New Beginnings

Since the heat wave continues to hamper outside activities work on the farm proceeds slowly – we have cleaned out all the vegetation and trash from the run we plan to use and a neighbor is going to mow down the pasture area so that we can more easily access the outside of the barn and the fence that needs repairing.  We plan to add a gutter and downspout to that side of the barn so that we can collect rainwater. Fixing fences and gaps are the next task on the list.

On other fronts we’ve been getting everyone enrolled in school – grades 3, 4, 7 and 10 – and so far I’m impressed with the schools (we still need to visit the Jr High later this week).  Our school days in California have been whittled away over the past few years – made shorter and fewer – due to budget constraints, and a lot of the education in the arts has gone by the wayside.  So I was pleased to see open libraries, art classes that even include kilns, and music rooms filled with instruments.  And that was the elementary school!  The high school has an award winning drama department headed by a former theater owner with a doctorate in drama and completely new sophisticated science labs.

I am not pleased to find out there is a textbook rental fee of approximately $135 per elementary student (the fees for jr high and high school haven’t been published yet but are sure to be higher)! In California the books were free (on loan) so that was an unexpected shock. We are applying for the free or reduced school lunch (otherwise it would amount to $60 a week for all four kids) and the school secretary told me there was textbook assistance that would lower the rental fee by a half but even so it’s going to eat into my rapidly diminishing funds.  We can avoid fees for extracurricular activities/sports by opting out of those but can’t avoid the textbook rental.

I’ve been applying for local jobs – grocery store, Starbucks, jr high school cafeteria lady (much to my daughter’s dismay) and substitute teacher.  None of these pay well but all would help us to cover expenses of food and gas and school fees.

We are looking forward to the local 4-H fair next week and my daughters will be entering some art and woodworking in the Open Class competition.  I’m even considering entering one of my cat beds in the Knitting ‘Misc.’ category.  We plan to attend the livestock auction to get an idea of the animals the local kids raise.

All in all we have found the local folks to be very welcoming and friendly so far and I hope the kids will have the same experience in school.

This entry was posted in DIY, economy, Family, Farming, frugal living, Homesteading, job search, kids. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to New Beginnings

  1. Kim says:

    what do they do for families that cannot afford the textbook fees? they can’t deny a child the right to an education nor can they deny the child the tools to complete the classwork. There has to be a waiver program for those that cannot afford it. I would ask more questions and ask them what happens if you cannot pay the fees? i guarantee they have some kind of solution for situations such as this.

  2. Grace says:

    Unfortunately, Indiana does charge textbook rental fees. I suppose it’s a trade off – by recouping textbook costs the schools can afford to support arts and music programs. I have no suggestions except maybe they’ll let you pay in installments.

  3. Celeste says:

    I have always known midwestern schools to use book rental fees, and this goes back to the 60s when I started school. It appears that they are useful in keeping amenities at your school, so when you compare what you had in CA to what you’ll have in IN, you’re really getting a great deal. I’m sure it felt great to feel like CA gave your kids “free” schooling, but maybe this is another case of, you get what you pay for. Food for thought. I hope your kids have a great school year.

  4. Kathy says:

    Thinking of you often and hope one of the jobs comes thru! I myself am returning to work this fall as a preschool teacher’s aide, not much pay but will help cover my son’s increasing expenses.
    Enter the cat bed in the fair! We just attended our county fair last wek and the entries were minimal. It could get you some exposure!!

  5. Sharon says:

    Yes, there are a lot of fees for schools these day. It used to be just school supplies, now there is paper products and books! My kids actually have to buy most of their books. Hopefully you’ll be able to get student assistance.

    I hope you are able to find some work. Actually Starbucks has a great benefit program. Might be worth a try there!

    I look forward to your updated posts!

  6. Maryl says:

    Oh, these kids! I “embarrassed” my daughter by cheering on one of her best friends at a track meet. I told her if she was so embarrassed she could walk home (four miles). She got in the car. A male friend of mine has “embarrassed” his daughters by going to a yoga class. It’s a men’s class, so it’s not one in which they were participating. My suggestion was to tell them that a pole dancing class was next when he gets limber enough! And do you notice that no matter how embarrassing you are, it’s not enough to keep them from coming to you for money, a ride, clothes, food, etc., etc., etc.!

  7. I’ve never heard of renting textbooks – what happened to every child is entitled to a free education?? Crazy!

  8. Lynn says:

    I’d call the principal and the district about the book rental fee. I thought every child was entitled to an education? I don’t know about Indiana but there are a lot of families here that could not afford the book fee. I wonder if the secretary was misinformed? Our school lists fees for activities (like the 5th grade science camp at Catalina) but if a family can’t pay, the child participates anyway and it is paid by the PTA. Same with sports and cheerleading.

  9. darla says:

    Are you allowed to purchase the textbooks elsewhere rather than renting them from the school? If so you can probably get them a LOT cheaper through Amazon. Just ask the school for the ISBN’s to make sure they are the same.

    I can’t imagine paying that much to rent textbooks! We spend less than that a year to homeschool.

    • boxcarkids says:

      Good idea! I don’t know but will check for sure!

      • bogart says:

        I’ve found a good site for comparing book prices, and of course if the books are the same (more or less) year to year, your younger kids can use the older kids’ books down the road!

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