Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

alisoncooks

My most expensive curricula this year were busts...

Recommended Posts

I'll be honest...I've had quite a few "busts" over the years. But it's really galling that my biggest busts this year were my priciest curricula. One (which was over $100) has been happily replaced with a <$10 textbook.  The other -- which came in at around $150 -- is still up in the air, but will probably be dropped. (Potential replacements are approximately $40-$100.)

I hate being wrong. I hate even more when the mistake is digital/a subscription, and therefore cannot be sold to recoup costs. :wacko:

What was your priciest bust?

  • Like 1
  • Sad 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we are dropping almost all the Memoria Press stuff we got, but I haven't added it all up. It's too depressing. 

I've had busts with Sonlight and Bookshark...those were very expensive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My most expensive busts aren’t curriculum but music lessons. It is a long road of trial and error for DS13 and close to a thousand dollars spent on those trial and errors. DS12 is a lot more easygoing but still some trial and errors were needed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man, that is not fun ? I always wince for sure at the cost but I also wince at the time wasted planning it out and getting super excited about something. 

I am pretty stubborn so even if something ends up not being great enough to use as is, I will still try to utilize it as a resource or tweak/pull aspects of it into what else I decide to use. 

This year my only partial bust was Bookshark. It was definitely a poor choice for us that I quickly shelved. I say partial as I may pull a few things from it. 

When I first started homeschooling I would say my biggest bust that was horribly expensive was MBTP. Resell of it is not great so no way to even get close to how much it originally costs. I swallowed alot on that one but learned my lesson about trying full boxed curriculum. Love the idea in theory but I am just too picky. I did find I like the lit guides in small doses sprinkled throughout the year but I don't like it as a full curriculum for my kids.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bookshark was a big bust for us this year. I bought it and the books used, but it was still a good chunk of change and the time it took to chase down all the books on eBay, thrift books.com, etc.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, nixpix5 said:

Oh man, that is not fun ? I always wince for sure at the cost but I also wince at the time wasted planning it out and getting super excited about something. 

I am pretty stubborn so even if something ends up not being great enough to use as is, I will still try to utilize it as a resource or tweak/pull aspects of it into what else I decide to use. 

This year my only partial bust was Bookshark. It was definitely a poor choice for us that I quickly shelved. I say partial as I may pull a few things from it. 

When I first started homeschooling I would say my biggest bust that was horribly expensive was MBTP. Resell of it is not great so no way to even get close to how much it originally costs. I swallowed alot on that one but learned my lesson about trying full boxed curriculum. Love the idea in theory but I am just too picky. I did find I like the lit guides in small doses sprinkled throughout the year but I don't like it as a full curriculum for my kids.

 

 

I wonder why MBTP has a lousy resale value?  It's so expensive, and it's physical books so I would expect it to be a popular resale option.    I've ALMOST tried it a few times but I could never get past the price.  I do have one or two of the lit guides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

I wonder why MBTP has a lousy resale value?  It's so expensive, and it's physical books so I would expect it to be a popular resale option.    I've ALMOST tried it a few times but I could never get past the price.  I do have one or two of the lit guides.

If you want to try it (and truly, their lit guides for older grades are great) just watch Ebay for a bit. Don't buy new. You can get a steal there with them. I wish I had just gone to Ebay originally for them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aw, that's a bummer. I had an expensive bust of $600 one year. That still hurts if I start to think about it! I try to remember it's a "sunk cost" and to not look back! Can we really put a price on "teacher education" when it comes to learning what works and what doesn't? LOL! Thankfully over the years, most of my busts were purchased used and able to be resold!

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many expensive busts over the years for me. This year, it was full DL BJU 7 with books for not one but 2 kids. ?

  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you all contacted some of these curriculum companies for returns? I don't know specifics for all of them, but I know MP, for example, will take stuff back w/in 60 days if it doesn't work for your kiddos.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Arcadia said:

My most expensive busts aren’t curriculum but music lessons. It is a long road of trial and error for DS13 and close to a thousand dollars spent on those trial and errors. DS12 is a lot more easygoing but still some trial and errors were needed.

Here too!  Invested in a used piano ($500) because the only instructor we could find refused to teach unless we had a real piano.  She was not a good match for the kids, but we'd signed up for the year, so we stuck it out.  They all ended up hating piano and I ended up with a very large piece of furniture that no one uses.  Lesson fees and piano cost still make me cringe.  Such a waste!  

  • Sad 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, Jess4879 said:

the only instructor we could find refused to teach unless we had a real piano

 

We've lived in areas where the only teachers around had this same policy, and honestly it keeps *so* many kids out of music lessons. We all understand that yes, a piano is superior to a keyboard. However, most of us also live in the real world where investing in a piano when it may or may not work out, for any number of reasons, is just asking for trouble!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've probably got some busts coming, because I've got some new ideas I want to try with ds. And the tricky thing is, I USUALLY do ok if I listen to my gut. It's when I get too in my head or let people mess with my head and tell me what I need that I get messed up. When I just go with my take of how I usually want to use the materials, I can usually get that to work fine. Usually, haha.

Computer stuff is tricky too, because the stuff might be fine in general. It might just be more that it's a new methodology for your kid and you didn't know what would happen. But a $10 correction, that's awesome!

Don't be too hard on yourself about being wrong. It just means you're trying things and working hard. Nobody is perfect. Or, as Cathy Duffy puts it, they were payments in the University of Home Ed, sigh. It's how you get your education.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With shipping to Canada and the exchange rate, I paid nearly $50 for Language Lessons for Today, and today my son asked if we could go back to R&S. The cost isn't terrible, but it bugs me, too. Oh well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My most expensive busts...hmm.

Nancy Larson Science 1-used, but didn't like...at all.

Winter Promise-too much of a mess to even explain ?

Heart of Dakota-Bought 2 full sets and ended up not liking it at all

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My most expensive bust this year was an online course. Dropped after I was able to see the syllabus (I asked beforehand, but the teacher wouldn't let me see it). The assignments had a lot of busywork that wasn't going to work for us. Ate 25% of the price of a year-long online class, even though we dropped after the first class. I was not happy about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SeaConquest said:

My most expensive bust this year was an online course. Dropped after I was able to see the syllabus (I asked beforehand, but the teacher wouldn't let me see it). The assignments had a lot of busywork that wasn't going to work for us. Ate 25% of the price of a year-long online class, even though we dropped after the first class. I was not happy about it.

 

May I ask which one? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/14/2018 at 6:51 AM, Jess4879 said:

Here too!  Invested in a used piano ($500) because the only instructor we could find refused to teach unless we had a real piano.  She was not a good match for the kids, but we'd signed up for the year, so we stuck it out.  They all ended up hating piano and I ended up with a very large piece of furniture that no one uses.  Lesson fees and piano cost still make me cringe.  Such a waste!  

 

My dad started me on piano lessons at a Yamaha music school when I was four. The “classroom” uses electronic keyboards and that was way back in 1977. My parents bought me a Yamaha upright when I was six and I gave that piano away to a senior center/nursing home when I relocated to the states.

My current piano is a used piano bought for me. My husband paid $1,500 for it in 2006 as he asked me to pick the one I liked from a used piano showroom. The used piano dealer is still in business and quite reputable. My kids banged on the piano keys and climbed to the top of the piano as toddlers. My husband is self learning how to play piano, he plays the clarinet. He finds the piano a cheaper instrument to maintain then his clarinet. 

We didn’t face the piano “snobbery” issue with instructors but we did faced the violin/cello/flute “snobbery” issue with a few instructors.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/13/2018 at 4:17 PM, Ktgrok said:

Well, we are dropping almost all the Memoria Press stuff we got, but I haven't added it all up. It's too depressing. 

I've had busts with Sonlight and Bookshark...those were very expensive. 

I'm so sorry that it didn't work out because I think I am one of the people who recommended it.   ?   sniff.  sniff.   We LOVE memoria press and it has been the single best improvement to our homeschool these last few years.   It just goes to show that what works for one family may not always be a good fit for every family.   Again, so sorry it didn't work out!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/13/2018 at 4:17 PM, Ktgrok said:

Well, we are dropping almost all the Memoria Press stuff we got, but I haven't added it all up. It's too depressing. 

I've had busts with Sonlight and Bookshark...those were very expensive. 

Were you using any of the Memoria Press science by chance? If you want to sell I may be interested, assuming I don’t already own it. 

(I hope this type of post is allowed). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

 

May I ask which one? 

 

Yes, we dropped biology with AIM Academy. The input was perfect, but the output had too much busywork. Sacha could have done it (because he is very compliant), but I didn't think he should. So, he is just reading Miller Levine, listening to Great Courses lectures, and doing some hands on stuff with friends. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, countrymum said:

Ktgrok did you drop Notgrass too?

I think so. I still like it, but we are just having a rough year, especially for reading aloud. My 18 month old screams whenever we read to anyone but her. Going to keep it for next year perhaps, and meanwhile going to try Explore the Continents from Catholic Heritage Curriculum. It's for 2nd grade, but I'll add some documentaries or whatever if need be, most people say it's good for up to age 10. More hands on, more fun I'm hoping. We've done american history fairly recently and she was complaining about doing it "again". So we shall see. Maybe I'll switch back ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

It's week 5 and I'm waiting for my THIRD social studies curriculum to arrive. 

Sigh. 

What about just reading books like the Holling C Holling books and incorporate geography and any rabbit trails that come along? (I'm reading them with my 3rd grader and she loves them. We just finished Paddle to the Sea and now we are reading about Cartier's discovery of the St. Lawrence River.)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

What about just reading books like the Holling C Holling books and incorporate geography and any rabbit trails that come along? (I'm reading them with my 3rd grader and she loves them. We just finished Paddle to the Sea and now we are reading about Cartier's discovery of the St. Lawrence River.)

Reading aloud is actually the issue right now. The baby HATES it and my 3rd grader has dyslexia nd some minor auditory issues that make read alouds hard for her. Add in crying baby and it is nearly impossible for her to learn/retain. Next year should be better. For now we are going more project based, graphic based, etc if possible. So the reading aloud will still happen to some extent, but with more hands on or visual stuff to reinforce it for her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Reading aloud is actually the issue right now. The baby HATES it and my 3rd grader has dyslexia nd some minor auditory issues that make read alouds hard for her. Add in crying baby and it is nearly impossible for her to learn/retain. Next year should be better. For now we are going more project based, graphic based, etc if possible. So the reading aloud will still happen to some extent, but with more hands on or visual stuff to reinforce it for her. 

What about grabbing a couple of lit/social studies units from MBTP? They rotate lit and science/lit and social studies. I find them really independent because the child can do the reading and activities typically on their own with some minor direction. The lesson part goes pretty quickly. Just a thought. I have gotten them from Ebay super cheap. I throw in a couple during the year just to provide us a break or freshen things up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, nixpix5 said:

What about grabbing a couple of lit/social studies units from MBTP? They rotate lit and science/lit and social studies. I find them really independent because the child can do the reading and activities typically on their own with some minor direction. The lesson part goes pretty quickly. Just a thought. I have gotten them from Ebay super cheap. I throw in a couple during the year just to provide us a break or freshen things up. 

well I'm hoping what comes in the mail today will work, lol. And she's dyslexic, so really can't read lessons independently at this point. But I'll keep it in mind. 

Honestly, if this doesn't work out we will go to documentaries only for the rest of the year. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Reading aloud is actually the issue right now. The baby HATES it and my 3rd grader has dyslexia nd some minor auditory issues that make read alouds hard for her. Add in crying baby and it is nearly impossible for her to learn/retain. Next year should be better. For now we are going more project based, graphic based, etc if possible. So the reading aloud will still happen to some extent, but with more hands on or visual stuff to reinforce it for her. 

If you have never seen the Holling C Holling books, you might like them even with the issues stated above.  The chpts are a single page with a large picture on the opposing page.  That is all we read in a single day.  We read that page and then the next day we do activities that I come up with based on the previous day's reading.  For example, we might map, or watch a video about lift locks, or a video about logging, etc.  There is a ton of info crammed into a page but it isn't noticeable in the story.  I flesh it out so that it is really a great learning experience but not like reading a book.

ETA: here is an example but it is missing the opposing picture page. https://books.google.com/books/about/Paddle_to_the_Sea.html?id=Fs4pxmzBkfMC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

I think so. I still like it, but we are just having a rough year, especially for reading aloud. My 18 month old screams whenever we read to anyone but her. Going to keep it for next year perhaps, and meanwhile going to try Explore the Continents from Catholic Heritage Curriculum. It's for 2nd grade, but I'll add some documentaries or whatever if need be, most people say it's good for up to age 10. More hands on, more fun I'm hoping. We've done american history fairly recently and she was complaining about doing it "again". So we shall see. Maybe I'll switch back ?

Can you read the big kid stuff directly to her with the other kids there? I'm often teaching the baby fractions or having him recite poetry because it keeps him happy during school. Vowel only poetry is quite cute.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Logic of English, which initially had a promising start for us last spring, has turned into a big flop. The cursive part didn't click with them either, so switched to HWoT cursive (which has worked beautifully, thank the Lord.) I'm not even sure what it is about LoE, but It feels choppy and disjointed. They liked the kinesthetic part, but that was about it.  I really do wish I'd gone with Abeka instead..........I'm debating on whether or not to put it up for sale now or hold on to it through December "just in case". I've been trying to make some use of the worksheets with dd, since we already cracked into them and might as well finish what we can out of that workbook. Live and learn. I guess it could've been worse, but still was a disappointment. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Slache said:

Can you read the big kid stuff directly to her with the other kids there? I'm often teaching the baby fractions or having him recite poetry because it keeps him happy during school. Vowel only poetry is quite cute.

I tried, but she wants the pages turned quickly, like in her board books, so it doesn't work. She's a poop head. Or feral, as my husband called her tonight, lol. 

She's my redhead, if that means anything to you ?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

It's week 5 and I'm waiting for my THIRD social studies curriculum to arrive. 

Sigh. 

Would you mind sharing which ones they are?  I seem to be on a constant search for social studies curriculum

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

It's week 5 and I'm waiting for my THIRD social studies curriculum to arrive. 

Sigh. 

Bummer. 

Notgrass AtB was one of my busts I was posting about...but I don't have a screaming toddler to blame. I wish I'd bought it directly from the publisher; they have a great return policy. Alas, I bought it from CBD (because I had other things to get). Bah. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, SereneHome said:

Would you mind sharing which ones they are?  I seem to be on a constant search for social studies curriculum

1st - Memoria Press Simply Classical American History Read Alouds. Was very disappointed. The books we started with were old, and had an old fashioned "the explorers were great people who never did anything bad to the native people" attitude. And it was SO much reading aloud. Like, 35 pages a day. 

2. Notgrass Our Star Spangled Story - Really do like this, and plan to keep it and use it at some point. Maybe next year, or maybe will alternate it with the new one, a week or day or even semester at a time or something. It really is a good program. We are just looking for a bit more hands on. And my youngest is too young for it yet, to get much out of it. Next year may work better, when he's 1st grade and she's 4th. (it's for 1-4th grades). I also think that someone could EASILY make this into a two year program, adding in whatever living books you wanted, extra projects, crafts, etc. It does have hands on ideas in every lesson - like play "museum" or build pottery in the style of the ancient Puebloans, but you could add in a lot more. Oh, and the timeline is awesome. I really may try to stick with it, and do it 2 days a week and the new one 2 days a week, and take 2 years, or something. 

3. Catholic Heritage Curriculum - Explore the Continents. this is for 2nd grade on their plans but can be used up to age 10 supposedly. Very open ended, lots of research, hands on, and you produce a poster each time you study a continent. I think she'll like that, she's my artist. 

We really like both of the last two, and I think we are going to combine them...kind of along the lines of how Charlotte Mason curriculums tend to have an American history and a world history thread going at the same time. Molly says she likes the American history but gets bored doing it every day, so I think we will try to do it 2-3 days a week on the days we can time it for when the baby is napping. and do the CHC Continents stuff on the other days. 

I'm also going to give myself permission to take as long as it takes, so we can stop to learn "extra" stuff with rabbit trails, etc rather than rushing through. So 1 yr, 2 yrs, whatever. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

Bummer. 

Notgrass AtB was one of my busts I was posting about...but I don't have a screaming toddler to blame. I wish I'd bought it directly from the publisher; they have a great return policy. Alas, I bought it from CBD (because I had other things to get). Bah. 

Why was it a bust? Totally curious. (maybe my toddler is getting a bum deal, lol). We really liked Notgrass in the older grades, when my oldest did it, but he was a very self directed learning - he wanted and needed to do work independently and it worked well for that. This is our first foray into the younger grades stuff, with a very very different learner. 

I hadn't looked at the return policy, because I do want it to work somehow, but will have to check in case it doesn't work out at all. I did buy from the company, thankfully. 

Edited by Ktgrok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we only made it to lesson 11, but it all felt a bit disjointed and unconnected. And I didn't like the religious stuff (I didn't think that would bother me; ironically, my DH is an ordained minister). This was one of those times when the kids actually did not mind the program, but if I had to read that text one.more.day...I just might lose it. 

We didn't switch to anything mind-blowingly awesome -- just a remedial American history textbook. But I paid $10 and the kids are just as happy with it (and I'm more so).  And I feel it's more comprehensive (without being overwhelming, like most programs are for my kiddos). 

I'm a little worried because I was planning on Notgrass for high school. Maybe it'll still work (but I'll def pay more attn to samples...and order direct, haha). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, alisoncooks said:

Well, we only made it to lesson 11, but it all felt a bit disjointed and unconnected. And I didn't like the religious stuff (I didn't think that would bother me; ironically, my DH is an ordained minister). This was one of those times when the kids actually did not mind the program, but if I had to read that text one.more.day...I just might lose it. 

We didn't switch to anything mind-blowingly awesome -- just a remedial American history textbook. But I paid $10 and the kids are just as happy with it (and I'm more so).  And I feel it's more comprehensive (without being overwhelming, like most programs are for my kiddos). 

I'm a little worried because I was planning on Notgrass for high school. Maybe it'll still work (but I'll def pay more attn to samples...and order direct, haha). 

I do feel the religion, or rather, the moralizing, is over the top and syrupy sweet. I often just skip that part, lol, when reading it aloud. I didn't find the older kids stuff as disjointed, the younger kids it is more episodic I think than the older grades books. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I do feel the religion, or rather, the moralizing, is over the top and syrupy sweet. I often just skip that part, lol, when reading it aloud. I didn't find the older kids stuff as disjointed, the younger kids it is more episodic I think than the older grades books. 

I skipped the religious parts, also, but it still annoyed me. LOL. 

"Episodic" is a good description. Like how every 5th lesson is a place study...but they didn't tie in to the history of the week. I don't like that (but I'm picky). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/20/2018 at 9:17 AM, alisoncooks said:

Well, we only made it to lesson 11, but it all felt a bit disjointed and unconnected. And I didn't like the religious stuff (I didn't think that would bother me; ironically, my DH is an ordained minister). This was one of those times when the kids actually did not mind the program, but if I had to read that text one.more.day...I just might lose it. 

We didn't switch to anything mind-blowingly awesome -- just a remedial American history textbook. But I paid $10 and the kids are just as happy with it (and I'm more so).  And I feel it's more comprehensive (without being overwhelming, like most programs are for my kiddos). 

I'm a little worried because I was planning on Notgrass for high school. Maybe it'll still work (but I'll def pay more attn to samples...and order direct, haha). 

My son used Notgrass for a high school level class so I was not involved in the teaching. But, I did not like it because of how the religion was presented. It was not uncommon to see things to the effect of something bad in history happened because of sin and people not having faith or trust in the Lord. If it were not for that, I would have liked the program.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our most expensive "bust" was last year.  I was so excited to use The Alveary (from the Charlotte Mason Institute).  I bought materials for 4 kids and spent at least $1500 (I stopped adding my totals at some point).  We could have used lots of ebooks and spent less, but I wanted hard copies of everything since my kids prefer actual books.  I liked the program, but my kids weren't very happy with it.   The downside is that they aren't using many of the same books this year, so I'll be lucky to resell them at this point.   Many of the books that are being re-used were ones I'd like to hang onto anyway.  Live and learn I guess! 

We are using Memoria Press this year, which is also expensive, but my kids really like their materials.  We've used bits and pieces of it in the past, so it wasn't a big risk to go with their full program.  So far, so good.  If we have issues with MP, I'll be tweaking the lesson plans instead of jumping ship.  I'm totally done experimenting with curriculum! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spanish for Children was the most expensive one I remember--nothing about the design of that curriculum was good for our style. (E.g., the videos explain the grammar, which I could've done myself; what we needed was accurate pronunciation practice and more sentence-building.) Descubre el Espanol was better and cost less, but because I know so little Spanish myself, Homeschool Spanish Academy (which we're using now) seems like the best option. It hurts less to spend more when it's actually working.

Less expensive but digital (so no resale) was RSO Earth and Space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: one of my bombs, I was able to sell (though at a $30 loss). Still, it's off my hands.

The other (an online course) I went out on a limb and requested a partial refund -- the site does NOT claim any sort of money back option. They gave a full refund, and I'll definitely consider revisiting them in a few years. 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...