Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

The Things I’m Loving Today

1.  Bringing Up Learners, the Mosaic Free Curriculum, and the Bringing Up Learners Mosaic Yahoo Group

I’ve been working on planning next year’s curriculum choices – less because I want some sort of head start and more because I was hoping I could start buying the things we need a little at a time instead of all at once.  I often vacillate between using the library for the books we need and wanting to buy them so we have our own copy.  It’s really nice that I’ve been able to get so many things for free (well with my property taxes anyway) this year.  On the other hand?  You can only keep things for a certain amount of time and what if we get sidetracked?  What if someone else has them checked out?  When should I submit my request through the online card catalog so that I’ll have the books on hand in enough time?  What if the library doesn’t have it and I can’t get it through ILL?

I’d like to make the move next year towards a more Classical style of education.  I’m thinking something along the lines of “The Well Trained Mind.”  I was pondering “The Story of the World,” but I’m a little bit apprehensive given it’s popularity amongst the typical Christian homeschooler.  Then I stumbled across Bringing Up Learners’ free curriculum.  It fits the bill EXACTLY.  I can’t rave enough about this one.  HIGHLY recommend it.  The first year is in PDF format and super easy to use.  The second (and last from my understanding as April was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia) year is in an Excel spreadsheet.  On my list of things to do is to translate this into a similar format as the first.

2.  Staples Copy & Print Online

I took the PDF file from #1 and uploaded it to the Copy & Print center website.  From there I was able to pick my options (B&W printing, paper, duplexing, binding, and covers) all from the comfort of my home.  One hour and $21 later and next year’s world history, geography, literature, philosophy, religion, and culture curriculum is one step closer to being ready to go.  A paper copy in an accessible format is an absolute must for our family since the computer is downstairs, but where we do school is upstairs.

3. Staples Rewards Card

With my teacher’s program rewards card I’m getting $2.02 in Staples Rewards for the above printing job.

4.  Amazon.com Remanufactured Toner

I’ve been using an HP inkjet printer, but the ink costs really get to me.  It’s probably not the most efficient or cost-effective printing option available to me considering that I seldom really need the copy to be in color.  I’ve put off buying toner for my Brother HL-2040 because it’s so darn expensive, but then I ran out of ink today when I was printing the Mosaic 2 curriculum guide I mentioned in #1.  Did you know that Amazon sold remanufactured toner?  And that it’s reasonably priced?  Using the free trial mentioned in #5 I’m relieved to know that it will be here on Tuesday.

5.  Amazon Prime and/or Amazon Mom

My husband has a free trial of Amazon Prime.  I’ve always been skeptical of the program.  They want you to pay them $79 a year just to have things shipped for free?  Why not just go with Super Saver Shipping?  Then, while looking at the suggested resources for next years Mosaic curriculum (in #1) above I discovered that there are a number of used books that you can get shipped to you for free with Amazon Prime instead of paying $3.99 an item (which sometimes means the used items aren’t nearly as good of a deal).  Last night I got 11 books for next year, all used, and all shipped for free.

The better deal?  Amazon Mom.  You get three free months of Amazon Prime through the Amazon Mom program.  Then, just spend $25 in a single order from the Baby section and you get another month for free.  You can earn up to 1 year free from the date you join.  This is going to be easy. I go through two boxes of Seventh Generation diapers a month for Boo.  I’ve been buying them from Diapers.com.  Not only is Amazon cheaper than Diapers.com (especially since they’re no longer doing the rebate program), but if I do the subscription program where I have them automatically shipped at regular intervals I get TWO boxes for only $7 more than the one box from Diapers.com.  Too bad I already bought diapers for the next two weeks from Diapers.com.  All that AND Amazon Prime?  Homeschooling just got the slightest bit more affordable.

6.  My Mac Mini

When I ran out of ink for the HP this afternoon I had a brief moment of panic.  I don’t have enough pennies saved up to get new ink in addition to the homeschool stuff, a new battery for my husband’s car, the medical bills from J’s ambulance ride/ER visit, AND groceries (the kids are eating me out of house and home here).   Post discovery from #4, I decide to switch the printers around.  I put the HP out to pasture (the scanner part’s kind of splotchy lately, but at least I can hold on to until I can afford more ink or need to print in color) and hooked up the Brother.

I turn on the printer…hmmm.  I’m expecting some sort of confirmation window, sound that goes beep, or other indication that the printer has been located or something.  Nothing.  I open System Preferences, click on the printer button…and…viola!  Yup, printer’s already there.  Print test sheet?  Sure.  Working perfectly and there’s still some toner there.  Extra bonus!  One really shouldn’t love their computer as much as I love the little box that sits on my desk.  Making the switch to my Mac was hands down the best decision I’ve ever made.

“You don’t really have to learn how to use a Mac.  You just start it, and it all makes sense.”
-Florian Brunbauer

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