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Archive for September, 2008

Not as Expensive as I Thought

September 30th, 2008 at 08:45 pm

I've been doing some serious research into homeschooling and the money outlay I'd have to put out and I've discovered that my state has two tuition free online schools that are work at your own pace and have access to many, many courses that I would be at a loss to try to teach myself. They're also accredited so there would be no garbage to go through with yearly testing or keeping a "body of work" for yearly assessments.

I've gone through several of the sample lessons and am quite happy with what I'm seeing. There is a lot of integration of subjects with each other, which I like a lot. A lesson on the Brooklyn Bridge for example covers art, history, and geometry. And you write about it so writing, and of course, you're reading it so reading. On the uppergrades it would cover the physics of bridge building as well for the science portion.

There are incidental supplies you have to cover yourself, just like in public school system, but most materials are provided online. I really did not like the idea of spending a whole bunch of money to get materials I was happy with and putting together everything all on my own. This just makes things easier.

And I'm going to need things to be easier as my husband and I have now made the decision to homeschool both kids. My daughter is upset about her school right now. She has one teacher who likes to fling notebooks at the kids when passing them back and hers nearly hit her in the eye and then he made fun of her when she got upset about it. She's got one teacher who is using swear words in class (mild ones, but still) on a daily basis and is sarcastic and picks on a few of the kids (not her) rather ruthlessly. She's got the gym teacher from hades. And she's riding on a school bus with a girl who keeps talking about drinking and doing drugs and having sex and swearing and it is making her very uncomfortable and scared. The bus does grades 7-12 and this is an older girl.

So that's both of them homeschooled and I figured it would cost way too much, but this seems like it'll be the way to go with good course work and minimal outlay. That makes me happy.

Medical Spending

September 26th, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Well, techinically it's on Vision, but that falls in the medical category to me.

I took the kids to the eye doctor and they both got glasses, the younger one for the first time, so anyway...the costs of that were:

$204.97 glasses and frames for kid 1
$279.97 glasses and frames for kid 2
$484.94 subtotal for glasses
$103.00 doctor fee kid 1
$103.00 doctor fee kid 2
$690.94 total vision expense

I paid cash. The majority of this should be reimbursed by insurance in about 2 or 3 months time. I need to go soon. My glasses are about 3 years old the prescription isn't good anymore, so hopefully I can get in soon. I'll keep my own frames. I like them and they are in good shape still.

If my daughter's head had not gotten so much bigger that she'd outgrown her old frames I would have made her keep them another year. Both kids are really happy with their glasses.

It's Been Six Months

September 25th, 2008 at 07:39 pm

It's hard to believe but it's been six months since my last entry. We're doing well here financially now and it's harder to blog when you have enough money it seems, than when you don't.

In the past year my husband's income has almost doubled. It made things get easy, but it also brought along with it some very bad habits that I want to stop. Because despite the extra income, we've only upped our debt repayment by a couple hundred dollars a month. And it's time to really buckle down and get going again. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Thing is I don't really want to. I like having the extra money around. It's nice not to have to scrimp and save every little extra bit of cash that comes into my hands or funnel it all into debt repayment. But I know I need to, because I'm still tired of having all that debt hanging over our heads.

Our emergency fund is far lower than I want it to be at $1000. That's certainly not anywhere close to even a month's salary anymore. So I'm working on building that back up. And I'm starting to save up $1000 more for our vacation in February. I have $500 currently saved for it.

We're going to Disneyland. Our airfare is free from DH's miles. We're staying in my parent's travel condo for free, except for the $50 one time fee for end of stay cleaning. We're just needing to pay for the entry tickets, car rental for 2 days, and food while we're there. It has a full kitchen and there is a Costco close by so we will make and eat all of our breakfasts and one other meal a day and only have one meal out at the park each day.

The kids are saving up their allowances, birthday, and Christmas monies and will buy their own souvenirs.

As for the rest of our finances, we've raised our 401K 1% for the last two pay raises so it is now at 5%. On the next pay raise it'll be up to 6%, the full amount the company matches 50% of contributions on.

The mortgage on the house just went under $30,000 at $29,956.07. Our medical debt repayment is down to $142,623.81. Our unsecured debt is down to around $45,000. The website for that one is down at the moment so I don't have the exact numbers. So we've still managed to make significant progress. But there's so much more we could have made and I'd like to really get out from under this debt.

We can pay at least another $300 a month towards debt repayment that we are currently wasting on eating out. So that's my goal for now, to try to stop wasteful spending and put it onto debt.

We'll be cooking at home a lot more, but that's a good thing. Healthier, too. And it won't be so hard now, either. I just took my son out of public school and will be homeschooling him for the rest of third grade. He was being bullied pretty severely this year and it had totally turned his personality bitter and sad and he was behaving horribly. Two days at home and he's back to being the sweet kid he used to be back when school went well and he was popular.

I gave the school several weeks to sort this out but I just couldn't give them any more time. It was sucking the life out of my child and I couldn't bear it. The difference is like night and day. I wish I still had the curriculum from when I homeschooled my daughter for third grade, but I don't, so I'm starting all over again. I'll be spending about $300 to get started, but fortunately I have that money at the moment.

His math is above grade level but his reading is significantly behind. They don't really teach phonics at his school and it shows. So I'll be starting almost at the beginning with phonics for him but I saw what a difference it made when I did that for my daughter, so that'll be okay.

He's been bored out of his mind at school, too, insisting that they are teaching either "baby" stuff or stuff that his dad and I have already taught him about ages ago in science and history. I think we'll all be happier.

And my son loves to cook with me, so being able to save money by not eating out and cooking at home will be easier, because I'll have a helper in the kitchen and not a strung out child who wants nothing to do with me or anyone else, standing by my side.

My daughter, on the other hand, is thriving at the junior high. She's doing really well. It's funny because she's the one I was so worried about at the start of the school year. Life can be so unexpected sometimes.