Basher Books This series of books gives great, quick explanations of tons of concepts within a topic. We are the proud owners of Human Body, Astronomy, Physics, Grammar, Punctuation, and The Periodic Table. While they’re certainly not comprehensive, they make a great supplement to lesson plans. Each book comes with a nifty little poster for a visual reminder of facts and concepts. These books tend to only cost in the $6 to $7 range…of course, you can always check your local library as well.
The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math (Sean Connolly) We are loving this book! Perfectly Perilous Math is full of challenges that require you to put math skills into action to “save yourself” from certain doom. The problems are challenging and address many math skills. Even better than that? Each challenge has a math lab to go with it. How awesome to find some hands-on math activities for the middle school crowd!
Complete Curriculum: Grade 5 (from Flash Kids Family Harcourt Learning) These books have tons of awesome activities in them presented in an order that actually makes sense. We have used the reading, writing, and grammar units like crazy. To call this a “complete” curriculum, however, is more than a bit misleading. It is only “complete” if you place no value on science, social studies, or many math skills. The math section is mediocre at best (leaves out tons of important concepts needed for grade level math) and the science and social studies sections are nonexistent. Still, I think the book is a fabulous resource…just keep in mind that it is really only great for language arts. The book also has quite a lot of “test practice” as the last chapter for those who want that sort of thing. We’ll probably use some of the test practice activities as review material.
Cool Math by Christy Maganzini This book is 100% fabulous! Cool Math presents math concepts in a way that is entertaining and fun….lots of tricks, activities, and challenge questions. Grace absolutely loves it….she’s even blogged about some of the things she’s learned from this book. While it doesn’t follow any type of curriculum goals, it does generate an interest in some really fun mathematical concepts. We checked this book out from the library and use it to supplement our math lessons.
Don’t Know Much About American History by Kenneth C. Davis This is a great book for learning about American History without being bored to tears. 😉 The book gives information about the highlights of our history (with some extra info, too) and is easily supplemented with information from other sources if you wish to go more in-depth on a topic. Grace finds this much more interesting than the textbook we were using.
If You…. Books (from Scholastic) This is actually a pretty large collection of books written by a variety of authors, so I’m not able to provide a link to the “series.” These books cover a wide variety of social studies topics in a way that is accessible and interesting for kids. Grace really enjoys these books. These books would have appeal for students in a wide range of grade and ability levels. These are the ones we have read and enjoyed (or plan to read and enjoy) so far:
- If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
- If You Lived in Colonial Times
- If You Lived at the Time of the American Revolution
- If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution
- If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon
- If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America
- If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad
- If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War