Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Replacing your homeschool materials after a disaster

Monday, July 9, 2018

Replacing your homeschool materials after a disaster

Disasters can happen to anyone, and when they do, the best you can hope for is that you are somewhat prepared to handle the damage. One of toughest things we, as homeschoolers, go through when facing a disaster is the complete or partial loss of our children's educational supplies. You may have hundreds or even thousands of dollars invested in your homeschool materials! How can you teach if you lose your curriculum and all the extras that go with it?

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A couple of years ago, a homeschooling friend of mine in Louisiana lost practically everything in the floods that inundated her town. Her daughter, an avid reader, truly mourned the loss of her books. It was heartbreaking to see the devastation. A while later I lost a whole shelf of homeschool books in a much smaller disaster involving a leaking pipe in the wall behind one of my bookshelves.

The thing we had in common was insurance. Thankfully our homeowner's insurance helped me to replace my kids' books quickly and easily. All I had to do was show the adjustor the damaged items, along with proof of their value, and he added those to our settlement.

Read how my kids reacted in our first night time fire drill!

Most homeowners today are required to have insurance, and although not all policies pay for all types of disasters, this is the absolute first and best thing you can do to protect your homeschool supplies.

If you are a renter, the decision whether to get insurance is usually left up to you, and unfortunately, many renters choose to forego this small expense and take the risk. I suggest you consider how much you have invested, not only in your books and other homeschool supplies, but everything else in your home. The cost of renter's insurance is so small compared to the cost of replacing everything in the case of a disaster. Don't let your failure to plan ahead become your family's great regret.

Help from government agencies


If you are the victim of a large disaster, such as a flood, hurricane, tornado, major earthquake, wildfire or similar situation, you may be entitled to help from government agencies. In addition to assistance from agencies like FEMA, the federal government offers tax assistance to those who qualify through the Benefits.gov website.

Help from the community


Members of your own local community may be eager to help you get back on your feet if you are the victim of a singular disaster such as a house fire, sink hole, or major theft. Don't hesitate to reach out to charitable organizations in your town or your state. Be flexible if you can, but be specific about the materials that were lost if you find folks who are willing to help you replace them with identical items.

Help from fellow homeschoolers


No one knows your needs quite like other homeschoolers, and many homeschoolers give generously in times of disaster. Check with the HSLDA charitable branch, The Homeschool Foundation to see if they might be able to help. Also, contact your state homeschool organization to see if they have a charitable outreach, or know churches or other organizations that offer help in your area. And definitely put the word out in your local homeschool group or co-op, in case other members might have usable materials they would like to pass your way.

Help from publishers


You may be able to get help from publishers of certain homeschool curricula if you reach out and let them know your situation, but please understand if they are unable to help. Let me explain this the best I can, because I have seen many recent comments online accusing publishers and distributors of greed or heartlessness because they were unable to replace lost materials after a disaster.

I am a publisher of homeschool books and materials, such as The Unplanner and The Periodic Table Matching Game. I price my products very low, to pass savings to you. But if you bought a copy of The Unplanner from me, and it burned up in a fire or molded in a flood, I couldn't replace it or even give you a significant discount without paying for that out of my own pocket. That's because the profit I get from each paperback book is just a tiny percentage. So as much as I would love to help, I could not afford to do that, especially if I got multiple requests per year.

Book publishers, and even popular distributors like Christian Book Distributors, would face significant financial strain if they replaced physical copies of books and resources for every homeschooler who wrote to them with such a request.

Now, if you could show me that you had purchased an e-book or downloadable, I would be much more able to replace that resource than something in print. That would cost me time, but not much in the way of money, and that's something I can more easily afford as a small publisher.

So if you make a request for assistance, be grateful for anything the publisher or distributor can give, and please be understanding if they cannot. Remember, if just 100 people per year made requests with an average cost $500 from a large company like Christian Book Distributors, that would add up to $50,000. That's enough to pay at least one worker for a whole year! If 1000 people made similar requests, that would add up to half a million dollars. That's a huge chunk of a company's bottom line. Don't run down a publisher or distributor, threaten to boycott or spam them, or question their Christianity because they aren't running their business as a non-profit charity.