I buy Zoko's curriculum in advance, very far in advance. AKA, I already have a decent collection of textbooks and other materials for the next 3 or 4 years, theoretically. Although, it turns out, she's currently going through about 1.5-2 years worth of material per year, unless I make her slow down and I really don't feel like telling her she can't do the work. Anyway, I buy the books ahead of time, mostly at one specific used bookstore. For some reason, they manage to even get in the student editions (typically in great condition) for really cheap. They also have 40% off sales a few times a year. During those sales, I make a list of everything I'm misssing for the next few years, and go in and buy anything they have that's on that list. Well, that sale was last month. And, being busy with kids and being sick, and having financial *issues*, I didn't go in. Plus, I have already compiled most of her curriculum for this school year. For those of you who don't know it, she's currently finishing up the 3rd grade curriculum, and will be starting 4th grade shortly. In some subjects, she already has. The point is, I already had stuff compiled and was ready to go, no need to spend more money on books. Right? Not so much.
As I was getting ready to start prepping her Grammar 4 book last night, I realized that converting the Teacher's Edition into a Student Text (the way I had with grade 3), was way beyond the work I had anticipated. The grade 4 material is a lot more complex, and she needs the student text instead. So, I looked that up online to see how much it would set me back (14.75). And, in looking that up, I realized that she also does not have the 4th grade Penmanship book. One of those things I meant to get that I never found and it totally slipped my mind to go back and look for it again. So that's another 10.75. Then there's shipping on top of those. However, if you go to one of their "displays", the shipping fee is waived. This is how I also manage to get her Art books for basically free since I have to buy her Arithmetic books new anyway, and the art books typiclly cost the difference between paying shipping and getting free shipping. A justification? Yes, but it works. At least in my book.
So I look up their next "display" in my area. September 14th. I lucked out, if I hadn't looked until next week it would have been in December, and she'll need them before then. This means that I now (A) feel really dense for not having gone to the 40% off sale at the local bookstore last month; and (B) have one week to go used bookstore shopping and try to find the student editions of those two books before I have to just go in and pay full price. Oh well, it happens. I'm just really glad I noticed this slip-up before next week, when she would have gone without those books until December. She covers both Grammar and Penmanship an average of about 3-4 days a week at this point. It's supposed to be all five days, but they aren't "priority" materials in this house. At least, not at this point in time. They're also personal strong points of hers (when it comes to the workbooks at least), so missing a day or two a week doesn't set her back much.
I have no idea how most other people "homeschool". Besides the blogs and message boards I follow online, I don't know anyone else that does it. The groups here don't particularly like my methodology (as previously discussed), and that's okay with me. Because I do what works for Zoko and me, and I know that doesn't mean it would work for anyone else, or that their methods would work for us. We're okay with that. Meanwhile, if anyone does feel like chatting about these things, go for it. I mean, isn't part of the whole point of homeschooling to "think outside the box" anyway? If not, we'd just be more sheep following the rest of our society flocking in line for a public educational system that is very obviously nothing more than a glorified babysitter, at least around here.