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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ninja Shopping: Homeschooling Edition

I was going to do a quick Facebook post, but then I realized it's a lot of information and since I have like 3 readers that need to know this information, a blog post it is ;)

So, before I get started I would like to assure you, I am not on a bender and I didn't just win the lottery or something. Yes, I am talking about shopping a lot, but that's because this is the time of year we experience the greatest money hemorrhage.  School stuff buying.  So I am getting a lot of packages and my mailman probably hates me and I am overwhelmed trying to keep it all organized because I shop in a zillion different places.  You will find me with multiple tabs open...Amazon, Ebay, Rainbow Resource, Vegsource...comparing prices anally.  If I can get something for $1 less, I'll do it.  If I can buy an ecode for a place I am purchasing stuff from, I'll do it and I make myself crazy, but I am crazy already so what's a little more?  That's like being a little bit MORE pregnant...right?

Today, my main focus has been on gathering materials for hands on stuff for the younger kids.  So I've been looking all around at monthly subscription clubs, craft clubs, book clubs, that kind of thing.  I've signed up for like five I think and here's why...

Most of these have offers where your first kit is either free (just pay shipping) OR it's greatly reduced.  They count on you either loving it and staying with it, or forgetting to cancel before the second shipment and that's fine...they can catch people in that net if they want...but not me :)  I have a system.

Number one, I will be putting up these "monthly" boxes and only pulling out one at a time, even though they will most likely arrive in quick succession, so I'll have several different kits to do with the littles for the first part of my homeschooling year.  Secondly, the kits, at full price, aren't something I'd pay for because you aren't just paying for the STUFF, but the work involved in assembling it.  That means your first kit or box really isn't going to cost any more than if you had purchased the items piece meal and made a kit yourself.  My thing is, getting these different boxes will give me inspiration to create my own later on.  I will even reuse the boxes if possible and I'll be able to asses the hits and misses without having to spend a whole lot of my OWN time doing so.

Now, in order to keep track of what I've ordered, I have created a special folder in my email for "Homeschool Trial Stuff.'  I put the welcome emails in there immediately so they aren't lost among the clutter of my inbox and the plan is to go in and cancel as soon as the first box arrives . (Unless it's absolutely stellar and is worth the cost.  I will weight the time it would take me to create something similar and see if it's something I'd be better off just having sent every month.  I do plan on doing ONE box per month right now, for Mallory and Noah's school time.  Once Roo gets a bit older and less needy, my plan is to DIY this a little more.  Right now, my brain space for being creative is quite limited and I'm not above getting help where I need it)

So the blog that has the best breakdown of monthly kits is This blog  She has reviews of about every single box out there, plus any promo codes that will make the boxes cheaper.  HOWEVER, if you don't see a code on her site, don't assume there isn't one out there.  Remember, ninja shoppers never, ever, ever see a spot for a promo code and leave it blank.  ALWAYS search for a promo code.  The other day I was bummed that one on a site had expired, did a quick google search and found out the current promo code was better than the one I had missed!!  Score!

I also found a monthly trial through Highlights kids for Eli. It's called Top Secret Adventures and it was like $3 shipping to try it out.  We'll see.  It was something that looked cool, so I decided $3 for a whole kit of fun stuff was well worth it.

As far as all the other homeschool materials I'm getting this year, I always check between Amazon (we have prime, so shipping is fast and free), Ebay (if Ebay has it for less, including shipping, I'll go with them) and Rainbow Resouce (they have a bargain center for books that are "damaged" for significantly less than retail.  I've seriously got a book with a bent corner before...big deal right?  Once they are here for five seconds, all the corners are bent so this is a non-issue.  Great way to get quality curriculum for super cheap!) and then www.vegsource.com/homeschool.  This website is an old school forum, but I've purchased off there many times without issue.  Besides, if you use Paypal, you are protected for the most part.

Later on this week, I'll be going to Goodbooks (Goodwill, Barnes and Noble style) to look for some fill in books and just to have the fun of looking through the hoards of books they have.

I'm still on the hunt for other coolish things to add in, especially for my little hands-on learners.  Anyone out there care to share ideas with me??

(P.S. Kelli, I know you're reading this.  I got a Montessori book too!! It's on the way!!)


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