Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Conference Purchases

I always stress about being able to buy what I want for the kids. I want to get something they'll both like (economical) that's easy to use (practical) and that we're all interested in (relevant). Now, the tough part is knowing what I want. There are so many choices. So, I try to do my homework before going. I keep an eye out for deals while I'm there. And I spend the majority of the day just looking before buying. Here's what I got on the weekend:

The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook We often get stuck in just reading and answering questions, verbal or written, with the odd activity sheet thrown in. Boring. This book offers an artistic creation that the kids can be proud to show off. It instructs you to collect information about your topic of study in little bits and then how to put it all together when you're done. The process encourages art and writing and creativity from the kids - things that are sometimes left behind when Mom is concerned about covering the 'facts'. $33 from Cyndy Regeling herself, the author. I added her Lapbook Ladies link to the sidebar.

Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power Raiden has asked to learn to print 'fast'. He doesn't write a lot of things down because he doesn't like to. His hand gets tired when he does find something to write about because he doesn't do it on a regular basis. His brain works much faster than his fine motor skills but I think we've finally reached a point where he's ready to sit down and work away at his printing. In small bits. That's why I like these books.

There's lots of white space so it doesn't feel like there's too much 'work' to do. In this particular book, there's a nice balance between letter formation practice and printing words and sentences. There is a focus on uniform size and learning to write on smaller lines. Both things that Rai is looking for right now. $9.50 from TLC

The Awesome Adventurous Boys' Daily Journal Being a bit of a reluctant writer that has recently expressed his willingness to try some new writing activities, I picked up this little gem for Raiden. It is a very simple little compendium of creative writing starts...perfect for journaling. One of my seminars spoke to the benefits of encouraging pulling ideas out of your head and getting them down on paper. It made a lot of sense (maybe I'll summarize later in a future entry).

The booklet is organized in a very structured way: Months are broken into 4 weeks with four Journal Start Ideas in each week. I'm not that structured with the kids, so we'll just see how Rai wants to use it. It's a very simple way to alleviate the '...but I'm trying to think of an idea...' whining. And there isn't the roadblock of me suggesting ideas to him. I told him the story of the booklet: it's written by Cyndy Regeling's three sons. He seems to really like that idea. For peace and 160 creative ideas I didn't have to come up with, $6.

Complete EnglishSmart 4 This I picked up for Kori. It was my deal of the day. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be discussing workbook style curriculum with a homeschooling mom I had just met. I checked out the MathSmart and EnglishSmart books she uses with her kids. She buys them at Scholar's Choice or Chapters Bookstores for $16+ dollars. I thought they would be something Kori would really like. I kept my eye out at the conference. I found a lot of MathSmart books, but didn't really want another math resource for Kori right now. She's really liking her Saxon stuff. At the very end of the day, I found this EnglishSmart 4 tucked away at a vendor table. The price said $9.95 and I thought 'Deal!' I waffled on and off because I'd probably choose the EnglishSmart 3 if I had a choice. But this vendor didn't have '3' so I closed my eyes, cringed and said I'd buy the book. "Five dollars," the lady said to me. Sold.

I should let you know that I have mentally chastised myself for underestimating Kori...again. She is a perfectionist and I tend to choose materials that I know she won't have trouble with. We opened EnglishSmart yesterday and she'll be just fine. As soon as she gets used to the style of it. But she's excited and willing, and that's 80% of the battle.

Timeline of Ancient History This is something I've had my eye out for since last year when I bought Story Of The World: Volume One. I've looked at making my own timeline with the kids and I haven't been very successful. A few false starts and we gave up. So, I now have a timeline I can fill in as we go through our book....I just have to find 10 feet of empty, kid-level wall space. $23 (!!) from TLC .

And that's it. Nothing too earth shattering. I left out the lunch I bought at the grocery store next to the church where the conference was, but I didn't take a picture of that.


Cristina said...

Great resources. Thanks for the info. I love the timeline. We tried to do one with a huge roll of paper, but it fizzled out of use after about the second year, partially because we stored it to close to a bag of catnip. Every time we took it out, the cats were all over it with affection, which made it very difficult to record dates. :o)
Peace and laughter,

Cristina said...

Hi Bonni,
I tried to comment yesterday but I don't know if it went through.
I was very interested in the lapbooking. My son is not very interested in writing, so anything that would inspire him would be useful. Let me know how that works out for your kids.
Okay, let's try this again...

Peace and Laughter,