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    Frugal Moments: School Books

    January 9, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Homeschooling can be pricey. Of course, buying real books {in comparison to buying textbooks} tends to be cheaper. But the fact remains that when a family needs to run a tight ship, all the little real books can add up in price.

    While I was in Franklin, Tennessee this past week, my mother-in-law introduced me to a little bookseller in an older strip mall. {This is not to be confused with the seller downtown who has beautiful, leather-bound used editions going for $95 a pop.}

    I initially feared this would be a waste of my time. This is because I asked the man in the store to look at my list {always carry a list} and he didn’t recognize the name of the authors, including James Baldwin. Now, I don’t think that everyone needs to know who Baldwin is, but a bookseller that looks at my list with confusion frightens me.

    Thankfully, this man was not the owner of the store.

    I was soon greeted by a warm older woman who grabbed my list and ran around the store gathering up books. And I walked away with six books for twelve dollars, which is a really great price when I consider I couldn’t have bought two of them for that price new.

    Before I tell you what I got, let me emphasize what I think is the key to book buying: carry a list. I have many book lists. One for me, one for Si, various children’s books, and then there is the running list for school. Since we are starting Ambleside for school next year, I have made that list my priority. Even though I will eventually need all or most of the books on the Ambleside list {and many books are used for more than one year}, I limit myself to carrying the list for only the first two years. This way I am not spending money too far out into the future. Once we have all we need for Year One, I will begin searching for Year Three, and so on.

    Here are my treasures. Only the last book is not an official Ambleside book. We are collecting children’s biographies from the 1950s, and it was such a beautiful library copy, I simply couldn’t resist. At three dollars, it was my most expensive purchase.

    The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

    This one was only a dollar (even though it was hardback) because it had fallen to the floor and split the cover. A little packing tape should remedy the situation just fine. The pages are still tight, and that is the real test.

    A Wonder Book: For Boys and Girls

    Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne and possessing a frightening cover, I think E. and I might read this when the girls are sleeping.

    The Door in the Wall

    Mr. Popper’s Penguins

    The Story of Doctor Dolittle

    There is a beautifully illustrated hardbound copy of this book {by Michael Hague, of course} that I hope to own one day {or give to one of the children as a gift}. But this little paperback will do nicely in the meantime.

    Mr. Bell Invents the Telephone

    I don’t think this link is to the book I actually bought. What I have in my hot little hands is a cloth-covered hardback, beautifully embossed, unabridged {over 180 pages including the index} edition published in 1952 by Random House. Nice.

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