Handling Your Kid’s School Supplies When on a Tight Budget

School supply lists for children, regardless of the age, has expanded from the basics of pencils and paper to much more. When money is tight at home, it can be frustrating to figure out how to obtain all of the required supplies, especially when a family is on a very tight budget.

Treasure Hunt – Find Existing School Supplies at Home

Before heading out to the store, a family should have a treasure hunt to find any school supplies that may already be at the home. This can become a fun activity for the family and everyone can participate. Make sure everyone who is helping with the treasure hunt is given a list with two to five items as well as the quantity needed for each.

Encourage everyone to look around the house and consider all possibilities (i.e. items from previous school year that was not used or rarely used, items purchased in September on clearance, etc.). Put all found items in a sack or box.

Smart Shopping – Best Deals for School Supplies and Stationery

Smart mons plan ahead when buying school suppliesOnce a family has determined what is already available on-hand, the next step is to find the best deals for the school supplies that still need to be purchased. Listed below are some ways to find the best deal:

  • Check weekly sales ads from all stores that sell needed items (i.e. grocery stores, department stores, pharmacy stores, dollar stores, hardware stores, office supply stores).
  • Purchase items when on sale and stock up (hint: many stores such as Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, even Menards will have excellent deals).
  • Buy school supplies when the family’s state has a sales tax holiday (remember not all states participate in a sales tax holiday).
  • Use store coupons (i.e. Target, Staples, Office Max, etc.).
  • Use manufacture’s coupons.
  • Combine manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons.
Get Assistance to Buy School Supplies

No matter how many school supply items are found around the home, families still struggle with purchasing the rest of the required items. For some, it’s a decision between buying school supplies or putting food on the table. In this situation, families can ask the child’s school, church, and/or other community organizations for help. Never be afraid to ask for help.

There are many ways to stay on budget and yet purchase school supplies for children. From having a treasure hunt at home to buying supplies on sale with coupons, school supplies can be obtained and keep a family on a budget. It can become quite an adventure to search for needed items in which the entire family can help with.

How to Learn the Piano in under Three Months

Is it possible to learn the piano in under three months? Yes, it is possible!

It takes hard work, but it is possible to learn the piano in such a short time. But before you do this, you must devote time to getting familiar with chords and rhythms. It may surprise you to know that once you learn the chords and rhythms, it can be a breeze to learn piano or any musical instrument.

A good piano teacher can motivate a student to learn it on a faster paceBut how do you get started? Do you have to enroll in expensive classes to help you in your piano learning journey? Do you have to quit your job to devote your full time to learn the piano? Or, do you need to take memory-enhancing supplements to help you absorb information faster?

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to help you learn an instrument in the quickest amount of time, even if you avail of the piano teachers & lessons in New York City. You cannot expect to be good with the instrument just by browsing through chord sheets or listening to classical music. And above all, you cannot buy knowledge. You cannot expect to learn everything you need to learn just by enrolling in a class. You have to put in the effort to practice and follow through with your lessons.

If you have always wanted to learn the piano and you want to be able to play pieces in under three months, here are some tips to help you reach your goal:

Kids can learn fast when enrolled in a piano class1. Be motivated enough to want to learn the piano in under three months

Learning an instrument within this short period is challenging, so for you to get past the many hurdles, you need to be highly motivated to do it. What makes you want to learn the piano in under three months? Are you planning to propose and you want to play the piano as you sing your couple song? Do you want to audition for your school presentation? Know within you why you want to learn the instrument, and stick to that goal. If you are self-motivated into learning it, then you will not get easily demotivated by difficult lessons.

2. Enroll in a class

Unless you have a perfect pitch (which is pretty rare), or you are a musical prodigy (which is also even more unusual), then you need someone more knowledgeable to guide you. You can get that by attending a piano class conducted by an excellent teacher. Focus on getting a piano teacher who has already established a name for himself/herself. Forget about the music school’s advertising, gimmicks, or facilities. Your focus must be on partnering up with a good teacher who can guide you through the whole learning process. He/she may get surprised with the timetable that you want, but surely, it is possible to make it happen.

It is no easy feat learning the piano, more so wanting to learn it in under three months. However, it is doable as long as you have an excellent and passionate teacher, and you have the full dedication and patience in learning the ropes of the instrument. Whatever your age is, you must choose to let go of your doubts and ego, so you get to grow phenomenally as a piano student.

Pros and Cons of Private vs. Public Schools

During times of economic uncertainty, the option of sending children to non-public schools represents a significant issue for parents. Public schools are free and, in most cases, offer a wide range of student opportunities geared toward either college preparation or the workforce. With the advent of state-sponsored college-credit programs such as internet-based courses facilitated by state universities or “early colleges,” public schools can provide upper-level academics that frequently compete with non-public alternatives. Private schools, however, still offer many advantages that the public schools simply cannot touch, and these benefits are attractive to parents willing to sacrifice.

Children in a public school classroomThe Benefits of Non-Public School Education

Many private schools flourish because of their reputations. Often decades in the making, the very “name” of these institutions evokes a distinct sense of pride. Some private schools, notably Catholic high schools, develop superb reputations based on athletic success. Although they are often seen as elitist, such schools command clout in the academic community. Reputation is an important consideration.

Private schools have lower student-teacher class ratios than public schools and teachers foster strong relationships with both students and parents. Teacher feedback is expected and is far more frequent than in most public schools. Private school facilities are frequently more modern and technologically advanced. Non-public institutions usually command greater resources, often tied to very active PTA organizations.

Above all, private schools tend to have a vested interest in seeing their students advance to a successful college experience. In many cases, these include top-tier universities. To accomplish this, private school faculties often represent teachers with advanced degrees in their subject areas, although they may not be state licensed or certified.

Public School Advantages over Private School Alternatives

Because many public schools are large, they frequently offer more choices to students regarding courses and have more excellent resources and staff in addressing the needs of special education students (this may not be true in rural school systems or systems in one-industry towns that have suffered major job losses). All public school teachers must be state-certified and most systems pay the necessary fees to have teachers nationally board certified.

Private school students in their uniformsSome argue that the public school experience provides a higher degree of student diversity and socialization. Additionally, public schools offer many upper-level courses from honors to Advanced Placement and some classes feature the International Baccalaureate program. Whether the No Child Left Behind law ultimately prevails or has any merit in mandating realistic outcomes, it has forced schools and communities to take stock of local education. Hence, superintendents and school boards are looking at the public school process far more critically. This can only benefit students in the long term.

Public schools provide transportation, something many non-public alternatives cannot match or if they can, on a limited basis only. This includes “activity” buses used for athletic transportation as well as field trips.

The Pros and Cons of Public versus Private Schools

Parents and students need to view all of the pros and cons carefully (recognizing that such choices are often student-driven). Is a more disciplined environment worth paying tuition? Are smaller class sizes worth the added expense? For parents that want to see their children have an “edge” over public school students in college, these reasons often justify the financial sacrifice. One option parents should consider is Early College.

On the other hand, parents recognize, depending on their particular public system, that public schools can do just as good a job of educating students if the right choices are made regarding course selections and extracurricular participation. Students with a strong work ethic can thrive in any educational environment, mainly if they have strong family support.