I love homeschooling, and I have my favorite curriculums, but seriously, all these books can become really expensive! Here’s a few ways I save money.
1. Don’t buy the teacher’s keys – My kids are 2nd grade and pre-K. I can do their math in my head like it’s second nature. There’s no reason to buy the teacher’s keys when I can come up with the right answer faster than checking it in the book.
Once you get up into the higher grades you’re going to want those teacher’s keys – there’s no way we’re doing algebra without a teacher key. But for the lower grades, you can save yourself a lot of money by only purchasing the books you actually need.
2. Re-use curriculum – My hooked on phonics I only had to purchase once, for all the kids to use. History and science text-books through 2nd grade don’t actually have workbooks that the kids need to do so I only need one set for all the kids. The same thing for reading/literature. You don’t need multiple copies of 1st grade readers. Get one set and use them for all your children.
3. Don’t be afraid of used books – I saved so much money in college by buying lightly used books. The same thing works for homeschooling. Amazon sells used books, so does e-bay. Before you pay full price look and see if you can save by buying used.
One warning with this though – most companies like to put out new versions every few years. It’s confusing to try to mix versions. So if the version 3 workbook is the only one available, you’re not going to want the version 2 teacher key. Usually, they change just enough that it doesn’t work well to mix versions.
Anything that is a complete set or that can stand alone (like readers), if it’s cheaper used, get it used.
4. Always accept hand-me-downs – I’ve saved a lot of money because my mom and my mother-in-law both homeschooled. I haven’t had to buy readers (I have 1st through 6th grade on my shelf) because they passed them on to me when they were finished. My mom gave me all their flashcards (and those things can be so expensive!) and a full set of hooked on phonics (K – 4th), and my mother-in-law is constantly giving me random educational items for the kids.
If it’s something I’ll use later (like my 6th grade readers) I save it. If it’s something I’ll never use I pass it on to someone who wants it.
What are some of your tricks for saving money?