Saturday, November 26, 2016

2016 Blue Ribbon Awards

As always, at the end of the Homeschool Review Crew year, members are asked to vote for their favorite products.  This is a bittersweet post for me, as it marks my last crew post.  Even though I've genuinely valued my time on the crew, I think it's time for my family to take a break this year.  However, I certainly couldn't pass up the Blue Ribbon Awards!  Members of the crew are asked to vote for their "favorites" in a variety of categories, and the kids get to pick their individual favorites too.  It is a fun way to acknowledge all the companies who have shared with us and blessed our families.

So, here are this year's favorites!  These are in no particular order.

Times Tales
Winner:  Favorite Math Supplement
I voted for this in its winning category, because it is a fun way to quickly memorize the upper times tables.  It's mostly video based, with some printable worksheets and games.  Elliott really liked it, and I'll continue to use with the kids because it meets the needs of different learning styles.

Heirloom Audio Productions
Winner - Favorite Literature Resource and Favorite Book, Novel, Audio Book or Audio Drama
Dragon and the Raven
Beric the Briton
The Cat of Bubastes
This is a 3-for-1 because they're all by the same company, and it's sooo hard to choose just one.  We voted for one of them in both of the categories where they won, but I won't tell you which one, because it doesn't matter--it was a random pick since they're all equally fantastic.  Heirloom Audio Productions makes high quality audio dramas of famous stories from history. These are a great way to bring history to life, and are enjoyable for the whole family.

{In past crew years, I have also reviewed With Lee in Virginia, In Freedom's Cause, and Under Drake's Flag, and they are also all superb!}

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization
Winner:  Favorite Literature Curriculum 
This got my vote for Favorite Literature Curriculum but also All Around Favorite.  I ended up voting for it for All Around because it's truly one of the best programs I've reviewed in the 5 years I've been on the crew.  It's appropriate for K-12+ and can be used with multiple ages at the same time.  The resource includes digital and non-consumable components, which means it can be used repeatedly.  The additional audio downloads about reading aloud were very eye-opening and I learned so much from them.  The poetry selections are engaging, yet easy to memorize.  It was a truly well planned and executed product.  The kids have fun with it, even if they do get a tad competitive with each other, and we ALL enjoy this program.
Winner:  Favorite Science Supplement 
We voted this for Favorite Science Supplement and Best Online Resource.  This isn't something we use everyday, but it is something that can be used for every subject, and is open-ended.  Plus, it can be used with all ages, so it's truly a lifetime resource for homeschooling families!

Apologia Astronomy
Winner - Favorite Science Curriculum
This won our vote for Favorite Science Curriculum of the year, and Elliott's Kid Pick.  The kids have really enjoyed science again and look forward to it.  We're seriously considering using another one of their titles next year!

Carole P. Roman
Winner - Favorite History Supplement
In addition to it being our favorite history supplement, it was also Emory's Kid Pick.  It's always fun to see where their minds go.  We read these over several days, because they're lengthy and meaty and packed full of facts!  We've been delighted with her geography series, and I highly recommend you check out her blog and Amazon page, as she frequently offers Kindle editions of her books for free!  While we love our physical books, we're still excited to pick up some of her other titles this way.

BONUS - Logic of English
Winner - Favorite Reading Curriculum 
I'm sharing this as a little bonus, because my review of it was a little different.  Instead of reviewing for the Crew, I reviewed the Foundations Level A for The Old Schoolhouse website, which of course is part of the same family as the Homeschool Review Crew.  This has also been one of the best reviews in the last five years.  I reviewed it in the spring and my then-first grader's reading skills improved drastically almost immediately, and I've since purchased additional levels.  This year my 4th grader has switched to Essentials per his request.  We're using the first edition, which is what I reviewed a few years ago, and it's a much better fit now that he's older and has a longer attention span.  The crew reviewed the 2nd edition and Foundations this year.  It has literally changed the way I approach teaching reading and spelling, and I love, love, love it!  It gets my vote for reading, spelling, grammar . . . everything!

I reviewed at least seven other products that were category winners (some winning multiple categories), but I couldn't possibly list all of our choices here.  To see the full list of winners, and what the KIDS on the Crew picked, be sure to check out the official 2016 Blue Ribbon Awards, and then see what other crew members are sharing in their "favorites" posts!

Past Winners
I didn't write a post for 2012, but here are some previous favorites of ours during our time on the crew.
The Best of the Best:  Blue Ribbon Awards (2013)
Blue Ribbon Winners and our Favorite Reviews from 2014
Our 2015 Blue Ribbon Winners

Meet the Homeschool Review Crew Curriculum Favourites for 2016

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