You’re ready to start shopping for homeschool curriculum, aren’t you?
It’s that time of year. If you haven’t started shopping already, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. If you have started shopping, you may feel as though you’re scrambling to find the last few items on your curriculum wish list.
I know! I’ve been there!
I’m not there now, though.
After 16 years of homeschooling, I’ve got a system in place for my back-to-homeschool curriculum shopping.
Don’t let curriculum shopping overwhelm you!
Stress-Free Homeschool Curriculum Shopping
This system has helped me tremendously over the past few years. I’m less likely to over-spend. I don’t buy things that are already on my shelves. I no longer realize I’m missing a key piece of curriculum on the first day of your homeschool year. Yes! I did all of those things before I created a system.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be much less overwhelmed by your back-to-homeschool curriculum shopping, too! You’ll be better able to stay within your homeschool budget. You’ll have everything you need when it’s time to kick off another amazing homeschool year! And, you will save money on your purchases!
Before implementing the four tips, print out the planning pack below. Start the planning process by making a list of everything you intend to teach this year for each child. Be sure to list any books, workbooks, answer keys, etc. that you will need to complete each curriculum set. Then…
Tip #1: Explore What You Already Own
The first place to start looking for homeschool curriculum is in your own ‘stash.’ Start by looking through what you already have. If you are new to homeschooling, this may be a quick look.
However, if you’ve been homeschooling a while like me, you likely to have quite a collection stored away. If it’s tucked away, however, you may not remember everything you have. I have to pull totes out of the basement each spring to see what I have for the upcoming year.
A few weeks ago, I went through my totes and pulled out our math, grammar, and science texts for next year. Then, I marked those off my list of things to buy.
Check your planning sheets. Make a note of everything you already have on hand. This will keep you from buying things you already have.
Tip #2: Search for Used Curriculum
Now that you’ve searched through your own own stash, double check your planning pages to determine what you still need to purchase. Now, check to see which items on your list can be purchased used.
The easiest place to start looking for used curriculum would be a local used curriculum sale. If you can’t find any close to you, start looking on Facebook. There are quite a few Facebook groups for selling/buying used curriculum. I am a member of a few, and I have notifications turned on for each group when I’m in buying mode. This means, I get notifications when someone posts curriculum. I can hop over to the group and see what’s been listed. It takes just a few seconds to see if it’s something on my to-buy list.
If you shop on forums or Facebook, be sure to print out the online shopping tracker.
As you shop, be sure to mark items off your shopping list to avoid buying duplicates. Yep, I’ve done that. More than once, in fact, because I didn’t have a list with me.
You can also scour yard sales and used book sales for many kids of books – text books, literature, go-alongs, etc. Half-Price Books is another of my favorite places to go with my book lists.
Tip #3: Shop Discount Sites
Once I’ve thoroughly searched the used sites, I turn to my favorite discount sites. My favorites are Rainbow Resource Center and Timberdoodle. Their catalog is a beast, but the site is easy to navigate. Use the search feature to look for the items on your wish list.
I also shop Amazon, because I often find their prices are cheaper than the publisher’s prices.
You can also find discounted curriculum at homeschool conventions – at the very least, you could get free shipping by ordering onsite. I love being able to put my hands on the curriculum before I purchase it, but I love free shipping even more!
Tip #4: Order Straight from the Publisher
After I’ve searched my own stash, scoured the used bookstores, and purchased all I can from the discount sites, there’s nothing left to do but purchase directly from the publisher.
In the past, when I’ve used packaged curriculum, I have gone straight to ordering a prepackaged “kit” from the vendor. This helped ensure that I got all the pieces I needed. Oftentimes, this is cheaper than ordering each piece separately, and it’s less time consuming.
One helpful tip, when shopping for new curriculum, is to predict how long you will use the curriculum. I’m less inclined to pay full price for curriculum now that I’m down to my last kiddo than I was when I had three in our homeschool.
I’m still using the same math book I used with my son (now 22) when he was in the 8th grade. To me, the investment was worth it. I paid full price back then, and I’ve used it with three kids.
In the past few years, I have decided against some high-priced curriculum, because I can’t justify spending a large amount of money on a child who will only use it once.
How do you ensure you’re not overwhelmed by back-to-homeschool curriculum shopping?