I made a killing at El Sobrante's Thrift Town yesterday. This is an excellent thrift store if you're lucky. I happened to find some great stuff: a black leather skirt for $6 (a little worn, but it fit me perfectly), dressy black pants by Ann Taylor for $6, four shirts with dump trucks, fire engines, etc. for Stefan ($2 each), a jean jacket for Maylin for $4, kids' books and videos from 50 cents to $2, and three great board games ($2 each) -- Milton Bradley's Chinese checkers (the exact version I grew up with -- the pieces are actual pegs, not marbles that roll around -- I got teary-eyed with nostalgia!), Life, and Risk. The latter two I had never played before.
Maylin was very eager to learn them all. And we did play them all last night and she loved them all. I'm so glad I found a fellow board game lover in the family. John doesn't help in that department. I thought Life and Risk would be too advanced for her, but she picked up Life really quickly -- and what a great social studies lesson for a homeschooler! She learned about salaries, loans, stocks, and insurance (homeowners and auto) in one sitting. Risk was a bit more complicated (for me, too), but she learned so much about geography. As a primer, we visited this link that allows the child to click and drag to identify each continent: http://www.softschools.com/social_studies/continents/map.jsp
After getting into a rut with the homeschooling (Maylin and I found it to be more work than fun -- my fault entirely), we are having fun again with games and creative lessons (that require a lot more planning, but so worth it!).