Saturday, August 28, 2010

Placed My First Order with The Teaching Company

I feel like I've been granted entry into an exclusive club: homeschooling teenagers.

The admission requirement was accomplished, I've placed my first order with The Teaching Company. They are also known as "The Great Courses" and they sell lectures by college professors to laypeople. Some courses are high school content but most are college level classes.

Just about every homeschool family who has a teenager, and is home educating their children with an academic focus, is a customer of The Teaching Company, from what I've gathered.

I have been told many times over these years to watch for the August sale. This is when courses are offered for 70% off.

(If you are on a budget check your local library and neighboring towns. You may be able to use interlibrary loan to borrow these materials, if not, perhaps in your state you can drive to that library and borrow them. I find that some libraries don't carry any of these while others have a good sized collection. Another tip is to try the wealthier towns with higher educated residents, that is where the highest number of The Teaching Company courses are owned by public libraries in my area.)

I have been mulling over some paper catalogs we've received and have been pondering over what to purchase. I started with two courses but wound up ordering seven. I learned some insider secrets that I'll share.

First I made an error by throwing away one paper catalog, the first one I received. I threw it out when a new sale catalog arrived. I made the error of assuming it was the same content but with a different cover (as some other mail order catalogs I receive are). I also assumed that what was online was the same as what was in my catalog. When the third catalog arrived and I opened it I couldn't find some of the courses I'd seen listed in catalogs #1 and #2. My confusion began at that point.

I then tried to place the order on the website "going in cold" since I wanted courses from all three catalogs. The problem was the sale prices in my catalogs were not showing up on the website (they were all full price), I was being charged full price. I phoned the company and was told to use the promo code on my catalog, near my name, then to try it. I hung up the phone to give it a whirl.

With both catalogs in hand I made a list of the courses I wanted to purchase. Some were in both, some were only in one. I tried to buy them online using one promo code. The promo code only works for that one catalog's offerings. When I tried to get sale prices for the other promo code, it wouldn't work. I couldn't find a way to order from both catalog's sale prices in one order even when inputting both promo codes. If I had placed two separate orders online I would have paid another $20 in shipping fees (forget that!).

I phoned the company and they had to take the order over the phone, using both promo codes. There was another course I recalled from the first catalog that I'd thrown away. I mentioned the situation and the associate gave me the sale price. What good customer service!

Here's what I ordered:

1950 Nutrition Made Clear $84.95 (reg $374.95)

2198 The Art of Reading $59.95 (reg $254.95)

104 Basic Math (high school) $69.95 (reg $254.95)

1001 Algebra I (high school) $69.95 (reg $254.95)

140 How to Become a Superstar Student (high school) $34.95 (reg $149.95)

2368 Building Great Sentences Exploring the Writer's Craft (this was an impulse buy prompted by the customer service agent's recommendation--what's another $70 when you're spending over $500?) $69.95 (reg $254.95)

160 Understanding the Human Body, Intro to Anatomy and Physiology $109.95 (reg $519.95)

Total spent with sale prices: $499.65

Total if paid regular price: $2064.65

Savings: $1565.00, that's right around 75% savings.


Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post nor am I affiliated with The Teaching Company. I bought these products for our family's personal use.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Once you place your first order, you will get a LOT of their catalogs and emails, all saying that courses are 70% off. Basically, if the courses you want aren't on sale, wait a month.