Tag Archives: bartering

Saving With Used Curriculum

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on plans for the school year in the fall — deciding what curriculum to use and figuring out the cost. I’m finding that as the children grow older, the cost of the books we need to buy goes up as well. Add that to the cost of regular school supplies, such as paper, pens, and notebooks, along with the cost of any extra classes such as co-op classes, sports clubs, or fine art instruction, and it’s easy to see that homeschooling can be expensive.

But there are ways to save, especially where curriculum is concerned. Used curriculum can often be found at a fraction of the retail price, even the most recent editions. If you are looking for used curriculum, here are a few places you can start:

Yahoo Groups: There are a number of yahoo groups that you can join where people post their used curriculum for sale. Once you contact the seller, the two of you work out payment and shipping. Go to Yahoo Groups and check out BobJonesCurriculumUsed_Homeschooling_Curriculum, ChristianCurriculum, All-Wholesome-BooksUsedHomeschoolBooks, and TheHomeschoolMomUsedCurriculum.

eBay: If you enjoy using eBay, look for the curriculum you need in the listings there. If you don’t like the auction-style format (it can become a little nerve-wracking sometimes), check to see if someone has listed the books as Buy It Now.

Used Curriculum Sites: You might find what you’re looking for by searching a used homeschooling curriculum site. Visit HomeschoolClassifieds, VegSource, and The Book Cover.

CraigsList: Often homeschoolers will list their curriculum on CraigsList.com. Click on the link for the city nearest you, look under the “For Sale” column, and click on “Books”. You can scroll through the list or do a search for the particular book you’re looking for. Remember to use caution when purchasing items from CraigsList, and meet the seller at a public location.

If you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for online, ask around to find out where homeschoolers in your area sell used books. Do they post it on an email loop, or is there a used book sale you can attend? You might even be able to simply borrow the books you need from someone who won’t be using them this year.

It is possible to homeschool on a budget, and buying used curriculum can help. For many homeschoolers, finding that good deal is all part of the adventure.

Bartering

I’ve read where many homeschoolers barter for goods or services, and I think it’s a great idea. In fact, I’m one of them!

I teach art lessons to children, and I know how costly lessons can be. Three of our children are involved in music lessons, and although the teachers have given us a very good price, the cost can add up over time. So when parents ask me if I’d like to trade, I understand, and I’m happy to oblige. The barter has always benefited both families.

At one time, I had two art students whose family raised goats. Each week, we traded art lessons for fresh organic milk, something I wouldn’t have been able to afford had I purchased it at the farmer’s market. Now I’m trading lessons for homemade organic bread. The mom who bakes it even grinds her own grain. It’s good for my family and tastes delicious, and it’s something that would be too costly for our grocery budget. It’s a wonderful trade!

I’m also trading a class for a class. One of my daughters spends a couple of hours one day a week at a nearby horse farm, where a friend who works there teaches her all about horses. My daughter feeds them, waters them, cleans the stalls, and learns about the different types of saddles, bridles, and bits. She also has opportunities to ride. In exchange, the friend’s son comes over once a week to practice his reading skills with me.

If you’re on a more limited budget and don’t have the funds for classes for your children, you might want to consider bartering, too. You can trade off household or yard help, childcare, sewing services – whatever you can offer. Don’t be afraid to ask – the worst a teacher can say is “no, thanks,” but you might just receive your “yes!”