". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Convention Purchases

The older I get, the better I understand the fixed pie that is our household budget. Money spent on one thing means money not spent on something else. So every purchase is carefully weighed against the things that will have to wait should I buy the thing of the moment.

It wasn't always this way. It's not that we had more money in the past . . . well, okay, maybe relatively speaking we did have a little more . . . but really, we just thought we had more and spent accordingly. The same is true for homeschooling materials. In the early days I spent much more than I do now, in part because I was building a library, but also due to my more careless spending habits. No more.

I didn't intend to buy anything at the convention, just to browse. The vendor hall is a once-a-year opportunity to put my hands on books and materials that I can usually only try to imagine from the descriptions in the curriculum catalogs. Some of them I am already familiar with, such as the math and science texts that we use. With those it's just a matter of buying the next book in the series. But with several other subjects there are decisions to be made about which text we will be using next year. And getting to actually see and hold and smell those books is an invaluable aid to making those decisions. So my plan was to browse and take notes so that come August I would be able to place a more informed order for the coming school year.

I mostly kept to that plan. But I did make a couple of purchases. One was a book that I have been wanting to read for years now but have never gotten around to: How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer. It was on a sale table, priced at only $11.99 ($1.50 less than Amazon's price). It has been added to my summer reading list (along with The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, the first chapter of which I read in the bookstore while accompanying my daughter to an author book signing and which sucked me in so completely that I think I will actually read a novel for the first time in several years).

The second purchase required a day of reflecting/sleeping on it before I decided to buy. I have been looking for a text for my next homeschool literature class, in which I plan to focus on masterpieces of world literature. I want to take a chronological approach and have been seeking an anthology or guide that does so, but all of the big name homeschool publishers (A Beka, BJU, etc.) seem to organize their world literature texts thematically rather than historically. But at the same table where I bought the Schaeffer book I stumbled upon this series by James Stobaugh. I think I have heard of it before but don't recall ever seeing it. The approach is chronological and the world view Christian. And the price for the student text was $10 below list! Upon coming to the conclusion that the TE (teacher edition) didn't contain much more than the SE (student edition) beyond scheduling (which I can never follow even if I try) and a DVD with additional author commentary (something I know we would never get around to watching, even if we wanted to), I decided to simply buy the student text (and the price was so low I bought the American and British lit ones, too). I will use it for reference and background information and then in typical fashion will put together my own lessons using not only it but whatever else I can find lying around my house. So now I have a plan for literature! (For anyone who might be interested, you should know that this book is not an anthology but a guide to reading--while there are some excerpts, the actual texts will have to be purchased separately or checked out from the library. Because I like for my students to have their own texts to underline and take marginal notes in, I will encourage the purchase of inexpensive Dover editions for the reading assignments.)

So, literature, science and math are taken care of. Now, what to do for
history. . . .

1 comment:

Melody said...

High school history? Spielvogel, The Human Odyssey. I can show you on the 4th. Jr high? the Story of the World. Ditto.
I also like SWB's The Story of the Ancient World. For me. :)