Digging for Deals: Homeschool Curriculum

homeschool

If you’re like me, this is the time of year when you are sitting down to figure out what all you need for the kid’s next school year.  Sure, I grabbed some stuff at the homeschool convention, but I need to make sure I have all I need to attain the goals I set for each child. Besides, I am a curricula junkie.   To that end, I have collected all of my favorite spots to buy discounted curriculum.  Some of these offer discounted prices. Some offer great sales. Others are great places to source used curriculum in good condition. Check over the list and see if any are new to you.  I would love to hear about any I missed. My husband might not want me to know about them, but SHHHH…. it’ll be our secret.

  • Ebay
    • Yup, you knew this would make the list, but wait… I have a trick! Instead of going straight to Ebay, go to Fatfingers.com first.  Type in the name of the book or program you are looking for, and the site will return all the results for that name along with the hidden gems that might have spelling errors (ie Sotry of the World).
  • Facebook
    • There are so many great groups out there for local homeschool sharing. These offer an easy way to save on used curriculum and skip the shipping costs.  I would start there, then look for the nationwide ones.  The hyperlink above will lead you to a search for “homeschool curriculum” in groups.  Change that search term to any specific program to narrow the search.  There are exchange/sale groups specifically for Five in a Row, Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, and many other programs.
  • Craigslist
    • This is another great source for local goods. Beyond your specific needs, try searching for “homeschool” or “home school”.  You’ll probably be surprised with all that pops up- from books to furniture to manipulatives.
  • VegSource
    • This is a site for vegetarians, but it has forums for all things homeschool including some pretty active homeschool swap forums.
  • HomeschoolClassifieds
    • While not a visually appealing site, this site is worth its weight in gold.  It’s a very active site. In fact, there were 2,096 items posted today alone. The search button appears in the middle of the menu bar.  Use the search feature whether you are selling or buying; it shows the results for both curriculum for sale as well as the want ads.
  • Homeschool Buyers Coop
    • This site is like the Groupon of curricula.  Group buying power allows for substantial discounts for all users on physical and digital curriculum. I’ve purchased Thinkwell courses, Dave Ramsey curriculum, and several others from this site.
  • Abe Books
    • Abe Books basically allows you access to every used bookstore in the US.  Heck, they have six international sites too. If you have a particular title in mind, especially for college texts, Abe Books is a great site to search. It’s also a helpful site for those pesky out-of-print books.
  • Amazon
    • Abe Books is actually a subsidiary of Amazon, but you’ll find other goodies directly from the source. While most won’t be discounted substantially, you can find used copies or at least get free shipping on orders over $35.  Prime Members enjoy free shipping on all Prime items. They have offered codes on books in the past; the last 10% discount even worked on my son’s dual credit textbooks. Amazon is also a great site to look for in-print books, games, and manipulatives.  We found great deals on textbook rentals there as well. The shipping/return process is effortless.
  • Usborne
    • You guys know I love me some Usborne! Hosting a party is the quickest way to get a discount on these books.  Your friends will get great books, and you can score a whole slew of free books for your home school. You can also sign up as a consultant and make money while supporting literacy! Win win!

  • Paperback Swap
    • As the name suggests, this site is all about swapping titles.  List some books you’re willing to part with. If someone requests them, you pay postage and ship it their way.  The books you request come postage-paid. The books you get are yours to keep, or swap them again.
  • Yahoo Groups
    • Similar to Facebook groups, Yahoo has lots of groups dedicated to used homeschool curriculum.  Used Homeschool Curriculum is one of the most active groups.  Make sure to also look for groups for specific programs like IEW, Five in a Row, etc.
  • Half Price Books
    • This is another one you’d probably expect to see, so I’ll spice it up with a few tips. Lots of local homeschool groups do curriculum sales around May. Most take all the left over books straight to HPB which makes May and June a good time to scour the shelves. There are several weekends through the year where they offer coupons for up to 50% off. I hop from store to store on those weekends and scoop up some great buys. I almost bought a Physical Science curriculum for $150 at this year’s homeschool convention, but I decided to wait. On the way home, I stopped by two HPBs because it was one of their big coupon weekends. I stumbled across the exact curriculum, in a complete boxed set, for $15. With my coupon, I paid $7.50! Beyond the big coupon weekends, make sure to get your Educators discount card for 10% off everyday.
  • Half.com
    • This is a discount textbook site owned by Ebay. Buy textbooks from $0.75! You can also rent textbooks here.
  • Rainbow Resource
    • A great source for discounted materials. Make sure to check the clearance section too!
  • Educents
    • A deal site for all things educational. They have ran deals on Life of Fred, Magic School Bus, Hooked on Phonics… just to name a few.
  • Christian Book Distributors
    • Not only do they offer a homeschool deal of the week, they often have better prices than Amazon or other sites. For instance, Explode the Code books run $10 at publisher’s list price. You’ll find them here for $6.99 every day, and I have picked some up for $2.99 during their flash sales.
  • ThriftBooks
    • Okay, so this one is like AbeBooks and HPB with one nice caveat; you can create a wishlist that will send you email alerts when an item you are looking for is posted. That feature really helps when searching for out-of-print books.
  • Mardel
    • Sign up for their emails.  They send out coupons for 20% off frequently. They also offer Home Educator discount weeks which will offer 20% off most of their curricula. Those usually come in August and January.  May is when they clear out this year’s curriculum to make room for newer versions.  You’ll find huge discounts online and in-store. I’ve gotten books for 90% off.
  • Target
    • I’d be remiss not to throw Target in the mix here, just because I have scored so many great deals from my favorite store.  Target stores go through huge toy resets in January and July; these resets bring huge clearance discounts on some amazing resources that can be used in the home school. We’ve gotten Magformers, Vex Robotics sets, Lego Architecture, and Kiwi Crates for pennies on the dollar… and that’s just to name a few.
  • Barnes and Noble
    • B&N is another one that I just can’t leave off the list. I have both the free Educator card and a paid member card. The Educator card gives you a 20% discount on most hardcover and paperback books, toys, and games, for use in the classroom. They also have bonus Educator Appreciation weeks that will give you 25% off all week. It’s a great card to have, but it doesn’t have quite as many perks as the $25 membership card.  The membership will get you free express shipping when buying online, but the thing I like the best is that you get that you get 10% off anything in the store.  That includes their clearance section which has been one of my very best sources for finding phenomenal tools for the kids at great prices. Snap Circuits, educational games, American Girl craft kits, and puzzles are just a few of the things I have been able to pick up on those clearance tables.

 

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