I know some people cringe at the idea of workbooks over the summer, but they seem to work really well for our family. My favorite workbooks, by far, have been the Brain Quest series.
I love them because…
They are all inclusive. I love that I only have to buy one workbook for the entire summer. For instance the 2nd grade version has Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary, Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Cursive, Math Skills, Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Fractions, Shapes and Measurement, Time and Money, Social Studies and Science.
They change things up. Some years I have had my kids just finish a certain number of pages per day and they can choose, other years we have worked on one subject each day, and last year we did 1 page from each section. I felt like that was our best plan of attack since it allowed them to do some things they really enjoyed and others that weren’t quite as fun. It’s nice to have the variety.
They keep things fun. I love that my kids actually enjoy doing a good portion of the workbook. Some exercises can be a drag, but for the most part the way BrainQuest formulates the book, the activities are mostly enjoyable…like crossword puzzles for vocabulary, etc. They also have some “fun” pages that are always the first to be finished.
They explain things. This is especially helpful if you want your kids to be able to do them on their own and can be helpful if a phrase or concept is unfamiliar to you. These things are explained in “Brain Boxes.” For example: “A proper noun is a word that names a specific person, place or thing. Proper nouns are always capitalized.”
They include extras. Each book has something extra at the end like stickers or a map. The kids always enjoy the little fun things.
They are affordable. They cost about $12 which is a great deal. The second grade book comes with 282 pages of curriculum.
They are colorful, well designed and easy to follow. It makes a difference!
They offer books for 6 levels. Book are available for Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade and 4th Grade. We have now used every level and have loved them all.
They review the year. If you want your child to be able to do most of the book on his or her own, I would suggest that you buy the book for the grade they just completed…for example, if they just finished 4th grade, buy the 4th grade book. If you want to use the book to teach new concepts you can buy the year up. However, if your child is an early learner, you may want to go one level up until you hit about 2nd grade. The ability of the younger ones varies quite a bit, so try and browse through it and see what will work for them. Be aware that some sections might look easy but others will be more challenging.
What I don’t love…
They stop at 4th grade. I would love to continue using these even after this year. Hopefully they will create another.
The answer key can be wrong. I love that there is an answer key, but I do not love that it can be wrong. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be frustrating. Hopefully they have fixed things. So, if the answer in the key does not seem correct, check it yourself. I find that I enjoy going over what my kids have done anyway.
Where to buy…
I have found them at Target, Barnes and Noble and Walmart. They are also offered online at Amazon.
Interested in other summer learning?