I wasn’t going to go to the fair this year, but my friend Shelly was so enthusiastic about the idea, and even offered to let me use her sitter, and drive me there (Thanks Shelly! You’re the best!), so I pretty much had to go. First impressions: It looked a little small. I suppose there were over 50 booths, but from all the hype, I expected a little more. Maybe it’s bigger other years? At the fair, there were booths for all the major players, including BJU, Abeka, Sonlight, Alpha and Omega, Rod and Staff, Classical Conversations, Rainbow Resource, Math-U-See, and many others. There were only a few names I didn’t recognize. Most booths were offering free shipping and discount sales, which was cool, but it’s hard to decide what you want when faced with 1000 choices and just a few minutes. At least for me. There were also other booths selling used books, biographies, videos, supplement supplies, and that kind of think. One particular booth that was interesting was science-related.
They were selling a bunch of biology supplies for dissection. I sent this picture to my husband with the caption, “I love you this much.” I crack myself up.
You could tell which curriculum was popular this year, because that’s where all the people were. Less popular curriculum had fewer browsers. For the most part, everyone was super helpful, but I found it easier to connect with some than others. I wonder if that is a factor for the curriculum that people select? For the most part, however, I felt like everything was way overpriced, even with fair discounts. I can’t afford $200 per subject, and I bet people with more than 1 kid can’t either. That seemed to be why programs that were meant for multiple children were the most popular.
Going into the fair, I was considering a complete package curriculum. But, after seeing those, I just wasn’t happy with the subject materials. Too much fluff, and not enough substance where I wanted it- in math, science, and writing. The thing that had attracted me to the whole-package curriculum was the Bible-based teaching, but I guess I’ll have to come up with something on my own.
Here is what caught my eye at the fair:
A Reason For Science: Bible-based science experiments that come with everything you need in one box! Expensive new, but the guy told us that lots of people use it for one year and resell, and the kits provide enough materials for 5 kids.
Easy Grammar 3rd Grade: I know this says it’s for third grade, but honestly, it looks really easy. The assignments are short, the instructions are clear, and I think Monkey can do it on a first or second grade level without much problem.
Math-U-See : Initially, I hadn’t wanted this program because it is DVD based. I still don’t like that, but it has such a unique way of showing math to the kids that I think it would be good for Monkey. Again, she’s half way between the Alpha and Beta programs, but if I can find it used it won’t be that big of a deal. I did buy the facts memorization CD, which may help decide where she should be.
A Reason for Handwriting, which I had thought about earlier, ended up having less substance than I was wanting. There’s no grammar, and I can choose my own verses for Monkey to write down without paying $40 for a book, thank you very much.
From what I saw at the fair, and what I found at Timberdoodle, I think Monkey and I will have a great year next fall! I still need a Bible something though, any ideas?