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Mother-daughter outing for books!

This weekend is the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair. It’s always the second weekend of May: Mother’s Day weekend, the busiest month of the school year, and when I have just had it with lessons in general. But the pull of books — and free shipping on our Math-U-See materials — is strong. I like to actually see and feel the materials before spending money on curriculum, so I generally consider the bookfair a research opportunity. But we had to get to the last game of Sprite’s rec season, and I wanted to visit the Scholastic Warehouse Sale, which is just down the road. A little ambitious for the three hours we had to spend, but doable.

This year, I brought a kid with me for the first time. Little Miss is probably the best person to take shopping with you if you’re trying not to spend money because she isn’t easily tempted. She took money to spend, and although she found many items interesting, she spent not a cent. I’m in awe of her self-control and her contentment.

She did get her picture taken with a famous author!

John Erickson

After waiting in line for about 15 minutes to get our picture and autograph from Mr. Erickson, we set out on a purposeful attack on the exhibit hall. I had printed out the exhibit hall map and highlighted the booths we needed to visit to collect my curriculum data. Two hours, a dozen booths, info gathered, math ordered, and I resisted spending $200 on a very fun looking geography program. We also managed to make it to the Scholastic Warehouse Sale for a very quick sprint through the stacks. I said I wasn’t going to spend more than $50 there, and I spent $49.99. That’s skill.

Unfortunately, even with a well-research and executed plan, I wasn’t to find everything I needed. I’m looking for a good history spine for Sprite and I want to see Analytical Grammar for the girls. I did a lot of narrowing down of the history curriculum, but I’m still not there yet. Unfortunately, one of my favorite curriculum providers, Peace Hill Press, wasn’t there. I really wanted to badger them about their Well-Trained Mind Academy. I need to plan! I can’t wait. . . days for them to post the schedule and pricing! Perhaps I need to work on patience.
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Anyway, I still have curriculum research to do. There is a Teach Them Diligently conference coming to Dallas in June, but we’re travelling to Louisville for the National Right to Life Convention that weekend. The babies win. The babies always win. (FYI, if you’re in Louisville, come say hi!)

The other option is the Texas Homeschool Coalition convention is at the end of July in Houston. (Well, The Woodlands.) On one hand, I’m ready to think about educational matters by then. On the other hand, Houston in July. Ugh. Also, still no Peace Hill Press. C’mon people! Work with me!

The reality is I don’t have a great deal of need to attend a convention this year, other than to research a few curriculum choices. Our furious sprint through the book fair exhibitors will suffice. I’m content with our plan of study. We’re continuing with materials and approaches that have worked well for us over the past couple of years. If it ain’t broke, don’t spend hundreds of dollars on curriculum you’ll never use.

The big change we have coming up is that next year Little Miss will be in high school. (gulp) But I was fortunate enough to come across Lee Binz last fall, in addition to a few other very helpful resources.  I’m not horribly nervous. Four years and 24 or more credits seems overwhelming. Next year and 7 credits is completely doable. I’m also involving Little Miss in a lot of the planning, so she can bear some of the blame if it all goes south. (Kidding! Mostly.)

But before then, I’m ready for summer and long days at the pool. All life is education, and I plan to learn a lot about doing nothing.

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