Thursday, May 21, 2009
My relationship with Scholastic Books goes way, way back. I think my favourite part of going to school was the Scholastic Book Order.
When the kids were at Montessori, I was re-introduced to those little newsprint flyers that would be sent home every month. I was a regular supporter of the book order. Through my contribution alone, I think the teacher earned a bookshelf worth of free books. Those early days of obsessive book-collecting should have been my first clue that I was destined to be a homeschooler!
Once I became a board member at Montessori, I took on the responsibility for the two classroom's Scholastic accounts. I handed out monthly flyers. I got to open the book boxes when they arrived. I got to sort and send home all those new, shiny books. I got to fiddle with the order paperwork in order to earn the teachers the maximum amount of Book Bucks which they could use to order classroom supplies. I even got to organize a Book Fair, which isn't hard at all. A big truck comes by and drops off everything you need. All I had to do was park a rolling bookcase, fill in some posters with the date and ta-da!! I had a successful book sale. Still, I was pretty excited. As a board-member/Scholastic account manager, I even got to attend a super-secret 50%-off Scholastic Warehouse Sale. My bookshelves have never been the same.
Once I began homeschooling, I found I really missed the monthly supply of new books. I didn't really order a lot, but those monthly $1.99 specials, for birthday gifts and holidays, for reference books, Scholastic sure had been handy. I looked into getting my own account.
Homeschoolers have some hoops to jump through in order to be able to participate in the Scholastic Book Clubs. Once I finally took the plunge and did so, I was disappointed to discover that Scholastic can't mail single copies of their monthly flyers. They come in chunks of 30. I received 30 flyers for the Grade 1-3 Book Club, 30 flyers for the Grade 4-6 Book Club and 30 flyers for the Special Order Book Club. I also received two teacher catalogues. A bit much, me thinks, especially if I wasn't ordering anything that month.
I decided I could peruse the monthly selections via Internet. Another frustrating venture. It takes sooooo looonnnggggg for the .pdf of the monthly flyer to load. Scrolling becomes a torturous nightmare as each page has to reload again and again. At this point, Scholastic went on the back burner for me. Too much frustration made me want to ignore it completely. Every now and then, I'd revisit the website but I wasn't motivated to find a way around my frustrations.
Today our French Tutor called. She'd just been to the Scholastic Sale. What is a Scholastic Sale, you ask? The Scholastic Warehouse Sale is a wonderful invention for book loving people. Twice a year, the Scholastic Warehouse has this giant sale where everything they stock is 50% off. I'm sure the purpose is to clear out the stock to make way for new stock. But whatever the reason, it's a Very Awesome Event.
The annoying thing about Scholastic Warehouse Sales is that invitations are not usually forthcoming. It seems that school teachers get invited, but not everyone with a Scholastic account. In our community, some of the public school teachers make a Special Secret Spy Club out of their Warehouse Sale 'privileges'. Annoying, really, as anyone can walk in and shop for books if they know about the sale. There are no bouncers checking I.D., no printed invitations to hand out, no retina scans to get in. So those little comments about 'The Sale' that you hear are just popularity posturing. A whispered "Have you been to The Sale?" will rally all public school teachers within a soccer pitch sized area and turn them in to a bunch of clucking hens showing off their feathers.
So, in light of this Very Awesome Event and due to my party-crashing nature and because buying cheap books is always a good time, when I got off the phone with the French Tutor, I rallied my resources (wallet, keys, responsible parent person to assume child supervision responsibilities) and I sped down the road to the warehouse. I had one hour to scour racks and racks of books. I limited myself to mostly resource material for the School Shelf. When all was said and done, I brought home $86 worth of books for just $41. Not a bad deal.
I should really get over myself and get a Scholastic Book Club arranged for our local homeschooling group. Then I could justify the copious mailings while enjoying the joys of new books. I will meditate upon the practicalities of the situation. In the meantime, I will enjoy my small haul of books.