Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Buying at a booksale

The booksale is getting closer! Our organizers have been advertising all over Bonners Ferry-at Safeway, Yoders, the library, and Sharon's...and, more flyers will continue to go out as we get closer to our big sale day! In addition, the Sandpoint area homeschool families have been notified through their email lists as well as homeschool families in Troy and Libby, Montana. As an extra measure, the Christian schools and library in Troy and Libby have been given the flyers and information as well. Soon, we will be putting ads in the papers. We are working diligently to get the word out and make this a great sale.

Are you ready? Last week, we sent out an informational email about how to begin organizing your items for sale. Keep working on this! You have a couple of weeks to really go through and clean out your school rooms, storage areas, garages, basements, and homes. If you have a question about putting something in, give us a call (contact information below.) Chances are, if you can use it in homeschooling or raising your family, it probably can go into the sale. We have also had some families ask if any books can go in or if they have to be children's books or just for homeschooling. Our answer to that is, PLEASE! put your books of any sort in! Homeschooling families are reading families. We love books! We only ask that the subject material in the books is not profane or inappropriate. Please use your best judgment. We reserve the right to refuse items of this nature. If you can't find the email from us last week about preparing your items, please visit our blog at We put a posting on there that contains all of the information for you to access at anytime.

The next step...So, you have your items ready to sell. Or, maybe you don't have items you are selling this year. What now? Here are some ideas for organizing your thoughts and getting the best deals at the book sale. 

Purposeful goal setting for your children. First, consider making a list of your goals for each student for the next school year. Take a quick look at what worked for each student this year and what didn't. What areas are they struggling in, what are the excelling in, and what do they need? This is more than just curriculum and includes shaping their character in a purposeful way. Most of this do this without even knowing it. Some of us need to get it on paper. For the latter group, there is a great template I have used for many years. Customize it to your needs and use it as a tool, not a tether. Click on the attachment "goals--student." Another great one is the attachment "Goals." Neither one was created by me, but I appreciate the moms who did create them for us to use!

Making a shopping list. Secondly, create a list of items you will need to accomplish these goals. Click on the attachment labeled "curriculum selections." Simply fill out one of these sheets for each student you are schooling. These are the nuts and bolts of reaching the goals you just laid out on the previous form. The curriculum selections attachment has been partially filled  in to give you an idea of how to use it. Just erase the fields and print it off for your own purposes. 

As an example, let's say I want one of my children to have a better understanding of using logic in their research papers (this is a goal), I take that premise and transfer it to my curriculum selection template (now listed as a subject along with material I want to use and the retail price.) 

If you are using living books or supplemental materials to enhance these subjects, that information can be recorded at the bottom (see the history example.) 

If you have items that you would like to have, but don't necessarily need,  put them on there in parenthesis so you know if you come across a good deal (see the science example.) 

I usually denote items with a "c" or "nc" for consumable or non-consumable so I have a heads up when looking for these items at a used book sale. When it comes to consumables at used book sales, it is good to double check if all the pages are there. :) 

You can also make notes of classes that your child will be taking through 4H, guided instruction, or co-ops. 

Are you in IDEA or ID VA? Make a note of the subjects that these programs already cover and enhancement materials you wish to buy.  

Finally, at the bottom of each student's curriculum selection paper, I usually put the area of study where I want to focus the most attention. In the example template, this student needs extra practice in writing. I highlight it so I can quickly glance down at it when I am shopping and any fun "extra" I see to help me teach in this area, I consider getting in addition to those I already researched.

  Take it with you. Keep this list handy! With the retail prices on it, you have a quick and easy way to see if the "deal" you are getting is truly saving you money. Take this list with you to the sale. It will help you remember what you need for each student when you walk into a room full of great stuff and suddenly feel overwhelmed. It is also a useful tool to remember what each student will be studying for the year in case you come across related material that would enhance the curriculum/books you've already researched and selected. And don't forget to put the price you finally got the item for! This can be a great encouragement when you see how much you are saving with a little extra forethought!

Questions? Here is our contact information.These are only suggestions in getting your thoughts together and onto paper. There are many other ways to do this and many sites that can guide you through it. If it doesn't work for you, remember it is only meant as a tool. Throw it out and use a system that works for your family!

Jennifer Stidham, 267-5709 or
Jerri Unruh, 267-7153 or

Homeschool Used Book, Curriculum, and Supplies Sale
hosted by Tiny Seeds Co-op at the Church of the Nazarene, Bonners Ferry, Id
April 30, 2011 8am to 1pm
Come join us!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Preparing for a BookSale

Only a few weeks away, the Tiny Seeds Co-op will be sponsoring a Homeschool Used Book, Curriculum, and Supplies Sale. Are you ready? Here are 10 helpful steps to getting your items together and put into the sale to make you money.

1. Review the information
Look over the information flyers to inspire your clean-out and remind yourself of items that would be appropriate to put into the sale.  Remember to think outside of the box-art supplies, planners, organization tools, calculators, maps, office furniture, etc...they are all items to consider to put in the sale alongside of your books and curriculum. Need a copy of the flyer? Click here. We will email a copy to you!

2. Find a spot.
Find an out-of-the-way place to store your sale items until the drop-off day. A corner in the mud room, garage, shed, bedroom, entry...whatever is convenient as long as you have a designated place to stock pile your goodies and keep you focused!

3. Think in 4s-
leave it (not going to sell, can't do without this!)
maybe (like it, may work later for us, not really sure)
sell it (not using it, didn't work for us, needs to go)
donate it (not using it, don't need to sell it, want to bless someone else with it)

The "leave it" items just get put back where you keep them. The "maybe" items get set aside while you work through the rest of the space. The "sell it" and "donate it" items get taken away, right away, and put into your sale spot you set up in step 2.

4. Go through your most accessible materials.
Start with one shelf at a time, one box at a time, or one drawer at a time of the materials that are most accessible to you right now. Set a timer and work in 30 min increments if you need to in order to keep from being overwhelmed.

5. Tackle your stored items.
This one is tricky since some of these items may be like old friends you are reuniting with. Remember though, if you aren't using it, it may be time to get rid of it. Are you really going to use it for another child, or are you just keeping clutter around? If you keep things that don't work for your family, you are taking up valuable space for things that could!! Work within reasonable time frames so you don't become overwhelmed at the task ahead. Set the timer again if you need to.

6. Review.
Go back through those maybe items you set aside earlier. If you still aren't sure, it may be just something to keep for now. Sometimes after cleaning out everything else, it becomes clearer what these "maybe" items are, whether it be to sell or keep. If you are going to keep it, put it back where it belongs. If you've decided to sell, place it in your spot from step 2.

7. Research.
Get an idea of what these items now organized in your sale spot are being sold for in other venues. What could you expect to get for it on ebay? on at a yard sale?

8. Price to sell!
We know how much money you've invested over the years into your materials, but remember  to ask yourself honestly what condition it is in now and how much is the item in demand. Is this is a used item, an old edition, a brand new item? Price according to your research and remember the families that are buying these items are looking to save money just as much as you are looking to make it.  Tag each item as you go with the asking price and your initials. Also, remember to clean up the item. Dust it off, wipe it down, erase stray pencil marks, etc to get the price you want. Write all your items down on a master list as you go. Don't forget to make a donation pile if you have such items!

9. Arrange for drop off.
If your spot from step 2 is taking over the house, or really in your way, contact us and we will arrange a drop off time for you sooner than Tuesday the 26th. Otherwise, just drop us an email to let us know you will have items for the sale and will drop off either on the 26th or the 29th. This will ensure we have adequate tables set up.

10. Keep a box handy.
If you get all of this finished a week or more before the sale, keep an empty box handy. Use this box to place any items you may discover between now and the sale that you originally overlooked. Place your price tags, pen, and a copy of your master list in this box to keep handy and keep you without excuses!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Looking for a few good recipes...

Tiny Seeds Co-op is looking for some fun, simple, easy, fast, and delicious recipes that you would like to contribute to a cookbook they are putting together. If you have a recipe (or recipes!!)  you'd like to share, please email it along with your name to Kim Litvak at We can't wait to see what you have cooking!
Welcome to the companion blog for the website. If you haven't been to our new site, take a few minutes to go there first and find out more about our group. This blog is intended to be a forum of ideas and discussions between Boundary County Homeschool parents. If you have a suggestion or idea of a topic you'd like to see addressed, please email us at with "blog" in the subject line.