|This was at the fair; they had a dinosaur fossil exhibit outside the lunch room.|
This is my second year to attend the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington. Just like last year, I didn’t attend any sessions, but I spent the day browsing the booths and looking to see if anything was new.
This year, unlike last year, I completely avoided the package curriculum. I don’t feel like Monkey would benefit from using one company’s package curriculum although I was more interested in the Timberdoodle collections because they pull from a variety of publishers.
Here is what caught my eye this year:
ARTistic Pursuits, Early Elementary K-3 An Introduction to the Visual Arts: I wasn’t really looking for an art curriculum for Monkey, but this one caught my eye. It focuses on giving children the experience of real art techniques, like prospective, details, and a variety of art styles, like impressionism or modern style.
At the book fair, the company was also selling all the companion art supplies that the child would need for the year. The book book sells for just over $47. At the fair, they were offering the pack at a discount, but I still thought it was a little high. On their website, the art pack is $89 and comes with a lot of art supplies, like pencils, pastels, drawing paper, watercolor crayons, Fiskars scissors, self-hardening clay, and a few other things. I don’t think I will get supplies from them, but I am still interested in the curriculum.
Horizons Math, Grade 2, Complete Set: Monkey and I were so pleased with the Horizons math from last year, that we decided to stick with it again this year. I really like how the lessons are straightforward, fun, and easy to figure out. I went ahead and got the teacher guide this year, because I felt like there wasn’t quite enough practice for some of the concepts in first grade without it. For the books and the teacher guide, the cost was just under $80.
Mystery Brain Puzzles: Monkey has expressed interest in solving mysteries (probably because we have watched episodes of Psych together), so I wanted to see if there was a way we could incorporate that into our school. The Rainbow Resource booth had a bunch of different ones, kind of like Mini Mysteries 20 Tricky Tales to Untangle and One-Minute Mysteries and Brain Teasers. I didn’t get to have as close of a look as I wanted, because Monkey was getting restless.
Writing with Ease: Strong Fundamentals: I really liked the looks of this one. It has simple writing prompts on a variety of levels that the children can do on their own, or with little coaching. The writing was enough to help them learn how to do it, but it wasn’t so much that it looked overwhelming to new writers. I was pleased with the workbooks from this series, and we will probably use it for writing next year. This program would cost around $60 for the workbook and the teacher book, but I’m thinking I may just buy the workbook.
La Clase Divertida (The Fun Class!) Level 1 Kit: Monkey wants to learn Spanish, and I really liked the looks of this Spanish language course. However, it is time intensive, and has a lot of extra activities. I think that probably makes the program more effective, but I just can’t see myself having the time to do that this year. I’m sorry though, because I talked to the creator of the program, and he said all of the instructions are based on learning to converse with Spanish-speaking people with as few words as possible. This program was about $110, with everything you need for the class included.
Brain Games: The Timberdoodle booth had tons of brain puzzle games. They actually had an activity center for the kids, where if the kids could solve one of the brain puzzles, they gave the children a free eraser. Monkey solved about 3 puzzles, but they said she could only have one eraser. :-) We liked several of the games, but the one I ended up buying was Penguins on Ice. Monkey said that one was her favorite.
Did you attend the Arlington Book Fair? What did you like the best?