We’re all feeling the pinch of inflation in 2023. Our daily necessities are taking a bigger bite out of our budgets which leaves less money for other categories. For homeschooling families, who generally live on tight budgets anyway, inflation is making many of us wonder how we can homeschool more inexpensively or if we can afford to continue homeschooling.
The average cost of homeschooling supposedly ranges from $700 to $1,800 per child per school year, according to Time4Learning.com. This seems like a lot of money to me as I’ve always homeschooled cheap or free. In this post I will share the four steps I use for getting great resources for the least amount of money.
Step One: Look for Free Resources
Depending on what type of homeschooler or what type of curriculum you use, you may be able to homeschool for free. There are a plethora of public domain books that you can download for free or listen to on Librivox.com. There are free online curriculum sites such as Khan Academy, Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason method), and Education.com to name just a few.
Another way to get free homeschooling resources is to swap or barter with other homeschoolers. I once bartered some curriculum that I no longer needed for a basketball hoop that a friend no longer needed. While the price is right on free resources, you may not find exactly what you want or need, so you may have to move to Step Two.
Step Two: Buy or Sell at Used Curriculum Sales
You can get the best bang for your buck at used curriculum sales. Make a list of what you need and check pricing online from the curriculum supplier. It’s important to know what it costs at full price so you know a good deal when you see it. You need a list so you don’t get distracted at the used curriculum sale. Used curriculum sales usually occur in May and June before many homeschool conventions take place. I go to as many used curriculum sales as possible.
Last year, I even hosted a used curriculum sale at a local park that was hugely successful for both finding what I needed and selling what I no longer needed. Selling your no longer needed items is a great way to find funds to use on what you need to buy for the next school year.
It’s rare to find everything at used curriculum sales, so once you have found as much as you can there, then it’s time for Step Three.
Step Three: Online Sites
If I haven’t found what I needed or wanted at used curriculum sales, then I turn to online sites like eBay, Amazon, Thriftbooks, and other such sites. I’ve had the best success with eBay over the years, though ThriftBooks has also been useful, particularly for out of print books. Again, make sure that you know what the items you want cost at full retail so that you know if you’re finding a good deal.
If you like to shop on eBay, use the watching feature for everything you are interested in. There are couple of reasons that I recommend doing this. One is that it helps you to keep track of the items, but my favorite reason is that the seller will often send you a better offer to buy that item. If you still aren’t finding what you want, then it’s time for Step Four.
Step Four: Discount Homeschool Curriculum Suppliers and Homeschool Conventions
My two favorite discount homeschool curriculum suppliers are Rainbow Resource and Christian Book Distributors. One reason that I like these two suppliers is that they often run sales or special offers such as free shipping for purchases of a certain dollar amount. Many times they do offer savings over purchasing directly from the actual curriculum provider. I recommend getting on their email lists so that you don’t miss a sale. You can also find good deals and special pricing on curriculum at homeschool conventions. Your money goes farther at conventions because you aren’t paying shipping fees.
It’s a bit of work to go through these steps to source your homeschooling materials, but if you are anything like I am, you’ll find it’s also a lot of fun. I’m wishing you all the best for the upcoming school year as you buy what you need!