Planning for the next school year (’12/’13) is in full swing for many homeschoolers and I thought I would take a few minutes to share one of the ways you can cut back on your curriculum costs. I know selecting our curriculum was a daunting task and if you’re new to homeschooling, you might be feeling overwhelmed with what curriculum to start using.
- Plan In Advance
- Watch For Sales
- Buy Used Over New
- Go To Curriculum Fairs
- Borrow Either From Friends Or Libraries
Plan In Advance – You don’t need to have your lesson plans all laid out before knowing what books you’re going to need. Decide on a curriculum for the following school year, search for it on the internet, write down their suggestions for what you’ll need and what supplements they recommend.
Try Rainbow Resource Center for curriculum ideas. You can request a free catalog through them. It’s about twice as thick as a phone book (1300 pages) and can feel overwhelming at first, but they are the most “One stop shop” I have found so far and their catalog contains reviews which are helpful.
Watch For Sales – Knowing what curriculum you’ll be using and what books you’ll need will allow you to take the time and search for sales. You might get through half the school year and decide you really don’t like the curriculum or it’s not working well for your family. If you don’t spend an arm and a leg on curriculum costs, it will be easier to decide to switch.
Buy Used Over New – If you need workbooks, those obviously need to be new or in new condition (used but not written in), but text books and teacher resource material can often be used and found for a fraction of the cost. Check local used book stores and see if they have a section that might meet your needs and don’t forget to check online sites like:
Go To Curriculum Fairs – If there are other homeschoolers in your area or close by, chances are that there are curriculum fairs in your area. You’ll find both used and new curriculum at the fairs and often, they’ll be so much cheaper. A homeschooling parent may have decided that they don’t like the curriculum they have been using and they’re trying to sell what hasn’t been used.
Curriculum fairs will give you the chance to talk to other homeschoolers about what works/didn’t work for them and will also give you the chance to flip through different curriculums giving you a better idea if it’s going to work for you or not. Be sure to check out Donna Young’s (Surviving) The Curriculum Fair as she offers a few free printables to take with you if you go to a curriculum fair. Look for a Homeschool Convention/Curriculum Fair near you.
Borrow From Friends or Library – When it comes to textbooks or supplemental material, you may not even need to purchase the books. Check with homeschooling friends who have older children. They may have some of the books you need and you can either buy them from them or borrow. Also, check your local library. You never know what might be on their selves for borrowing or in their book sales.