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Summer Brain Quest: Get Ready for 6th Grade Review by Sheila Quach

Workman Publishing Co., Inc.
212-254-5900 (phone)
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014-4381

You know how when summer starts and you have all those wild and crazy fun plans to entertain your kids flying around in your head? And a few weeks into all the slime-making and papier mache madness you start thinking about the next school year. Wondering how they will do back in a routine that doesn’t revolve around the ice cream man and the never-ending cycle of old movies they have been watching on your old VCR from college? I have found the most perfect thing; it’s like a little wedge of educational magic that fits perfectly in your summer schedule. I’m talking about Summer Brain Quest. I’ve heard of plain Brain Quest, and I have used many of their products. What’s really interesting about this specific workbook is it is designed to be used during the summer months in-between two grades. Nifty, right?

We were able to try the Summer Brain Quest for Adventures between grades 5 and 6. Right off the bat I was pleased to see the cover of the workbook was real sturdy. Perfect for slipping in and out of backpacks while on camping vacations, stands up to wet pool hands and even sticky smudges from frequent picnic stops while on long car rides. Yes, this has all happened to ours. But, that just proves that my boy loved using this workbook this summer. As soon as we received, it we did a quick flip through, and that’s when he found the summer progress map and stickers. The workbook comes with over 150 stickers that, as you complete the lessons, you get to place a sticker on the map. There are quests covering all the basics and does align with common core state standards. Your kids will work through math pages that have them graphing temperatures across the world and dividing fractions with pirates. We learned about heredity and revisited the water cycle while working on the science quests. We debated about living in Sparta or Athens and learned how to use a physical map with social studies quests. The English lessons consisted of spelling, Latin and Greek root words, poetry and more. As if that wasn’t enough, you are also given Outside Quests that get your kiddo outside in the fresh air. These were Kaden’s favorites to do because they were either projects or activities that not only got his mind up and running, but his body too. He made several mini volcanoes, jumped powers of 10, and did sidewalk calculations until all he had left was little chalk nubs. You will also find Key Quests; these are research projects. Some of these topics include extinct languages of Asia, famous activists outside the US, and yetis: mythical or real.

In the back of the workbook, you will find the answer key, but also some extras. They offer a list of books to read during the summer. They give the title and a brief summary. Then your child fills in when they started it and finished along with a place to give their own review of the book. Kaden loved this part. Being such a big reader, he had already read a few of the books, so he was able to write a review right away. Another extra is a mini Brain Quest deck you conveniently just cut right out.

Overall, this is a workbook that would be a hit with any child. It’s filled with fun, short lessons that they want to do in order to score the sticker to complete their adventure map. We put our map up right in the kitchen because most days he completed a few pages first thing after breakfast. I wasn’t sure that he would be motivated by the stickers, but he was, and we were completely done with the book in just under a month. I recommend grabbing one of these any time, not just summer time. This would be perfect for weekends, Christmas vacation, long trips, or even quick trips around town.

-Product review by Sheila Quach, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2017