Thursday, March 22, 2012

Math Flashcards in triangle form

I am NOT a math person.  Numbers don't come easily to me.  I get a splitting headache from just thinking of concepts higher than 6x6=36.  I have found math to be much more enjoyable through more hands-on activities.  So I love manipulatives that are a little out-of-the-norm.  Cue the Math Facts Triangle Cards.  They are not your usual flashcards. 

Here is my full review on
I've seen something extremely similar to these in my local teacher's store and had a episode of sticker shock (yikes! They're high!). So I went home and made my own. I've made the addition and subtraction facts from 5-11 but have been too busy/lazy to make the other fact cards. When I saw this product I knew I had to have it. It's simple and straight forward: print out the cards, cut them out and laminate if you choose (it makes it super sturdy but the corners are really sharp....keep away from wee ones) and use them with your kids. The first page of the download offers suggestion for using the cards. I've already used one of the suggestions with my homemade cards. I would get some post-it notes and cut off the sticky part and use it to cover up one of the numbers on the card. My kids are able to play with the cards on their own and check their guesses by just pulling off the post-it note. For variety I ask them to stick the paper back on but over a different number. That way the next time we play we can pull them out and go (and sometimes I shuffle the deck.....just in case they've memorized the sequence). I do love my homemade cards but I have come to love this set too. I didn't have to go through the trouble of measuring, cutting and marking the pieces. I just print, cut and use. My only con is that I wish the "cards" were a little bigger. Other than that, they're perfect for homeschool use. Oh, and you can't beat the price. We love them and now that my kindergartener is advancing to addition and subtraction, she is looking forward to using these cards like her older sister.

Like I said, they are easy to use and comes in addition/subtraction and multiplication and division.  Check them out when you get a chance.

Addition and Subtraction Facts 11-20

Addition and Subtraction Facts to 10

Multiplication and Division Facts to 12

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Buying curriculum new and used

I'll go ahead and admit it.  I'm a cheapskate.  But I'm sure you knew that since my blog name is Thrifty Homeschooler.  I may not utilize all the free homeschool resources and piece together my own curriculum to suit my needs and my children's needs (who has time for that?) but I do my best (and go out of my way at times) to save money on the curriculum I need.  I have picked up some tips and tricks along the way and I've like to share them with you. 

Buying Used Online
This seems like an obvious choice for buying like new/gently used books at a discounted price.  I love a bargain.  Although, I'm not in the habit of haggling with another homeschooler over used books since I know that they're likely trying to sell their old books so that they can purchase for the new year.  But there are times when it may be necassary. 

*Know your books.  Do a little research on the book(s) that you want to buy.  The book/item you may want to purchase may have been revised several times over the last few years.  Is it important to you to have the latest edition?  Buying an older edition may save you some money.  At times the only difference between an older and newer edition is the cover art.  That's only astetics and I can live without having a nice, fancy cover.  You may want to purchase a whole set of books.  Make sure ALL books in the set are included in listing.  It may be helpful to ask for a picture if one is not included in the listing.

*Does the item have all included materials? I have purchased a used book in the past that needed the accompanied CD-Rom to access the reproducibles.  However, the seller didn't want to part with the CD-Rom but didn't care to mention that in the ad listing.  Learn from my mistake: Always ask whether all included items are included in the sale.  Another reason to "know your books".....find out what comes with the edition you are hoping to purchase.

*Do they accept PayPal? Some sellers don't have a PayPal account or won't accept PayPal because PayPal charges a fee for their services.  Make sure you know what payment method the seller prefers.  Sending a check can be a hassle since the sellers tend to hold check for a week to make sure that the check clears.  Before agreeing to anything other than PayPal check with the site's rating system to see if the seller is reputable and has delivered on their promises.

Price Check!  Check the going price of the edition you want to purchase and see if it's comparible to other sellers. 

Links for more tips on buying used:

Websites for Buying Used: My #1 choice for buying used  Great forum and has a LARGE selling board

Buying New
There just comes a time when you have to bite the bullet and buy new.  I've had to do this recently since the curriculum I wanted was too new for anyone to sell.  But don't despair.  I also have some tips to save you money buying new.

Price Check! Obvious, I know, but it doesn't hurt to say it again.  Price check with other online retailers.  Some are more competitive than others.

COUPONS  Some sites offer coupons when you spend X amount off your purchase or offer free shipping  If you plan to buy multiple books, you may want to see if it may be cheaper to buy all from one retailer with a coupon code rather than shop around.  You can sign up for promotional emails ahead of time and watch for the sale.  I've saved up to $40 in one sale this way. 

Shipping Charges  It hard to know in advance what some retailers charge for shipping before you order.  If you're unsure, you can contact the retailer and ask them about their shipping charges.  Shipping can get expensive and cut into your curriculum budget quick, so I do a little research beforehand to make sure there aren't any surprises at the checkout.  Sometimes I find that though retailer ABC sells a book I need for a cheaper price than XYZ retailer, XYZ retailer has a coupon code for free shipping that makes up the difference or makes the sale cheaper. 

Popular Homeschooling Retailers:  They have a phone book of a catalog to offer almost anything you can imagine.  Free shipping on orders $150 or more  Great prices.  They routinely offer coupon codes for free shipping.  Not a homeschool retailer, but they carry alot of books that I'm looking for and they sell new and used copies.

There are honestly too many to name.  Some retailers carry only their own products and some carry a large variety.  I hope my tips help you make better decisions when purchasing curriculum for the new school year.  Happy Homeschool Shopping!