Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Chances

It's that time of year! The time of the school year when the current year's courses are winding down (thank goodness!) and we (or, more honestly, I) are looking forward to the wonderful new things we will learn next school year!

I love planning our school years. Everything seems to fresh, exciting, intriguing! I know the materials I choose will be perfect, and the kids and I will enjoy our learning adventure. And, in my defense, I mostly have picked stuff that we ended up liking, and, though it is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows around here, our school days are mostly pretty fine.

Aside from a few questions, next year's planning  is mostly done, as far as what subjects we'll cover and what materials we'll use. I have the Next Things lined up for math, science, grammar, and Latin, and I have some ideas about writing, art, and logic/rhetoric. The most exciting thing -- history/literature -- is all beautifully laid out for me in Year One of Tapestry of Grace, and I am so looking forward to getting back to ancient history! I haven't mentioned our history studies in a while here, and it is mostly because I've found recent history (as in, the history of the past fifty years) to be depressing and uninteresting. I was there for most of it, and it mostly just doesn't form into nice, neat stories where you can see How It All Came Out. I guess I like my history to wrap itself up a bit more neatly.

Anyway, we'll be studying the Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks, Romans, etc., and I can hardly wait!
But, having found a plan, the slightly trickier part is Gathering the Materials. Which brings us to the title. Used books. Tapestry of Grace requires a Lot of books. Which is Good! We like books. Studying history (and reading literature) from lots of different books lets you see things from lots of points of view! So, this is the time of year when I begin trolling Amazon for gently used books at bargain basement prices. Which turns out to be a bit of an art, in and of itself! Amazon lets sellers describe the condition of their books, but one seller's "very good" condition may mean "never read," while another's "very good" may mean that the entire text was highlighted and heavily annotated, but the cover is still attached. It is sometimes hard to tell. But I get so excited when I get an expensive book we really needed for a song, and it turns out to be in great shape!

We were up at church all this afternoon and evening (helping put on a Dinner for the Ladies, which was a fundraiser for the Maine trip. It was lots of fun and made quite a bit of money, but I julienne cut nine pounds of carrots and my wrist may never be the same!) and when we got home these lovely "new" books were waiting!

The geometry book was half the list price on Amazon, and appears to be in perfect shape. The Early Times in Ancient Egypt is an older edition than Tapestry references, but I think it will work fine, and it is clean. Ancient India was, again, half the new price, and looks great. But Aeschylus I made me laugh. I got an Aeschylus last week, and, though it had been described as in "new" condition, it was heavily annotated. In pen. Most of the sellers on Amazon are very nice about replacing/refunding books that disappoint, and this seller was no exception. He refunded my money (1 cent, plus $3.99 shipping) and said to keep the book. While I wouldn't hand Travis such a heavily marked up book (though, as Ed pointed out, it might have been marked by a Really Smart Person, like when Harry Potter gets Severus Snape's old Potions book), a friend in co-op is less fussy, so I can pass it along to her. Anyway..... the thing that made me laugh was that this Aeschylus too, is annotated. But this one is in pencil, and I'm good with an eraser. Still, on the whole, I think I came out well this time!

1 comment:

Dy said...

Hee! I love the new books, too. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on TOG. We've been using Omnibus. I like it - a lot - but James is not embracing it with the enthusiasm I'd hoped. :aherm: He does the work, he writes the papers, he goes off to read more Father Brown. So I guess it could be worse, but I'm always on the lookout for that elusive spark-kindling resource...