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Design-A-Study Review by Debra Cogburn

By Kathryn Stout
(302) 998-3889

"Design-A-Study is complete and easy to use. These are fantastic books!" -- The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Kathryn Stout, with eight years experience as a public school teacher as well as 14 years of homeschooling experience, has created a wonderful series of books for those of us who want to "pave our own way" through home education. These how-to books are like a blueprint. She provides the structure and framework; you provide the detail. Each of the six books - Critical Conditioning, Comprehensive Composition, Natural Speller, Maximum Math, Science Scope, and Guides to History Plus - covers grades K-8 or K-12. Each one includes topics to cover at each grade level, suggestions of how to cover those topics, as well as reading lists and activity suggestions. These would also be great to "spice up" your current curriculum with new ideas. Below is a short description of each book:

Maximum Math - for grades K-8. It includes a lists of objectives, recommendations for choosing materials, teaching suggestions, and activity ideas. It can be used to supplement an existing math program or to design your own according to your children's needs.

Critical Conditioning - for grades K-8 and reference guide for grades 9-12. Use this book to help your child include thinking skills into every area of comprehension. Skills are listed by grade and type of skill - analyze, study skills, and survival skills.

Comprehensive Composition - for grades 1-12. This book covers every writing skill your child will ever need! Includes pre-writing, descriptive writing, persuasive writing, narrative writing, expository writing, writing business letters, news stories, reports, and much more. Covers composition skills such as vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. Very thorough and full of great ideas and teaching aids.

Guides to History Plus - for grades K-12. This is my favorite! Includes ways to study history, time periods to cover, many activities, suggested reading, blank maps, board games to buy, software suggestions, video suggestions, and timelines. Shows you ways to incorporate composition, vocabulary, spelling, music, art, science, health, math, and geography. This book will show you how to cover history in a fun way!

Science Scope - for grades K-12. This book is broken down into sections: scientific skills, life science, earth science, and physical science. Each section is then divided into specific topics, such as animals, plants, human body, air and water, land, force, energy, and chemistry. Each topic lists what should be covered for each grade level. It makes it easy to mix and match topics to a child's interests and grade levels. It contains a checklist to check off skills as your child masters them. Also includes the periodic table of elements.

Teaching Tips and Techniques - this book is for the homeschooling parent. Topics are: getting started, getting organized, schedules and lesson plans, teaching techniques, what to expect at each grade level, learning styles, discipline, problems and solutions, and teaching children with special needs.

With this book to guide you and the other Design-A-Study guides at your side, you can develop a homeschool curriculum that is tailored to your child's interests and abilities. Design-A-Study is complete and easy to use. These are fantastic books! I give them an A+!

-- Product Review by: Debra Cogburn, Lead Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine