05 January 2009

So, What's a Bargain?

Don't you just love talking about whether something is "cost-effective" and/or a good bargain? It feels good to pick something out and know that you and the seller are both making a fair deal. I've seen a good plenty of blogs where the writer (hey, sometimes it's me!) will gloat over a particularly shrewd purchase. But how many times does someone write, well, I spend $70 each week on my beauty routine and I still look like crap? Or, I paid x amount for car insurance, but then when I got into a wreck, the bums raised my rates and didn't pay half of what I really should have gotten? Well, no one likes to look like a fool shelling out bunches of money for nothing.

And now, to discuss something unrelated...

The very moment voters passed a bond issue, the school district AMAZINGLY discovered millions o' bucks missing! Who would have ever thought such a thing could happen? And no, of course these "discoveries" aren't timed so that the voters have zero chance to say no at the polling place to more money being extorted from the taxpayer "for the kids." That would be wrong of you to say. Almost like you're paranoid or something.

Now shut up. Times are hard.

They're so hard, that... um... well, now that we've discovered all this money is missing, we're going to have to tighten our belts blah blah economic crisis blah blah. And you over at the Local Tribune just quit reporting on our ex-superintendent living it up on the taxpayer dime, wouldya? Just so happens it is total coincidence that he took a job in another district. In a state far away where they've never heard of "embezzlement" and other two-dollar words. (Well, it's a two MILLION dollar word hereabouts, but all them-thar numbers ain't in yet on what "errors in judgment" this guy and others mighta cost us. Maybe it's a four MILLION dollar word and we just don't know it yet.)

It's also, you nosy reporter, total coincidence that the school board rejected the idea of a state audit of its records. Still more coincidental that the e-mail system the school uses to keep parents informed came out with a vicious attack against a Republican candidate for state senate who ohhh... just *happened* to say that it would be really nice if the school would submit to an audit conducted by the state so that taxpayer confidence would be bolstered because things looked a bit fishy before the election.

So just shut up. Times are hard for everyone. Here's what's going to happen. Remember that money you dopes -- I mean, hard-working and informed, compassionate voters -- remember that money we're raising on this bond? Well, that's going to be a drop in the ol' bucket. Now schools need more money. OH, and did I mention that schools are cutting the music and arts program? Now, instead of playing cello at school, I think it's going to be shoebox and rubberband time. Just think about how creative one can be with those items! It's kind of like art AND music in the same class period! Yay.

So parents get a note telling them times are tough and arts are outta here. Or like, really curtailed. Kids and moms all upset. We need to send the school more money! For the kids! Somebody think of the kids!!

I'm not going to say that this is a liberal or conservative issue or rail about the evils of public ed in this post, because people make mistakes and/or commit crimes regardless of their political persuasion. But back to the question of getting a bargain.

I'm not going to say I've always gotten a bargain on my homeschool purchases. Luke posted recently about the cost-effectiveness of Sonlight curriculum as compared with public school. One thing I like about Sonlight stuff is the "curriculum advisor" thingy they have. I can't tell you how many times I've bought stuff and figured out later I need books and expensive timelines, special "listening" CDs and et cetera. If I don't buy it, I know my children will be forever marred because they'll have to hear *me* sing "Yankee Doodle" instead of the cutesy childrens' choir and they'll learn the song all wrong and be scarred for life.

Do NOT ask me what my curriculum purchases run each year. That's a secret. But it doesn't stop me from thinking I want just one more thing. Kind of like David was with all his wives and concubines and stuff. You know, he had more stuff than he could really use (if ya know what I mean) but Bathsheba still happened.

Anyway.

This comparing homeschool costs isn't really fair to the public school, because I know homeschool moms who threaten their children with the "yellow bus" if they don't obey. Teachers at school can't threaten that they'll call parents and make them come get their kids... well, ok, they can. But then they get stuck with the same kid the next day, usually with an unreformed attitude.

Aside from that little sticking point, though. I've ordered from Sonlight and found their customer service to be *amazing.* Maybe a strange aside... I use Bob Jones stuff and find feedback forms on EVERYTHING. Then when I send these in, I get personally typed out letters back addressing my specific feedback points. I've even gotten phone calls about this or that. I think they must know that I buy everything down to the recommended optional plastic apple or specific size paper clip, etc. for every lesson, and they want to keep me very happy.

That, or they're just very nice to everyone.

Sonlight, if you order stuff from them, wants to make sure that you're GOING to be happy with your stuff before you get it. There are little advisors, programs to help you choose stuff you want, forums so you can get everyone's opinion on stuff that they say you don't want but you know you really do, and etc.

But I think the most cost-effective thing is the thing you're going to use and enjoy the most. What's cost-effective for you might not be for me. I think so much depends on the individual family and what it's looking for. What are some of the things that make you happy in an educational program or curriculum? Hey, I include public school in on that. Comment section's open. :]

10 comments:

  1. Hmm, I guess I never considered that homeschoolers can't be sent home for bad behavior! I guess I kinda assumed that homeschooled kids are perfectly behaved and always hungry for more knowledge...which shows how much I know about (1) homeschooling and (2) kids.

    Allison

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  2. Hm, well I've ordered extra~curricula curricula for this year & am excitedly awaiting it. I'd better be because I can assure you Ditz ain't. I always want something but as homeschoolers there's just so much good stuff to choose it gets hard to decide what I actually want. Thankfully Sonlight has lots & lots of reading books. Reading is good so that's an easy one. :)

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  3. The thing about King David...funny! And true!!

    You already know that I haven't gotten into the thick of it with homeschool yet. The littles are still too little. I was just struck by the universal cry of "more money for the kids." Our district is facing a severe budget crisis, and it's not because somebody stole the money, either. It's loss of tax revenue coupled with declining enrollment. I wonder why enrollment is declining.

    Anyway, my kids' middle school was featured on the NBC nightly news a couple of months back because the fine arts' department (music and stuff) was in grave danger. Some Hollywood guy (I believe it was author Stephen King) gave their school $150,000 to support the music and art department. Go figure!

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  4. You had me in giggles about the "Bathsheba" thing. LOL. Totally get what you are saying. Ha ha!

    About what we were talking about. Before this study, I was able to witness to a doctor before I came in here and I only had like 5 minutes. I felt like something tugging at my heart that he was searching for something. He told me he is a pastor's kid and his mom is praying fo him. I knew that God had already been dealing with him before I did. I think that is what gave the open door. Then this guy, at the study, I was talking with. You are right. We have time to get to know one another. Watch each other and it does give open doors. When people are in a rush, they tend to brush you off. I haven't led anyone to Christ in a while also. I long to see this kind of response in people.

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  5. "What's cost-effective for you might not be for me."

    ! You're a relativist, Mrs. C [laughing].

    You are absolutely right. The most cost-effective option will be the one that works for you and your children... which is why, as you pointed out, Sonlight wants to make sure Sonlight is right for you and your children [smile].

    Great response to my rant. I giggled the whole way through. [smile]

    ~Luke

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  6. A, other people's children are perfectly behaved homeschoolers who diagram sentences for fun. Mine do odd things, which I guess is a post in itself I should do later. :]

    Ganeida, I'd be interested to learn more about how you choose your curricula b/c it seems so tailored to Ditz.

    Terry, Stephen King actually filmed a movie at our Junior High about people coming back from the grave or something. There are autographed copies of his books in the library. I hadn't thought to hit him up for some money LOL! We actually seriously thought about buying the house across the street but chickened at the last minute when the ex-husband/seller showed and told us about stuff buried under the house, how it used to be condemned, etc. etc.

    Virginia, I am very excited about your opportunities! PLUS, getting to see you say "hi" to me this week is fun.

    And Luke. How can I defend myself against this spurious charge? LOL

    Actually, I'd have probably been for a more one size fits all education before I had children with autism and/or learning disabilities. I guess there are things you can be a relativist on, and things you probably shouldn't.

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  7. Hm, your blog seems to be eating my comments ~ don't you feed the poor thing? lol.Thats twice this week.

    Trying again:

    I choose curriculum the same way as everyone else: trial & error! However I do worse in my weak areas [math & science] because I can't tell the good from the bad from the indifferent. My big boo~boo last year was the Apologia science. It impressed *me* but was a terrible fit for Ditz. *sigh*

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  8. oh, Ganeida, you're just like me. But I hate making expensive mistakes.

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  9. Ooooh, goody! Curriculum talk! (You know you're a homeschooler when .... lol)

    I totally agree with whomever said that it's relative because it absolutely is. I won't kick myself over a $30 mistake, but someone else might. I would absolutely kick myself over a $300 mistake, and another person might be fine with it.

    As for our schooling, the children have a lot of input in what to get. I let them look through the books and help decide whether it's something to try or not. Spyder (age 10) has more input than Sass (age 6) but they are both encouraged to be part of the decision-making process.

    Spyder prefers programs that are open-ended and encourage exploration; lots of reading a plus. Sass prefers ones that are linear and visual.

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  10. Noodle, I'm just now putting some dots together. Do you realize you made a big admission when you used the word "mistake?" How often do the public schools scrap a curriculum that isn't working and say they made a mistake??

    No, they'll train teachers on how to "effectively implement" said curriculum or "enhance" said curriculum. It's not a mistake. Nope.

    They'll just change the curriculum in several years, perhaps, because of "developing research" or an "improved product."

    :]

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)