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Eclectic Thoughts from a Homeschool Mom » Oh, how I love used homeschool book sales

Oh, how I love used homeschool book sales

May 5th, 2008

The homeschool, used book sale is coming up this week. It is a sale that I look forward to every year. It is a chance for me to sell lots of homeschool books that we have grown out of. It is also a chance for me to buy books that I need at a fraction of their original cost.

This year, I only need a few items (i.e. Alpha Omega Language Arts T.M., some Sonlinght/Veritas readers, some books on Texas history, and a Heath Algebra T.M.). I am hoping to set up my booth early so I can do some shopping before the doors are opened to the homeschooling community. Last year, I made enough to buy all of our books for this year. I sure hope I can do that again this time around.

The downside to homeschool book sales is the effect it has on your teaching confidence. I don’t know about other homeschoolers, but I tend to doubt the materials I use when I go to sales. I might see a new program and hear how great it is from the seller. I then say to myself: “Maybe this is better then what we use. Hmm…maybe I should buy this and try it too…” That is definitely not a good thing. That is one of the reasons that my school room is FILLED with tons of curriculum that we don’t use. I see something that looks great and I add it to my shelves. Normally, those materials will sit there and collect dust.

Lots of books

I have been going through our school room over the last week. Our living room is full of items that I plan on selling. I really think I am a “curriculum pack rat”. Why do I have four language arts programs? When am I going to use all of these math textbooks? It is time for me to let go and only use what I know works for us. THAT is why being an eclectic homeschooler can be tough.

For me, I only attend used homeschool book sales. That way, I won’t be bombarded by new programs and sales people at the big conferences. I went to the homeschool conferences for one year. I think I walked away with $1K less in our savings account. Thankfully, I have learned over time not to go to them. They are too much of a temptation for me.

With two used book sales coming up and places like Book Mooch & Paperback Swap, I should be able to clear out our school room. That would be so nice.

15 Responses to “Oh, how I love used homeschool book sales”

  1. BayAreaDM Says:

    Texas history? Why?

  2. Shan Says:

    As is the case in most states (if not all), children are required to learn their state history. In Texas, students are required to learn their state history in Grades 4 & 7.

  3. Tony Says:

    Why not? Why bother learning U.S. history then? Why bother with learning any history? Seriously, what can we possibly learn from what a bunch of dead people did?

    Are you saying you didn’t learn California history when you were in elementary school? Just about every state has some sort of state history program. And Texas’ history is about as colorful as it gets. The flags of 6 different nations have flown over this state. It’s the only state that was its own country at one time. In our case, an ancestor of ours died fighting in that war of independence from Mexico.

    Now is where you can go into the old played-out ‘Hurr, Texas sux!’ bit.

  4. Wendy Says:

    I’ve never been to a used homeschooling book sale, but there’s one coming up in my area in June! I’m going to try it and see if can save a few bucks. Homeschooling can be expensive, nice to have the potential out there to save a few dollars. 😉

  5. Shan Says:

    Definitely check out the used book sales. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle. Just like a garage sale, owners will sometimes price items higher then they expect to get. Also, the later in the sale, the better the deals. Best of luck!

  6. BayAreaDM Says:

    You must have read my mind – wrong. I meant state-specific history, not history in general. No, I never learned state-specific history, and rightfully so in my opinion. It is just an area of land – I’d rather learn cool European history, or something more significant like natural history.

  7. Tony Says:

    Why European history? It’s just an area of land. On the other side of the world no less. Why would it be more important that what happened on the piece of land where you currently reside? By that argument then Europeans should not bother with their own history and learn about the U.S. Hint, they do both too.

  8. BayAreaDM Says:

    Well, I would say that European history is a wee bit more important in the great scheme of things than any American state. Call it a hunch. Either way, art history or maybe African history would be more fulfilling. Furthermore, American state history tends to be made up primarily of “rah rah” propaganda.

  9. Tony Says:

    I was close. It’s a ‘Hurr, America sux!’ rant.

    Yes, learning local history is stupid exercise. You can’t learn shit from that.

    I can see how nothing interesting or important to the world ever occurred in any state of the U.S. Everything about American history is ”rah rah’ propaganda’. The U.S. has been nothing but bad for the planet and deserves to be wiped from the Earth. Better?

    So kids shouldn’t learn about local history according to you. Let’s see, you live in the Bay Area of California, correct? Should we not teach kids about what Alcatraz was and why it was a failure. Why are the Presidio and Fort Point there and what they were used for?

    The missions all up and down the state. Where did they come from? Why are they there? Why is that big long street on the peninsula called El Camino Real? Learning about that can teach you about the expansion of the Catholic church and the things they did to the local populations as they worked their way through California and lead to a discussion on religion.

    There’s an old Nike missile base on the Marin headlands. (If you ever get the chance to tour it, do so.) It’s a piece of local history. Teaching the history of that can lead to discussions of the Cold War and the futility of it all. Yeah, you can say, ‘There was this Cold War thing and the U.S. hated the U.S.S.R.‘ or you can take a kid to see how such a vague concept affected people on a local level with the building of missile bases.

    Now I know you understand these few examples. Every state has stuff like this. Learning local history can show how global history affects you.

    I wouldn’t expect a kid to learn every detail about every state but learning about your own area and its history leads to understanding of how things got where they are in the greater scheme of the world.

  10. jjabl Says:

    Actually, Tony and Shannon, Texas is the only state (as far as I am aware) that REQUIRES a student to study STATE history at all. American history, world geography, world history and government and economics are required in all states to graduate, but not state history except in Texas.
    I grew up in Texas and therefore learned TX history. Seemed natural to me. I was surprised to learn that it was not a requirement in all states to learn local and state history.

  11. Shan Says:

    I do remember learning California history when I was living there and in public school. I could swear that California, Texas and Washington required state history. If that is true about other states not requiring students to learn their history, it is a shame. Learning about our state origins and history make us see how far we have come. You can’t build on an idea and improve it if you can’t see where you have been so far.

    As for only learning about classical world history, I think that is just a tiny bit of the whole picture. I think if we only focused on what happened in Europe, we would be missing a bit part of the cultural evolution spectrum. Not educating our children on: North American explorations, formation and independence of our country, Ellis Island, slavery, state rights, the Louisiana Purchase, the Dust Bowl, Westward Expansion, wars we were involved in, Great Depression, creation of national parks, and hundreds more events does the upcoming generations a disservice.

    I find it sad that folks that want to become U.S. citizens know far more about our country history than those that were born here. Our country’s history might not always be “rah-rah”, but it is our history. It has made us the country that we are today. Not passing on our country’s trials and triumphs makes it seem like they never existed. It is like not talking about a deceased grandparent because they don’t have any effect on you today. If it weren’t for them, where would you be today? They are part of your history. They are part of you.

    What our country has experienced is part of us. To not share that with following generations encourages that history to blow away and be forgotten.

  12. BayAreaDM Says:

    Hey, look – more extrapolation. How you can react to a couple sentences with several paragraphs of misdirected ranting? All I am saying is that there should be priorities in teaching history, and a regional focus should not be first on the list. For example, if you have a choice between teaching a child about the Alamo/Alcatraz or the Declaration of Independence/Crusdades, which would you choose? I do not know what kind of uneducated, anti-history wanks you are used to dealing with, but I am not one. I do not need a lecture of the importance of teaching history.

  13. Your Dumb Brother Says:

    1) No we didn’t have to learn state history in school.
    2) My wife is a teacher right now in public school, and I hate to say it, but most public schools now aren’t focussing on history at all given the No Child Left Behind Program’s requirements.
    3) History in general is important, because those who do not study it are doomed to repeat it. That said, I would start big and drill down.
    4) Texas is also the only state in the union that is allowed to leave the union, something texans are quite proud of. Like loads of other things, such as executing the mentally disabled.

    Man that was some wood to throw on the fire. BURN ON!

  14. Shan Says:

    Are you talking about the Oliver David Cruz case? Did you realize that the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to deny Cruz’s request for a reprieve and to deny a separate appeal. That was not Texas. That would be the U.S. government.

    “A median IQ is 100 and an IQ under 70 is considered to be in the mentally retarded range, according to Deborah Spitalnik, chair of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation. Later tests, while Cruz was in prison, showed he had an IQ of 83, Reed said.”

    To diagnose someone as mentally retarded, the person must also demonstrate limitations in their ability to function in everyday life before they are 18 years old, Spitalnik said.

    Cruz blamed alcohol and drugs for the attack that led to his conviction. He said he drank several bottles of liquor and took LSD when he and Jerry Kemplin abducted 24-year-old senior airman Kelly Donovan. Cruz raped her and then stabbed her to death.

    “I made a mistake. I don’t blame nobody. I take full responsibility,” Cruz said in an interview. “There’s nothing I could do or say to bring the person back. There’s nothing I could do or say to her family about how sorry I am.”

    As for history, my husband and I are trying to say that ALL history is important. Yes, start with the big stuff (i.e. Egyptians, Greece, Rome, Mesopotamia, Crusades, Vikings, etc.) However, the fact that history is being kicked to the curb or taught very little is a disservice to future generations. I guess it is going the way of physical education too? Hmmm…seeing the number obese children in our country proves that that is a great idea.

    As I said, we can’t learn and move forward if we don’t know what has already failed.

    Texas IS a proud state. So is New York. So is California. So are the other 47 states. I definitely don’t see what is wrong with being loyal to your home town, your state, or your country.

    I believe that it should be mandatory for students to learn about their state. Who discovered your state? What indigenous people lived there first? How were the state laws written and by whom? What are the state’s natural resources? What famous people came from your state? What does your state import/export? What are the National Parks in your state? There are SO MANY things that children can learn about where they live.

    Just think about this:

    “Although it is true that history needs to be taught in more engaging ways, the basic history knowledge of American students is “pretty poor,” according to Dr. Cathy Gorn, an adjunct professor of history at the University of Maryland.”

    “Anders Henriksson, who teaches a world history survey course (Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia) taken mostly by college freshmen, points out that many students lack the most basic historical and geographical background. At the beginning of a recent term, he says, he distributed a series of basic history and geography questions to 80 of his students. The majority did not know that Dublin is in Ireland. “Either they never absorbed what they were taught, or they were never exposed to it,” Henriksson said.” (Author of Ignorance is Blitz, Mangled Moments in History from Actual College Students)


    U.S. Geographic Illiteracy Statistics
    U.S. Participants Ages 18 to 24 (2002)

    U.S. Statistic Highlights
    89% of Americans could locate the United States on a map whereas 95% of the French could locate the United States. It’s embarrassing that roughly 1 in 10 Americans could NOT find their own country on a map.

    * 49% of Americans could not find New York State on a map
    * 51% could not locate Pennsylvania
    * 69% could not find Massachusetts

    World Statistic Highlights

    * 30% could not locate the Pacific Ocean
    * 56% could not locate India
    * 63% of Americans could not find England on a map.
    * 93% of Swedes could find the United States.
    * Only 16% of Americans could find Sweden
    * It’s embarrassing to note that 85% of Americans, before the War with Iraq, could not locate Iraq on a map.
    * Ironically, 34% of Americans knew the small island in the South Pacific where the one of the “Survivor” shows was filmed.

    Out of nine countries tested, the U.S. came in eighth place. Here are the countries in order of their performance (best to worst):

    1. Sweden
    2. Germany
    3. Italy
    4. France
    5. Japan
    6. Great Britain
    7. Canada
    8. United States
    9. Mexico

    By reading what professors are seeing in college, I think I will keep teaching local, state, and world. Oh yeah, I think geography might be a bit important too.

    Just my .02,

  15. BayAreaDM Says:

    By the way, our blog is back up. Feel free to check it out and leave your .02…


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