I live in the homeschool-rich state of Oklahoma. There are an abundance of homeschoolers here because the freedom to homeschool is written into our state constitution. Therefore there is an abundance of curriculum, books and resources in circulation that you can purchase for bargain prices — and even find for free!
For instance, I can pick up good textbooks such as Saxon Math and A Beka readers at the local Goodwill. Sometimes I find them at random garage sales. I live near Tulsa, where we have a good homeschool resale store (Bibliomania Tulsa) where you can take your used books for resale and earn commission when they are sold, which I usually spend in the store on new materials for our homeschool. The store owner has homeschooled many years and can answer just about any question you may have, and she even ships used books across the country.
We even have a once-a-month “book benevolence” event, where books are donated and picked up by parents that need inexpensive or free resources. Here is a valuable The Story of the World set from Susan Wise Bauer that my sister Elizabeth recently picked up at the book benevolence:
I realize that not every area of the country might have such an abundance of bargains on homeschooling curriculum and resources, so I’m recommending a few other ways I find great bargains on homeschooling tools. Internet shopping is probably your best bet, and here are a few of the major players:
- Amazon Books: They have an amazing array of almost everything you might be looking for, and if you are a prime member, you get free two-day shipping.
- Christian Book Distributors.com: They have a very well-designed Web site that is easy to navigate, and they also have a large stock of homeschool products at discount prices.
- Mardel.com: Mardel is an Oklahoma Christian bookstore that has a good Web site for homeschoolers. It even includes some help with learning difficulties and choosing the right curriculum.
- Ebay (of course): Just be careful to check prices elsewhere before you bid.
- Rainbow Resources: They have a ton of resources, including manipulatives, crafts, games and paper, etc.
- MindWare: My son loves the tools I pick up here. It’s not necessarily curriculum, but educational resources such as science experiments, crafts, kits, etc.
- Facebook: If you are on Facebook, you may have discovered that there are many swap and sell groups for homeschooling materials. There is usually one in every town or region. Now there are a growing number of swap sites dedicated to specific curriculum brands. You will need to be prepared to use Paypal here, as most people selling here require it.
Of course, each homeschool publisher has its own Web site as well, and they often feature free resources as well as books and tools for sale. And there are a plethora of homeschooling resource sites out there too. For instance, I have recently discovered Khan Academy and plan to use it with my son: It is a math resources site.
If you are wondering where to look locally and you have already checked out your local Christian and secular bookstores, the yearly homeschool conventions are a good place to start. You may not be ready to purchase anything, but you’ll be able to browse many of the most popular homeschooling products and make plans for what you might want to buy in the future, if you can find it used or at a discount.
I also recommend checking in with local homeschool co-ops and support groups: They often host their own curriculum swap/resale days. In Tulsa, there are several large yearly book fairs put on by local homeschool groups. If your area doesn’t have one, you might want to consider starting one so you can pool resources as a group.
There are truly so many resources out there, I’m sure I’ve left out a few. I have my favorites, but I usually check several different sources before I decide to buy.
Where do you find your best bargains on homeschool curriculum and tools? Share them with us in the comment below. We’d love to know about your best resources for bargains!
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