Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So here is what I bought...Walking in Memphis Part 2

As promised here is everything I bought in Memphis and a few things that I just fell in love with, but will have to wait until next year or a few years from now....

My most exciting purchase was a new math program for both girls!  What we have been doing,  just isn't working for us.  Karsyn was beginning to get frustrated in math and wanted to know WHY things were and to be honest, I didn't know.  Kamryn was doing a very watered down math curriculum (didn't know it was watered down when I bought it) and we have realized that she has a knack for math that was literally being extinguished before our eyes.  Every day she has been begging for something harder, and I just didn't know how to give it to her.  Then I met the writers of Right Start Math and finally things began to make sense.

This program is the premier choice as an elementary math program by the creator of VideoText, which I will explain to you more in a minute.  He had many wonderful things to say about this program and I fell in love with the writer.  I knew it was right for us.  I asked her if she thought it would be okay to change programs in March and she used the perfect analogy.  She said,
Did you have a boyfriend before you met your husband?  Did you break up with him?  When did your break up with him?  Was it the first minute you realized this wasn't working or did you wait until you absolutely couldn't stand the sight of him ever again and you were D.O.N.E?  Imagine the heart ache, frustration, agony, money, and time you could've saved yourself if you would have just ditched him the first moment something felt wrong.
Hello...that was such an ah-ha moment for me.  This program should be arriving via UPS on Thursday and we are hoping to begin on Monday.  Karsyn will begin in Level C and Kamryn in Level E.  Another great thing about this program is that it doesn't deal in grade levels.  Instead, they use the level system that will allow the students to stay for as long as they need in each level or move as fast as they are comfortable.

The rundown:  Very little worksheets, lots and lots of manipulatives and games to reinforce concepts.  It is a teacher intensive curriculum that will require us to do math together, but I am very excited to LEARN math and learn how to think mathematically which is what this program will do.   After Level E, students move to the Geometry Level {6th grade} and then onto VideoText for higher level mathematics.

So, about VideoText...what can I say besides WOW!!!  This program is unreal.  It is a very thorough, concise, and deep interactive, computer based math program for Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry.  The author says that once these levels are completed the student should immediately go to the local college and test out of Algebra and then go on to Calculus at a university to obtain college and high school credit at the same time.  That is what I'm talking about.

I am hook, line, and sinker in love with these math programs.  Dr. Jay While is too.  He was hanging out at the VideoText booth and chatting with us about why the program is so great!!!  I couldn't be more impressed and would encourage everyone to hear either the author Tom Clark or Dr. While speak on this program.  I would also encourage you to attend the other Great Homeschool Conventions to talk to these folks in person to see how amazing Right Start and VideoText are!!

Another purchase that I am over the moon about is All About Spelling.  I was in love before the conference, but then I went to a workshop on the Institute for Excellence in Writing and they recommend it.  I was pumped.  I totally respect Andrew Pudewa and the entire program and was so excited that they not only recommended it but also were selling it at the conference.  I high tailed it to the IEW booth and bought them out!!

The rundown:  I'm starting both girls with Level 2, even though both of my girls are way above this level.  They recommend starting way low and just moving quickly because it is a program that teaches you how to put words together based on common patterns and the only way to learn all of the patterns is to begin early.  Both of my girls had Abeka phonics so I felt really good that they would do fine in Level 2.  We will begin this on Monday as well.  No lists, no writing words 5 times.  Lots of games to reinforce patterns.  They use letter tiles to piece words together in common patterns and then use the tiles and games to write more words with the same patterns.  The only words you write are the ones that have that pattern that you are practicing that day.  I'm just giddy I tell you!!!

And speaking of IEW, they have a brand new Grammar program that I bought and will start next year just with Kamryn.  I have been wondering how long to teach grammar, and how could a student possibly understand high level grammatical concepts by learning rules.  This program is my answer!

The rundown:  This program works alot like Easy Grammar as it is just a sentence per day that students who have had basic grammar instruction will dissect and correct.   What I love about it is that it is $30 and it is for grades 3-12!  All right there in one book.  Never buy a grammar book again!!  I love it!!  It is divided by level with a set number of sentences per level.  No need to worry about what to do if your child hasn't learned a particular part of speech that comes up to be corrected, no biggie, because if they miss it, you teach it right there using their notes in the margin!  Perfect-o!!!

And I guess it goes without saying that we will be starting IEW next year!!  I love that program, it just had to take a backseat for now!!!

So that is what the remainder of this year and next look like for me!!  I had such a great time in Memphis and learned a ton!!!  If you are near another convention location GO!  You won't regret it.  Just prepare yourself ahead of time that the food will be gross and there is no wi-fi!!!

I am taking a break from blogging for Lent, so I will see you guys soon!!!

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