With most kids going back to school this week, Andrew was blogging about the first day of school.
I don’t remember much about my first day either, though I do have a photo that I believe was snapped that morning:
Long-haired hippy. It was the 70s though. And I was obviously in a good mood… or it may have been my usual “I’m being photographed” face — lots of kids have those.
What I do remember is that (possibly on enrolment day rather than the first day of term) I decided that I wasn’t capable of spelling “Daniel”, and went by the name “Danny” instead… that lasted for 9 years, until I switched high schools to Melbourne High and decided I liked “Daniel” better. (My surname changed at the same time.)
I also recall early in that first term of Prep an older kid bullied me about something (possibly race-related, or perhaps about the odd appearance of my right eye), but I can’t remember any of the other details. Hopefully I wasn’t too upset about it. Back then there wasn’t a school buddy programme, which probably would have helped.
But as far as I recall, no other issues in Prep, and most of my primary school years are filled with happy memories.
Was chatting a while back to a colleague about his kids in high school. One of them ends up carrying an enormous amount of stuff to and from school, including books and sports equipment, but also a notebook (laptop) computer costing a couple of thousand dollars.
Giving students laptops makes no sense to me. Compared to desktops, they’re damaged more easily, they’re more expensive to buy (or less well specified), they depreciate in value much faster, and they’re Yet Another Thing for kids to have to carry around (which means more weight, and risk of theft).
I’m also wary of their portability, and the need to keep computers at home in a “public” area of the house.
My kids get given USB drives instead, so they can easily transfer their work from home to school and back again.
Admittedly you can’t put a laptop through the wash, as happened with one of our USB drives, though the data was recovered without problems.
I’d have thought in general having desktop computers both at home and school was a better solution than lugging laptops around the place.
Unless perhaps the laptop support contract comes with free chiropractor sessions.
It’s all easy in primary school. You send the money in, you get a box of goodies. There’s few textbooks, and almost all are kept at and owned by the school.
It gets more complicated and expensive in secondary school.
So here’s the scenario: Two kids, two years apart. The school has a secondhand book scheme.
At the end of the year, books are sold for two-thirds the retail price, with the seller getting three-quarters of that. So basically for cashing in your books, you get half the money back — assuming you bought them new in the first place.
So with two kids going through, I’m trying to work out if it’s worth selling them through the scheme, or holding onto them unused for a year before using them again.
If you bought $100 of books new at the start of year 1, you’d get $50 back for selling them at the end. If you bought them back again for year 3, it’d cost you $66, and you’d sell them again for $50. Total cost $100 – $50 + $66 – $50 = $66.
If you bought them secondhand originally, the cost is $66 – $50 + $66 – $50 = $32.
If you bought them new, and held onto them until the end of year 3, it’s $100 – $50 = $50.
If you bought them secondhand, and held onto them until the end of year 3, it’s $66 – $50 = $16.
The big unknown here is whether or not the school decides to changes the textbooks along the way, as new editions and better texts are published. If they change them before year 1, you can’t buy them secondhand in the first place, but must buy new. If they change them for year 2, you can’t sell them in the first place. If they change them for year 3, and you held onto them, you have to buy new ones anyway, and you missed your opportunity to sell.
I wonder how fast the turnover is. Perhaps it pays to sit down and be selective, holding onto things which are recent editions.
And just when I thought I’d figured out what to do, my sister mentioned she can get publisher discounts through her work.