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How To Save Money On Homeschool Curriculum


I guess school has already started and the time for ordering curriculum this year is past. But since this year is my first year as a real homeschooler, wrapping my mind around all this curriculum stuff has taken some time, so I’m running a little late.

Based on the recommendations of several friends and bloggers whom I admire, and because my own mother used it when I was in grade school, we’ve decided to go mainly with Sonlight curriculum (at least for now!), after we finish Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.

Photo shows a stack of books with an apple on tope and text that reads "How to Save Money On Homeschool Curriculum"

I had at first intended to dive right into Sonlight after hearing many mixed reviews from friends about Teach Your Child To Read. Some of them flat-out hated it, while others loved it, and a few were in the middle.

One friend lent me her copy, though, and Garrett has done really well with it, so it’s a keeper in my opinion.

I’ll admit that a large part of the reason I want to go with Sonlight is because I love their book lists.

Reading is one of the best ways for a child to learn, and I hope to turn them into voracious readers of good things. But I’m daunted by how much curriculum packages cost.

I found out pretty quickly though that ordering through Sonlight itself is a money mistake. Every single item I looked up on Amazon was quite a bit cheaper than it was on the Sonlight website. In fact, when you do a search for one book in the preschool grade level, the whole list shows up in the results. But even beyond Amazing, I’ve found there are many more ways to save on homeschool curriculums!

Sorry guys, I know you went to a lot of work putting the curriculum packages together, but I just can’t justify spending that much extra on school books!

Image shows a woman at a table holding a pen, sitting next to a pile of books

How To save Money on Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum

  • Frequent The Library. I’ll start with the obvious one. Get as many of those books as you can at the library. I remember when I was a child, and my mom used to take us to at least four different libraries to find all the books on our curriculum lists. We loved libraries, and didn’t mind spending lots of time there!
  • Join local homeschool Facebook groups, especially those geared toward book swapping. You can likely get your instructor’s guides, and Sonlight Specific books at a heavily discounted price if you’re willing to go with second hand!
  • Ask local homeschoolers if they have any used books they’d be interested in selling you.
  • Thriftbooks.com. I was only made aware of Thrift Books a few weeks ago, and boy am I glad! I had been having a hard time finding a few children’s devotional books at less than full price until then, so that very day, I made my first order, averaging $3 per book. Whoop! PLUS any order over $10 gets free shipping. Pretty sweet, right?
  • Go with eBooks. If you don’t have a Kindle or eReader, you can download the kindle app to your computer and still make use of the heavy discount that is buying eBooks over paper.
  • Check for deals on eBay. You can take advantage of homeschoolers all over the world who are ready to pass on their used books!
  • Craigslist. I haven’t had any luck with Preschool books on Craigslist, but other grades are abundant!
  • Varage Sale is like a hyper-local version of Craigslist where you can often find extremely good deals very close to you. It’s especially great for small items (like books), that would be hard to justify making a long drive for.

When we first got married, and were looking toward having kids, my husband and I made a conscious decision to live frugally, save money, and build savings and income, so that we could later provide our kids with the things we consider important – high quality education being one of those things.

I’m so glad for that decision, and how it taught me to save ruthlessly, and find ways to cut the costs of almost everything, and now I’m finding that that “almost everything” definitely includes that education. There’s no reason to pay full price – almost ever!

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  1. Great list of places to hunt for curriculum! Might I also suggest stores like Half-Price Books? We’ve found some great older books there for very good prices. They even have coupons you can use. 🙂 Another place we love to shop for books are our local library sales. We’ve gotten many wonderful books for $0.25 – $2 apiece. 🙂

  2. Thrift books is amazing. Unsure if I really wanted to use Saxon for math, and being positive I didn’t want to spend huge bucks, I found Saxon math books on thriftbooks. Doing an online placement test, my daughter scored well enough to start with 76 (but barely, as in if she missed one more problem than she did, she would *not* have placed into 76) so I felt she should begin in 65. If it was really easy we’d just move through it quicker. So far (40 lessons in at a rate of about 3 lessons a day) it’s proving to be what she needs. I found Saxon books from 65 to Alg 2 on thrift books and all 6 books (including both 87 and Alg 1/2 as I anticipate my daughter needing both to be ready for Alg 1) combined cost me just under $20. At that price I could afford to get them and if they don’t work out for us, give them to someone else without the feeling of “all that money down the drain”. If we only use a couple…or even one, it’s cheaper than most curriculums I could buy. If we make it through all 6, even better deal.

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