Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Affording Our Chosen Curriculum

This is a topic that is in the foremost of many homeschool parents. Just how in the world are we going to afford all this great curriculum we've finally narrowed down and chosen for the upcoming year? I hear it all the time from non-homeschoolers and new homeschoolers, not to mention those that have been homeschooling for a long time.

Some people set a budget and know that they can fit everything within it. Be their budget $100 or $1,000,000 (don't we all wish huh?) they know that x, y, and z will be covered simply because they have faithfully put aside the desired amount of money.

Then there's me. Yup, I have a budget. It's $400 total for the year for three campers. Yeah, I made it within that budget (barely) but not without some help. Do I already have that $400 sitting here ready for me to spend? Nope. Not. At. All.

So, how are we going to get our curriculum in time without having the money at the moment to purchase it? Some of you might say, "Oh, well, you can easily cover that amount in a few weeks/months before the start of the next school year in the fall." And you're really not all that far off. But, it's not an easy amount to cover for us. It's actually about one quarter of our monthly income! When you look at it in that light you can see that it might be a bit troublesome for us.

Here's the thing. We do break it down into smaller chunks. We don't buy everything all at once. And we don't begin all of our subjects at the same time during the year.

There are a few items that Noni (my mother) chooses each year to purchase instead of buying new school clothing for the campers, as she used to do when they were in public school. She finds this far cheaper than buying the clothing and much more full filling as well. For the fall she's purchasing Peanut's math and all of the campers English texts as well as their big books (we use these throughout the entire year, including summer). That's a grand total of $190.82 (before any shipping costs there may be) that we don't have to spend out of our pocket. $60.82 of which was still written into our budget which I now get to take back out.

That means our new grand total is $323.39.

There are three subjects that we will start right away in Sept. Those are: math, English, and science . Those materials will be purchased over the summer a bit at a time until we have them all. This is actually a good portion of our budget. A total of $196.71 will have to be spent over the summer months to have these texts on hand at the beginning of September. So, around $66 a month starting in June has to come out of our monthly income. This isn't horrible. It's entirely do-able as a matter of fact. It just means that some of the small extras that we are able to purchase cannot be done for the next three months (and we've had far worse cuts to our income in recent months than that). 

But, that still leaves the other subjects and roughly $126 dollars worth of materials left to buy. The good news for us is that most of this will be covered by my crochet sales in September and October at our local craft shows! I only need to make a profit of $65 dollars to cover our history (that we start in October) in September. Leaving about the same amount to be covered in my October sales for the subjects that will begin in November (Latin , Health, and Music ). Again, this is far more than a do-able thing considering the profit from these two months is usually above $200 (combined) just from the shows and not any orders I get while I'm there. 

I haven't attended any shows for a couple of years now. Simply selling my items on a as ordered by word of mouth basis. Partly because we'd moved a lot and partly due to our year in the camper while Daddy was so ill. I'm ready and raring to get back to them. It's something I very much enjoy. It's also something that the children get to help me with as two of the campers want to possibly begin selling some of their own creations in the fall and they'll all learn great lessons about the business of small business. They're also able to attend most of the shows with me which is a wonderful thing, and as we're not into our "full force" school year schedule until November their lessons can take place around the shows without any issues.

What that means for all of you who read my blog is that over the summer I'll be posting a whole lot less right here. I have a lot of work to do to get ready for those shows and there's only so many hours in the day! I'll continue to post our weekly wrap up posts and a lot on our Facebook page , but there won't be a whole lot of other types of posts. Between our summer vacations and field trips, my needing to get some craft work done, getting my small business site up (more to come the closer that becomes), and the children doing their summer lessons (read about that next Wednesday!) I'm going to be pretty busy! I'm praying that by September I'll not only have a good stockpile of things to sell but I'll be in a good rhythm where I can once again post frequently here. No, worries for now though, until May 30th posting will go on as it has for most of the year. 

In the world of craft shows things slow down in November only to pick back up for December and slow way down after the first of the year until fall around here. So, I'm praying that I get enough word out that the specialized orders and regular orders continue to pour in on a semi-regular basis year round. What profits that don't get put into our homeschool budget (for the school year 2014-2015) and in new materials will be set aside for the following year's text books and so on and so forth until the end of time (or when all the children are finished schooling whichever comes first ;-) ).

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  1. I like your plan to buy as you go, saving and spending when you can. It sounds like you'll be busy. I'll keep track of you on Facebook and here when you get time to post! Happy crafting to you!

    1. Thanks, Tristan! It's pretty much the only way we can continue and continuing to homeschool is (as far as I'm concerned) our only viable option as I will not place my children back in the public or private school sectors. I am going to be super busy, but we all know the saying about idle hands! :-)

      Glad to know you will continue to track what's going on with us! And thanks ... Now, where did I put that needle? ;-)