Monday, April 8, 2013

My brain is about to explode!

It's late, and I don't think any of my friends or family would appreciate a phone call from me at this hour to release all these thoughts racing through my head!

We've been away with Hubby on a business trip that took us to southern California for ten days.  It was beautiful.  We enjoyed great weather and sunshine, unlike the cold air and snow we left behind.  Swimming, hiking, shopping, and painting pottery are some of the things we did while we were away.  I'll save the details and pictures of all the fun we had in California for another post.  Right now, my brain is focused on school.

As soon as we returned from California, I took a three hour nap after flying the red-eye, and headed to the homeschool convention.  I had big plans to attend some speaker sessions, and browse through the vendor hall.  I ended up going to just two sessions, of which I only sat through part of each.  Why?  Because I was so exhausted that I had a hard time focusing.  Hmm, how might we relate that to our children and school, whether homeschooled or publicly/privately schooled?  We all need adequate sleep to function well.  Anyway, I had the same problem as I browsed through the vendor hall.  I could not maintain focus long enough to accomplish much of anything.

The next day was much better.  I went back to the convention (later than I wanted to, but at least I went!), attended a couple of sessions, purchased CDs of sessions I wanted to attend but didn't get to, and browsed in the vendor's hall.  My time was short and I was trying my best to stay focused.  I ordered our books for next year, and found a few other goodies along the way. 

My thoughts began to race when I attended a session given by Cathy Canen who talked about reading and writing to help kids learn better in all subjects.  After the session, I spoke with a mom who sat next to me and found that we struggle in the same areas.  After talking for a few minutes, I think we both felt encouraged and better guided.  I went to Cathy's booth, which happened to be Writing Strands, little did I know!  We use Writing Strands and really like it.  Interesting how God keeps bringing me back to the same things!  I now plan to purchase Reading Strands, and possibly the Writing Evaluation book.

At the close of the convention, I finally found the ONE BOOTH I wish I had seen much earlier!  Queen Homeschool Supplies.  This company developed their own Charlotte Mason style materials, and I love it!  I didn't just stumble upon this booth.  I believe God led me to it.  There was a speaker session I wanted to attend that was given by one of the ladies from this booth.  I didn't get to attend that session, but when I read the description of it and visited their website, I knew I had to see their stuff!  By the time I found the booth (after jotting down the booth number incorrectly, and spending quite some time searching for it), they had begun packing up.  NO!!!  They gave me a catalog, of which I've been pouring my eyes over for hours since.  It's not your typical sales catalog.  It's full of wonderfully useful information about Charlotte Mason's methods, and detailed descriptions of the materials they sell.  This is one catalog I will not toss into the recycle bin!

While there, I remembered visiting this booth at the convention last year!  I remembered liking their materials, especially the language arts and copywork.  And I wondered why I never purchased them.  Then I remembered thinking that I could create something similar.  Ha!  Could I create it?  Yes!  Of course I could, but when would I have time?  Well, obviously, I never did have time, and had even forgotten all about it.  I think God wanted to be sure it would stick this time because I haven't been able to get this stuff off my mind for two days now!  And here we are again with God bringing me back to the same place.  Can you tell that I don't always get it the first time around?

I'm most interested in the language arts, vocabulary, spelling, and cursive.  They also sell Life of Fred, which is a math series.  I really didn't know much about it until I read about it in Queen's catalog.  Now, I want to check it out.

Queen offers two other math books that would make great supplements to any math program.  Magnificent Math is a book of real life math in the form of word problems.  Math Facts for Copywork is a book that helps students to memorize the math facts by writing them down.  After all, Charlotte Mason strongly believed in accuracy through careful work and repetition to avoid incorrect information from being locked into the mind (whether it be math, spelling, or other).  Read that sentence again, and let it sink in.  If your brain is trained to only see the correct rather than consistently seeing the incorrect, then you will know, without a doubt, what is correct.

Queen has many other materials available, including games (Manners for Mealtimes is something we could use!), history, geography, science, and living history books.  The Living History Readers set would be a nice collection to add to any library.  I'm lucky enough to have one of the books in that set, given to me by my grandma.  My copy is a very old copy, printed in the early 1900's, and one I would not turn loose to my kids without my close supervision.  The title I have is American History for Little Folks and I love it!  It's a great addition to any American history program.  This one (and probably the others) is available as a free download on Google Books, but if you're like us, we like to have an actual book in our hands!

Since my mind is racing, and I can't seem to grab hold of all my thoughts, I suggest that you visit Queen Homeschool Supplies for yourself.  Request a catalog, and try not to stay up too late drooling over all that you discover!

God Bless!

This is just my personal opinion of things I have learned and discovered.  I have not been paid by anyone to write a review.  I just wanted to share my findings with anyone who might stumble upon my babble and actually read it!