Tuesday, July 15, 2008

As Little As Possible

I said in a previous post that this year's homeschooling needed to cost as little as possible.

Is it ever really possible to calculate the cost of a year's curriculum? Maybe, if everything comes in one box-plus-shipping-and-tax, and that's all you're going to use because you live in Papua New Guinea.

Or if all you do for school are those little booklets. When the pages are done, school's out for the day.

But if your lines between "school" and "not school" are less firmly drawn, the calculations get a bit messier. The Apprentice said the same thing recently--that she wasn't always sure which books we were reading "for school."

And when you have a lot of what you need already on the shelf, it's even more confusing. If you bought the book ten years ago and don't have a clue what you paid for it at a yard sale, does that make it free? Or if you paid $20 a year ago and then didn't use it for last year's school, do you figure that into this year's total?

Can you amortize something over all your kids? (I know somebody with eleven kids who has, as far as I know, used the same Saxon Math books for all of them.)

But, well, okay. To get technical about this year's price tag, I'm counting anything that I order after the end of the previous school year; and anything consumable that was bought previously and not used.

This is what I'm looking at ordering (Canadian prices, remember):

$20 for a Judy Rogers CD; not the sort of thing you find in the public library. We could get along fine without it, but it will give us some new Scripture-based songs. I think of it as a long-term investment.
$8.50 printing book. Again, we could get along without it, but it does make life easier, especially when you have a left-handed kid who still prefers printing in capital letters.
$9.00 for three Canada Is For Kids colouring books. Not strictly necessary, but at $3 a book they seem like a pretty good deal and fun too.
$20 for Pioneer Thanksgiving and Pioneer Christmas. The only reason I'd buy these instead of borrowing them from the library is that everybody else is going to want them at exactly the same time--right? And they're easy to resell. (For Americans: Barbara Greenwood's Pioneer Thanksgiving is one of the only interesting books around about Canadian Thanksgiving--plus it has fun activities to do too. That and Pioneer Christmas are both followup books to her very popular Pioneer Story, which I think is called Pioneer Sampler in the U.S. Clear now?)
$20 estimated for school and craft supplies.

Already bought but not used:
2 Miquon workbooks, $9 each = $18
2 Gifted and Talented workbooks, probably $2.50 each = $5 (bought at a discount store)
David Thompson activity book, $12
Nightprowlers, $1 (found at the supermarket)
Bible culture book, about $5 (bought from a remainder place)

What does that come out to? About $120, if you don't count everything we already have and the things we can borrow from the library.

Still kind of an ouch, no?

Or maybe it doesn't really come out to that much, when you figure that's for a whole year's work. After all, private school tuition here is several thousand dollars.

And I guess I could rethink the printing book...and just take my chances on Pioneer Thanksgiving at the library...

Could definitely do it cheaper, but there's also the thought of "Money Well Spent."

Let me think that one over.


Jacqueline said...

It really is hard to get a handle on the cost of homeschooling, isn't it. I hate it when people ask me about it.

Mama Squirrel said...

Ooh, you know what, I had forgotten to check Ebay for those Barbara Greenwood books--and I just checked, they do have some there for a lot less. I'll have to get Mr. Fixit to check whether shipping across the border would make it worthwhile.

Meredith said...

Money well spent!

Mama Squirrel said...

Thanks, Meredith!

Anonymous said...

Yup that's not bad for a year at all! A program like sonlight or similar would be 800 + per year.