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Posts tagged with: bartering

How I Got into Bartering

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Many have asked how I got into bartering. It wasn’t intentional, typically I would be too nervous to ask, but becoming a single mom make me a bit more fierce on behalf of my kids. It started a little over five years ago. I was having such trouble with my son (the twins were not in the picture yet.) He was stubborn and inquisitive and determined like no one I’ve ever met, and this was at 4 years old!

The owner and Princess and Little Gymnast soon after they started.

The owner and Princess and Little Gymnast soon after they started.

I was seeking help, and stumbled up martial arts as a sport of discipline. So I started calling around and visiting martial arts schools with him in tow. Most wouldn’t touch him, he was just generally too young for their programs, but one school would – Baeplex Family Martial Arts. I had explained a little bit of the situation as I set up the appointment to bring him in to try a class. We walked in the door and I felt at home. The instructors were personable, high energy and super attentive to the kids.

We walked out of there with both kids signed up for a trial month. We could go as often as our schedule allowed, the classes were just the right length that I could sit and wait or even run out and do a quick errand (that was like manna to this single mom’s ears,) and the price for the month was perfect, something I felt I could keep up.

Now keep in mind, I was only finding this for my son, but my daughter had a month until her dance classes started, so I did the trial month for both, figuring that the Princess would quit after the month and go into dance. Needless to say…at the end of that month, she BEGGED to continue. And there I was meeting with the owner of the studio, anticipating paying for one child on an ongoing basis and seeing that it was really my daughter who wanted this. I was in tears…and felt I had no choice but to ask.

And that is how bartering began for us…my web design and technical support skills in exchange for a reduced monthly tuition. Four years later, the Princess received her black belt. (Little Gymnast continued for several years, but after he found gymnastics, it was over.)

The owner of the studio tying on her new black belt after 3 hours of testing.

The owner of the studio tying on her new black belt after 3 hours of testing.

I would never have had the courage to suggest it without the needs and wants of my kids bolstering me. And now five years later, I don’t hesitate to ask/offer. I figure the worst they can say is no, and it’s opened up so many doors for my children to experience things that they never would have been able to without it.

So my suggestion…ASK…the worst they can say is no, but I think you will find many are willing to work with you!  Just today I sent an email to a new sport my daughter is trying to offer web design or registration form design services in exchange for participation or summer camp, etc. whatever they might need.  Crossing my fingers that it might work out.


Homeschool – Planning for Next Year

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I was so grateful that Walnut gave me some writing prompts this past week.  Since we have CHOSEN to live on a really tight budget for the next few months AND we have CHOSEN to save our spending money for a mini vacation next month, there isn’t a lot of financial activity going on.  We are saving everything towards the goal of 1) living on last month’s income beginning in May and 2) paying off all consumer debt by July.

So all I am doing aside from working and schooling the kids is thinking and planning for the future…and one of the big things for us is school expenses.  This year was the first year that all four of my kids participated in our homschool co op all year.  History Buff did almost all his school work via the classes available, while Sea Cadet just took electives.  The Princess took some heavy classes which weren’t supposed to be her entire curriculum but really ended up consuming her time.  And Little Gymnast just took some electives that I don’t teach.  The cost of this was HIGH money wise, and I knew as of last semester that we would not do this again.

So…what are we going to do next year.  Well, a couple of things are going to be changing.

  1. History Buff and Sea Cadet will be dual enrolled in our local community college for one class.  This will cost a bit more, but allow them to get their feet wet with college level courses and layouts while I am here to hold their hands.  (Yes, I realize that I sometimes come across as mother bear, but in this case…yes, they will definitely need some hand holding.)  We are going to start with one and if that works ok, will consider additional ones for the following semesters.
  2. I am going to be teaching at our co op!  I am uniquely qualified with my Masters degree and corporate experience to teach high school level computer programming, Ap computer science and advanced computer application, and am thrilled that what I can offer is something they need.  Currently, I will be teaching all three courses but that could change this summer once enrollment settles down.  I won’t do more than three but would ideally like to drop to two.  The entire goal in teaching is to pay for the kids’ homeschool co op.  This will be a huge coup as far as the kids tuition costs being covered and I’m super excited about it.  I will know in May which of my classes make it and have the summer to plan the curriculum.   The lectures will be once a week and back to back, that was my one condition in taking this on.  All other interaction will be online which works well since I am always at my computer for work and an avid multi-tasker.
  3. After 6 years of homeschooling, I know my teaching/planning style. And I know my kids’ learning styles.  That makes a HUGE difference in being successful.  For the first time, I will be selling off curriculum that I have accumulated over the years at a curriculum sale in May.  And then based on the kids co op schedule, my teaching schedule and the monies I earn from selling some of my stuff, I am going to pick up some new items at our statewide homeschool convention.  If you have ever been interested in homeschooling, I suggest you check out a convention, they are AWESOME!

So the financial summation of these changes….

  1. I will be paying for 1 college course for each of the twins.  Estimated cost $800 for both.  This is ballpark, I won’t have the real cost until we register this summer.
  2. I will NOT be paying for any of our homeschool co op classes and may in fact make a little extra money from teaching depending on the number of students who enroll in my class(es.)  Something else that will firm up in May.
  3. I will be selling some of my used curriculum for the first time this year and am hoping to make enough money to buy a few new things at the homeschool convention.  At this time, I have no other monies budgeted toward homeschool supplies, so am really hoping that my curriculum will sell!  Another update on this in May when the dust settles.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I make enough from teaching that not only can I cover our homeschool co op classes, but also the twins college class!?  Only time will tell, but that is the plan right now.