That’s what my 13 year old – my rising ninth grader – has dubbed this week. We finished her eighth grade work (with the exception of Summer School Math) last Friday, and this week, she’s been getting up early and heading to an all-day theater camp, complete with two performances of “Twice Upon a Time” tomorrow. But the preparation for high school has already begun.
Early in the week, we went to Best Buy and picked up a Kindle Touch with 3G for her. With all the classic literature she’ll be required to read by Seton Homeschool, we figured, “Why not get something that we can find free classic literature for?” Free is almost always better than payed for. Especially when it’s my money (our money) doing the paying. And carrying one Kindle with thousands of books is, well … kind of dreamy for a bookworm.
Then, on Tuesday, we ordered a MacBook Pro for her. This one. It’s not the Latest and Greatest, but it’s quite nice. I think it is now considered two generations back from what was just announced at WWDC last week. We waited to see what the new MacBook Pros would be like, and we waited to see what the Back to School special would be. The new MacBook Pros are amazing (and, for what you get, not badly priced – only the new retina display is more expensive than the models that were out two weeks back); the Back to School special is not amazing. But the fact that the refurbished MacBook Pro that we’d been seriously considering for her dropped in price by another $70 – making it $170 less than the educational price of the lowest-end new MacBook Pro – THAT was something worth celebrating. So we went ahead and picked one up for her. It should arrive on Tuesday.
I don’t know anyone in my circle of friends or even circle of acquaintances who is getting their rising ninth grader stuff like this. When I think about it, I feel positively decadent! Almost wasteful!
We must be spoiling the kid!
But somehow, we’re not.
This was actually a concern of ours as we discussed our plan to buy the computer. We’d actually planned it three years ago while I was still working for Apple on the sales line. Did we actually need to buy her a computer? Were we being too indulgent in doing so?
We took stock of the things she has, as well as the reasons behind us wanting to do this. After all, we don’t have MacBook Pros, Kindles, or even iPads.
First, her stuff: she and her sister saved up for a Wii, they each have iPods, and she has a digital camera (budding photographer). She has use of one of the family computers, with lots of parental controls built in. She has no cell phone (we firmly believe there is no reason a 13 year old needs one), she doesn’t own an iPod Touch (though she has access to my old one, as does her sister). The girls don’t have phones or TVs in their room. And, of course, we are completely indulgent when it comes to purchasing books. (We’re all bookworms.)
Now to why we wanted to do this for her: We take a lot of family vacations; we don’t live anywhere near our families, and seeing grandparents involve a 12 hour drive for one set and a 23 hour drive for the other. When we travel, it’s harder to do things like essays, since she’s been writing them on the computer consistently since the seventh grade. When we go to the all-day, once-a-week co-op, she can’t write her essays out because doing it by hand not only means doing it twice just for a first-draft, but also means her first-first draft is not going to be nearly as good as when she can type it out.
Plus, having paperwork on the computer means it will be easier to keep track of. Neater. Fewer papers left in around the house in various stages of done-ness. She’ll even be able to use Evernote to take notes on her projects and research papers.
Even though this is a great gift for her, it’s going to also be a great gift for us, making our homeschool life easier and more portable.
So buying the MacBook Pro won out. It’s on the way.
When I ordered it, I said to her, “You know none of your friends are getting this kind of thing for high school, right? Not a single one has parents who can do this right now.”
“I know,” she answered.
“Remember that, please. Remember not to be flashy about it or show it off a lot to your friends. Don’t make them feel bad.”
“Oh my gosh, no! I know not to do that! I won’t!”
And, really, I should have known. Someone mentioned that a MacBook Air might have been better for her, with its solid state flash drive that’s more durable and all. We compared prices and weren’t sure it would be worth it. “It even looks cooler!” said the salesman.
“I don’t care how it looks,” she told us later. “You’re buying me a COMPUTER! It doesn’t need to look cool. Besides, I think all Macs are cool – so there!”
She didn’t care that it was refurbished (which, as a sidenote, is really a great way to go with Apple – we’ve never once bought anything new from them with the exception of my iPhone). She didn’t care that we didn’t get the Biggest and Best. She didn’t care that we didn’t get all kinds of Goodies On the Side to go with it. And if our budget had taken a serious hit (as it did last Summer with a dead car followed by a dead refrigerator), she would have been disappointed-but-fine if we couldn’t get it at all.
So it looks like she’s not spoiled, in spite of the Best. Week. EVER!