For most of my life I’ve gone back and forth on the thought of being a teacher. Part of me loves the idea, but the other part doesn’t want to be crammed in a classroom with 30 kids who aren’t mine. But as I mentioned before once a year I get a lump sum of money to buy “homeschool supplies,” and I put hours and hours into picking what we should get. The day that I get to order is like a dream for me. It makes it sound like I just like spending money, but in reality it’s like pretending a dream is coming true. And also, just so as not to sound like a loser, the 40+ hours I put into picking out stuff can easily be spread out all year long, but I do tend to start to really crunch as the time approaches. I am one of those people who cannot simply sit still and watch tv or a movie, so often I actually work on the order while watching. I also keep wish lists on almost every supply site, and a mental list of things I REALLY want, so that I can quickly have someplace to start my planning. As the date approaches there is a lot of “But if I switch this to this I can get this too!” and yes it drives everyone except me crazy. Truth me told I LOVE planning orders. I wish I could be like a school supply personal shopper.
But I want to share with someone who may care about my orders, what I got. And no you may not care. When I try to read it to my husband he says “It sounds good, I know you know what you’re doing.” When I tell my mom, who is my best friend (sad but true) she just says “It sounds like you have to much time on your hands.”
But my dears, should you want to place a lump order, with a lot less work, here’s what I have ordered! Ordering time, ohhhhhh yeahhhh! The most anticipated day for me.
From Rainbow Resource I spent $155.65. I picked out:
The Feel and Find Game (most of you may be familiar with this, it’s like several two part puzzles. One little piece fits inside of a square and there is a variety of matching and sorting games you can play with it.)
Magic UV beads (they look whitish, but turns colors in the sun. I figure even if he can’t physically bead them, though he is a very good beader, he’d probably love just wearing them outside. Plus it sounds like a good thing to do on a rainy day while the Sun Bread rises. Our special bread that brings out the sun)
Lauri Fit a Space (The circles that are puzzles, and you can also sort, lace, and play with the shaped pieces.)
A replacement string and pick set for the lap harp I got used for $1!!
Lauri Shape Bingo (bingo meets puzzles. Ka chow!)
Lauri Construction Activity pack (A Construction themed set with lacing cards, a building toy, and more)
A “Zippy” sized variety of Toobers and Zots (a weird foamy building set)
The Gigglepants Game (apparently it teaches colors, shapes, and numbers, and on certain pairs you have to literally put on a pair of giant pants.)
HIssssss game (a color and sequence game where you build snakes)
A Boomwhackers set. (like PVC pipes only musical, they actually have true note ranges, song books, and more. It’s like a cheap persons piano, or a really cool xylophone. lol)
Crocodile Dentist Game (because he will love it, and we’re supposed to work on his imitation and turn taking.)
and a cheap pad of ‘watercolor and marker paper” just so I can see if it’s any good.
And why Rainbow Resource? Because I love them. VERY VERY few of their products are full retail price. When I did some comparisons almost every one of their prices was even cheaper then Amazon. Shopping from them shows a strong support of homeschooling (vs Amazon for example where they have no idea what you’re buying it for.) Their customer service is some of the best I’ve encountered. They ship fast. They do a monthly contest where if you enter a review you can win a $40 gift card! And as cheesy as it is, I LOVE their 1000+ page catalog, though it is overwhelming to most.
Then I ordered from Discount School Supply. If you’re not familiar with them they have prices that can’t be beat on things like art supplies, some manipulatives, and well just about anything you’d imagine seeing in a regular preschool or early elementary school, except textbooks. Now ordering from them was slightly disappointing. Apparently my catalog is older, though it can’t be older then last years, and pretty much every item I had chosen was now higher priced, which meant in order to stay at my exact budgeted amount I had to refigure some things. They have been recommended to me my many people I trust, and several friends have purchased there, but this is my first actual purchase from them. So while I can say they have been highly recommended I can’t say anything about how good they are first hand. Now some things I ordered from them would be very easy to pick up one or two at a time from just about any store that sells kid stuff, and some at about the same price, but I enjoy bulk ordering and knowing I have everything all at once. So from them I spent $84, which includes almost $5 tax, and I ordered:
A Set of 11 bottles of Washable Kids paint- This is one of those easy enough to buy one at a time things. You can easily buy a red this week, a blue next week, etc. But this way I have 11 colors all at once, and at a slightly cheaper price per bottle. Only $18.59 for the whole set. Each bottle is 16 oz.
Then to get the whole shebang I got a set of color coordinated no spill paint cups, with lids. And a set of matching brushes. I chose nylon bristled, they offer the same set with the “hair” bristles. The nylon got reviews that said it didn’t hold a lot of paint or the quality of painting was so-so, but the hair ones got reviews saying they shed or even flat out fell apart. Since he’s 2 I’d rather a brush that won’t fall apart, his painting will be so-so anyway.
As a special treat for him I got a POUND of Pom Poms, for $11! Let me say I bought a set like this about 12+ years ago and they are just running out. I used the old set for kids crafts at church, babysitting, and even sold bags full to crafters cheap, and Blu is STILL gluing down the remnants of the old bag. So this will last through many years of Tot School, and through many kids doing Tot School. Plus Blu loves gluing down pom poms.
Then I got a Fantacolor Junior. Their price on this went up a few dollars since last year, and may well be cheaper elsewhere, but if I didn’t order it I’d have to either pick something else or pay shipping, or pick something else and order this somewhere else and go over budget. A Fantacolor Junior is almost like a light bright, only less annoying. It has large flat pegs, and no fancy special paper. You can slip an image behind the board to copy, or you can make up your own. This got GREAT reviews on every site I saw it reviewed at and I’m pretty excited about it.
Then I got a good classic, a ball hopper! You know the bouncy ball with a handle on top! I’m pretty excited to bring back my youth since it has a maximum weight of 220 pounds. Not I may have packed on some weight, but not that much. Blu will adore this thing! We just have to get a ball pump. Only $8 for the small 15 inch size. Oddly though they have another listing for the same exact one for $10.
Then a set of plain cheap finger castanets. One day we were in a local new toy store and it had HORRIBLE service. It was inside of a gym that does gymnastics, and apparently they just don’t care about the store. The stuff was awesome but we waited more then 10 minutes to pay and couldn’t find a soul who worked there. Then a worked actually came in, darted behind the counter to grab a paper or something and didn’t even acknowledge us waiting! So I told Blu “sorry, no castanets (that’s what he had picked out to get) I’m not waiting here forever to give them my money!” And so I then promised him castanets.
And just to get free shipping (I was 69 frickin cents away! ugh!) I order a cheap watercolor set.
So now I wait. The excitement of choosing the order is gone, and now I have to wait until it’s likely to be arriving any day and then get excited over delivery. Delivery will be tricky though. Blu is a package lover (like his momma) but since the stuff is for all year long I don’t want him to help me open it. So we’re trying to figure out this whole “Well I’ll take him… then you bring the package in then… then when he goes to bed, then…” and it’s going to be tricky. Especially since I’m excited and want to tear into them ASAP! (Act Swiftly Awesome Pachyderm!)
Anyway I hope this post may give some of you a few ideas of what to get should you be working on a wishlist, and maybe a few Tot School ideas in general. maybe you have some money just burning a whole in your pocket and you want to just copy my order instead of doing all the work of choosing stuff. Mostly I wrote about it because I’m excited, and I honestly don’t expect any of you to care.
And stay tuned- I’m going to make a list of what we already have and I’ll share it with you!