The Lifetime Learning Companion is hot off the press and available at a special price for a limited time.
This web site is the primary resource section for the book The Lifetime Learning Companion, by Jean and Donn Reed. All the updated essays from The Home School Source Book, 3rd edition, are now part of The Lifetime Learning Companion. All the updated and new resources from The Home School Source Book, 3rd edition and The Lifetime Learning Companion are to be found here.
Donn and I believe learning materials should be fun, challenging, constructive, informative, and relevant to steady mental growth. We depend on orders from customers to continue offering this service, but we absolutely will not sell or recommend any item that does not meet our criteria.
We recommend many items we don’t sell, sometimes because they are available only from other suppliers, sometimes because we can’t give you as low a price as other suppliers can. As you’ll see, we have strong opinions. Whether you agree or disagree with us, you’ll always know where we stand, and will not be misled by indiscriminate praise and false “objectivity.” We want to make a living, but we want to make it honestly.
Don’t be dismayed at the lack of regulation textbooks on our website. You won’t find many of them. Our kids never liked them. We never liked them. They reminded us of commercial baby food – they fill a need but on the lowest possible level. At best, some make reasonable reference books. You will find books you and your children will enjoy that will transform your learning into a creative adventure.
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The remainder of the site is under construction and will be changing almost daily. Please bookmark this page so you can come back and find the creative learning materials you need on hand for your homeschooling adventure.
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Kids’ Container Gardening: Year-Round Projects for Inside and Out, by Cindy Krezel. This is a great idea, well presented, with a good variety of small projects that kids can do either by themselves or with you. It starts with some good advice and goes on to tell you about a wide variety of containers you can use and interesting ideas for growing things in them. Have you ever heard of a cocktail garden? It’s just one of the projects here, along with vegetable hanging baskets, Halloween hats, sand art terrariums, a small fountain, and others. Ages 9 to 12. Cover price $14.95. $13.00 from Brook Farm Books.
Big Ideas for Small Mathematicians, by Ann Kajander. My essay about math in The Lifetime Learning Companion discusses the difference between arithmetic and mathematics. In case you haven’t read the book, the difference is simple. Arithmetic is the actual computation. Mathematics is the study of the concepts. If your kids aren’t enjoying arithmetic, try switching your focus to the mathematical concepts behind the computation. This book is what you need, and it’s been designed for use in schools and at home. Tackling the activities can be fun even if the kids (or you) don’t understand the math behind them. You’ll learn about Pythagoras, tessellations, and tetrahedral fractals — all without being a math genius yourself. You can take my word for this: I have a tendency to be mathphobic, and even I would have fun and learn doing these activities. Here are just a few of the chapter headings: Squares and Odd Numbers, Straw Structures, Party Fractions, Kaleidoscope, Moebius Strip, Balloons and Dice Game, 3-D Tic Tac Toe. Ages 6 to 11. $19.95. $17.00 from Brook Farm Books.
Collins Spanish Club, Book 1. I think this book, with the CD included, would be a lot of fun for kids who have some basic Spanish. There are songs that are very easy to learn, stickers, puzzles, games, and some tips for parents. Answers to the puzzles and games are in the back. Most of the vocabulary is illustrated or explained but not everything. Most of the words I didn’t know I could figure out from the usage, but I found it a bit frustrating and had to find my Spanish dictionary. Maybe I just need to brush up on my Spanish. There’s no English-to-Spanish or Spanish-to-English dictionary included. Recommended for ages 4 to 8, but I think your child needs some basic Spanish before using this. Here’s the deal: The price is $15.99, and if you buy it and don’t like it you can return it for a refund of all but your postage. $14.00 From Brook Farm Books.
Pocket Oxford American Dictionary and Thesaurus. This won’t fit in your regular pockets. It’s packed with more than 150,000 entries, synonyms (listed very conveniently under the main entry), and hundreds of new words and meanings. It’s not as thorough as Roget’s Thesaurus, but I think it’s perfect for high school and college students. Handy to have the dictionary and thesaurus together. 928 pages. Cover price $13.95. $12.50 from Brook Farm Books.
Oxford Illustrated Children’s Dictionary. I confess that dictionaries don’t excite me. That said, this is one of the better ones for kids 9 to 12. There are some illustrations but not a lot. I think they chose to illustrate items that would interest kids in this age group. It’s well laid out and easy to navigate. Meanings are clear, parts of speech are included with each entry, and there is a pronunciation guide for each of the more difficult words. Cover price is $18.95. $17.50 from Brook Farm Books.
The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science, by Sean Connolly. This book progresses historically, touching on the greatest scientific developments, who did the work, and the ramifications of this new knowledge; then comes an experiment. Written with engaging language for the age group, each of the 34 chapters gives a clear explanation of the science involved, and there are 50 experiments for “daring young scientists” related to each scientific principle being explored. Experiments include proving atomic theory with food coloring, launching a soda bottle, extracting DNA in the kitchen, demonstrating how germs spread, and making a Jell-O earthquake. Each experiment is rated to indicate the amount of risk involved, from “Low: No risk of catastrophe” to “Guarded: Slight risk of mess, paper cuts, stained clothes” to “Elevated: Involves use of heavy or sharp objects. Adult supervision recommended” to “High: Involves use of fire, hot liquids, or hazardous substances. Adult supervision required.” Directions are good. Most materials are things you’ll have on hand (believe it or not), or are common, inexpensive, and easy to find. A lot of fun packed in 306 pages. Ages 9 to 16. $13.95. Just $12.00 from Brook Farm Books.
A HISTORY OF US, a set of 11 volumes, by Joy Hakim. You can use these books with your beginning U.S. history studies right though high school if you make use of the Study Guided and extensive reading list that comes with each book. These very readable books don’t resemble “schoolbooks.” Hakim presents history as the story of people, which is as it should be. You meet ordinary people, not just the presidents and well-known figures, and discover how they lived. These engaging books, with excellent color illustrations, will ask you to think and form opinions. Hakim makes good use of original sources, newspaper excerpts, cartoons, diaries, drawings, maps, and the original artwork of the time. You’ll find yourself spending more time thinking about the people and the issues than memorizing meaningless names, battles, and dates. While this series of books is not cheap, it will be all that you will need from about third grade through junior high. If you have younger children, I suggest that you can take your time going through the books, concentrating on one historical period at a time, or you can go through the books more quickly, returning for a more in-depth study when the children are older. Hakim’s inclusion of an extensive list of related reading material in the back of each book is a real boon to those who like to explore in depth. While the original set was 10 volumes, the newly revised set is 11 volumes. This most recent addition to the set contains a complete index for the series, a good glossary of terms, essential documents and speeches that have shaped the country, and commentary about why each is important. The price per book is $15.95 if bought individually. The current price for the whole set is $219.45, but we are setting our price a bit lower — at $150.00 — because we think everyone should have this set. We’ll also include UPS shipping. This is one of the best investments you’ll make. My only regret about these books is that they were not available when our kids were still at home.
Vol. 1, THE FIRST AMERICANS (prehistory – 1600)
Vol. 2, MAKING THIRTEEN COLONIES (1600 – 1740)
Vol. 3, FROM COLONIES TO COUNTRY (1735 – 1791)
Vol. 4, THE NEW NATION (1789 – 1850)
Vol. 5, LIBERTY FOR ALL? (1820 – 1860)
Vol. 6, WAR, TERRIBLE WAR (1855 – 1865)
Vol. 7, RECONSTRUCTION AND REFORM (1865 – 1890)
Vol. 8, AN AGE OF EXTREMES (1880 – 1917)
Vol. 9, WAR, PEACE, AND ALL THAT JAZZ (1918 – 1945)
Vol. 10, ALL THE PEOPLE (1945 to present with election of Obama)
Vol. 11, Index, commentary, documents, and glossary
TEACHING GUIDES: one for each volume. You don’t need these guides, but if you want to extract the most from these wonderful books you will find them useful. Each guide has more than 50 pages of chapter summaries, reading suggestions, vocabulary to learn, and — best of all — activities, projects, and ideas for discussion. The regular price for the guides is $9.95 each, or $99.50 for the complete set, plus $2.50 shipping. Our special price is $70 for the complete set of guides, with no shipping charged if you order these with The History of US. If you question the usefulness of the guides, send an SASE and I’ll be happy to send sample copies of a few pages.
*** This series has extensive reading lists. If you can’t find the books listed, email us for help.
Note from a happy mom: “… I love the teaching guides. … They help my son to focus in on what he will be reading, and the study guides … will prove very useful for his end-of-the-year portfolio that I have to show the school system.”
MARBLE GAMES. I always had marbles that I loved, but I never knew what to do with them. Now I do. This is a collection of 50 marble games. Line drawings illustrate the text. Ages 6 to 12. $4.50.
PARLOR GAMES. A collection of 50 unique parlor games that are played cooperatively. Amusing and challenging games for small and large groups. Little or no equipment needed, for a quiet evening or lively party. Ages 12 to adult. $4.50.
SPORTS MANUAL. Features 60 co-op sports games for ages 10 to adult. Detailed manual for athletics, gymnastics, team sports, stick and ball events, co-op billiards, and horseshoes, plus suggestions for running a co-op field day. 36 pages. Illustrated. $4.50.