Showing posts with label Curriculum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Curriculum. Show all posts


Been "thrifting" lately?

Most of my friends & family (online & real life) know that I am the definition of a thrify shopper.

There are several things that I purchase from our local thrift and consignment stores. Among them are children's books, curriculum, clothes, furniture, craft and sewing supplies, educational movies, educational cd's, computer learning programs, and various household items such as kitchen items and linens. Okay. So anything and everything that we would need that I can find cheap I will buy...regardless of where I find it.

However, I don't ever go into a store and just buy something because it appears to be a good deal. I always have a working list of things I'm looking for. If something I see isn't on my list, then I don't buy it. It doesn't matter how much of a good deal something is if it's not something we're needing.

We'll also go without something before we'll pay too much for it. If it's on my list, but isn't a good price (even for thrift), then we don't buy it. An excellent example of this is a vacuum. We currently have a vacuum, but the cord is being held together by electrical tape. It could go at any time, and we lack the know-how to fix it. I've been looking for a new one for sometime. (And when I say "new" I don't mean new...just new to us.) However, my main local thrift store is currently asking $79-$150 for their used...WELL used vacuums. Evidently, the older ladies who price things there take to heart that, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". They see those vacuums as being gold. And I'm not paying gold for a used vacuum. On the other hand, I've found THREE Creative Memories albums for $1.50 each. Those precious ladies had NO idea! (And I wasn't about to tell them...unless they'd give me a deal on a vacuum.)

I am also VERY selective when "thrifting". Part of why I shop at thrift & consignment stores is so I can get the best deal on things we otherwise couldn't afford. There are some basic rules I go by to ensure that I not only get that good price but also good quality:

  1. Furniture: I look for only solid wood, not particle-board if possible. I also look for commercial-quality shelves as they tend to be much better built than those made for domestic use. Herman Miller, a big furniture maker, is in our area so we frequently see commercial items show up. As homeschoolers and avid book addicts lovers, we are always on the lookout for bookshelves.

  2. Clothes for kids: This is a biggie! I want ONLY name brand items. Period. If I'm going to pay $2 for something that's made at Target, then I'll buy it new at Target. I won't buy Kmart or Wal-Mart clothes period. They're poorly made and don't last long. I also like to buy when the clothes are priced at $1 each or, better yet, when they have their $4 bag sale. ($4 for whatever you can stuff in a paper grocery bag.) I especially like finding clothes by Hanna Anderssen as these clothes are chemical-free and some are organic. There is someone who donates these to one of the local consignment stores. I will snap these up at $2, but have gotten several at $1 and some in the bag sale. My kids never wear anything that isn't name-brand. In addition to Hanna Anderssen, they wear Limited Too, Gap, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Land's End, Columbia, Talbot Kids, and Ugg...among others.

  3. Clothes for Adults: I have the same rule here as I have for my kids. My husband & I wear name-brands such as Tommy, Gap, Old Navy, Talbot, Anne Klein, Hanna Anderssen, Limited, Ralph Lauren, Land's End, Columbia, Eddie Bauer, Ugg...among others.

  4. Books: I've probably never mentioned this before, but as homeschoolers, we use a LOT of books. If a book is on our list & is without mold or tears then we grab it up! Around here, the books range from $.10 to $.25 for soft covers and $.35-$.50 for hard covers.

  5. Kitchen items: We have been switching over to stainless steel & cast iron pans & glass bakeware and dishes for about 2 years now. I make sure pans are actually stainless steel as opposed to aluminum which look similar but are NOT what we want! We have now switched almost completely over. I know what these items cost in a "regular" store. That way I can judge where a deal is really a deal.

  6. With anything else, I judge based on the item and what it would cost "regularly" whether it's a good deal or not.

  7. Don't be afraid to negotiate. If a thrift or consignment store has something you're interested in priced for more than you're willing to pay then ask if they'll take a lower price. Be prepared to give your reason and plead your case, though. For example, if I found a vacumm I was willing to take that was priced at retail used I might say, "I'd love to have this vacumm, but it's priced at $79. I can get a new vacumm for $79. Are you willing to lower the price any. They'll usually ask what you were thinking. I'll lowball & say, $20. They'll counter with $30 or $40. (Assuming it's a nice high-brand vacumm, I'll consider this.) However, if you start at $50, then they'll counter with $60. The lower you start, the less you'll pay. Not every thrift store will do this, but it never hurts to try. Also, you'll sometimes get one person to agree to negotiate, but another won't...and vice versa.

No. We are not clothes or product snobs and neither are our kids. In fact, aside from Hannah Anderssen which they love, my kids could care less which clothes they are wearing. However, I have learned that those labels DO equal better-made clothes. The only exception I have found to that rule is Target. I still don't pay full-price for their clothes though, either. 75% of or we don't need it! Also, my experience has shown the same in other brands. The better the brand the better the most cases.

An example of this is a Kitchen-Aid mixer. I could get a regular stand mixer for MUCH cheaper than a Kitchen-Aid. However, I know that if I get a Kitchen-Aid it will do what I need it to do and last FAR longer than any other product considering how often we use a mixer. I have one, VERY OLD, stand mixer that we got at a garage sale shortly after we got married. It had been a wedding gift for the people selling it and they had never used it. It lasted fine as long as I barely used it. When our oldest was diagnosed with gluten-intolerance and we had to actually start using it regularly, though, it soon died. I've been using a hand-mixer since then...for huge batches of cookies, muffins, pancakes, waffles, & breads. Not fun! I'd rather pay $199 for the biggest, top of the line Kitchen-Aid refurbished or on clearance...or cheaper at a thrift/consignment store than I would $100...or less at a thrift store for a cheaper mixer that will need replacing in a year or two. We have a refurbished Kitchen-Aid food processor that we got 5 years ago on for $39. It gets used weekly (sometimes daily) for making jams, nut-butters, and other foods. It's still going strong.

I have found in MOST cases that if you're willing to make do until you find what you're looking for that you WILL find what you're looking for. I'm only willing to go refurbished/clearance for my Kitchen-Aid because most KA owners don't want to let go of their appliances. They keep going as long as their owners do. That speaks volumes! And also lets me know that I'm not likely to find it at a thrift store.

Good luck thrifting! I wrote this in the middle of the night so feel free to comment or post if you have any questions or think I left anything out. :-)



So You Want to Buy on Ebay?


Where do you start? How do you get a good deal? Can you get a good deal? How do you avoid being caught-up in "auction fever"?

I have been buying on Ebay for quite some time. I have contemplated a full-out boycott due to their policies regarding teacher's manuals for even homeschooling-only products, but have had to compromise. I no longer sell on Ebay, but do still buy. (You can read more about the boycott and my thoughts regarding it here.)

Where do you begin if you're planning buying on Ebay? First, have an idea of what you're looking for. I never go blindly looking for something on Ebay. I always know exactly what I'm looking for. I have also done research into this item so that I know I'm getting a good deal should I find it on Ebay. What types of things do I research?

  1. I always know exactly what it would cost me to purchase that item "regularly" (from a brick & mortar or online store.) I don't just figure what the regular price would be, though. I take into account what I can buy that item for when taking factoring in all discounts and shipping. For example, Alpha Omega (AOP) has a yearly sale giving 20% off all their products. You can also get free shipping combined with this 20% off if you buy it at a homeschool convention. Therefore, my lowest starting price for an Alpha Omega price would be 20% off the retail price plus free shipping. If there is something they sell through AOP that I can get cheaper elsewhere, then THAT becomes my lower price. For example, I can count on getting their Horizon's math books for $10.95 locally with no shipping. Be careful here, though, make SURE you are taking shipping into account if buying online. The price may LOOK better, but is actually higher when you factor in shipping.
  2. Next, I determine how much I am willing to pay for the item. The amount I am willing to pay always includes the purchase (or bid) price PLUS shipping. Shipping is NOT an should ALWAYS be included in the total price you are willing to pay. If it's an item I don't need for a year, then I never pay more than 50% of the lowest retail value. If it's an item I am not going to need for 6mths, then I'm willing to pay up to 75% of the lowest retail value. If I need the item NOW, then I'm just looking for a deal and anything lower than the lowest retail value is up for consideration. (I'm in that position now with Math-U-See.)
  3. Is there anything I need to consider with this product? For example, Teaching Textbook programs can only be downloaded a certain number of times. Therefore, I run a HUGE risk by buying these items used. I might get someone who is honest and gives me an item I can still download. Or I might not. I will be willing to bid MUCH lower (and sometimes not at all) if this is the case. You need to know something like this.
  4. Is this something I can easily fill-in later if I only get a portion of the item now on Ebay? For example, you can only buy the Teacher's Manual (TM) and the DVD for Math-U-See (MUS) together. You cannot buy them separately from the company. Therefore, I should only consider auctions where these two are listed together (or the TM is thrown in as a "bonus" as is often done now with IG's). Otherwise, I will have purchased a DVD or TM on Ebay and will have to buy it AGAIN to get the other item. I've just wasted my money.
  5. What condition am I willing to take the item in? For example, are you willing to take a workbook that has writing? If so, how much? Just a little that's in pencil and can be erased? A LOT that's in pencil and can be erased? The whole book in pencil that can be erased? Writing in pen? much? You'd have to use white-out to cover the answers. Is this okay? Make SURE you are willing to live with a LOT of writing if you take one that has ANY writing. There are unscrupulous sellers out there who will tell you there's a little writing and you'll get a book with all but 3 pages filled in. I will only take workbooks without writing. In many cases, I will often write the seller before-hand to confirm that there is no writing in the book. This way, I have a second layer of protection should the seller not send me what they have listed.
Once I have my item in mind and know what it would cost me in the "regular" market, taken everything into consideration, and have determined MY target price; I then start a search on Ebay. I'll sort the items by "price+shipping, low-high". I then will look at every (yes every) item that falls within my price range. This is where I begin eliminating what I won't consider buying and put items I will consider buying in my "watched items". I will NEVER bid at this stage. Ever. Not bidding until I have eliminated everything and have what I will consider in my "watched items" ensures that I am really ready to buy that item before I place my bid. Plus, it ensures I have my bidding strategy in place. (e.g.-What will I do if the one I really wanted goes too high? Is there another one I've saved that I'll start looking at? Do I start the search process again? There are certain things I look at when I'm starting my search and eliminating/saving items:
  1. What is the feedback number for the seller? I used to bid with pretty much anyone, but would make an extra confirmation with those who had less than 10. Then, I would only bid with those who had OVER 10. Now, my minimum is 20. And I'm very selective with those who are still in their 20's. No. I have nothing against those just starting out on Ebay. However, after having NO PROBLEMS EVER for YEARS on Ebay, I had 3 problems in the past year. ALL of them were with people who had 100% feedback...but only 10-20 of them. Shortly after MY transaction with ALL of them, their feedback rating fell...and this before I left my feedback. Only 1 of those people offered to resolve the problem. (And I thanked them profusely and noted in feedback that they had offered to do so.) I had to file claims on the other 2 getting my money back in one case and just throwing away $6 in the other. (In both of those cases, they claimed there was no writing in the book and there WAS...a LOT.) I changed my policy and have had no problems since. Bottom line? If they have a feedback rating of less than 20, I immediately eliminate the item regardless of how "perfect" it looks.
  2. What is their feedback score? If the feedback NUMBER (not rating) is okay, then I check out their feedback SCORE (this is the percentage number such as 100% that they will have beside their name). Here again, I used to bid with anyone who had over 90%, then raised it to 95% & over. Now, if they don't have a feedback rating of 98% or better, then I don't bid with them. Bottom line? If they have a feedback SCORE of less than 98%, then I immediately eliminate the item regardless of how "perfect" it looks.
  3. Is there a picture for this item? This may seem absolutely menial, but my experience has shown that if the seller can't be bothered to post a picture then they likely also couldn't be bothered to accurately describe the item. I know this isn't the case with every seller who doesn't have a picture. However, my experience as well as those of others HAS proven this to be true. And I don't have money to throw around on a chance. Bottom line? No picture, eliminate the item; regardless of how "perfect" it looks.
  4. Does the item meet my specifications? If the item has passed my first 3 screenings, then I actually look at the description now. This would be the first time I actually do this since the first 2 qualifiers don't take into account the item itself at all and the 3rd only takes into account the presence of a picture. This is where I would eliminate any workbooks with writing, incomplete sets that can't easily be filled later or without duplication, generally unacceptable condition (the book is falling apart, etc despite not having any writing), etc. Remember, those qualifications were set for a reason. Now is NOT the time to waver! Bottom line? If the item doesn't meet my pre-determined qualifications then it gets eliminated; regardless of how cheap it may be or how "perfect" it may look otherwise.
At this point, anything left has been saved to my "watched items" list. This is where I go BACK to those items to confirm that they meet my qualifications and try and determine what I will bid on and when.
One major thing I do at this point is to go BACK to the feedback score (the percentage) to read the negatives. This typically only takes me a minute for each item. Keep in mind that the feedback percentage is only figured on the last 12mths. As a result, someone may have a 100% feedback rating for the last year, but had TONS of negatives in the past. Again, I can't throw my money away on a chance. As a result, if I see this pattern, then I delete the item from my "watched items" list. I know people can change, but I can't spare my money on their chance. Someone else will have to do that for a couple of years before I'll feel confident enough to bid with them.
After I have re-reviewed feedback, I will take a look at shipping to ensure they are charging a fair price. (Many people will attempt to gouge on shipping. I like to steer clear from them because if they're not honest there, then where else will they not be honest?) Sometimes, it's simply a matter of a seller not knowing how to work the system so that they can list multiple shipping items and sometimes they don't know about media mail. This can happen with an experienced seller of non-media items who has moved into selling media items. I have seen this with moms who have sold clothes for years and are now reselling homeschooling curriculum or old books.
I always give the benefit of the doubt here first and simply shoot the seller an e-mail asking if they'll consider media mail shipping and if so, what will the cost be for their item. Media mail is not dependent on your location, but on the weight of the item so your information isn't necessary. I've had a few offer to send something media mail but say that they don't know how to figure the cost. I forward them to the USPS site which lists the prices in detail according to weight. I'll also ask them to confirm back with the price for their package after checking out the site so that I can properly plan my bid. Once I have confirmation of a cheaper shipping rate, then I know how to accurately bid for that item.
Next, I will enter a note under each item stating the max amount I can bid (excluding shipping). This allows me to see at a glance what I'll pay for each item without having to stop and re-figure it over and over again on each item. Here's an example: There's an item for which I'm willing to pay $20. Shipping for this item is $5. I'll put in my note the following, "Max bid: $15 + S/H"
After all of the above steps are done, then I am essentially ready to bid. But I don't bid yet. I'm one of those people who bids at the last minute. I find that I can get a much better deal by waiting until the last minute (or less) to bid. (I'm on a high speed connection.) I know some of you out there hate people like me, but the bottom line is that you will get the best deals by bidding this way. I'm paying Ebay and the seller...NOT the other way around!
However, BECAUSE I am bidding at the last minute, I will put in my max bid the FIRST (and only) time I place my bid. I either win or I don't. I set a price before hand and stick to it. This is essential if you plan to find good deals on Ebay.
I have a friend who tells how she gets "auction fever". She starts bidding with the intention of spending $100 for something, but then as she starts bidding (usually several days before auction end) she gets into a bidding war with someone. They outbid her $100...which she put in as her first bid several days before auction ending. But she doesn't want to lose so she bids again. And again. And again. On one such occasion, she set out to spend $100 on a toy set and ended up spending $360. And she's not alone. There are a LOT of people like her. I don't have $360 to throw away. Truth is, neither did she...but she got into a bidding war and got "auction fever". Then, she ended up making a commitment she had to the detriment of her family.
IF you are going to bid anytime before the end of the auction, you should NEVER bid your max right away. It will lead into the above-described bidding war.
My friend said, "Well there's someone else on the other end selling it. They deserve to get a good price." Your job is NOT to ensure THEY get the best price. It's to ensure YOU get the best deal for YOUR family. For all you know, THEY got it at rock bottom prices themselves so you're paying market-value is simply cheating your family NOT giving them back a supposed full-price that you think they paid.
My friend also says, "Well, if that's the max I'm willing to pay I might as well find out if that price can win as soon as possible." No. Not really. That's the strategy to use if you're bidding with 20seconds left in the auction. That's NOT the strategy to use if you are bidding several days before auction end. I simply don't find it beneficial for someone with a high-speed connection to bid before the end of the auction. You're costing yourself money by raising the price sooner than it needs to be raised.
On that note, if something I'm interested in goes above my target price before the end of the auction then I delete it from my "watched items" list. There's no reason to have something in there that has already exceeded what I'm willing to pay.
Here are a couple more notes to consider:
  1. If you have saved multiple items from the same seller, you should ask if they combine shipping. Even if they mention that they do, you should e-mail them to obtain an exact quote of the cost if you win more than one of their auctions. (Most sellers will tell you it's full-price shipping for the item with the highest shipping and anywhere from $.25 to $1 for each subsequent item if you're dealing with books.) You'll need this info, though, to adjust what you can pay should you win one of their auctions and plan on bidding on a second.
  2. I always pay immediately after auction end unless I am watching another auction right after that or am waiting on another auction from that same seller. In those cases, I ALWAYS e-mail the seller to let them know when I'll be paying...or ask if it's okay to wait until the other auction ends.
  3. If you have had a seller agree to media mail shipping or a lesser shipping than is listed in the auction, you'll need to request an invoice from the seller before paying. The same holds true if you have won more than one auction by the same seller. Again, I will send that out immediately after auction end. Basically, treat other Ebayers as you would want to be treated.
It may seem like this is a lot of work. However, the steps I take allow me to simplify my Ebaying process. It ensures that I don't waste money, that I know what to bid when the time comes and that I'm bidding with good Ebayers. Simplicity makes life so much easier!
If you have any questions about buying on Ebay or want to add anything feel free to comment below or shoot me an e-mail.
Happy Bidding!



Isn't it fascinating how life gets to us?

I've been very busy recently. First we had sickness strike our family. That came while we've been trying to prepare to send our 3 children to Tulsa...without us! AARGH! Mama's gonna need some prayer during Christmas week! (My SIL and her husband are taking them to Tulsa along with their 2 children...brave fellows they are.)

Since my SIL and I help each other find curriculum, I also have to get what I've purchased for her ready to go. Plus, my son's old clothes go to her son so we're trying like mad to get everything that's too small for him ready to go to her. (But first we have figure out WHAT those clothes are. Fun!)

To top all of that off, I've been re-doing my coupon organization system. If you've ever done that...when you get 3 sets of the paper every week, pull blinkies from the store, and have manufacturers mailing you coupons, then you understand the task that has been before me. And all of this while trying to keep up with current sales so we still have groceries!

In the midst of all of this, I have 3 book reviews written but not yet entered into the computer. (I hand write a lot of my stuff because I'm often out & about when I get the chance to or have a "moment" of inspiration.)

PLUS, I've been really going strong the past couple of weeks on a book I've been writing for about 3 years now. Yes. I'm really writing a book. I don't know when it will be sent to an editor (we have a friend I plan to hire), or to a publisher. That will depend largely on outside factors that are not within my control right now. Nope. I won't tell you a bit about my book now. You'll just have to wait. Suffice it to say it's about my life. Good enough? Tough. It will have to be. I promise. I'm not trying to be mean.

Bottom line? I'm sorry I've been neglectful the past couple of days. What can I say? That's just life sometimes.

I've got a great guest author for tomorrow. I am kinda partial, though. He's one of my brothers. (I've got around 25; give or take.)

I had a couple of people express concern since I'd been gone. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. They are needed right now. If nothing else so I'll get everything done that needs to get done...and keep my sanity while doing it.



Review Day: Runaway Radish

Runaway Radish/El Rabano Que Escapo

"Runaway Radish" is a story similar to "The Gingerbread Man". The story is about the Radish Festival held yearly in Oaxaca, Mexico. Just as the carver was about to finish carving his radish sculpture, the last radish ran away. It is a delightful children's story. The bright, colorful illustrations are very animated and thus appealing to children.

Now no review regarding any children's book would be complete without a glimpse of what its target audience, a child, thinks. As a result, I had all three of my children read and review "Runaway Radish". All of them liked "Runaway Radish", especially my six year old son. My oldest, nine, thought the book was kinda cheesy (her words), but liked the Spanish on each page. She liked trying to figure out what each word was. After a mini-Spanish lesson from mom, she was much more successful. The vocabulary list in the back is also very helpful for children.

I loved the story. The history regarding the origination of the story helps the reader understand the setting for the story. I know that what is included on the dust-jacket of a hardcover is not always also included on a soft-cover. I hope they keep this information, though, as it is very useful. Without this background, the reader might wonder why the main character was displaying radishes as he was. It would still be a good story, but is even better with this touch of reality "thrown" in.

I also loved the English/Spanish on each page. As a homeschooling mom who loves literature-based and "real-life" learning, I see this as a great tool. Anyone can memorize a set of letters, words, or conjugation rules. But nothing helps one truly grasp a language like seeing it used in a "real" story. It brings the language to life like no textbook ever could. I imagine it would do the same for ESL students.

"Runaway Radish" is a cheerful, fun story that is also educational. I would recommend this book to homeschooling parents desiring to teach their children Spanish as well as to the "traditional" Spanish or ESL student.



Boycott Ebay?

This is an archived post from September 2, 2006. Ironically, it still applies today. Sad isn't it? Ebay has lost a lot of business lately because of practices like this; among others.

For the record, HSLDA (mentioned at the bottom) DID open a section on their site for buying & selling curriculum; including teacher's guides largely because of the actions of Ebay.

Are we still boycotting Ebay? Yes and no. I am not currently selling on Ebay (and haven't since this was posted) because I have teacher's guides as well as regular curriculum to sell. I have instead utilized sites like, my local cheapcycle chapter,, and local homeschool classifieds. I have bought on Ebay. However, the decline in Ebay's membership has led to a serious decline in the type of people selling on Ebay. As a result, if you don't have a minimum number of positive feedback above 99%, then I won't be bidding on your listing. I also won't bid if you only offer over-priced shipping. I know what it costs to ship various items; especially when utilizing media mail. I won't pay more than you pay.

Here is the post:

There is now a massive group of people (homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike) who are banding together to boycott Ebay. This group spans the globe including not only people in the US, but a large faction of people in the UK as well.

They have banned the selling of teacher's editions of textbooks. Homeschoolers rely on teacher's editions to teach their children.

They are lumping these books in with items that are "illegal, dangerous, offensive, or potentially infringing".

Their premise is that they can't verify that you are really a teacher before they allow you to buy that item. Nevermind the fact that we've never had to prove we were teachers to buy directly from publishers in the past! They also state that kids may get ahold of the teacher's editions which may include answers and test keys in them. Again, nevermind the fact that it is illegal to buy or sell on Ebay if you are under 18. (They are banning books used for K-12 students.)

They also state that they have been receiving extreme pressure from publishers to stop allowing these books to be sold. Ahh...there we have it! There's the real reason. Evidently we are no longer allowed to purchase books that are used. Think, when was the last time you purchased something off of Ebay? How long will it be before the manufacturer of whatever you bought says that you can't buy it used. What's next?

If you haven't read George Orwell's 1984 or Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, now might be a good time to do that. If you have read them, now might be a good time to pick it up again. A good refresher never hurts.

If publishers are allowed to prevent the selling of used curriculum, it will not be long before they are allowed to prevent the selling of used books. Period. Think I'm kidding? Libraries have already had publishers bearing down on them hard because they will sell books that they have taken out of circulation. The publishers are upset because they are losing revenue.

There have also been cries from some that organizations such as the NEA (National Education Association), among others, have been involved in this decision as well. The NEA has not exactly been friendly to homeschoolers so this should come as no surprise. To date, K12 (can be seen at is the only homeschool publisher that has been specifically listed although Harcourt and McGraw Hill have been listed as well.

Lest you say Ebay has a good point when they say they're trying to prevent students from getting the answers, let me point out to you one vital point. A LARGE and majority portion of the curriculum being banned is homeschool only. What I mean is that this is curriculum used ONLY by homeschoolers. It is not nor has it ever been used as a curriculum in ANY public school.

Gary and I have notified Ebay that until they change their policy, we will no longer be buying or selling on their site. If you feel as we do and would like to join the boycott, please let Ebay know that you are doing so as well as the reason why at:

If you are a member of HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association), they are purported to be working on a solution by allowing HSLDA members to buy and sell curriculum (including teacher's editions) through their website.



Review Day: "What Your First Grader Needs to Know"

This is my first review day. It is certainly NOT the first review I've done. I've been a regular at for years and now also review for and as well as freelance review for different publishers.

Today, I am posting a review I did on the book, "What Your First Grader Needs to Know". Enjoy!

What Your First Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good First-Grade Education (The Core Knowledge Series)

"What Your First Grader Needs to Know" is the second in a seven-part series for school children through sixth grade. It encompasses a variety of subjects such as writing, reading, history, math, art, music, science, and touches on different religions in the history section. The book says it gives an overview of what children should know by the end of the first grade. Ideally, one would use it with a publicly or privately-schooled child as a supplement to their "normal" schooling or it would be used as a supplement to a homeschool curriculum. We used it as an addendum to our homeschool curriculum.

This book was very informative and truly did as it claimed: Covered a variety of topics and subjects. It is written in a very easy-to-read format for children of this age. My younger children did get bogged down some in the lengthy history section. We had to break some of those "lessons" down into smaller segments.

I was very impressed with the overall subject coverage in this book. In the reading section, for example, they cover poetry, common sayings and quotations, short-stories and excerpts of larger books. In the history section, they cover American History, World History, and briefly touch on religions. In the science section, they cover anatomy, biology, and earth science. In the music section, they cover different famous musicians, different types of music, and types of instruments. The book offers the same type of information offered in the "K" version, but with more detail as is appropriate for this age. I have the 2nd & 3rd grade versions as well and have found them to appropriately build as you progress through the books.

I was a bit disappointed in the religion section. We are Christians, but want our children exposed to different religions. The fact that the others (Islam, etc) were included is NOT what bothered us; although we did alter the sections some to state the information as what some believe not as fact as the book does. However, we found the section on Christianity which includes the story of Moses to be not only disappointing, but biblically inaccurate which leads me to question the accuracy of other similar sections in this book. If the author was not familiar with this information through his own beliefs, then he should have made certain to input accurate information in this section through sources that DO know; as I have to assume he did in the other religion sections of the book.

Overall, I would recommend this book. It is definitely worth the buy to enhance your child's education, particularly for a homeschooler.



Review Day: Library Thing

I LOVE Library Thing!!  It is AWESOME!!!  For $25, you can catalog all of the books you will EVER use for the rest of your life.  Since we're at the beginning of our homeschooling journey, we'll be adding books to our collection for years.

I have discovered one thing, however.  After talking with other homeschooling moms I'm finding I'm not the only one who has made this shocking discovery after beginning to catalog their collections. 

I seriously underestimated the number of books we had.  I can't tell you the number of times I've told people that we probably have a "couple hundred books".  HA!  Couple hundred on one shelf, maybe!!  After adding 3/4 of our Sonlight curriculum, about 1/8 of our readers, and a very small percentage of our children's books, we have 345 books!!!!!!!!!! 

I still have more curriculum, more readers, more kids books...a LOT more kids books, and I haven't even touched the adult books yet!  Wow! 

I suppose this is why they say you should take a full inventory "just in case" of a fire, etc.  Yeah.  What insurance company thinks of a homeschooler and their massive amount of books when they say this?  And to think...we've recently gotten RID of books!  We had more!

Here's my "library" to this point: