The following is a post from contributing writer Shannen of Middle Way Mom
There’s a slogan from a retailer in the midwest, “Why buy new when slightly used will do?”
Yes! We need to pinch our homeschool pennies to keep some room for fun trips to state parks, museums, tours, and all that. Plus, curriculum doesn’t change that drastically from one year to the next, so might as well make use of what someone does not need any longer.
So, where to find used curriculum?
I like The Well Trained Mind forums, but there are forums for every homeschooling walk of life. While I’m not on many forums (my family is grateful), it seems pretty standard to have a buy/sell/trade section. Look for your favorite homeschool method, whether that is Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, Waldorf, Classical, or even a publisher like Five in a Row, and you’ll find materials that are valuable to you.
One forum I really like for their buy/sell/trade section is Diaper Swappers. The main item people sell there are cloth diapers, but they have a homeschool section also. The big bonus with Diaper Swappers is they have ratings for all the sellers, and comments from the buyers.
Seems obvious? Yes, but here’s a couple tips:
- Look for at least one edition back to get a better deal, if you can. Many times there aren’t big changes from one edition to another, especially static subjects like math and grammar.
- Shop for auctions ending on Monday or Tuesday. If you sell on eBay, try to have your auction end on a Saturday or Sunday during the day.
- Check the brand new price first. I’ve found some used items actually sell on eBay for a higher price than the brand new counterpart. Why? I have no clue.
This was a “duh” moment for me not long ago. Besides finding used curriculum, you can typically find used homeschooling curriculum stores, if they exist in your area. Craigslist is normally about the same price point as what you will find on forums, which is not the cheapest price, but definitely worth a look.
Used Homeschool Curriculum Stores
As homeschooling gets more and more popular, there are more of these stores popping up. Like I mentioned earlier, many times you can find listings for these stores on Craigslist. This is a great option to try to get almost a full year of curriculum out of the way, especially if you use a boxed curriculum for all or part of your homeschool.
Whether this is through a homeschooling co-op, a support group, or general homeschooling organization, these can be a gold mine for near garage sale prices. I have yet to find another venue that has cheaper prices than used curriculum sales set up through local organizations. Get on your local homeschooling Yahoo Group to get notifications of sales, among other community events, in your area. I have yet to find another venue that has cheaper prices than used curriculum sales set up through local organizations.
Amazon and Other Online Retailers
Since Amazon offers the average Joe the opportunity to sell on their website, you can find many books used at great prices. I regularly find our literature books on Amazon for $0.01 plus shipping. Sometimes you can even find near used prices on new items, too! Half.com has this option also, but the selection and prices at Amazon.com almost always beat Half.com.
I’ve found some used curriculum websites, but have not tried them. Has anyone used them and what was your experience?
Shannen is a Muslim mama of three beautiful girls: 13, 2, and the little one is just weeks old. She blogs about her family, homeschooling and living green(ish) on Middle Way Mom. You can also find her on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.