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Homeschooling & Product FAQ’s

We compiled this collection of Frequently Asked Questions from the thousands of questions our consultants have answered, in the hopes that this information will help others as well. Below are some of the most common questions that they answer about homeschooling and homeschooling products. Keep in mind that some questions and answers have been generalized to serve a wider audience. If you have more detailed questions about how a product would work for your particular circumstances, please contact our consultants for additional information.

General/Miscellaneous

Home School Helps

Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities

Curriculum/Unit Studies

Early Learning

Phonics/Reading

Language Arts

English/Writing

Vocabulary/Spelling

Handwriting/Typing

Math

Science

Logic

History/Geography

Foreign Language

Arts/Crafts


General/Miscellaneous

I am interested in an item from your catalog, but when I went to your
      website, the price/version/edition/description was different from what
      was listed in the catalog. Why?

The website listing contains the most up-to-date information regarding our products. While we make every effort to ensure that our catalog is up to date when it goes to press each year, invariably there will be changes in a few of our products that occur between catalog printings. When there is a change in a product, we promptly update our website and make note of the change so that it is in our next catalog printing.

How would I go about choosing new curriculum or products for my
      homeschool?

We often say that there are no perfect curriculum products but that we want to help you find the products that will be the best fit for you, your students, and your family.

Before looking too closely at curriculum options you may want to spend time thinking about some basic questions about education and homeschooling. How do children learn? How does my child learn best? What is my child’s learning style? How much teacher-student interaction time can I give my child? How much structure does my child (do I) need? There’s a book- 001917 - 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum that helps walk you through these questions and leads toward developing your own personal philosophy of home education. That’s the first half of the book. The last half of the book looks at 100 curriculum products that the author thinks are the strongest. There are reviews of these products as well as ratings for some of the questions above (like how much teacher-student interaction is required).

A great way to get information about homeschooling and specific homeschooling products is to attend one of the many homeschooling conferences held throughout the country. These conferences typically provide keynote speakers, vendor/product speakers, workshops, and an exhibit hall where you can look at many different homeschooling products and ask questions of the vendors.

At Rainbow Resource Center, we want to help you in every way we can. We sell thousands of curriculum products which we think are some of the best products available. Our catalog (and website) is known for the detailed descriptions that we give products because we look at them thoroughly and try to answer all the questions that homeschooling parents will have. Our consultants here at Rainbow are available to address your questions and help you evaluate products. You may email our consultants at consultants@rainbowresource.com, or you may call them toll free at 1-888-841-3456. If you order a product and discover it doesn’t work for you, we have a 30 day return policy, provided the product is in resalable condition.

Where can I find a list of the homeschool conventions that Rainbow
      Resource Center will be attending?

Homeschool conventions and exhibits are a wonderful way to learn more about various methods and approaches to homeschooling as well as to be able to look at and evaluate curriculum products. To find the conventions that Rainbow Resource Center will attend this season, click on the "Exhibit Schedule" link on the top right hand corner of our homepage for a list of the conventions we are scheduled to attend.

When do you mail out your annual catalog?

Our catalog is typically available year-round, but is updated every year in late May. The first mailing of new catalogs is done in early June. If you would like a copy of our catalog, you may request one on our website or call customer service at 1-888-841-3456.

Do you still carry this product? I ordered it from you before, but it’s not
      listed on your website and/or catalog.

If an item is not listed in our catalog, please check our website to see if it’s listed there. If you still can’t find the item, call customer service so we can check for you. Occasionally, some items are discontinued for a variety of reasons. For example, the item may be out of print or the publisher or supplier may have stopped carrying the item. If you are having difficulty finding a comparable product to replace a discontinued product, contact our consultants for assistance. Chances are they will find something in our extensive collection that will meet your needs!

I plan on ordering several copies of the same item for a home school co-op
      or large group. Do you provide group discounts?

Because we discount all of our products as much as possible on the front end, we do not typically provide quantity discounts. We provide free shipping when you order merchandise totaling $150 or more (does not apply to purchase orders).

I was looking at a friend’s edition of a textbook and noticed the copyright
      date/edition was more recent than the date/edition of my edition of the
      same book. Has my homeschool textbook been updated?

Maybe. You can check our website or the publisher’s website to see if your textbook is the most current. Sometimes publishers produce both a public school and a private (home) school version of a product. The copyright dates of these versions might vary.

Do you carry any books in large print?

Yes. Here is a partial list of some of our books that have larger print:

- 001417 - Kingfisher Epics: Iliad

- 001419 - Kingfisher Epics: Odyssey

- 007592 - Kingfisher Epics: Story of Robin Hood

- 027939 - Daniel Boone: His Own Story/Adventures

- 027940 - Davy Crockett: His Own Story

- 019753 - Night Crossing

- My Health Series (14 individual titles in the series)

- Picture the Past Series (30 individual titles in the series)

- True Books: Continents and Countries (7 individual books, with 1 covering each of the 7 continents; 12 individual books covering various countries)

Do you have placement tests so I can determine the appropriate grade level
      for my child?

Yes. The Skills Assessments series is available to test grades 1-4. 021894 - Diagnostic Grade Placement Screening can help you place grades 1-8. Both tests cover a range of subjects and help guide you as to the appropriate grade for your child, as well as pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in particular subjects. We also carry additional assessments for reading and math. Some publishers offer free placement tests on their websites as well-this can be helpful if you are switching to another program and you want to make sure your child starts at the appropriate level. Contact customer service for more information about assessments for specific subjects.

Some of your courses don’t list teacher’s manuals or answer keys even
      though the description refers to them.

Sometimes a publisher requests that we not sell these online. Call us at 1-888-841-3456 for more information.

Home School Helps

I am new to homeschooling and need help getting started. Where should I
      start?

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides information on homeschool laws for all US states and territories; their website is www.hslda.org. Your state homeschool organization is also a resource; if you need the contact information for your state’s homeschool organization, call our customer service department. Every state is different regarding specific homeschool requirements-some require a statement of intent, some require testing, and a few states allow officials from the education department to visit the homeschooler’s home. You will need to make sure you are in compliance with your state’s homeschool laws, but don’t let this discourage you from homeschooling. Remember, you have the right to homeschool your child!

Rainbow Resource Center offers a variety of products under the Home School Helps section of its catalog and website, including organizers, planners, report cards and school supplies. We also carry books about getting started in homeschooling as well as books that describe different homeschooling methods.

If you need help determining the appropriate grade level for your child, we offer several placement tests: Skills Assessments (grades 1-4) and Diagnostic Grade Placement Screening (K-8). If you need guidance regarding specific subjects or skills to teach your child, we offer several books under the Learning Objectives and Learning Frameworks sections (under Home School Helps) that help guide you in the right direction. We also carry additional assessments for reading and math. Some publishers offer free placement tests on their websites as well-this can be helpful if you are switching to another program and you want to make sure your child starts at the appropriate level. Contact customer service for more information about assessments for specific publishers or programs.

If you are new to homeschooling, we recommend attending one of the many homeschooling conventions throughout the country. These conventions provide a wealth of information regarding resources, curriculum and support. Stop by the Rainbow Resource Center booth to browse some of our products and get more information regarding homeschooling.

See our "Other Resources" section on our website for helpful links on a variety of homeschool topics. It is also accessible under the "Product/Homeschooling Questions" at the top of our pages.

What subjects do I need to teach my child?

There are four core subjects: math, language arts, history and science but any number of supplemental and enrichment possibilities (called electives at the high school level). For state specific guidelines, contact the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). They provide information on homeschool laws for all US states and territories; their website is www.hslda.org. You will also find your state’s homeschool organization to be a valuable resource. Contact customer service if you need help finding your state’s homeschool association contact information.

Is there any financial aid available for homeschooling?

Homeschooling involves both a time and a financial commitment and most families finance their homeschooling expenses themselves but there may be some financial aid available. Your local and/or state homeschooling organizations would probably be the best source of information on this topic. You might also find some information at the HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) website. In general, most homeschoolers are single income families and are amazingly creative both at making their education dollars go a long way and at keeping their lifestyles simple and expenses minimal.

Do homeschooled high schoolers receive a diploma?

Some homeschooled high school students may be enrolled in an umbrella school or reporting organization that awards diplomas but most probably receive their diplomas directly from their parents as the teaching and administrative personnel of the family’s homeschool. Another option is taking the GED which is a test administered by each state. [We do offer GED preparation books that will help you study and prepare for the GED exam.]

Does Rainbow Resource Center provide grade reporting services or provide
      transcripts for students?

No, we do not prepare report cards or keep track of students’ grades; the home school parent has the responsibility for grade keeping. The Record Keeping section under Home School Helps includes journals, planners and report cards to help you keep track of your students’ grades.

How do I know my child is “on track” for his age and grade level?

We carry several supplemental products under the Learning Objectives and Learning Frameworks sections of Homeschool Helps that will help you determine whether your child is learning what he should be for his age and/or grade. Some products that we recommend are:

· Core Knowledge Series: What Your__Grader Needs to Know (PK-6)

· Making the Grade: Everything Your __Grader Needs to Know (K-6)

· 003036 - Core Knowledge Sequence (K-8)

· 019329 - Learning Objectives for Grades K-8

· ____ Grade Success (PK-4)

· Cracking Reading & Math Series (1-4)

How would I go about choosing new curriculum or products for my
      homeschool?

We often say that there are no perfect curriculum products but that we want to help you find the products that will be the best fit for you, your students, and your family.

Before looking too closely at curriculum options you may want to spend time thinking about some basic questions about education and homeschooling. How do children learn? How does my child learn best? What is my child’s learning style? How much teacher-student interaction time can I give my child? How much structure does my child (do I) need? There’s a book- 001917 - 100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum that helps walk you through these questions and leads toward developing your own personal philosophy of home education. That’s the first half of the book. The last half of the book looks at 100 curriculum products that the author thinks are the strongest. There are reviews of these products as well as ratings for some of the questions above (like how much teacher-student interaction is required).

A great way to get information about homeschooling and specific homeschooling products is to attend one of the many homeschooling conferences held throughout the country. These conferences typically provide keynote speakers, vendor/product speakers, workshops, and an exhibit hall where you can look at many different homeschooling products and ask questions of the vendors.

At Rainbow Resource Center, we want to help you in every way we can. We sell thousands of curriculum products which we think are some of the best products available. Our catalog (and website) is known for the detailed descriptions that we give products because we look at them thoroughly and try to answer all the questions that homeschooling parents will have. Our consultants here at Rainbow are available to address your questions and help you evaluate products. You may email our consultants at consultants@rainbowresource.com, or you may call them toll free at 1-888-841-3456. If you order a product and discover it doesn’t work for you, we have a 30 day return policy, provided the product is in resalable condition.

Dyslexia/Learning Disabilities

What curriculum would you recommend for a dyslexic or learning disabled
      child?

We do not have a specific program that we recommend for dyslexics or learning disabled children. Instead, we recommend certain products in individual subject areas that are more basic or remedial and thus might appeal to students who are struggling in a particular subject. For students with spelling difficulties, we recommend Sequential Spelling or 022911 - Spell to Write and Read/022912 - W.I.S.E. Guide to Spelling. Junior high and high school students with spelling difficulties might benefit from The Spell of Words. For phonics/reading help, we recommend 000437 - Phonics Pathways, PhonicsTutor or Explode the Code. Students in grades 4 through 12 who need writing help may benefit from 007561 - Easy Writing: Teaching Students How to Write Complex Sentence Structures. One of the advantages of homeschooling is that you can gear your teaching to your student’s learning delays and teach at the pace that is right for your child.

Curriculum/Unit Studies

Can Switched-On Schoolhouse be used for several students at once, or do I
      have to purchase a new set for each student? Can I re-use Switched-On
      Schoolhouse in subsequent years as each of my children approach the
      grade level?

Yes. Each Switched-On Schoolhouse program can be used for up to five students, meaning five students can use the program at once, or five students can use the program at different times-or during different years. If you upgrade your computer down the road, however, you will want to make sure your Switched-On Schoolhouse software remains compatible with your new computer system. The 2008 version of Switched-On Schoolhouse is compatible only with Microsoft Windows XP service pack 2 or Vista.

Do I need to order books to go with each Switched-On Schoolhouse course,
      or are all the course materials included in the software?

Each Switched-On Schoolhouse course is a complete course on CD-ROM; you do not need to purchase additional materials to complete the course.

Do the computer courses include the computer programs (i.e. Word, Excel,
      PowerPoint) to install on my computer?

No. Unless otherwise stated in the product description, the computer skills courses assume you have the computer software already installed on your computer.

Early Learning

What are some recommendations for learning products for toddlers or
      preschoolers?

Kumon First Steps Workbooks are little hands-on workbooks for preschool skills. There are also workbooks in the original Kumon workbook series that are appropriate for very young learners. The Little Rabbit books also teach early childhood skills, such as letters, numbers and shapes. For general resource and idea books, we recommend:

· 022674 - Baby and Toddler Learning Fun

· 014621 - Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready

· 027115 - Teaching Your Child Concentration

· 027963 - Toddler Time

Other early learning curricula you may wish to look at are: Busy Books, Little Hands to Heaven (no longer available from us), Sing Spell Read & Write for Preschool, 018320 - Bright Beginnings, and Peak with Books.

Phonics/Reading

What is a good phonics workbook series for my child?

Two of our more popular programs are Explode the Code and Phonics Plus. The basic difference between the two is that Phonics Plus covers more than phonics, while Explode the Code is strictly phonics. Both have a minimal amount of writing which increases as the levels of the program increase. Neither requires an extensive amount of teacher preparation.

Phonics Plus is colorful and could be a stand-alone language arts program. It covers the 5 pillars: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and vocabulary.

Explode the Code is black and white and would be considered phonics reinforcement. It works well with other reading programs. This would be for the child who has a good start with phonics and needs additional practice.

Do you provide any learn to read programs that are not phonics
      based, such as whole language?

The only program we carry which incorporates whole language into the mix is 008669 - Reading Rescue 1-2-3. Parents are encouraged to merge the three essential elements of reading instruction: auditory training, phonics, and whole language through the use of easy-to-read cartoons, games, and fun phonics sheets.

What phonics program do you recommend for a student who is
      struggling or reading below grade level?

We do have some phonics programs which work well for struggling students. 000437 - Phonics Pathways is a multisensory approach, so it will be just as usable with a visual learner as an auditory or kinesthetic one. Going beyond teaching phonograms, the book covers contractions, plural forms, homonyms and homophones, homographs, prefixes, suffixes, and compound words. This program can be used at all grade levels. The author of Saxon Phonics Intervention has written this remedial program for older students who never received phonics instruction or continue to struggle as readers. This would work well with students 4th grade and up. The Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) program incorporates the use of PAF Handwriting, Ready to Read or Stepping Up pages, Merrill Readers and SRA Reading Skills books, and Explode the Code pages. This program would be used at the K-3 level. 019867 - Phonics Rules is a remedial phonics teacher guide with correlated student activity sheets that can help both teachers and students understand and apply the phonetic code.

Language Arts

I can’t find the Total Language Plus materials on your website. Do you
      still carry these?

Yes, we carry Total Language Plus, but the publisher has requested that we not list these products online. Please call us at 1-888-841-3456 to place an order.

English/Writing

What program would you recommend for a student who struggles with
      grammar?

There are several programs which would work well for a student who is having some difficulty with grammar.

Winston Grammar uses a color-coding approach rather than diagramming. This works well for the visual, kinesthetic learner.

Easy Grammar teaches the student to recognize prepositions and phrases, cross them out, and label the remaining parts of the sentence. There is no diagramming in this program. Daily Grams is by this same publisher and would provide daily practice to reinforce previously taught concepts.

Step-by-Step Grammar begins in the first book by introducing grammar concepts step-by-step, and the corresponding exercises contain only words which have already been explained. Diagramming is done only with the parts of speech which have been learned.

What components are included in Easy Grammar? Does the test booklet
      have the answers in the back, or do I need the teacher’s guide for the
      answers?

There are three components to the Easy Grammar program. The Teacher Edition includes student pages, answer pages, test pages, and test answer pages. All answer pages are formatted pages with answers imprinted. Student Workbooks are the student pages only and are consumable. The Test Booklet contains the chapter tests, cumulative tests, and pre/post test for that level, and is consumable. Answers for the tests are found only in the Teacher Edition.

What is the difference between the Shurley English practice books and
      workbooks? Do I need the practice books if I get the workbooks?

The student workbooks consist of a Jingle section, Reference section, Practice section (exercises), and Test section; each student taking the Shurley English course will need a workbook. The Practice Booklet and CD’s are optional; however, they make it easier on the teacher by relieving her of her daily sentence-writing and allowing the student to work somewhat independently with the CD to classify and then check the sentences.

Vocabulary/Spelling

Is the teacher’s guide necessary for the Wordly Wise 3000 program?
      What is included in the Wordly Wise Teacher Guides?

The teacher’s guide is not required except for the K and 1st grade Wordly Wise 3000 2nd Edition program, but it is useful as it provides general strategies, techniques, and sample ways to use the lessons. The teacher’s guide also includes activities, answer keys, tests and reviews. The answer keys and tests can be purchased separately as well.

Do the Sequential Spelling books provide writing space?

No. Each Sequential Spelling leveled book is the textbook only and the student writes in the Student Response Book. Each student will need one Student Response Book per level, although the Response Book is not level specific.

Handwriting/Typing

My child needs extra practice with handwriting. What do you recommend?

For handwriting practice you could use Daily Handwriting Practice or Handwriting Skill Builders. Copybooks are also a good method for students to practice handwriting. Copybooks provide passages such as Bible verses, poetry, and literature excerpts for your student to copy in his/her own handwriting. By copying passages, your student practices handwriting and reinforces grammar and punctuation. Some products which may be helpful in this area would be the Copywork series by Queen Homeschool, Copywork Notebooks by Knowledge Box Central, and the Copy Book series by Memoria Press.

What is D’Nealian style handwriting?

D’Nealian introduces slanted letters right from the beginning and has gained popularity in many school districts in the United States. Products similar to D’Nealian are sold as "Modern Manuscript" and "Modern Cursive".

Math

I have an older edition of a math textbook. Can I use it for my child, or
      do I need to purchase the new edition?

The main reason for purchasing new editions is compatibility-if your child begins a math course using an outdated edition, s/he risks being on a "different page" when s/he transitions to the newer edition on the next level. Also, when a publisher comes out with a new edition that supersedes prior editions, we are often unable to carry the older edition material. It can become very difficult to obtain support material - workbooks, answer keys, etc.

I am considering beginning or switching to a new math curriculum. How
      do I determine what level to place my child at in the curriculum?

We offer Math Grade-Placement Tests for grades 1-8 that will give you an approximate idea of the grade level your child is performing in math. Most of the math curriculum companies also offer placement tests. You can obtain more information about placement tests for a specific math program on the publisher’s website. Contact one of our consultants if you need more information regarding math placement tests.

Can the Saxon Math DIVE CD’s be used without the Saxon textbooks?

No, these CD’s need to be used in conjunction with the textbooks. Both DIVE and Saxon Teacher contain lectures that introduce the student to concepts for each lesson that is covered in the textbooks.

Saxon Teacher (produced by Saxon) provides instruction through each lesson in the course along with step-by-step working of sample problems as well as all lesson and test problems.

DIVE CD’s (not produced by Saxon) teaches each math lesson using practice problems that are similar to the ones in the text. It does not cover every problem in the text. Bible verses are sometimes used in the lessons (except in the DIVE Compass programs, which are secular).

What is included in the Saxon Home Study Kits?

The Saxon Home Study Kits contents vary with the course. The K-3 courses include teacher manual, student workbooks (except K) and meeting books. The Middle School math programs (Math 54 through Math 87) include the student text, tests, answer key and solution manuals. The High School Home Study Kits starting with Algebra ½ include only the student text and the answer keys/tests. They do not include the solution manuals-these will need to be purchased separately.

Science

I prefer a secular science program. What do you recommend?

Some quality secular programs available for science are:

- R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey is for grades 1-4 and uses a classical approach.

- Home Science Adventures is a multi-grade science class in a box for grades 1-8. Items needed to do the experiments are included in the kit.

- My Pals are Here (MPH) is published by Singapore Math for grades 3-6.

- Interactive Science for Inquiring Minds is also by Singapore Math and is for grades 7-8.

- REAL Science 4 Kids by Gravitas is available for grades K-9.

- 000869 - Earth Science Worktext published by Amsco is available for high school students.

- Power Basics are published by Walch Education and available for chemistry, biology, physics, and earth and space science. These are written at a lower reading level, but include junior high and high school content.

What science curriculum would you suggest for a high school student
      that is a college bound science major or plans on taking the AP exam?

If you have a college-bound student, Apologia and Bob Jones would be considered college-prep courses.

What science curriculum would you suggest for someone who is
      struggling with junior high or high school science?

One recommendation for students who are struggling with junior high or high school science is Science Power Basics. It is written at a lower reading level and covers biology, chemistry, earth and space and physics for students in grades 6 through 12.

Logic

Are your Introductory Logic and Intermediate Logic courses year-long or
      semester-long?

Introductory Logic and Intermediate Logic are each semester-long courses. If you take Introductory Logic the first semester and follow it with Intermediate Logic, you will have completed one year of logic.

How do you record Logic on a transcript, and how much credit does it equal?

Students following a classical approach will take Logic in some form during the middle school years. If taken as a high school course, it can either be noted with the math classes or given its own line designation on the transcript. Logic courses tend to be either semester or yearlong courses and, accordingly, receive either ½ or 1 credit.

History/Geography

I prefer a secular history program. What do you recommend?

Some secular history programs for the elementary grades would include Story of the World, Child’s History of the World, and History Odyssey. History Odyssey can also be used at the junior high and high school levels. Power Basics is a secular program for junior high and high school written at a 4th grade reading level.

020559 - Global History and Geography is published by Amsco for use at the high school level.

Where should I begin teaching history? Should I start with U.S. history,
      ancient history, or some combination of the two?

There are two threads of thought in terms of history/geography education. Some feel it is preferable to start with things close to home and work outward. Educators following this plan would start with American history during the elementary years. Most of the major textbook suppliers follow this plan, and generally, so do the state standards. Another philosophy is that history should be taught in chronological order. This is followed by classical education enthusiasts. These curricula will start with the ancient civilizations and work forward through history. American history would be studied as part of world history in the elementary years. Story of the World follows this plan.

Foreign Language

Does the Rosetta Stone Spanish course teach Latin American Spanish or
      Spain Spanish?

We offer both. Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3 is available in both Latin American and Spain versions.

Are the materials such as workbooks, texts and keys compatible between
      Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3 and Rosetta Stone Homeschool
      Version 2?

No. The materials from one version of Rosetta Stone will not work with a different version. Please note that Version 3 is the most current version available (Version 2 has been discontinued).

Arts/Crafts

What happened to the Meet the Masters @ Home art program? It was
      unavailable for on your website and in your catalog for a while, and
      now it’s in your catalog again and the price is lower.

The publishers were out of stock on this program for a time, and have now re-released Meet the Masters @ Home as an online course. The course content is basically the same, but is now accessed through the Meet the Masters website (http://www.meetthemasters.com). We still carry the program and accompanying art supplies, but instead of receiving a binder and CD, you now receive program information, completion certificates and login information.