Friday, May 25, 2012

All Fired Up!

Ed took me to the NCHE (North Carolina Home Educators... I think) convention yesterday! Just the Book Fair, as the full convention, with the speakers and all, is more money (and time!). It was Wonderful! Ed and the kids dropped me off outside the Convention Center and went off to play at the mall (We don't have one nearby and my kids have only been to a mall a few times and find it highly entertaining! Travis was thrilled with the Hot Topic store, where his indulgent little sister bought him two overpriced buttons, one with a flying happy cat. I don't "get" it, but they were still talking about it when they went to bed, so I guess it was awesome. And since they also visited a Spencer's and Travis pronounced it "the worst store Ever," I guess his taste isn't entirely bad.).

Anyway, the Book Fair was everything I hoped for. I had a shopping list and stuck to it without exception, but there was so much fun stuff to look at, and excellent people watching. Oodles of cute babies, and also Mennonites (or they could have been Amish -- I can't tell the difference). Although, oddly, no Mennonites with babies...

Here is my "loot," all spread out like Halloween candy, only less fattening and much more expensive! But it's shiny and new and whispers fantasies about how brilliantly my students and I will do next year!

I went to Rod & Staff first, for next year's grammar books. I had hoped they might have a book just on sentence diagramming. Not for the kids, but for me. Travis can diagram crazily elaborate sentences, with spreading gerund phrase trees and clauses dangling precariously on dotted lines. And I have the teacher's guide, so I can tell if he is correct, but the information has not stuck in my head so I can't remember why, when things are wrong, they should have been done differently. I can usually come up with a plausible explanation, but I want a more thorough understanding without spending hours in study. The Rod & Staff people showed me their grammar book (extremely nice, but fairly similar to Warriner's) and sent me off to the Christian Light people (also Mennonites). Who, for $3, sold me a lovely little blue pamphlet which gives me exactly the information I wanted. Yay!

Next came Circe Institute, staffed by two nice young men. I cleaned them out of student notebooks (they only had two) for Lost Tools of Writing Level 2, and they promised to mail me the third copy I needed. They explained that hardly anyone wants to buy Level 2 of LToW at conventions. Actually, having looked through it, I can see why. I am told it will be thoroughly revised by next year, and I think that is a good idea. Cumbersome. That is how it looks. However, on a more positive note, having used the first level this past year, I understand how it is supposed to work and I don't think I will have much trouble taking the thing apart and putting it back together in a more useful arrangement. In fact, I think it will be sort of fun!

I found the Memoria Press booth, and was very pleased when they had the quizzes and tests for Traditional Logic I and II set aside for me, just as I'd requested! (These are not listed in the catalog, but available on request. I thought the kids would find them beneficial.) There weren't many customers (apparently Thursday is the quietest day) and I stayed and talked with the very sweet young reps for a while. I found out about a change to Lesson 18 in Third Form which I otherwise wouldn't have know about, and about what we might do for Latin and logic in the year after this coming one! (I like to have a plan! I'm open to change it as the need arises, but having a Plan gives me great comfort!). Anyway, they promised that Fourth Form Latin will be ready then, and once we are through that we can move on to Henle II or some other Latin reading program. And for Logic, according the nice young men (who've taken the classes and ought to know), Material Logic and Classical Rhetoric with Aristotle can each be done in a semester, so we'll do them the year after this coming one (Travis' freshman year -- yikes!). That is particularly nice because we will be back to the Ancients in Tapestry of Grace that year, so we'll study Classical Rhetoric w/Aristotle in the proper context. What a geekish delight!

And, speaking of Tapestry of Grace, they had a booth at the book fair this year! That was a first for me. The ladies staffing the booth were wonderfully nice, and we chatted about using Tapestry with a co-op and also about upgrading my Yr 1 from Redesign to DE (it will work the way I expected, which will be a nice savings!). They don't actually sell the program at the convention, but I got a coupon for free shipping and placed my order as soon as we got home -- so exciting! When I was in school we never got past WWII in history, and I'm looking forward, though with trepidation about all the awful parts, to studying modern history!

I saved Rainbow Resources for last, because they are like the home school Walmart, with the crowded aisles and the harried sales people. I found most but not all of the books I needed there, but they are going to mail me the stuff they didn't have in stock. But I did get to look at a copy of Latin Alive while I was there! We've used Memoria Press's Latin programs all along, and they are good. Straightforward, easy to implement, and logically arranged. And, generally speaking, my kids are doing fine with them. But they are a little..... dull. Maybe it is just me. This year I didn't need to buy a new level in the Form series (good thing too, since Fourth Form isn't yet available), thanks to our bogging down in Third last year and having to tackle it again, so I would have had no pretty new Latin textbooks to play with. But then Classical Academic Press lured me in with their Latin series! Oh my. More pictures! More translation exercises! Different ways of approaching things! Yummy! I'm going to keep Memoria's Latin series as our "spine," but I'll supplement the Latin for Children and Latin Alive series. I really think they will be fun!

So that was the book fair! Aside from Travis's math and science, both Derek Owens, I'm pretty much done, at least until we need some more books for Unit 2 of Tapestry. But the major buying and deciding is finished, and now I can spend the summer happily playing with my new toys and imagining how much my kids and my co-op kids are going to enjoy learning with these wonderful books!

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