on a single income so that one parent can act
as the primary educator. For this reason, the
savings Costco offers on books and school
supplies, not to mention the everyday products necessary to run a household and feed a
family, are especially valuable to home-schooling families.
The resource for home schoolers
Some families use products purchased at
Costco to develop their own curricula or create “unit studies” that cater to their children’s
individual interests and learning styles.
The road less taken
Home schoolers get assist from Costco
By Will Fifield
"For 10 years I have home-schooled my
five children, who range from 3 to 15 years
old,” says Costco member Meri Price of Gold
Bar, Washington. “Costco always has a variety
of books, workbooks and educational CDs to
support subjects in my curriculum such as
math, English, world languages and history.
One of our favorite book series is the American
Girl book collection. The book sets are hardback and beautiful.”
“SCHOOLING AT HOME is an all-inclusive
model for learning because ‘school’ is more a
way of life, really, than something that only happens between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” says Stephanie
Fifield, my wife and the primary educator of
our five children for the last 14 years. “Because
learning takes place in so many situations,
something as simple as making a pancake
breakfast on Saturday morning incorporates
math lessons, reading comprehension, home
economics and several other disciplines.”
Ready-to-go snacks are great for home-schooling families who love to experience the
subjects they study firsthand at museums,
factories and city tours and by visiting remote
locations to observe historic sites and geologically rich areas. Costco’s Tire Centers and
gas stations offer home-schooling families
savings for such excursions.
Like my family, many parents believe that
because they can provide greater attention to an
individual child’s learning style and interests,
home schooling can offer a richer education
and a more positive attitude toward learning.
Costco members also use their local warehouse and Costco.com for educational materials, such as office supplies and computers to
start home businesses that teach their children life skills that will last beyond their teen
years. The flexibility of schooling at home
affords the time for this sort of opportunity,
and Costco helps stretch home-schooling
families’ budgets. C
These parents are also drawn to home
schooling because of its fundamental difference in structure from formal schooling. A
more flexible schedule puts the onus on students to learn time-management skills.
Against the tide
Home schooling is the educational road
less taken. While the official number of home-schooled children in the U.S. has reached 2
million, the 2006 public census counted
almost 50 million children enrolled in grades
one through 12 in public schools.
One reason home education is a road less
taken is that it is a more demanding path in
many respects. It often requires families to live
A Costco home-schooler shares her story
By Monica Z. Utsey
I MAKE A SPECIAL point of shopping in late
July or early August, when Costco stocks
school supplies. I load up on home-schooling
staples such as construction paper, gel pens,
pencils, file folders, binders, ink cartridges
and scissors, saving our single-income family
tons of money.
He’s learned about unit price and its role in
determining the best deal on an item.
Cruising the book aisles for deals on
books to use during the home-school year is a
must. Costco offers some of the best prices on
the well-respected Math Made Easy series and
Math Smart and English Smart series.
My youngest, Ayinde, 3, is not left out
because our Costco warehouse is his toddler
playground, full of new experiences, sights,
sounds and textures. Tasting samples keeps
him quiet in the cart as we go over colors,
numbers, vegetables and everything in
between—using Costco products, of course.
But that’s not the only way Costco helps
us as educators. Our shopping trips are learning opportunities too. I’ve devised a spread-sheet called the “Costco List.” During our
visit, my oldest son, Zion, 9, is in charge of
making sure we get everything on the list.
I never feel like the day is lost after a visit
to Costco. At the end of the trip, we’ve studied
math, reading, science, health, nutrition and
social studies. And the best part: My toddler
will usually take a long nap afterwards. C
Zion (left) and Ayinde home-schooling
one morning using Active Mind Drawing
MONICA Z. U TSE Y
Wife, mother, freelance writer and Costco
member Monica Z. Utsey has been home-schooling for six years.