Thursday, July 03, 2008

Looking for Opinions and Input

As I have been going through the process of picking our homeschooling curriculum for next year, I've run into a conflict of conscience. I would love to hear your opinions and input on this!

As a Christian, with a strong desire to act with integrity in all matters, is it wrong to purchase used curriculum? I suppose I don't feel too guilty when it comes to bigger name publications, or even to novels and non-fiction books. But what about curriculum like Mystery of History or other family written curriculum options?

I spent some time on eBay the other day, just trying to get ideas and see what kind of prices things were listed for. But then it hit me: could I, in good conscience, purchase Mystery of History from eBay? Wouldn't that be taking money out of the pocket of the mom who wrote the series? Something about it just doesn't seem fair.

I also realize this is a slippery slope. If we are to say that in that instance it would not be okay, why then is it okay to buy used books of any kind? Or for that matter, isn't there even then something inherently unfair in our public library system? See what I's a slippery slope.

On the reverse of this argument, let's say that a family is selling some of their used homeschooling materials because they REALLY need the extra money. Wouldn't buying it from them be the compassionate and Christian thing to do?

I posed the original question to Eric, about buying MOH from eBay as opposed to buying it directly from the source, and he seemed as perplexed as I feel. He suggested I do a post about it to get input from others. Honestly, I am not leaning one way or the other right now. But I am conflicted and curious what your opinion is on this matter. Please let me know your opinions. Thanks!


Joy 11:57 PM  

Unless there's a disclaimer on the curriculum saying "Reselling this book is prohibited" then I would say that it's just free enterprise. If it's your curriculum, you have the right to resell it, and the original author has to realize that if they publish their curriculum in free-market America. Likewise, you have the right purchase used books from others.

You could even look at it this way. What if that family purchased the book new, but they're now selling it to earn money to purchase more new curriculum. They couldn't afford the new curriculum without selling the old, right?

I think that if you purchase curriculum, you're investing in it, meaning that it may retain some of its value so you can resell it. Of course, some curriculum has greater depreciation than others. That's the nature of the system.

So if you're asking for a vote, I vote for eBay.


(Just had a thought: If no one was allowed to resell their curriculum, would we be as willing to pay as high a price for new curriculum?)

Tracy,  8:24 AM  

I agree with Joy. However, I also know from experience that when God convicts me about something, I should follow what he is telling me. Even if there is no problem with buying used curriculum, you seem to feel bad about it. So maybe it would be best for you to follow your gut and buy it new this time. Next time you may feel differently.

Judy 8:54 AM  

I don't think there is anything wrong with getting it on Ebay. What happens if a family buys it, thinking they are going to use it and then decide not to. A person could be stuck with alot of curriculum just sitting there. I think Ebay (like used curriculum sales) gives people who might not be able to afford to buy it new an opportunity to get a deal.

I understand your concern and the slippery slope. What about letting someone borrow your curriculum? There was was company that when they updated their curriculum gave their customers that already own it a 50% discount. They did make it contingent on you promising not to sell or even let someone borrow your old one.

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings 5:19 PM  

I would say it's ok as well. If it's not ok to buy used books, then what about all used materials?
Personally, I think it's good for everyone to have curriculum (and all goods) in the hands of people who will use them, rather than sitting on a shelf, or in the landfill.

Elle 10:06 PM  

I buy both used and new curriculum, often give away as well as loan curriculum to others and generally look for ways not only to save money for my family's homeschooling budget, but trust God to give me opportunities to help others in this as well--keeping my integrity regarding not copying non-reproducibles or reselling resources marked prohibited.

Every homeschool convention and even HSLDA offer a used homeschool curriculum market. I realize I'm relatively new to this, but I thought that buying and selling used curriculum was more than appropriate.

Not only does it offer a frugal means for families to provide resources but is its own spreading of the word advertisement when a family uses a curriculum and then passes it along to another.

Short of writing the Mystery of History mom and asking her opinion, I believe it's still a great option for most families.

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