Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Box Day!!

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Oh, how I love box day! We put our orders in when the tax return comes, but because we're in Mooselandia, shipping is a... well, a moose. So, we ship everything to Hammie and Buppa's house, and then go visit for long enough to cover the cost in our customs declarations. So box day is a Big Thing, where not only do we get to visit our family, but we get curricula as well!  And so, here is where I fill you in (because everyone loves a good box day!) on what we got!

We spent both more and less than we had planned. I was planning on an annual subscription for his foreign language, but we wound up spending double, though we got five times as much for it, so...  Yeah.  It's been a heck of a thing.

First, let me show you my box day. I'm super excited about it.

In this mess is a lot of different things, all making up our Grade 3 year for Mad Natter.

Michael Clay Thompson: Town Level, plus reading books. We've really enjoyed the Island Level, and Mad Natter knows more than I think I've ever known about grammar. I like that, too. Anyway, in looking through the books, I'm opting to give us two years for Town, and am taking it slow. If we wind up needing to accelerate, that's fine, but the books are heavy duty enough that I'd like to really go through it and cover everything as well as we can. This covers grammar, writing, vocabulary, poetry, and reading - this includes the "Alice, Peter, and Mole" set. Knowing Mad Natter's low tolerance for sitting and reading aloud, I think the slower pace for the three novels will turn out to be a good thing as well.

All About Spelling: Level Three. We've been whipping through All About Spelling for the last two years. We tend to finish the entire level by January, and then spend the rest of the year reviewing. I'm hoping this year we'll find more of a challenge (rather than needing to review one or two lessons but otherwise flying through), and I'm also planning to spend a little more time on spelling overall.  Mad Natter loves this program, a lot, and I'm really glad to continue using it.  I did forget to order stickers, but Hammie fixed that up for us, having a whole load of stickers on hand for us to bring home.

Rosetta Stone French - Level 1-5 Set: Here was our first major expense. I was going to sign Mad Natter up for Muzzy French, but then HR and Miss M were loving the heck out of Rosetta Stone, and had the program on sale (it's still on sale!) for $199.99 instead of the usual $499.99, so we jumped on it. Five years of French, which is required in Mooselandia, for the price of two years of Muzzy. I'm good with this.

PhysicsQuest: Spectra: High Intensity: Physics Central has sent this kit out for free, this year in celebration of the International Year of Light, and I'm really looking forward to working with Mad Natter on this kit. There are all sorts of interesting things in the box, and I haven't had a chance to review all of it, but it does look ridiculously cool.

The accordion file in the back is in an attempt to keep both Mad Natter and myself better organized in the next year.  I ran into a great blog entry on teaching kids to work independently, and I'm hoping this will help both of us.

Now, the things that aren't here: digital box day.  Oh, digital box day.  I do love some good ebooks, and I also enjoy the slight price break I get by printing them myself. Anyway. Our digital box day items included:

Logic Countdown series: Bonnie Risby did the Lollipop Logic books we loved so much, so I wanted to get back to her work. I've printed out the first two books, and they are in binders (with dividers!), ready to go.

Math Mammoth 3: We've run straight through Math Mammoth (Light Blue) 1 and 2, and so we're going to keep right on keeping on with Math Mammoth 3. Once again, I've printed everything out, and separated the tests and their answer keys for my own binder.

WriteShop Primary B: This is a creative writing curriculum that I saw via a friend, and I thought to myself, Mad Natter tells great stories. Let's find a way to formalize that, and get him into writing (I hope) at the same time!  And so, I looked through the website, opted for level B, and have since printed out both the student packet and the teacher's manual. I really like the look of them, and we'll know more once we actually start using it.

REAL Science Odyssey, Life Science: This may be too elementary for Mad Natter, particularly at this time given his current knowledge. I'm hoping to bulk this up somewhat with frequent trips to the library, including Eyewitness style books for each unit topic. I'm also hoping this keeps us from blazing through three or four years worth of science in a single year.  I suppose we'll see how that goes over time.

In addition, Home Science Tools offers premade kits for the REAL Science Odyssey labs. That's the bulk of the random "stuff" in the picture, things like string, a kitchen scale, thermometers, a butterfly habitat, a slinky, all that fun stuff.  It means I don't have to track down all this stuff, and the remaining things to purchase are things like "school glue - the blue kind" and similar. This was absolutely worth the cost, even if only for the time saved in not having to traipse all over creation looking for this stuff.

History Odyssey (Ancients, level 1): Now the thing to keep in mind here is that we have a terrible time with history here. Mad Natter is just not at all interested, and prior to this spring, it was an utter nightmare to get him to listen to me reading aloud to him for under five minutes. So we're going into this with the hope that things have improved enough to make a difference keeping his attention and allowing us to actually work on history.

For handwriting, we're sticking with Handwriting Without Tears, but I ordered that book last year expecting handwriting to go a little more smoothly this year than it did.  I'm hoping that next year we'll see his handwriting come along a little better, but honestly, I find I'm not that invested in his handwriting. It's clear, even if juvenile, and when it matters to him, he'll make it work.

And so!  This has been the preview of grade three here, and I'll let you all know how it goes as it goes, and let you know how we're liking the programs!