How to Spend Home School Dollars~


On Hearth Keepers today someone asked what we’d spend our money on if we received a ‘bonus’ of a substantial amount to be spent on anything for our ‘little school’.

Some mentioned series of books, some scientific supplies like microscopes and telescopes, while others suggested passes to museums, zoos, and other educational places.  One woman wisely suggested that the money first be spent to make schooling easy.  Furniture, storage, decoration… nothing to be overlooked.

This took my own mind in a direction that I haven’t been able to silence so I thought I’d write it out in order to organize my thoughts and share them in the hopes they encourage someone else.  My response began with a series of questions so I’ve bolded the questions I suggested she ask herself and then answer. 

Have you sat down and made a list of every item of curriculum that you own and when you plan to use it?    The task could take a very long time but it’s worth every minute.  When my mind first went down this road the first thing I realized was that I have a curriculum, The Legacy of Liberty, that while I think it a fine curriculum and would love to use it to its fullest capacity, I won’t.  I will probably allow someone else to purchase it from me who will use it.  They’ll save a significant amount of money and I’ll save a significant amount of bookshelf space.  I have a feeling I’ll find many more things I’ve purchased that I now realize I will never use no matter how much I like the item.

Have you sat down and made a list of every item you WANT to own and when you would plan to use it?    This is a more fun proposition than the last and yet it is still a bit discouraging.  There are so many things I’ve always wanted to use in our homeschool but I know that without a plan as to when/where/how they’re used… and a plan I can actually stick to, what is the point in buying most of it.  I admit having things without a plan WILL get used.  Children are nortorious for picking up this book or that and reading anything so having something is kind of necessary!

Have you sat down and made a list of every item that doesn’t ‘have a home’ and decided where you should keep it?   This is another very unpleasant task.  Can you imagine the pages of colums of items that you’d have to record if you walked through the house every day for a week and recorded the items that were not in their home?  Some people are natural organizers and never have anything out of place.  Some of us don’t operate as neatly as others and if the home isn’t logical, it isn’t used. 

My mother is one of those highly consistent people who could decide to keep her knitting bag 50 feet from the back door, in a shed, on the top shelf, to the left, behind the untouched paint cans.  She would go out every morning, get it, knit for a while, put it back, go back out later, get it, put it back, and even at midnight on a cold winter night, she’d trudge out there and put it ‘away’ because that is where it goes!   Me, I’d never put it away.  If I did, it’d be ages before I took it out.

So, I need to do it.  There are some things I do NOT consistently put away.  They need homes.  There are other things that I don’t like WHERE they are.  They need new homes.  I have storage that is unused.  I need to find things that are stored elsewhere that could go into these lesser used places.

Have you sat down and made a list of EVERY item that you need to properly store, care for, and utilize your possessions?    One thing that drives me batty is the total mess created by all the miscellaneous junk necessary for the kids’ paper routes.  There are large paper bags, and small ones.  Rubber bands, gloves, scarves, plastic rain bags, you name it, they have it.  And it’s a mess every night all over the living room (our dining) table.   So, I need some place to store this mess.  There are other areas.  Projects need a place to be stored as I plan them and work on them.

Have you sat down and written up your dream life?   I’ve written down goals, but not dreams.  I need to do this.  How often do we assume our dreams are unrealistic or impossible when, in fact, they are within our grasp if we know how to seek them!

Have you sat down and compared your dream life to those other lists and made decisions on how to make it happen?   Well, obviously I haven’t.  However, I intend to.  Actually, these last two questions maybe should be the first two.  If you acknowledge the dream, plan for it to become reality, then you will be able to assess what items you need, have, want, and how to properly store and use them.

I’m excited.  I see a new page in our lives.  Aren’t those new pages thrilling!

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