Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy Curriculum Fair, Batman!

This past weekend I headed to Harrisburg for the annual C.H.A.P. Homeschool Curriculum Convention. I went last year to find a math program and I knew that it was HUGE and overwhelming. So I also knew that I needed a plan of attack for this year so that I didn't end up spending too much $ on extraneous things.

I had a few more things to look for this year since I have a 4-yr plan for Jefferson (and the others too). Here was my plan:
  1. Find a creation based science curriculum (putting it together myself is taking too much time and I found that I didn't give God enough credit for His creation this year - this is a priority for science)
  2. Find a Spanish program (preferably an all-in-one package that I can use for multiple students - again, I need simplicity for the more minor subjects)
  3. Purchase K and 2nd grade math books from RightStart (already decided that I love this program and can save a little $ getting it at the convention)
  4. Listen to and learn from Dianne Craft (homeschooler, teacher and naturopath) talking on "Right Brained" learning styles and how the "biology of the gut" affects behavior.
I also was able to attend the convention for 1 1/2 of the 2 days, thus giving me time to focus on my goals and also listen to speakers. However, even though I had a plan I ended up almost as overwhelmed as I was last year. There is JUST.SO.MUCH.STUFF! SO many different choices, styles, products, and just plain cool teaching stuff!
I used Friday to head up and down each aisle familiarizing myslef with the booths which I wanted to return to on Saturday. On Friday, I also narrowed down my science options BUT broadened my phonics scope. Also found lots of great character reading books for the kids from Rod & Staff as well as good family movies. I shouldn't have, but ended up with the complete 'Anne of Green Gables' dvd set as well as a cartoon version of the Jim Elliot story. I also ended up purchasing TEN 'Christian Heros: Then & Now' books since they were cheap and are a great intro for the kids into missionarys' lives.

Oy! I never even slowed down! Friday night I came home realizing that I wasn't as sure about my science 4-yr plan or Reagan's phonics as I had thought and so I stayed up 'til 1am re-thinking it and planning my attack for Saturday.

Over all I spent too much money BUT I think that I met my goals. I am so excited about the programs I bought and just want to get next year all planned out RIGHT NOW! It's fun to think about how the kids will enjoy the different things that they learn and about how much I will learn from teaching it all!

So here's my breakdown of the LOOT:

*In The Hands of a Child (Lapbook providers) - Rocks unit (for next year), Traveling Seeds unit (for the end of this year); bought these to try out lapbooks
*My Calendar Book (Christian Light Publications) - fun booklet covers graphs/charts, calender facts, ordinal numbers, seasons, weather
*Wonders of Creation series - Geology, Astronomy, Weather -good material to add to lessons, great photos and info but all points to the Creator

*Exploring Creation with Astronomy (young Explorer Series) - spine for our 1st 18 weeks of astronomy, creation based, no workbook or tests, activities; great series!

*God's Creation Series - Our Father's World - an absolutely beautifully written book, full of scripture, large print and photos, simple activities and vocabulary, will probably use for Reagan's 1st grade

Math **
RightStart Workbook and teacher's manual - Level A (K)
RightStart Workbook and teacher's manual - Level C (2nd gr)

Spanish **
Rosetta Stone Homeschool V3 - Level 1,2,3 - this one I have been considering for awhile and finally dove in since I saved s&h, $50 for convention purchase, and more by buying all 3 levels at once; I am confident that we will use this for all the kids and have heard great things about this program; comes w/ 6month $back guarantee

Phonics flashcards by Child Diagnostics
Sight Word flashcards by Child Diagnostics
Brain Integration Therapy Manual by Child Diagnostics
Teaching You Right Brained Child by Dianne Craft
(all this stuff from Dianne Craft I will expound upon in another post about Reagan - I hadn't planned on these purchases but feel that they will make learning much easier for her next year)

This is not every little thing only the major purchases. Tapestry of Grace was not at this convention - I had wanted to look into that a little further before buying it. But I am more than excited about these purchases and can't wait to start getting everything planned! So far I have added a bookshelf and am getting our library organized. But there is ohhhhh so much more to do - goals, schedules, teacher's manual, yearly plan, and more.......
I really am chompin' to dig into it all though! I must be a teacher now, huh?


Sharon said...

I love planning curriculum choices - but it has to be the biggest time and money waster I know. I'm glad you were able to find what you needed all in one place. I am looking forward to the homeschooling expo coming up in my city in June. When it is all in one place, and for a short period of time, you can focus your attention and avoid some of the wasted time. Buying things that have a money back guarantee helps as well if you tend to impulse purchases. I still have How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons on my shelf and we never even did one lesson from it.
~ Sharon from Equip Academy

Our Family said...

Have you seen the new already put together lapbooks for the elementary apologia books!!! They are awesome! Knowledge Box Central sells them. We are doing Apologia this year too. I heard Jeannie speak this year and I am really looking forward to this.

Monica said...

Diane Craft spoke in our area last fall. I was unable to go, but my friend went and it seriously has changed her whole approach to interacting with her children.

Another friend, co-worker, is traveling to CO at the end of the summer to have her child evaluated.

I've had some success with her math "tricks" and my right brained 4th grader.

She is a wise woman and I'm glad you found her.

Looks like you have a great year planned.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

OH, I just went to one myself recently in Frederick. It is so fun, but so overwhelming!

Sounds like you accomplished your goals! I get to plan my first homeschooling year this summer ;)

Mrs. Edwards said...

When it is time to start school in earnest in August, I am always so pumped up. My zeal stretches through until Christmas. After the two week Christmas break, I'm pumped up again and ready for the blessed routine of school!

Once again I start losing a little of the joy in April when the weather turns beautiful here. But then, just when we break for summer---

it is time to order and shop for next year! I love it! I wish we could have coffee and look over my Tapestry material together. It has been a huge blessing to us.
Mrs. Edwards

IRENE said...

You've done so much good work! I am amazed by the time and effort homeschooling moms put into educating their children. This is a lovely selection.
Thank you for stopping by my place and commenting. Yes, motherhood is a blessing from God.