Special thanks to Aja McClahanan from Principles of Increase for writing this guest post on where to find thrifty homeschool supplies!
We’ve home schooled on and off for the last 5 years. This year we are at it again. Even though you save thousand in private school tuition, the costs for books and fancy online programs can be daunting. We opted to do something a little more custom for our girls, so I had some freedom to tailor a curriculum from many sources.
Even if you opt to do something more structured where the books are predetermined and the material covered is pretty much set, you can still take advantage of thrifty, economical finds to supplement what you already have in place. Here are a few options:
Amazon.com, Ebay, Craigslist & Kid’s Consignment Sales
These are all great places to find used books. Sometimes you can find previous versions of a book super cheap. There are thousands of home-schooling families that offload books regularly. They are looking to get money for the next school year or perhaps have children that are no longer school age. You too, can use these sites to sell your materials to help cover books for a new year.
TIP: Instead of writing in workbooks, write in a paper notebook. You can sell a clean workbook at much higher prices, but your child can still reap the benefits of learning the material inside.
This is a book rental website more for college academics. However, as of late, they’ve been adding more materials to their grade school category. They’ve also added the option to buy a book if you don’t want to rent it. They show the pricing for rental versus purchase side by side to help you make an informed decision. Sometimes, it might make more sense to rent or buy. Now, you don’t have to toggle between websites to figure that out.
When our lives are a little less hectic, this is a wonderful go-to for fresh new resources. If we are too busy, it becomes a bottomless pit of late fees! So we move onto the option below.
Local Thrift Store
This really helps in busy seasons when the library would just mean tons of fines for us. Sometimes it’s just easier for me to pile up on a bunch of $.49 books and not have to worry about taking them back. We are free to go into our own stash and have new books as often as we like.
Internet Print Outs and Web Programs
There are thousands upon thousands of websites that have print outs for just about any grade and any subject matter. Many of them are free or can be accessed at nominal prices. I’ll let you do the Googling to find them, but I wanted to bring this up so you know it is an option Starfall.com and Xtramath.org are some of our “go to” resources for free web programs.
Local Public School
This is a great one because schools will often retire entire sets of books for a grade level because they are getting new ones. When this happens, you can get many of the supplement materials like workbooks and teacher’s guides for free! Another thing to ask about is sample materials given to teachers by book sales representatives. Eager to sell their books, reps will give many book samples to a teacher for review. Multiply that by many sales reps each year and you’ve got a teacher who’d be happy to give you those extra books she knows she’ll never buy and will never need.
Dollar stores and dollar bins at retailers like Target often have quality supplemental teacher and learning materials like workbooks, dry erase activities, classroom supplies, posters and even lesson planners. These are great resources when you’ve got your plan together and need a few additional materials for your at home classroom.
A quick search for your city online should turn up many groups full of people who may be looking to sell or even exchange materials they are done with. Homeschool groups are also a great resource to have for co-learning opportunities and social time for your home-schooled kids. Check in with them for learning materials, but stay around for the other awesome benefits and support.
Hope this helps you save some money on your homeschool journey. Did I miss something? Chime in for any tips you might have!
Aja “A.J.” McClanahan is a mom, wife and business owner who writes about family, finance, faith and entrepreneurship at www.principlesofincrease.com. She is passionate about helping others get out of debt and find creative ways to experience financial freedom.
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