One of the first things that I did after filing paperwork with the school about homeschooling Elliott next year was sign up for scholastic reading club. I've been buying books for Elliott through Scholastic reading club since right before he was born, since I have a sister that is a teacher. They have some great, quality books cheaper than anywhere else, and it's easy to see what is appropriate for each age. He's always enjoyed books, but he especially enjoyed getting the flyers at school over the last two years and going through and picking some books out by himself. My sister that lives up here is now a preschool teacher and uses Scholastic reading club, so we could order books for him whenever we wanted anyway, but I have to admit that we were both excited about starting our own account.
It was pretty easy to sign up as a homeschooler at Scholastic. I just had to talk to someone on the phone for a few minutes to verify that I was indeed going to be homeschooling Elliott, and she got it all taken care of. With a homeschool account, you earn bonus points the same way that you do as a public or private school teacher. Obviously I won't be earning them as fast since I will only be ordering for Elliott mainly, but it still adds up pretty fast. Especially considering that for several years now I've ordered more from Scholastic than the rest of my sister's class put together. We really like books at our house. :) I was able to join in late March, even though we were finishing up the year in public school. The lady I talked to was super nice and said they let people go ahead and start early in case they need anything for the schooling they will do during the summer.
This week I placed my third order. Each of them have been somewhere around $50-55, which I realize is A LOT for some people. A few of the things we bought were birthday presents for Elliott's friends, and some of the things go in our Operation Christmas Child boxes, but most of those things were for Elliott. All together Elliott ended up spending about $40 of his own allowance on books. And I've spent somewhere around $85 on books for him. Many of them are books we plan on using for homeschool, but there are still plenty that are just for fun reading.
One of the things that I like so much about being able to have a homeschool account is all the free things that we get with different orders. In addition to getting a great deal on the books I choose, I've also already received 3 free books that they chose for us, and will get 5 more in our next book box. We've also received $55 in free books that we were able to use for whatever we wanted. And with all the bonus points that we've received based on our orders, promotions, coupons, etc, we've received enough points for about $80 more worth of books, and will be getting a coupon with our next order for about $20 more worth of points on an order in the fall.
We've used our book money pretty carefully, and ended up getting some really great deals. There are always a bunch of good sales on Scholastic anyway, but we've especially enjoyed some of the teacher only values. Last month we ordered a mixed box of 25 books for grades 4-6 for $25. About half of them were right for Elliott now, but we put the others away. Elliott enjoyed the surprise and selection so much that he begged for the box of books for second and third graders this month. He can't wait to see what all he gets when it arrives next week. :) The listing includes 75 books, and you know you will get 25 of them, but you have no idea which ones. He has seven of the 75 listed, but even if he ends up getting all seven of them again, I think it's still a good enough deal to make it worth it, especially since he's so excited. Plus we can always use them as read along choices if he ends up with repeats, since that is one of Elliott's favorite ways to read together anyway.
If you are a homeschooler and don't already participate in the Scholastic Reading Club I highly recommend it. I can even give you a coupon code for extra bonus points toward free books and supplies! :) If you aren't a homeschooler, check with your child's school and see if they do it there. It's a great way to get affordable books for your kids (there are new $1 selections for lower elementary each month, and usually a 5 pack for $5 for kindergarten and first grade each month as well, along with books ranging from $2 on up, and great value packs that average less than $3 per book for most grade levels). It also helps build up your child's classroom libraries and/or saves money on supplies for your teacher, so everyone wins. :)