Books, Books; Where’s My Books?

One additional thought… always make sure to discuss your book budget with your husband before making purchases. This saves a world of trouble; no arguments about how much was spent and a oneness of mind for next year’s learning. Have fun shopping!

A Homeschool Mom

This past Wednesday, I was able to scratch another item off of my “to do” list. Having already outlined which books needed to be purchased for next year’s round of education, it was time to finally get to some buying.

Language Arts Excerpt All images property of aBeka books.

The kids and I made the trek to our local aBeka materials display center and plopped down a small investment into their future. Knowing this experience can be a little trying for their patience, we did our best to make this event go as smoothly as possible.

Before attending the display, I try to make sure I have all my items listed (with item number, including price) and printed. This not only helps me fill out my order form very quickly, it also saves me from making unnecessary impulse purchases. I know exactly what I need and how much I plan to spend. If…

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Books, Books; Where’s My Books?

This past Wednesday, I was able to scratch another item off of my “to do” list. Having already outlined which books needed to be purchased for next year’s round of education, it was time to finally get to some buying.

Language Arts Excerpt

All images property of aBeka books.

The kids and I made the trek to our local aBeka materials display center and plopped down a small investment into their future. Knowing this experience can be a little trying for their patience, we did our best to make this event go as smoothly as possible.

Before attending the display, I try to make sure I have all my items listed (with item number, including price) and printed. This not only helps me fill out my order form very quickly, it also saves me from making unnecessary impulse purchases. I know exactly what I need and how much I plan to spend. If there are items I am unsure about, those go at the bottom of my list and I peruse them online or at the event quickly.

At the materials display, I find the few items which I am unsure about and make my final decisions on those. Knowing all my other items are organized, I am able to complete my order form and be out the door in about twenty minutes.

Grammar & Composition

All images property of aBeka books.

Why attend a materials display? Easy… I save money. I could place my order online, but by attending a display I save 5% on my order and pay no shipping. It might not be much, but every bit helps.

Attending a display also allows me to actually look through any items which I still don’t have peace about. For example, this year there were two items which I wasn’t sure of. One I actually purchased; the other I decided to skip. It wasn’t that the material was poor, it just wasn’t a necessity.

In addition to attending the aBeka display, I also made a few purchases online. I don’t buy the “boxed” deal from aBeka; I am very eclectic in my children’s education. A few items were still needed. Thankfully, I found those items either

Arithmetic 1

All books property of aBeka books.

on Amazon (Teach them Spanish, A Reason for Writing, and their summer workbooks) or Rainbow Resource (Geography) for very little cost.

Aaaahhh! As I mentioned, it is nice to have that little item off my list. School ends in two weeks, so my shelves will be cleaned off and ready for the next set of materials to arrive.

Now, let’s see how long it takes for them to get here….

Catalog Fever

aBeka

property of aBeka

It’s that time of year again! Catalogs from every company I have ever ordered from have started rolling in to clutter my overly organized desk.

While we are not going to finish our school year until May, seeing those catalogs pile up had already gotten my brain into a frazzle.

I desperately needed to weed through the pile and minimize the clutter, getting down to the bare bones of what I needed.

Knowing myself as well as I do, I couldn’t stop there. No, I would not get a moment’s rest if those catalogs sat there without being perused and ideas jotted down.

I thought I had a plan, I would work on them little by little and handle each child’s curriculum a week at a time. I would be done in only a month and still have time to enjoy my weekends!

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men… I finished it all yesterday!

It seems once I got the ball rolling, there was no stopping me. Plus, it didn’t entail as much as I thought it would.

Most of my curriculum is from one company, which made things simple. What really helped was knowing I had already schooled three of these grades before, so only my oldest was new territory.

For some reason I thought planning for junior high was going to take me so much longer, but really it didn’t. The Lord had already given me this awesome book, The High School Handbook, which helped make things so much easier.

Since the framework was already in place, picking out curriculum to correspond was a breeze.

My husband even suggested we help her tackle a project that has been on the back-burner for a while now. (More on that another day!) Junior High is going to be a very exciting time for her and for us. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store!

Well, the first third of the job is done. With much prayer and confirmation from my husband, our curriculum list is organized and ready to go. Now I am waiting to receive my nifty postcard with curriculum “show” dates, so that I can order in person and save some dough.

The catalogs have been stored away for possible future use and I can now relax, knowing there is nothing awaiting my attention.

At least not for the next ten minutes….

Have your curriculum catalogs started showing yet? Do you organize now or wait till summer?

 

Incoming!

Our homeschool closet is cleaned out, our portfolios are ready to go, and we are ready to tackle today’s project… putting in the new school books!

It seems all this week I have been reading posts by other homeschooling families who are getting their curriculum in place and are eagerly ready to start their school year. We, too, are getting things finalized, but with a slightly different twist. Unlike other families, I am not anxiously awaiting the arrival of our books; ours have been here since May!

I have found waiting until the middle or end of summer to order our books, to be stressful. There are several reasons why this doesn’t work for our family.

  1. I don’t enjoy summer knowing that I still have work that will need to be done.
  2. If I wait, I might not get the order in time or it might be backordered.
  3. If I wait, I will need to rush through the curriculum to set up our routine and determine how much work should be done daily.
  4. If I wait, I can’t take advantage of all the great promotions available for those who order early.

Usually, aBeka starts having demos of their curriculum around April. Once I receive their flyer in the mail, I highlight the closest location with a date that suits our schedule. I make sure to add the date to my iCal program and then I start researching. I don’t want to peruse at the demo; I might be led by impulse instead of through prayer. To ensure I am only buying what I need, I will look through aBeka’s website first. From there, I will write down any items that I know are necessary and compile a list with the item numbers and prices. If there are items that I have never seen or items of question, I will write those at the bottom of my list and highlight them. Those are the items that I will review with my husband and pray over. The day of the demo, I check out the items that I might have highlighted, sit down to fill out my form, and then check out. Because I have ordered at a demo, I will save 10% up front and avoid shipping costs. Usually, I save myself about $60 this way!

One of the main reasons I order our books so early, is because I don’t order teacher guides. (I have not found them to be necessary for the younger grades and don’t care to spend money that could be better spent elsewhere.) Due to the fact that I don’t order teacher guides, I must spend a little time planning out our year. I open each text and lay out our lessons, ensuring that everything gets covered. This is very simple but it still needs to be done. For very little work, I am saving myself a great deal of money. On average, textbooks for all four of my children run me $250 per year. Not bad, all things considered!

We usually end our school year just around the beginning of May. By the time we have finished school, our books for the next year are just coming in. I make sure they are all here, I take the time to go through each one (mapping out how many lessons get done a day), and then they get tucked away until the end of July. I am now free to enjoy my summer, knowing everything is here and we are ready to start come fall.

Now that summer is just about over, it is time to put those books on the shelf and do any last-minute reorganizing. I have double checked the books (refreshing my memory about lesson schedules), organized how I want them to be placed in our cupboard, and added any reference materials I thought would be necessary. Ah, what a beautiful sight!

Just two more projects and we will be ready to start on Monday.

When do you order your books? Do you order early? Do you wait? I would enjoy hearing when you choose to get your books and why!

A Reason for Writing

(Wow, two posts in one day! I had thought to originally just post this review today, but felt the Lord compelling me to write Grace Abused as well. So, two it is.)

Besides reading, I also mentioned that writing is another of our core areas of study. I believe our children should know how to write properly on any given topic.

In order to set out on the right foot, I wanted to start off with a solid penmanship lesson; one that would not only teach them to write their letters, but help make their writing legible. A Reason for Handwriting did the job wonderfully. Each week, the children are given specific words from a Bible verse that they are to practice writing. At the end of the week, they write out the complete verse on a separate sheet of paper. The bonus was that you can also purchase Border Sheets to write your verses on. The Border Sheets are coloring pages with lines in the center. This way the children can write their verse and then color the corresponding image.

Once good penmanship was achieved, the children were also encouraged to practice good typing skills. Using FREE Typing Game, our children were able to practice their typing skills and learn to increase their speed. This will help them in higher levels of learning when they are writing papers.

Once the children started into elementary levels, it seemed appropriate to start them off on a formal Grammar and Composition curriculum. Abeka was the answer for us. Their curriculum is thorough, challenging, and well laid out.

On top of continued practice in penmanship, typing, and their usual grammar and composition lessons, we also like to make sure they are getting good practice in creative writing. To do this, a weekly creative writing assignment is given. Common everyday topics are all tossed in a bowl, one is picked every Monday, and on Friday the assignment is due. Through this exercise our children have learned to think outside the box and reach the audience through their paper. At times, my husband and I have gotten in on the fun and written a paper ourselves.

Good writing skills should never be overlooked. You never know where the Lord is going to use you. When you look at life through that perspective, you realize… there is a reason for writing.c