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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homeschooling: Buy Ahead and Save

My friend Heather did a post about saving money on homeschooling supplies by buying ahead, and I wanted to share how I have saved money by using this method as well. I shop ahead, too, both to get better deals and spread out the cost. I will be officially homeschooling 3 kids next year (3rd, 1st, and kindergarten), plus a 3 year-old and a 1 year-old. I figure I have spent about $150 so far, with only $100 or so to go, and because I have spread it out, it doesn't "hurt" the budget as much!

So far for next year I have:
*All the My Father's World-Exploring Countries and Cultures I need, bought on ebay and saved almost $200! This is our History, Bible, Geography, Science, Art, and Reading for multiple grades
*I have everything I need for M (kindergarten) by using workbooks I have accumulated through the years, while including her in our group curriculum.
*Language Arts for H (4th) bought on ebay
*Math for G (1st) bought on ebay
*Teacher's Manuals for Lang Arts and Reading for G (2nd) that I used last year with H.

This is what I still need:
*Math workbooks for H $32 new--still hoping to find them on eBay (see below)
*Workbooks for G for Lang Arts and Reading (2nd) $58 new--hoping to find some on eBay
*Print off some free worksheets and games online for my kindergartner and preschooler throughout the year (see below).
*I might pick up workbooks here and there to supplement for my kindergartner and preschooler, but won't spend much, probably less than $10, and I'll be keeping my eyes open at Half Price Books this summer (see below).
*I'm still thinking about what to do about Spanish as this item can get pricey. . . any recommendations?

Other ways to save money on curriculum:
*Use the library! I supplement our curriculum A LOT by using our library system. We go to the library every week, and I continually place items on hold to supplement our curriculum with everything from good literature to history books and biographies to science materials to educational DVDs. We have four library cards, and every week we have a large stack of items waiting for us!

*Borrow from others. I let a friend of mine borrow my teacher's manuals for a grade I wasn't using this year. We also shared a book that we both needed, passing it back and forth.

*Buy on Amazon. Sometimes there are books that I can buy on Amazon. I can use the gift cards I have earned through Swagbucks and then these items are FREE! Also, many books are included in their buy 3, get the 4th free promotion! I also buy their piano books on Amazon.

*eBay. You can even find consumable workbooks "used" on eBay for cheaper, because often someone will try a curriculum and then change their mind--and the rest of the set will be brand new. Know what you are looking for, do a search and then save it. Elect to have eBay email you every time something with those keywords is listed, so you don't miss a good deal! After doing a search, click on "advanced search" and "save this search to My eBay". Then under My eBay, click on "saved searches", find your search, and on the right side click on "more actions" and "sign up for emails".

*Earn free books. I love books! I started collecting children's books before I was married. (I was a preschool teacher, so I had a valid excuse to hide behind!) There are many ways to expand your personal library for free. Right now you can earn up to 5 free books from Scholastic and Kumon. During the summer you can often earn free books and prizes through your local library's reading program, from Half Price Books (our personal favorite!), from Barnes & Noble, and others! As I hear about them, I will post them here, but go digging around in your city and see what you can find!

*Use a free curriculum. I have friends who use free curriculum online, supplementing with the library, and don't spend much out of pocket. SimplyCharlotteMason Online and Ambleside Online are two that I have heard about, but haven't checked into.

*Use free printable worksheets. There are many free worksheets available to print online that you can use for almost all grades. Here are some math worksheets, sight word game printables with fun characters like Pooh, Cars, and Cinderella, and Sparklebox has printables covering shapes, letters, math, and more. You can always do a search for "free printable worksheets", inserting if you want them to be for math, reading, dot-to-dots, etc--and be sure to search with Swagbucks so you can earn while you search!

Heather has a few more ideas, so be sure to read her post, too. Now I want to hear from you. How do you save on homeschool curriculum?


Polara said...

My mother homeschooled us in Canada, where French classes were mandatory--we met with a few other homeschooling families (our homeschool group that we did field trips, etc... with) one morning a week with a tutor who helped us practice. Perhaps something like that might work for Spanish, provided you are able to choose the curriculum. I bet you could find a college student who's studying to be a Spanish teacher who would be excited at the chance to both earn a little cash and get some experience that might help them get a job when they graduate.

Love your blog, by the way!

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Thanks Polara! I love hearing from others who were homeschooled, because I wasn't. (not that that is a bad thing, I just like "meeting" people who were homeschooled.)

We actually had some college students come to our house last semester to teach us some ASL (sign language), and that was really fun! The practicing aspect is huge, because otherwise you lose it quickly. Thanks for the tip!

Ryan & Heather said...

Thanks for the link-up Jessica! You added some great ideas! It's so amazing how helpful the internet is to us current homeschoolers!

Carrie said...

I love to share tips! Here's what I do to save on curriculum:
Tip #1: Buy textbooks for things like Math or English (instead of workbooks) as soon as your oldest child is ready. Then buy ten-cent spiral notebooks next school-supply-sale-time. Then pass the book on down year by year!
Tip #2: Sometimes you can get "used" workbooks with a couple pages written in for way less than an unmarked "used" one. Get a bottle of white-out (not a white-out pen, they're way more expensive per ounce) and cover up the writing. I even got an older marked-in Sonlight Instructor's Guide with nine other books included for 15.00 on Ebay, and white-out for $2 or so. This Guide alone included Bible, History, Math, Science and Language Arts, and would have cost well over $100 new. (Plus I think this particular edition is easier to follow than the newer ones!)
Tip #3: Start your school year when everyone else isn't starting. Then the library books everyone needs for Week 24 or whatever are there when you need them. We do a popular program, but started a month early, and this prevented us from having to buy several books.

Hope this helps!

Carrie said...

I have recently found a Spanish program for non-native speakers which I think might be a good one. It was recommended in an old (1995) Sonlight manual I have, and is called "The Learnables." It looks like the same method as Rosetta Stone at a much more reasonable price. They have sample lessons you can do online to check it out. I don't know much else about it, but I was thinking of getting it as a fun review for my semi-native-speaker children.

Jessica-MomForHim said...

Thanks for the tips, Carrie!

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