This year was not at all typical. I was all by myself!!! This has never happened in our 9 years of attending the conference. We started out going all together (at that time, my husband and I and the two kids) and even went the year our littlest was born just a few weeks before the conference. Last year was the first we weren't ALL there...our oldest had no need to go as she was headed off to college...and it was a hard adjustment for me. This year that same child was coming home from college, so my husband had to go get her the same Friday as the conference began. My oldest wanted to catch up on some school work so he can be done by the end of May, so he came to Harrisburg with me but stayed in the hotel room and did LOTS of Algebra! The littlest stayed home with Dad. So it was just me. I have to say, in years past I might have thought it would have been nice, but really, I missed having the partner to talk about the decisions I was making, someone to stand in lines for me (he's a sweetheart that way), someone to talk with at the speaker sessions, and someone to just share thoughts and ideas with. It just wasn't the same.
Still, I did make some purchases and was able to attend more speaker sessions than I usually do.
Around The World in 180 Days - This is what we've determined to make my son's Social Studies requirement for tenth grade. We've already started a Charlotte Mason approach to learning the names/locations of the countries throughout the world this year starting with North America and now we are learning Africa. My son will complete this multi-level curriculum with continuation of this CM approach and a few additional requirements to make it a full high school course.
Exploring Creation with Chemistry - We have been using Apologia's curriculum for science for several years. I strongly feel it is wonderful comprehensive program that covers the material well in a very understandable fashion. This year is the year for chemistry as the local co-op sponsors a lab at a camp nearby.
Geometry - I am an avid fan of Teaching Textbooks. I really wouldn't consider anything else at this point in time. Obviously I'll be using something else for the little guy since TT doesn't start their programs until 3rd grade... and I'll be exploring the Charlotte Mason approach to math which is pretty laid back, but for my older kids, TT was a must!!
SOS Physical Education - My son participates in a physical education class with the local co-op but it only meets ten times per semester and while he does other physical activity, it's not something we keep track of. Since he absolutely loves sports, I thought the new Physical Education program put out by Alpha Omega's Switched On Schoolhouse looked like it might be somewhat interesting to him and would be an informative addendum to the activity part of his physical education and will help towards hours to grant him a half credit course in physical education this year. I like SOS in that the parents can easily modify it, so he can do the interesting parts, leave out anything he's not interested in, add on the co-op gym class hours and get at least a half credit course out of it.
Barron's Grammar Workbook for the SAT, ACT and more - Another purchase I made through Rainbow Resources. I wanted to pick up a basic review book for my son. He doesn't need much grammar instruction, per se, as he already completed an extensive program (Analytical Grammar) and has always been rather good at it. I just wanted a review so he would recall what he needed to know for the SATs when it is time. I was tempted by Easy Grammar's 180 Daily Teaching Lessons as it's a simple daily review and was debating on which grade to get as I was going to extend it over two or more years when I saw the Barron's Grammar Workbook and decided this was the way to go since it was also specific to the SAT which is the cause of my wanting him to review in the first place.
That pretty much sums up what I bought for my older son since we haven't decided yet on his reading books for English 10 and he'll be taking a writing course online. Russian also will be covered online.
The part of this year's convention that was a bit more fun was for my youngest. I got to see Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason speak at the conference and of course, made several purchases at the Simply Charlotte Mason booth! I am eager to really understand and begin the Charlotte Mason method so I bought what I thought to be essential which is the Laying Down the Rails for Children companion books to the Laying Down the Rails book I already have. I also attended Sonya's talk about habit training. The hardest part about this, I think, will be staying focused on just one at a time!
I also bought the Delightful Reading Kit that is geared for preschool through 2nd grade. My son is certainly in the beginning stages of reading and I like the CM method because it allows for me to have instruction methods at my fingertips but is a very laid back approach that doesn't drive a parent mad thinking we need to have specific lessons every day or make reading tedious at all like so many curriculums and public school approaches do!
In addition, I bought Letters and Numbers for me which is the kindergarten level book to Handwriting Without Tears, a program I used when I taught in the public schools which I feel to be a very nice approach to formation of letters. It is not something I intend to approach vigorously either, but wanted to have something on hand to pull out once in a while to introduce this aspect of language arts. I also to write bought a pad of kindergarten lined paper to write sentences and stories so that I have it when I feel we are ready for that.
For fun, I bought the Usborne Playtime I Can Draw Animals book. I really want to incorporate the CM method of nature journaling and drawing is such an integral part of that - so maybe we can start with simple things and make it fun. This book struck me as a very very simple way to do that.
The only book I bought for him to read (it was soooooooo tempting to buy hundreds!) was the Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book K - a book in a series designed to improve reading and comprehension skills and delight in God's creation!
I also bought several books for me 🙂 I'll save those for another day.
I hope you enjoy my sharing of my purchases and find the links useful. I'll save my thoughts on the speakers as well for another post on another day! Have a blessed day and a blessed evening!