There are lots of budget friendly resources for homeschoolers in the younger grades, but as kids get older, it’s harder to find free printable packs, unit studies, or other free and cheap options. Plus, regardless of your homeschool philosophy, as you head closer toward high school, textbooks become a bigger part of your homeschool life. So, how to do you use upper grade homeschool curriculum on a budget?
By knowing your resources and giving yourself time.
First, take heart, I’ve found it a bit easier to stay within a certain scope in the upper grades, because I’ve figured out what I want by that time, or that there are just fewer resources to tempt me into buying. Either way, I don’t think it’s as easy to pile on more resources than you’ll use as you enter the upper grades compared to the younger years. Don’t completely let your guard down though, because it’s still possible to go overboard! Still keep in mind what you will actually use, and what you have time for. So often, you find unused items in used homeschool curriculum sales because families don’t always keep these two points in mind (myself included!).
Plan homeschool curriculum early
It’s hard to find good deals if you’re in a rush to get your homeschool curriculum weeks before you plan to start school. If you can plan out the following school year before the Black Friday deals at the end of November, you’re in the best position to find fantastic deals, though that’s quite a tall order to think you’ll have the upcoming year planned before you finish your first semester. There seems to be another push of homeschool curriculum deals starting in April, extending throughout the summer. When you plan early, take a look at what the curriculum is going for when it’s used (I give you some resources in the next section for used curriculum), and you can gauge the sales based on that.
Know your resources
Which takes us to the next point: know what resources are available to you. Are you on Yahoo Groups for homeschoolers in your local community? Are you on forums that have a buy and sell section? Here are some of my favorite sites to find used curriculum:
- Homeschool Classifieds
- The Well Trained Mind Forum
- Local used homeschool curriculum sales
Take your time
The point of planning early, is that you can wait until you find a good deal. Don’t jump on the first 10% discount you find. Many times you’ll find a surge of used homeschool curriculum listings in the summer, and you find great deals from the publishers themselves throughout the spring. Check eBay and Amazon as part of your regular routine, because new listings happen often, and prices change as supply changes. As you take your time searching various sites, you’ll learn what items you can find at a great discount, and what you can’t. Things like Institute for Excellence in Writing, keep their value pretty well, while Saxon math goes cheap really fast. If you need something right away, that’s one thing, but don’t rush it if you don’t have to, and when you see a killer deal, jump on it! Make sure you have a small homeschool fund you can pull out from, when you see things go on sale for prices you can’t beat elsewhere.
I enjoy finding a good deal, but I also realize that a good deal doesn’t always mean the best curriculum. Foreign languages is something that’s hard to find that is high-quality and cheap for older kids. Know where you can cut financial corners, and when you have to fork out big bucks for high quality materials. It’s about finding the right balance so you don’t break the bank with your homeschool curriculum.
Make sure to check out the resources I listed, and get familiar with it! It will come in handy in sha Allah, when you need it!