Search for used homeschool curriculum before you spend a small fortune on new textbooks and supplemental materials. Don't know where to start looking?
I'll share strategies that I've learned through my own personal experience and the experience of friends.
Even if you only find materials for one or two subjects, that's time and money well spent. In some situations you may even get the curriculum for free!
If you're looking for a good source for used curriculum, start with the people you know. Ask them if you can borrow textbooks for the year. If their children are finished with them, they may be ready to sell them or possibly give them away.
Another option: Work out a trade. You may have something they could use - a fair deal for both of you.
Some co-ops and church schools start a library for their members to use. Families may loan curricula to the library until they need it again for a younger child. Or they may just donate materials they no longer need.
Members of the group can check out books for the semester or year, then return them so another fortunate family can borrow them.
If your homeschool organization doesn't already have a library, suggest that they start one. Everyone benefits!
We all know that libraries are great resources for curriculum. You can borrow books, videos, DVDs, and books on tape for every subject you could possibly think of.
But did you know that many of them also have a book store where you can buy used homeschool curriculum?
Check it out the next time you visit. You can spend some time browsing while your kids do their school work.
Also ask about classes and events that are coming up. Our library's web site has a calendar of events so we can plan to sign up for that computer class or attend preschool story time.
See the free activities your library has to offer!
Second-hand stores and thrift stores can have aisles filled with cheap books, videos and DVDs. We've purchased quite a few classic novels for our Great Books curriculum. They also have reference books for science, history, religion, geography, etc.
If you have a shortage of children's books, then the thrift store is for you. It just takes a little time.
So before you head out to your favorite book store, try these thrift shops for cheap homeschooling materials.
If you haven't had much luck with the previous strategies, move on to the next step - the internet. Use the search engines to find "used homeschool curriculum". This is a slow, sometimes agonizing process, but it can pay off.
Also check out the auction sites such as eBay and HSLDA's Curriculum Market. With this auction, anyone can sell products but only HSLDA members may bid and purchase new and used curriculum.
Curricula are categorized by subject so you can find what you're looking for faster and easier.
I recently had fantastic luck finding Rosetta Stone Spanish. Since it was an older version of the course, I emailed my questions to the seller, who responded within 24 hours. When I was satisfied that it would work for us, I purchased it for less than $100 (two years of Spanish!).
A week later my girls were learning and speaking Spanish. I was very pleased and grateful for the generosity of homeschool parents.