Five Simple Ways You CAN Afford Homeschool Curricula

When I first began buying curriculum, I didn’t pay much attention to budget. (My husband might tell you not much has changed!) I confess that I have shiny-new-curricula syndrome and tend to want to buy it all. And there have been times that I spent lots of money on lots of curricula that just bombed for us.

But I’ve learned that my curricula buying ways aren’t necessarily the best way to sustainably homeschool, and over the years, I’ve learned better how to spare our income.

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I often help moms who want to homeschool but are frustrated by their small- or nonexistent- homeschool curricula budgets. If you’re looking for a way to afford your homeschool curricula, you’ve come to the right place!

Now I’m not going to promise that I can help you buy everything you really want. Sometimes when choosing curricula, you may find something you like that really clicks with your vision, that fits your teaching and learning styles. But if you cannot afford it without overspending- or selling your firstborn- it probably isn’t right for your family.

Instead, here are five ways to get homeschooling curricula you CAN afford.

Beg, borrow and steal curriculum.

Why buy something new if you can buy it used or borrow it for the year? I’ve borrowed and let others borrow many materials. This is especially helpful if you’ll only need the book a short time.

There are many Facebook groups that allow you to post curricula for sale or exchange. Send out an email to other local homeschool moms to see if anybody has what you need. If you have a child taking a local class or co-op that is popular for homeschoolers, ask another mom whose child has taken the class if you can borrow that curriculum for a year.

Just a note: Record who you borrowed the curriculum from and make sure you really do return it. That makes it much more likely that someone will help you out again. (And if you’re the one loaning your curriculum, I’ve learned the hard way that it’s a good idea to record that as well!)

Shop used.

We have a local curriculum consignment shop. There are used curriculum sales. Many things can be found on Amazon and Ebay. The first thing I do when I see a new curriculum I like is to check for used on those two sites. (And if you have Amazon Prime you can sometimes get it shipped for free in two days- great for last minute! )

Again, Facebook groups may also provide a way for you to find something you really want used. Occasionally I can even find something I can use from Goodwill. So it’s always a good idea to at least check those out-of-the-way places.

Check for free curriculum that serves the same purpose as the costly one you want.

I’m no longer surprised at how often I can find great homeschooling resources for free online. Sometimes instead of purchasing a curriculum, I can google the topic and find something similar for free. I’ve found free copywork, free unit studies, free lapbooks, free worksheet pages, and so much more!

I have a whole page here of free homeschool resources I’ve used and liked. And there are a number of freebies here around the blog, including my free unit studies page, free living books catalog, and the free ebook of forty-five literature unit studies!

Shop homeschool conventions.

There are so many reasons to go to a homeschool convention! And the vendor halls at conventions are a big one. Some conventions will even sell you a vendor hall pass, so you can just visit the vendor hall and shop. Vendors often offer discounted convention packages, and there are no shipping fees.

Homeschool conventions are a good place to look when you want a particular curricula. When we go to a convention, I go with a list of all of the curricula I’m looking for. When we head to the vendor hall, I usually make a “want to buy list” on the first day, sit down when back at the hotel that night to consider the cost, and then purchase the next day.

Buy what can be reused.

If you have multiple kids, it’s great to choose books that can be used again for multiple children instead of consumable books. One reason to use a living books-based curricula is to avoid all of the consumable materials.

Occasionally we do use a workbook or consumable resource. Some publishers allow for reproduction of pages for single family use. You can check the copyright at the front of the book. If it isn’t clear, contact the publisher or DON’T make copies.

If we have a book I can’t copy, I do sometimes have a child write answers in a notebook instead of using the workbook- especially if we’re only using certain sections.. I also look for digital versions of curricula that will allow me to make as many copies as needed.

Don’t get discourage if that perfect homeschool curriculum is too pricey. Be willing to hunt around, and to try some of these ideas to see if you can fit it in to your budget.


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