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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Updating Curriculum

She stands in the racks of her university's book store.

Livid.

The latest edition of her textbook is out. It's $159. She can't use the old edition because they rearranged the chapters and swapped out a few charts and graphs to make it impossible for her to follow along in her course syllabus. In short: She has to spend the money even though the publishers added almost no new content to the text.


Textbook Buy-Back Day*

That scene plays out in campuses across our nation every year. Educational texts are tweaked, re-colored, monkeyed-with enough to make resale unwise and ultimately frustrating, but not really updated.

I flipped through a textbook that was three editions beyond the one I had used years ago. I was unable to discern any new content. There may have been some... somewhere... but I'm not sure it warranted three complete versions.

Sonlight updates every year as well.

We do our best to make money (so we can stay in business and keep doing good things as well as support you). But we don't update just to make money. We update our homeschool programs to make them better. One of the powerful tools for making stuff better is all the amazing feedback we get from you.

(Hint, hint: We'd love your feedback on the program you've been using this year. <smile>)

On the other hand, we firmly believe in the quality of our programs. We want you to reuse your Core as many times as you need to. That's why we encourage you to purchase as many sets of consumables as you're likely to need. In five years we may no longer carry the little elements you need for your next student. But if you have the consumables you need, the Sonlight program you purchase today will still be an excellent resource for you and your family.

How many times have you reused a Sonlight program in your homeschool?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

*I once brought 13 books to a textbook buy-back day. After looking them over, they offered me 50 cents for the pile. I replied, "I'd get more value from burning them."

4 comments:

homeschoolmom said...

How is it I've never thought about buying consumables right away for my 2nd child when I order for my 1st? [Thanks for the tip!]

I suppose, if my kids weren't 7 years apart in age, it would be easier for me to be already thinking about the little one's future lessons. Ah. Well. No matter. It'll work out one way or another! :D

But I guess that means I should take a look back at our old cores and see if we'll be missing any consumables and if so, see if I can still get them now.

I'll be buying consumables for BOTH kids from now on though!

Linda said...

I need to do that with the consumables as well, although I now (or as soon as my order arrives) own all the cores except 530. I guess it's too late.

I've done more than 1/2 of the cores twice now and will soon start the 3rd time through with my 4th (surprise) baby who'll be doing P4/5 (2nd time through that as the two older boys didn't do it). When she does K, I'll start the 3rd time through the cores.

It's a joy to reread these books. They have created a culture for our family. Like the year we went around saying "Bum cack. Bum cack. We dreed our nagon." Or the fact that we still call things "Eskimo" or "not of general interest" at the dinner table. Or the year we spent saying, "What I mean ter say, Pip," to one another. What could ever replace those common memories?

Robin E. said...

I've only started my reusing of Cores. I've used Core P4/5 and Core K twice now, and will be using Core 1 for the second time this coming year.

However, I don't buy the consumables now for the future. I just don't like the idea of buying something to store for 4+ years not knowing if I will use it or not. The likelihood that I will want to update my IGs when the second group comes along is great, and since my little boys are quite different students than my older two, I end up using either different things or things differently anyway.

No, for me it is better to just plan on having to update my IGs and Cores. Even when there has been a lot of changes to a Core, such as Core K between now and 2002 when I first bought it, it is still well under $100 to update it. Core 1 will be much less than that.

Luke said...

Stephanie, glad the tip was helpful <smile>.

Absolutely, Linda: Common memories are fantastic <smile>.

Robin, that is a great point! It is relatively inexpensive to update for the changes. Glad you made that recommendation. Thanks!

~Luke


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