Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Thoughts on $72.65

(That's $60.18 in American dollars.)

I just ordered three books for The Apprentice's ninth grade English and social studies courses, averaging $20 apiece. Plus tax. Plus shipping from a homeschool vendor. Are they big fat math books? No, I'm trying to get one of those used (plus we're going to start with Algebra Unplugged, from the library). Are they large grammar books? No, I got a grammar handbook at a yard sale for under a dollar. These are the kind of books that are hard to find used, aren't in the public library, and aren't available as e-texts. $72.65 for three not-very-big books.

Is this inconsistent with our usual thrifty squirreliness (or is that squirrely thriftiness)? Is it dumb to spend this much money on three new paperback books? What about all the people out there who say that they spent almost nothing for this year's curriculum? (And I already spent $100 on a science book, and about the same amount on a combination of other things, mostly used.) Should it be a principle of modest-income homeschooling that you always try to do the most for the least? Does that mean three twenty-dollar books plus tax and shipping (that equals almost half a week's grocery trip for us) are a mistake? Is this something to grouse about?

However, I could have also blown about $40 on some Mary Engelbreit posters and a teacher's plan book at the overpriced teacher's supply store (on a rare mall trip with Mr. Fixit while the Squirrelings were at Vacation Bible School this week). I did not, mainly because I knew we were going to be ordering The Apprentice's books, and because I knew a good place online to download free planning sheets.

Or I could have spent the same money on the list of school supplies that would probably be demanded of us if our children were heading back to public school.

And what are the books?

1. Whatever Happened to Justice, by Richard Maybury.

2. Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves, a retelling of Spenser's Faerie Queen Book I.

3. The Roar on the Other Side: A Guide for Student Poets, by Suzanne Clark.

If Poetry and Justice can be bought for $72.65, Mama Squirrel considers that the bargain of a lifetime. And that's all.

3 comments:

Tim's Mom said...

Poetry and justice - it sounds like money well spent!

Ann V. said...

Ok, Mama squirrel--I want to know how to keep by grocery bill that low...and how to homeschool like you do! Tell me more, tell me more! I am all ears. Oh, to be as wise as Mama Squirrel!
Simply,
Ann V.

Mama Squirrel said...

That's a low grocery bill? LOL...maybe on a good week. Two carts of groceries at Price Chopper can average between $140-$180, so I was looking at the low end, I guess. Plus a trip to the meat store every few weeks, and an occasional trip to the natural food store...we are not as seriously frugal as some other families we know who grow more, freeze more and grind more, and sometimes there is some squirrel guilt over that. We even buy frozen Chinese food and lasagna sometimes. (It beats the price of going out for dinner.)

I do make/bake whatever I can, whenever I have time to and it's not too hot to turn on the oven. (We don't have a microwave but we do have a toaster oven which works great, even for small cakes.) If I'm baking something (like meatballs) at about 400 degrees, sometimes I'll stir up some muffins really fast so they can go in too. We make pancake syrup and some things like that. Don't you find homeschooling is a moneysaver in itself when you don't have to buy all those little packs of pudding and chips and crackers and whatevers to put in lunch bags?

But Ann, you are the one I should be learning from, with more little ones to organize and feed than we have in the treehouse! Thanks for the constant encouragement you share on your blog.

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