Even though there are many Christian homeschooling companies offering great products, sometimes Christians might want a secular homeschool option with a neutral stance. There are several possible reasons for this. For an unschoolish mom like me, I like living books. Sometimes I appreciated the convenience of a living books curriculum rather than DIY it. However, many of them don’t include hands-on projects and the supplies to do them. And there are times when I’d prefer to use my own Bible resources and not the ones someone else chose. That’s when BookShark can be an ideal choice.
My own kids are nearly grown, but I have a little granddaughter. So, I actively seek great programs my daughter can use with her. I came across BookShark and got the opportunity to take a deeper look at their Level A Intro to the World: Cultures program. I know my daughter doesn’t like preachy Bible resources. That’s why I thought she’d like this secular homeschool option.
BookShark: A Fabulous Secular Homeschool Option
Great, quality books
The box of books I received did not disappoint. I was pleased to see many of the favorites that my kids enjoyed reading. Now, the next generation gets the same pleasure! Just like many living books programs, BookShark teaches through quality children’s books, historical fiction, and engaging narrative non-fiction. Even though it is a secular homeschool option, there’s no political agenda or revisionist history here. It is a solid option, no matter what your faith background might be. To forgo any conflicts with my daughter’s personal beliefs, I opted to omit the science curriculum. But, that wasn’t a problem. There’s still tons of awesome books! Take a look at what I got in the BookShark Level A Intro to the World: Cultures set.
Open and go scheduling
My daughter is not a researcher like me. She likes to be carefree, but gets overwhelmed when it comes to organization and planning. So, whenever I look at possible curriculum for my granddaughter, I keep her mom’s needs in mind. So, I thought the BookShark Instructor’s Guide was perfect for her. It is so super easy to use! It includes a week-at-glance schedule page and then notes. The notes tell her exactly what to read, what questions to ask or discuss, what projects to do, vocabulary definitions, and much more. No guess work, no planning and organization! It’s perfect for her… and for her situation since there are multiple caregivers who teach her daughter. The Instructor’s Guide insures consistency. In addition, only four days are filled in with the BookShark curriculum. The fifth day is left open for my daughter’s spontaneous nature! When I showed her this secular homeschool option, she felt a lot better. She struggled with whether or not she’d really be able to homeschool her daughter. BookShark makes it doable!
Hands-on projects included with this secular homeschool option
I have tried a few other living books curriculums and my biggest complaint is the lack of hands-on projects. BookShark acknowledges that many kids thrive on crafts and projects. Most of the time, I used to buy a craft book and then hunt for the supplies. Very time-consuming and frustrating! I also ended up buying more than what I needed, too (pipecleaners, popsicle sticks…). Then, I turned to supplementary subscription boxes for hands-on projects. But, BookShark is the first curriculum company that offers everything together in one box. No hunting for supplies or buying a box of something because you need that one item that’s crucial to the project. And, my daughter especially loved this. If BookShark didn’t offer this, she’d probably just not do crafts. But, my little granddaughter loves crafts!
On the go access!
Finally, BookShark is the only living books curriculum I know of that has a virtual option. This is not a PDF. Personally, I find the downloadable PDF of an Instructor’s Guide hard to use and navigate. No, BookShark Virtual is super easy to use! It includes the full Instructor’s Guide, gradebook, online assessments, and more. Everything starts with the teacher app. When I click on a curriculum, folders of the weeks appear. Then, within each of the weekly folders are more folders. See the below images to get a feel for it.
So in my example, you see the teacher app page. Then, I clicked on the Reading with History button and it listed all the weeks. So, I clicked on Week 10 and I can see the schedule for week 10. It looks a lot like the hardcover Instructor’s Guide. But, when I scroll down under that, there are more folders for each day of the week. I chose Day 3 and see the folders that showed up? In the fourth image, I circled where I am in the navigation. I clicked on the History Readers folder and Squanto showed up. See how super easy it is?
The BookShark Virtual program allows my daughter to take homeschooling on-the-go and not have to lug that big Instructor’s Guide along. It also offers a nice way to track attendance, grades, assessments, and completed assignments for multiple students (if you have more than one). For her situation, it helps her stay organized, on track, and see what others have done with her daughter at a glance.
I have not seen this option available anywhere else. Thanks, BookShark! You know today’s homeschoolers needs.
I encourage you to check out this awesome secular homeschooling option whether you are a secular homeschooler or not. My daughter loves it and I love it, too!