It’s been a long time since I went to a used curriculum sale. When we lived in Florida, we lived a good distance away from where the sales were held, so I depended on the internet and the occasional hour’s travel (one way) to a used curriculum store. This time, it was just a 20 minute drive, and I pounced on the chance!
I would love to buy all my curriculum new. Not because I’m a snob, but because I enjoy supporting things I believe in. If I buy new, it goes to support those who made the curriculum. If I buy used, it doesn’t. Unfortunately, our available $$$ doesn’t allow me to buy everything new.
I do occasionally buy new, because some of the curriculum I use retains its value very well. At best, I’ll pay close to new prices for used curriculum if I buy it used, and sometimes it will go for the same price as new. These things I tend to buy new, since I would save hardly anything buying it used, and I can support some of my favorite curriculum producers. Somebody’s got to buy it new, or they’ll go out of business, right?
It reminds me of a lady Shay knew once upon a time. She bought a used Cadillac at a dealer for $10,000. She drove the car for 3 years. When she went to trade it in on another car, she got $10,000 for it. Other than gas and maintenance, she drove the car for free for 3 years. That’s how well a Cadillac can hold its value. Some of this curriculum we homeschoolers have available to us does just as well.
So Shay, the kids, and I got out of the house this past Saturday morning, and stopped at the nearby gas station. There, we loaded up on mini donuts and chocolate milk, and Shay took out $100 cash at the ATM. Not that I really expected to buy that much, but I wanted to have the option to. We were on our way.
It was a 3-hour sale held in the gym of a local church, and it was packed! We hit the ground running, with the kids going off together, and Shay and I going different ways. I bought two books almost immediately. It didn’t take long for ILoveBunnies to start calling me, “Mom! Come look at this!” “Mom! We’re over here! Come see this!” Shay would search me out, “Hey, you might want to go look at this chemistry set at that table over there.” I bounced through that room like a pinball, and I learned to take advantage of my opportunities to look at things I wanted to look at. ILoveBunnies must have called me a dozen times.
We spent the $100, and I wrote a $50 check to a lady who graciously agreed to take it. Shay had another little bit in his wallet, and we spent most of that, as well, for a total of about $163.
What did I buy? I thought you’d never ask.
This is an Expedition! dinosaur archaeology kit of a T-Rex skull. The box was already historybythe time I started taking pictures. A similar kit can be seen at Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Kristal-Educational-897-Expedition-Triceratops/dp/B001A41FF4/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1308721556&sr=8-3
(The caption thing quit working on this picture when I tried to modify it. I don’t know why.)
A dynamo torch kit. Shay and Bunny-Wan Kenobi both love building stuff like this.
I took a chance on this microscope, since our digital one handed down to us by a friend had finally given up the ghost. For $15, I figured it was worth the risk. Now that I've looked at the reviews on it, it could go either way. People have trouble with it, or they don't, it's about evenly split. We'll see.
Build your own covered wagon model! Shay pounced on this for $1. He loves building models, and has collected a number of them so he'll have something to occupy his mind should times really get bad.
Science supplies! I paid $20 for the chemistry set at left, and $5 for the dissection kit at right. The chemistry set has two different glass beakers, three glass test tubes, two plastic graduated cylinders, a glass eyedropper and a couple of glass pipets, a test tube stand, pH papers, gloves, a glass thermometer, an alcohol burner, plastic tubing, a glass Erlenmeyer flask, and probably a few other things that aren't coming to mind. I got a glass graduated cylinder off of a free table, so I put it in there, too. The lady selling the set had done chemistry with some other families, so a couple of things were missing, and a couple of other things were added. All in all, $40 worth for $20. I stressed the glass pieces, because if those had not been glass, I would not have bought the set. The dissection pad and tools would be about $15 new.
Eyewitness books! I paid only $1 apiece for these, and they sell for $15-20 each!
Math-U-See is one of the curricula that holds its value very well. This is a $40 set, and I could expect to pay nearly that for it used, often. I bought this for $15. Now I just need the student workbook and tests, which I likely will buy new for $25. Math-U-See may not be the least expensive option out there, but it has really helped ILoveBunnies. She started with A Beka, then I tried Alpha Omega's Switched-On Schoolhouse, but she couldn't get the math. Math-U-See uses manipulatives (not the only curriculum that does) and a good, logical progression to make somewhat abstract things concrete and understandable. You can see what the numbers are and what they are doing. You can see why they work the way they work. I bought some of the old Math-U-See curriculum to start with for ILoveBunnies, and I took her all the way back to addition. We started over, and have been progressing at an accelerated pace. When we finished that old book, I bought Gamma for her, from the new curriculum. They had taken the whole curriculum and rewritten it all at once, for a smoother, more integrated approach with better practice sheets (the original curriculum is still in use by many, and is more than adequate). This time around, she's getting it. She doesn't like math, but she does understand it. I got this Beta book and DVD for Buny-Wan Kenobi, who has known nothing but Math-U-See. He loves math.
I've heard great things about Spelling Power, but didn't expect to find it at the sale! This book is the previous version, which I can still buy new for $45, or used for various prices, in various conditions. The new edition is $65. The advantage to this is that you only need the one book for all your kids, for all grades, for all time, as long as you are homeschooling. I got this book for $8. It had fallen apart and been rebound with a coil, which is fine with me. At another table, I found the CD/DVD, which is from the new edition, but which will help me learn how to use it, and provides me with a bunch of printables. I paid $3 for them, and they would have been $15 new.
I was not surprised to see Apologia curriculum there. It is very popular among Christian homeschoolers, and is written by a Christian nuclear chemist, except for the elementary books, which were written by Jeannie Fulbright, and "adopted" by Apologia because they were so excellent and written in a similar style to Wyle. A little more conversational than his, but very similar nonetheless. This set is $85 new, and I could expect to pay nearly that for it used, in good condition.
Another Apologia set that would have been $85 new and almost that used, that I bought for $25.
I had never seen this before, but had been looking for something like it. It looks really interesting!
I got these Saxon math books for free. They had been retired from a Christian school, and most of the books in the stacks were quite tired. I use Saxon math to supplement Math-U-See, when more practice is needed. I also use it on the rare occasions that I need a slightly different approach to a particular subject -- a different way to explain it. I lent a couple of my Saxon books to a friend, though, so I was glad to find these!
It has been my understanding that while Bob Jones University has been slowly going more liberal, that tendency has not shown up in the homeschool curriculum they publish as yet. So when I found this is the free pile, I scooped it up. I don't tend to actually have a Bible curriculum, since, with all our experiences in the church, I don't trust very many people to teach the Bible to me, because most of them don't teach it for what it actually says. They have all their preconceived notions that they want to make the Bible fit. So I tend to just read the Bible to my kids and discuss it with them, consulting a concordance, Bible encyclopedia, maps, or commentaries as needed. I knew I would eventually need a course in truth and comparative beliefs for upper high school, though, and that's what this is. We are currently reviewing it, since I was still naturally suspicious, but it looks good so far. Many thanks to my uncle, who is much more knowlegeable than I, for helping review it.
A Beka has been slowly modifying their history books to make them less "offensive" (read: more politically correct). I was very happy to find this old A Beka history book. I bought some other history-related books, too. Here, a biography of Abigail Adams, and books on the Magna Carta (Charta) and the Lewis and Clark expedition.
More history! Usborne books are a lot like the Eyewitness books -- numerous big, colorful pictures, with engaging, yet informative, prose to go along.
A really fun T-Rex book, which takes the dino apart as you flip the pages. A $12 book that we bought for $1. A magic trick for the kids, and science experiment idea books.
A book on grammar, a book on Christian men of science, a reader about Greece, a couple of classic fiction, and an ancient epic.
ILoveBunnies found some beads she likes. She might do what a couple of other girls did, and make jewelry to sell at next year's sale.
A couple of books on purity, a couple of foreign-language word books (the kids were really excited to find the Japanese one. They've been teaching themselves some Japanese. I'm enrolling them in a Japanese course by Mango through the library (free for us). A horse book for ILoveBunnies, and an Iron Man book for Bunny-Wan Kenobi.
Shay also picked up several binders for free, to put his ADA materials in.
After I got it all home, I started looking it up. It turns out that I would have spent $762 to buy all of this new, not including shipping. To buy it used, I still would have spent probably 1/2 – 2/3 that amount, still not including shipping. So, getting it all for $163 is just amazing, and I thank the homeschoolers in our homeschool group for making this possible. All the other attendees probably did about as well as I did, as we all traded our materials with each other. Well, I didn’t sell this time, but I probably will next year.