Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bartering for goods and services

I have been thinking about the advantages of a barter system, especially right now. We have had to cut back on some lifestyle/educational choices lately because of unexpected expenses, and I have been trying to figure out ways to bring those choices back to life.

My solution? The barter system. Between my husband and I, we have some skills that we could trade for some privileges. To be honest, I'm far more aware of the advantages that some of my husband's skills could bring. I'm sure he'll be thrilled with giving up his already non-existent spare time because some of those are worth more money than mine.

My skills? The only one that is probably worth a bit more in trade is tutoring. I'm just not sure I want to teach someone else's children though. That is scary! Funny, most people think teaching their own children is terrifying. I figure that if I'm screwing up, I've already done it because I'm their mom. If I have damaged their psyche, it's done. Probably by age 3. Hopefully they'll turn out fine anyway. That's my daily prayer.

My husband? He's an experienced IT guy AND a photographer. A dang good one too if I do say so myself. Look and see for yourself at

Back to the concept of bartering: it seems like many things are either over- or under-valued anymore, and money doesn't seem to be doing the job as it once did. I don't know that our economy could ever use a 100 percent bartering system, but it seems that there is room for some. For examle, if I grow tomatoes, and you grow corn, maybe we could swap so we could both have tomatoes and corn. It seems like it work on a local basis only---a tough sell on the internet, and I don't think home mortgage companies would like to receive 100 loaves of bread in lieu of a house payment, no matter how good they are! That would even mean that for every one customer that paid in kind, a business (even locally owned) would need several more to pay in cash so they could pay their employees, their rent, etc.

Another benefit of the barter system is that kids could get involved. Right now, in the state of Missouri, kids cannot hold a job until they are 14 and only then if they have the superintendent of school's okay it and it is for a limited number of hours. On the other hand, many folks will stop for a glass of lemonade at a child's lemonade stand just to encourage their entrepreneurial efforts.

I think we might investigate the possibilities of this in a very small way, and see what we can teach the kids about the value of work and recognizing the value of their talents and abilities.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm back, I think

Hello again, I think. I read another blog yesterday where the author wrote that the purpose behind her blog was to show life with spectacularly normal children. Then I received an email from a mom who was feeling horribly behind the game.

I got to thinking....the problem for many of us is that none of us (or very few) really feel like we're doing enough most of the time. We homeschoolers hear stories of these human dynamos who have their acts totally together and their children receive the Presidential scholarship to several Ivy League universities no later than age 14.

Non-homeschoolers? Their daughters are competing for the next gymnastics Olympic team by age 10; they never complain about homework, zipping through it and acing their exams with aplomb; and their sons are on the Honor Roll, the district's winning Academic team, and working on their Eagles by age 12.

Yup, you got it. I flunked all of those tests. I got what I prayed for. Normal children.

School got derailed once again by an emergency trip to Idaho to see my husband's grandfather, and I am personally not dealing with the thought of him passing to the next life very well even though I am only an in-law---he's my (I claim him) last grandfather alive on earth at this time---I lost one at age 6 1/2, one at 18, and I'm not ready to let the last one go. Then there's the stress of having to pay for that trip---I am grateful for creditors who believed in us enough to help us go. I am also grateful we will be paying them off soon!

Yesterday we did a bunch of President's Day worksheets from Enchanted Learning. Okay, so I went a little overboard and we did about 5 hours worth of them! We covered every subject with them!!!

Additionally, I'd like to find about $130 by March to buy a Math program from Teaching Textbooks. My sister turned me onto them, and they are great. Go try it for yourselves! Why do I love it so much? Because I am beginning to hate math!!! If I have to go through it all even one more time, I might scream.................................................. Amazingly, my kids really like it too. They like anything that puts them on the computer. Now, if I could find a really good, fun writing program on the computer, I'd know I had died and gone to heaven.

Something I have learned recently? All the waiting I have done, allowing the kids to set their own pace for the most part, is paying off. My boys are finally ready. Those 10 pounds of Presidents Day-themed worksheets yesterday? They would not have done so many even 3 months ago. It's clicking. I learned that with reading, but I was starting to shove every subject down their throats anyway because "everyone else was doing it", and my kids were "falling behind" whatever that means! They were beginning to hate school just like everyone else too.

Of course, I still want that math program without the help of our wonderful creditors!

P.S. I knocked off my blog links, not because I didn't like them, but because they weren't working when I clicked on them.