Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Big 4th Grader!!!

Well, it's official! Trey has begun the 4th grade!! I'm so proud of him! He really buckled down and finished the 3rd grade curriculum, and is ready to begin the 4th grade. Of course, I was really hoping and praying that he would do so, and he didn't let me down!!

You see, I thought I was being really proactive and organized, and ordered our 4th grade curriculum early so we could beat the rush. When I got to the Homeschool Curriculum Shop website, I was pleased to find that they now offer a lease option. Gary and I decided that this would be a good option for us because we don't have the room to store all those textbooks anyway. The website stated that "upon returning the required materials," we would receive a credit towards next years purchase/lease. I thought can't beat that, right?? Well, I was wrong.

5 weeks after ordering, we received our curriculum (just about the time I was beginning to panic). We opened it up to find that the Math books we ordered were on backorder with no idea as to when they would arrive. On the invoice, they had also noted where I had ordered Saxon Math instead of Harcourt Math- which I didn't...Trey does not do well with the Saxon learning style. Thankfully, I saved every page of my online order as I completed it and was able to convince the customer service representative that THEY were the ones that had made the mistake. (They tried to tell me that there was no such option on the order form!!) Anyway...they also included on the invoice that the lease is only for 13 months. Which, even in my own opinion is a fair amount of time, but their website led me to believe that we could keep it until we were finished with the grade and return it in order to receive the credit. After all, the lease option WAS the same amount as the purchase're just given a list of items you have to return, like the hardback textbooks and (photocopied) teacher's guides in order to receive the credit. So they wouldn't be out any money if we decided to keep them forever! Actually, they would make money, because all of the teacher's guides and answer keys were photocopied. If we had purchased them, we would have received the full color paperback or hardback editions.

Back to the original problem...the lease is only good for 13 months. I did the math, and found that there was no way that Trey would be able to finish the 3rd grade and the 4th grade in that amount of time. ALSO...we still don't have our Math books! So how is he supposed to start the 4th grade without the Math books?? I was basically informed that we could choose to extend our lease for $20 per month, and the 13 months on the math will begin upon receipt of the items (whenever that is). So we're supposed to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without math, OR we can choose to spend $20 per month to extend the lease however many months it takes them to 1) correct my Math order, and 2) ship them from the backorder log.

I chose to go ahead and begin the 4th grade without the Math. I went ahead and tested Trey out of the 3rd grade minus Math. He will continue to work on his 3rd grade Math until the 4th grade materials arrive, and begin 4th grade work on all other subjects. He will not get the summer break that he was looking forward to, but we will only have school 4 days a week...for the exception of online math games and occasional unit tests.

So I am not exactly thrilled with my experience with Homeschool Curriculum Shop, and they are aware of my feelings. I should have done more research, or called and spoken with a rep before I placed my order...but you live and learn right? I DO however LOVE the quality of the books - everything is brand new (which coincidentally would not have happened had I not ordered early). I also like the option of choosing the secular package: only because it coincides with the public school scope and sequence. There is a possiblity that Trey may end up going back to public school in the future and I wasn't impressed with the Christian core curriculum I ordered last year. As stated in a previous post, all of the material in that curriculum was a review from the 1st grade of public school, and it didn't work for his style of learning. For $579 (including tax/shipping), we received all core subject textbooks, workbooks, answer keys, as well as a guide for Physical Education and Health. I will just teach Bible lessons separately. I will have to return everything except the consumable workbooks we received. The P.E. book will also have to go back. We will receive $110 towards next years lease, or we will have the option to "cash out" and receive half of that. Which looking at the photocopied answer keys, and everything we have to return, I don't think is a fair amount. That means we're paying over $500 for workbooks. I'm not sure how we will handle this yet...luckily, we've got 13 months to figure it out. LOL! In my opinion, the Purchase Option is a good deal...the Lease Option is not. Shoulda known, right??

Moral of the Rant: Don't trust website descriptions! RESEARCH AND ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!!

I knew that homeschooling was going to be a learning experience for me...since I've never done this before. I had no idea, however, that so many lessons would be learned so quickly. :) I continue to be extremely thankful for the opportunity that I've been given to homeschool my son. We have grown so much closer, and I can see the light returning to his eyes as we reverse the damage done by the one particular public school teacher who found pleasure in humiliating him at every opportunity. He truly believes that he is JUST as smart as other kids, and now understands that his learning style is different, but his learning capability is JUST THE SAME!!

I am also very thankful for the many resources available nowdays for homeschool parents! I can't imagine doing this without the homeschool support groups, internet, or the awesome curriculum that is now available. I am also very, very thankful to my husband for working as hard as he does so that I could quit my good-paying job and stay home. Without him, I don't know what we'd do!! I thank God every day for allowing us this amazing time together!! It is such a wonderful blessing!!!


  1. Wow! Thanks for letting everyone know about the lease option. I'll make sure to research more when we're getting closer to choosing our curriculums for the fall.

  2. I too am waiting for the home school curriculum shop to ship part of our daughter's complete package--3 months of waiting for reading workbooks that are currently new on Amazon for about 5.99/each. I too was dismayed at the photocopied teaching material (is that legal?), but customer service was and still is terrible. We ordered 3 months ago, and they had the nerve to get snippy with me.
    A much better place to shop online is I purchased from them before and they ship very fast, and complete orders. A bit more expensive at first than home school curriculum shop, but you get your books.