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Another "Help Me Spend Money" Thread

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My kids have been accepted to a charter that provides funds for curricula and educational activities-$2500 total for three kids.  I am used to reusing everything for my younger kids and hunting for deals on used curriculum in advance, so I actually already have quite a bit of what I need for next year.  After making a list of everything my kids might possibly get to by the end of the school year (including two levels of Beast Academy, Caesar's English, AAR and a number of fun things I had looked at and decided against because of cost) and also the cost for my kids' music lessons for ten months (assuming piano teacher is willing to become a vendor; violin teacher is much more flexible), there is still $700 more to spend.  I get the impression from the wording on their website that they will not cover instruments or field trips.  I am trying to get a hold of them to ask for sure, but apparently they are super busy this time of year.  Keeping in mind that we live in the middle of nowhere with very little in the way of activities or classes for kids available, no museums or anything like that, what would you spend the money on?  Here are some ideas I was considering:


-soccer in the fall

-mystery science

-audible membership

-language convo foreign language tutoring

-nice art supplies


If they will pay for it (but I doubt they will):

-nice next size violin for dd6

-visit to wild animal safari park that is the closest thing to a zoo in less than 6 hours of driving (they have no family memberships)

-go to see a Shakespeare play--this would mean a 4 hour drive each way, but we could work it out for one day.  I really wanted to take my girls to one this year to go along with our history study, but there was no way we could afford it and the curriculum we needed, too.

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Is Home Science Tools a vendor?  Poke around on HST for projects that align with your curriculum or just things you want to do for fun.  Our charter approved American Girl for items that weren't toys, and they have a lot of books and crafts.  For high quality art supplied, check out Dick Blick, which was also approved by my charter.  

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It takes some time to think of things to use Charter funds on, but once you start mking a list it's hard to stop lol. Keep in mind that most charter funds are split into two drops, one in late summer early fall, and one at the new semester. I'm spring, I always try to buy for the upcoming year. Keep in mind that some charters require you to return things that they consider "non consumable", that's different for each school. I don't think I've ever heard of a charter school that did not allow you to use funds for field trips. We bought;


huge set of pentel pens

huge set of really good colored pencils and the sharpener

Craft kits

Science kits

Tinker crate subscription

Books on CD


Science journals

Learning games (our charter requires games to be approved, but I found that most of the games in the timber doodle catalog were already approved)

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You can buy ahead for some workbooks like Writing Strands, building up the definitive library, LOL.


Rainbow Resources has tons of art supplies that you could make into one big order--linoleum blocks, inks, papers of various types, really good oil pastels and colored pencils, etc.  These are particularly good because they are consumable.  They also have great educational games that you can use year after year.


"Key To" books can be helpful supplements.


Science hands on materials would be good--those viewable planter tubes, for instance, or chemistry sets (full of consumables!), or Snap Circuits (usable for several years), or those archeology sets where you chip away the 'sandstone' and turn up artifacts.



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I try to use our charter funds on consumables and classes. This year DS wanted to drop martial arts so I had to spend hundreds of dollars by the end of the year or they'd be gone. Buy art and science kits. I not only bought the kit that went with RSO but lots of fun add ons, like rock and crystal kits. With our charter a rock kit from Home Science Tools would need to be kept intact and eventually returned but a dig your own kit doesn't have to be returned. Nor does a split your own geode. Artistic Pursuits is great and has its own supply kit. There are lots of fun add ons for history, like digging for fossils. Mummy kits. Make your own chocolate. Coloring books and paper dolls. Figure out what they will be studying and then buy a bunch of fun supplements at Rainbow. DS hated botany and rocks when we did ES Intro to Science but now he's excited to get back to those units because he knows we have rock kits waiting and grow your own plant kits on the shelf. English Lessons Through Literature just went through an overhaul to become secular so you could buy the TM and the workbook. Song School CDs.

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