffer the consequences of their choices so we don't suffer the same fate, or learn how to achieve greatness through heroic characters. Whatever your preferred medium, fill your life with the best stories.
Scriptures, Myths, Fables, Legends, and Ancient Stories
Whether you have a set of scripture that you base your personal faith upon or not, I recommend that everyone read the stories from scriptures (of all belief systems), myths, fables, and legends. Regardless of whether you believe in their transcendent origin, the fact remains that these stories have lasted thousands of years and shaped cultures. They contain multiple and deep levels of exploring human nature, psychology, war, kinship, and the meaning of life. Without familiarity with these foundational and thousands-year-old stories, you cannot fully comprehend more recent classics.
Reading starts with the parents, reading to children, reading in front of children, and simply sharing stories. I like the image on the left, because the child is not just cuddling with mom, but she is looking at the book while mom reads, the beginning of understanding that those letters on the page make up words which make up ideas and stories. When young children are read to, they not only learn the construction of stories, but they associate positive emotions with reading and books and hearing stories. This impacts them for a life time!
These books are not just cute, they have a rhythm and rhyme scheme that makes it easy for children to "read along" (after you read them over and over and over), which builds confidence in young readers. The illustrations are fun for children as well. These books are also structured to reinforce basic phonics and so help young children begin to make a connection between letters and their sounds and blending them into words. I still have a complete set of Dr Seuss books in my house and my children are almost grown.
The young child's brain responds very well to rhythm and to music. Sing simple songs together. Sing nursery rhymes (save the true meanings until they are older). Make up songs to cue bath time or bedtime or clean up time. A song or funny rhyme can turn work into play.
I particularly enjoy Shel Silverstein, but there are many great children's poetry collections. Choose versions with illustrations, as young children make connections when the written word, spoken word, and visual all come together. Be sure to include some funny poems, so children learn young that poetry is fun, not boring.
Choose whatever you like, but at this age, books with detailed illustrations and limited words are great, because they empower the non-reader child to play at reading. Imitating reading from picture cues in the book is a great way to nurture the seed of future readers.
Lego has published several books that feature classic stories but in simple language and using posed Legos as the illustrations. There is a collection of Shakespeare's plays (one with comedies and one with tragedies), the Bible (religious or not, these are stories that have lasted thousands of years and are significant to our culture), and many original stories.
Some people object to allowing children to read watered-down classics, but I see a lot of benefit. Many classic books include complex language, sentence structures, and unfamiliar vocabulary. When a child is an emerging reader, and at an age essential for building confidence, classic stories written for a younger audience are a wonderful tool. They familiarize the child with the main story, and then, when they are a more advanced reader and thinker, they can engage the original text and the complex language and vocabulary will not weigh down the story.
Depending on your child's reading ability, these books can be read by the child independently or read aloud by parents. Even after a child is able to read independently, it's beneficial to continue to read aloud. That allows the child to hear a confidence and fluent reader, but also facilitates conversations about the content being read. It also teaches readers to be interactive readers, pausing to question events and characters, pausing to predict the next events or the ending or whether characters are what they seem... all important close reading skills needed for more challenging reading later in studies and life.
Picture books of Shakespeare's plays
There are some beautiful editions of picture books depicting the stories of Shakespeare's plays. Familiarize younger children with Shakespeare's stories so that they have an easier time reading the original text when they are older.
Shakespeare Can Be Fun series, by Lois Burdett
Burdett taught Shakespeare's stories to her elementary students and she has written these simplified versions, still in iambic pentameter, illustrated by her students, with their commentary on the sides. Very fun!
Brick Books: Shakespeare's Comedies & Shakespeare's Tragedies
Great for kids who love Legos. These 2 volumes tell the story of some of the best known comedies and tragedies by Shakespeare, using a graphic novel format and Legos as the characters & setting
This series has several classic literary titles in simplified story form
Tales from the Odysey by Mary Pope Osborne
Broken into several short books, and told in chronological order (rather than the flashback of the original text), this exciting classic hero's journey comes to life for young readers.
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths,
D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths, &
Roman Myths, by Geraldine McCaughrean
Mythology is at the root our western civilization and reveals layers of human nature (explore that later with older kids). But first, get kids familiar with and hooked on these stories.
Usborne books has several classics in the form of graphic novels. These are not just for boys who like comic books. This format brings the story alive for readers before they are able to fully comprehend the complex language of these classics, inspiring them to work toward someday reading the original work. Some classics that I have seen as graphic novels include: Jane Eyre, Tale of Two Cities, Three Musketeers, Dracula, Robin Hood, and Shakespeare's plays
Mathematicians Are People Too
Two volumes include short and fun stories about mathematicians, making the people and math come alive for kids
Girls Who Looked Under Rocks, by Janine Atkins
This book portrays the youths and careers of six remarkable women whose curiosity about nature fueled a passion to steadfastly overcome obstacles to careers in various areas of science.
Marilyn Burns books
The Greedy Triangle
Spaghetti & Meatballs for All
Greg Tang books
Grapes of Math
Jon Scieszka books
It’s the year 2154. Lisse and her friends have been deemed unemployable in the eyes of society. Now they must scavenge the disintegrating city for food and shelter, just to make ends meet. But their dismal existence starts to look up when they are invited to participate in The Game, an experience highly regarded in their society. The Game is a virtual reality experience where they are challenged to survive. But as they spend more time in The Game, the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur. What started as a simple exercise quickly becomes a test of endurance, trust, and their will to live.
Dystopia disguised as utopia. Follow this classic story of a young boy discovering the dark secrets behind his seemingly ideal world.
Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he’s ecstatic. It doesn’t matter that times are tough; together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan’s brawn, Little Ann’s brains, and Billy’s sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.
Thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier. The story is filled with wonderful detail about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between settlers and natives in the 1700s.
When Meg Murray and Charles Wallace’s father is taken by evil forces to another planet, it is up to the children to rescue him. Bringing along their friend Calvin O’Keefe, the children learn from Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which how to pass through the “wrinkle” in time and space to reach their father and what they must do to save him.
The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line.
The Hobbit is a great read for this age group, prepping them for embarking on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In The Hobbit, Tolkien takes his reader through the hero's journey of Bilbo Baggins. His later work, Lord of the Rings, depicts the hero's journey of Bilbo's nephew Frodo as well as other characters, over the course of 3 novels, with much more detail and development.
Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper, The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.
As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.
Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.
In this thought-provoking examination of freedom, patriotism, and respect, ninth-grader, Philip Malloy, is kept from joining the track team by his failing grades in English class. Convinced that the teacher just doesn't like him, Philip concocts a plan to get transferred out of her class. Breaking the school's policy of silence during the national anthem, he hums along, and ends up in a crisis at the center of the nation's attention.
This is a great book to teach this age group about different points of view and to pause and consider other viewpoints before acting.
In the fall of 1914, safe behind palace walls, Katya Ivanova sees St. Petersburg as a magical place.
The daughter of a lady in waiting to the Empress, Katya spends all her time with the Grand Duchesses, and the royal family feels like her own. But outside the palace, a terrible war is sweeping through Europe, and Russia is beginning to crumble under the weight of a growing revolution.
Now, as Katya’s once-certain future begins to dissolve, she must seek to understand what is happening to her beloved country and, for the first time in her life, take charge of her own destiny.
Esperanza thought she'd always live a privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico. She'd always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home filled with servants, and Mama, Papa, and Abuelita to care for her. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza isn't ready for the hard work, financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When Mama gets sick and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances-because Mama's life, and her own, depend on it.
Philosophy for Kids offers young people (ages 10 and up) the opportunity to become acquainted with the wonders of philosophy. Packed with exciting activities arranged around the topics of values, knowledge, reality, and critical thinking, this book can be used individually or by the whole class. Each activity allows kids to increase their understanding of philosophical concepts and issues and enjoy themselves at the same time.
What is a fallacy? A fallacy is an error in logic a place where someone has made a mistake in his thinking. This is a handy book for learning to spot common errors in reasoning. Filled with fun cartoons, humor, and the fallacy game, but recommended for ages 12 and up because the ideas presented are abstract and complex. Read it with your kids and discuss. Don't worry if they don't fully grasp the ideas. This is a fun introduction to logic.
Scientists Who Changed History profiles trailblazing individuals from Greek mathematicians, such as Archimedes and Hipparchus, through physicists of the early 20th-century, such as Marie Curie and Albert Einstein, to modern greats such as Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee.
Ideally between 13 and 18 years old, students are developing their critical thinking skills of analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. They are reading more closely, with a critical eye for aspects such as point of view and bias, as well as recognizing literary devices and their impact on the overall theme or message. They are developing their personal values or allegiance and exploring stories is a wonderful way in which to accomplish that. I like to read as many of the books that my teens are reading as I can, so that we can discuss them. This is a time of emerging ideas that may require some guidance.
Since this list is intended for such a wide age range, please research each book to ensure it is appropriate for your student. As an adult reader, don't avoid books that seem geared toward the young. Each of these "classics" has something to teach every age (from 13 up).
I recommend unabridged versions. If you can read them in their original language, that is best. If not, look for a translation that has been reviewed to be as close to the original text as possible. Or better, read multiple translations!
The Odyssey & The Iliad, by Homer
The Theban Plays: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, & Antigone, by Sophocles
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Shakespeare's plays (yes, all of them)
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas
1984, by George Orwell
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Lord of the Rings (trilogy), by J.R.R. Tolkien
Ender's Game & Ender's Shadow, by Orson Scott Card
The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (new abridged version 2018)
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour
Below is a list of curriculum, textbooks, packaged curriculum sets, project sets, and online classes that work well for families and teachers who want to implement LOLIPOP principles.
The key is always how the teacher implements the curriculum. Any curriculum should be a tool for your student's learning. You and your student should never be a slave to any curriculum. For example, If you are using Math U See and your student clearly understands a concept, move to the next concept and skip some of the practice or review pages. That's right! You do not have to do every page, every activity. Take breaks as your student needs them. Change subjects in a manner that allows your student the best learning experience. For some students that means doing a little of each subject each day. For others, that means just math all day one day and then just reading all day another day, or building a project all day. Do not feel pressured to cover every subject or a formal lesson every day. Step back and look at the bigger picture. Over the course of a month or a school year, yes your student should have covered several skills and topics in various subjects, but that can happen in many different ways.
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You can purchase a year's bundle and use this curriculum for Language Arts, History, and Science, all integrated in ideas, or you can buy single literary or historical units. Great resource for the parent who doesn't want a lot of prep but wants to explore literature and history in depth.
Math U See is a uniquely hands-on curriculum, using physical manipulatives from the first lessons through Algebra, so that students truly understand how and why math works. Bridgeway offers live online classes using Math U See curriculum for Pre-Algebra and higher math levels.
Life of Fred presents math in a very unique way, through the story of a child-professor of mathematics. Each chapter shares a story from Fred's life that demonstrates and explains a concept in math. At the end of each chapter, the student can try out 2-3 practice problems. I recommend it as a supplement to something like Khan Academy or Math U See. It's great for students who have developed a hate of math to get them inspired. (Parental notice: Contains some faith-based content)
Khan Academy is a FREE curriculum resource. It started out with math instruction and so that is the most developed area. Students (and parents) can watch short videos that explain a math topic and then try a few practice problems. You can search by topic to fill in math holes as needed. Or your student can create an account (yes, FREE) and move through topics that build on each other. Khan Academy aligns with CCSS math standards, but presents topics in a very straight-forward way that many homeschool families enjoy. This allows for easy transition if students do return to mainstream school.
Murphy created this series of math stories that teach concepts from grades K through early grade 3. The stories are fun and children love to read them or listen to them (pre-readers). At the end of each story is a page of suggested math practice and activities to reinforce the math concepts taught. Each book is labeled level 1, 2, or 3 and clearly states the math concept taught within.
These theme-based science kits provide the materials for several experiments for 1-3 students, 3 student journals (so students begin to learn how to write about their science experiments), and a clear teacher instruction booklet. It all comes neatly boxed up in a plastic storage container the size of shoe box. Hands-on fun with quality science learning.
This series takes your student from Ancient Greece through Modern Times. Each volume includes a year's worth of lessons, for in-depth learning. Story book tells history in a narrative tone that is engaging for readers, and the activity books are packed with hands-on activity ideas, maps, worksheets, time lines, and more.
There are several books in this series and I've used them to teach World History, US History, Government and Economics. Check out Richard Maybury's "Uncle Eric" books soon.
Ancient Rome, How it Affects You Today
The Thousand Year War
Whatever Happened to Justice
Are You Liberal, Conservative, or Confused
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy
The Money Mystery
The Clipper Ship Strategy
A combination of YouTube videos (FREE) and workbooks available on amazon.com to guide high school students through a full semester study of Government and Economics, covering the topics listed in the Standards for each of those courses. The videos are fun and the worksheets are numbered to easily find the corresponding video & worksheet.
Crash Course Government, by Roger Morante (workbook on amazon.com)
Grades K-12. Online learning in all core subjects and some electives. Many students find this platform fun. Multimedia lessons that incorporate a lot of games. T4L offers classes for all grade, but I have heard from families that this is most popular with K-8 students.
Grades K-12. This FREE resource was created by an experienced homeschool mom and offers lessons in core academics and some electives. It self-describes as Christian, but I only found those elements in the Bible courses, which you can skip if that's not what you want. Not a lot of bells and whistles, just straight forward guides to learning.
Grades 1-12. Online video lessons that use teen slang and humor to make learning engaging and fun. Core academic classes as well as a variety of electives. Some, mild bad language. Monthly subscription is about $15/month giving you access to all subject areas. Gather homeschool friends together and buy the Homeschool package - $300 for 1 teacher account and 10 student accounts for the full school year.
Grades 6-12. Live online and independent study classes, taught with an emphasis on classical education. "We’ve combined strong academics, a leadership-driven curriculum, world-class mentors and a flexible structure to liberate your family to be who you are — and who you are is awesome."
This is a website, open to all teachers & parents to post single lessons, units, and full courses for reasonable prices. Great source to find graphic organizers, worksheets, visual presentations and more to align with any book you're reading or topic you are exploring.
A virtual mall of curriculum stores. Various sellers, from teachers to long-time homeschool parents have collaborated with the founders of The Curriculum Square to turn their creative ideas into curriculum that you can do with your own kids or with a group class.