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I keep a list of the books I KNOW I want to use, and how much it's going to cost me to get them (if I don't already have them), so I guess I kind of "budget", but it's more just a "this is how much it's going to cost" budget rather than a "this is how much we can spend" budget.
I wish i had a budget. Like say X amount per child.. But i think i'm going to just get it as we need it... Although one big order at the beginning of the year sounds great. I'm thinking we'll just get the next level as they progress since i don't see my children being on one level in all subjects, And I'm hoping what works for DD will work for DS can use too who will be the next level below her.
And Money is an issue so i'll have to find out what i want then find the best deal on it.
I spend about 100$ or so at the begining of the year. Chyanne learns slower, so I can use my goodies longer. I also buy as needed. We have been doing more hands on learning (field trips and such) and less book work though.
I budget ahead of time, but I agree that it is more a this is what it is going to cost than a this is what we can spend. Next year I'm looking at about $1500 for the 4 kids, but it should be my last big year, because after that my littler one should be into curriculum that my bigger ones have used and therefore I will cut my budget almost in half. The curriculum I use has very little that needs to be re-bought for subsequent children, which with 4 was important to me!