I’ve been scrapbooking off and on since I was a girl. I really got into it when I had my first child and loved going to Creative Memories crops with friends.
It didn’t take me too many children to determine that keeping a scrapbook of every good photo for every child wasn’t feasible. I started making digital photo books and found it was a huge timesaver (I love Creative Memories’ software and Shutterfly). But my friend, Marilyn, convinced me that paper scrapbooking could be quick, too.
What’s Project Life?
Becky Higgins created an approach to scrapbooking that eliminates the need for lots of supplies, decisions, and time. Using photo pages with sleeves sized for 4×6 and 3×4 photos, Project Life scrapbookers can slide pictures, journaling cards, and embellishments into place in a jiffy.
But Project Life isn’t just about saving time; it’s about saving the memories that matter. Before I started Project Life, I only thought about memorializing the holidays, trips, and big activities. I never thought about capturing the ordinary, everyday stuff and people that make my life meaningful. My Project Life album now has a screenshot of my blog, a photo of the hairdresser I’ve seen for 15 years, and a mini poster of a movie we saw.
Project Life can be done digitally, but I’m so glad I’m using paper. Sitting in front of a computer isn’t the same as scrapbooking with a friend. My friend and I spend time together once a week on our albums. My nine-year-old daughter also joins us for some girly time (which she desperately needs in a houseful of boys!). She is doing her own version of Project Life in an 8×8 album, but it’s even more precious than mine. She will look back on her memories and be so glad she has them preserved! In a few hours a week, I enjoy quality time with a girlfriend and my daughter and capture the moments that mean the most. My husband absolutely loves the results!
What You Need to Get Started
Becky Higgins’s website offers kits, but you can find what you need at craft and other stores.
An album. I recommend a 12×12 large ring style.
Photo pocket pages. You will need a few 12×12 pages if you’d like to include calendar pages, but the rest will be various configurations of sizes.
A photo printer. I really see this as a must. Even having to order photos and run up to my corner Walgreens was too much of a bother for me before I started Project Life. I use an Epson PictureMate Charm Photo Printer. I can quickly print 4×6 or 3×4 photos for my album as I scrapbook. You can print directly from your photo card, but I print from my laptop. My daughter and I pick out the photos we want to use after viewing them in a larger size.
Journaling cards and other inserts. As this style of scrapbooking becomes more popular, you will find many kinds of these cards, from those that are purely decorative to those that guide your journaling.
Something to organize your supplies. If you’re a scrapbooker with stickers and other embellishments, you can use them with Project Life. You can also add memorabilia! No longer does everything have to be matchy-matchy. Somehow the format makes everything look great. Marilyn found these white organizers at Michaels and they are perfect for keeping all of our supplies organized and within reach. We each have three of them. The matching friends-don’t-let-friends-scrapbook-alone sweatshirts are optional!
How About Some Free Weekly Cards?
Most Project Life scrapbookers use cards that indicate which week of the year they are documenting. We’ve made our own with letter stickers, but you run out of W’s, E’s, and K’s pretty quickly! As it’s something we need every week, we’re pretty surprised that you can’t buy them. I found one set for sale online using a woman’s landscape photos as backgrounds and cutting files for cards, but not exactly what I wanted. So I made them!
You can use them as is, journal on them, use markers to change the letter colors, or add stickers to completely change the look of them. Marilyn customized hers to the max! You can use the cards some weeks and not others. Perfectionism is NOT allowed.
I have 52 weeks of 4×6 and 3×4 weekly cards for you to print on white acid-free cardstock for nada! Just subscribe to this scrapbooking newsletter below. You’ll receive the cards and occasional updates on scrapbooking only. Please share this page with your scrapbooking pals.
***Update for 2015***
I kept having trouble remembering what week it was, so I added the dates to a new set of cards for this year. I kept the number on the left so these can be cut and used as a 3 x 4 or left as is for a 4 x 6 card. To download the full PDF file, subscribe below. You can also subscribe at this link. Once you have confirmed your subscription, you will receive a welcome email with the link to all the journaling cards and other Psychowith6 freebies. If you do not receive it, check your spam folder. Sometimes it takes a while for the email to arrive. Happy scrapping!
I recommend printing on white acid-free cardstock. Hope you enjoy them!
What do you think? Would a Project Life style scrapbook work for you?
What’s for dinner?
I used to hate that question. Either I hadn’t planned anything or I had planned to make something new, but then thought better of it. I knew that new recipe would take extra time and I didn’t have the energy. I ended up serving junk food far too often.
This pattern became a drain on my time, my pocket book, and my family’s health. I tried many cookbooks and meal plans, but ended up dreading the “What’s for dinner?” question anyway. That’s when I quit trying to be a nutritionist and chef, and put my degree in psychology to work.
What kind of meal plan would work long-term?
By studying my own behavior (and my family’s, too), I knew I needed to ask myself a different question. Rather than what was for dinner on any given day, I wanted to know what kind of meal plan would allow me to:
- save time
- save money
- improve my family’s health
- be flexible
- enjoy making new recipes
- share cooking responsibilities
- be fearless when faced with “What’s for dinner?”
I discovered a plan that can work for anyone.
I was only trying to solve my own problem, but realized that the solution I had could work for anyone. Like so many solutions, it’s simple and common sense. I wrote the Once-and-for-All Meal Plan to encourage homemakers to try it and experience the benefits of knowing what’s for dinner (and breakfast, lunch, and snacks, too!). It’s free for subscribers to the Psychowith6 mailing list. Want to know more? My friend, Deb, did a great write-up of what you can expect from the book and this blog on Counting My Blessings. If you’re ready to subscribe, you’ll receive your meal plan ebook that you can read on any computer or mobile device after you confirm your email. I’d love to hear what you think!
You were so excited the day you brought your shiny new curriculum home from a homeschool conference, the bookstore, or the mailbox. But now the school year is over, your children have grown, or you’ve decided to use something new. What’s the best thing to do with your old materials?
Or… you’ve been to a homeschool conference or you’ve been researching online and you’ve found a curriculum you’re in love with, but the price tag? A little too steep for you. Where are the best places to go to find what you need at the best possible price?
Best Places to Buy or Borrow Used Curriculum
Do you have other suggestions? Comment below. One commenter shared that she compares prices on used items at Bonavendi. Give it a try!
Your Local Support Group
You’re not a member of a local support group? Becoming a member is the first thing you should do! Click this link to search for homeschool support groups near you. Many support groups have lending libraries that are searchable online. You may find exactly what you’re looking for there for nada. But even if your support group doesn’t have a lending library, you may be able to borrow curriculum from another member. Many support groups have an online forum, Facebook, or Yahoo group where you can make your request known. No local support group where you are? Consider joining an online group, preferably for your state or region.
A Local Used Curriculum Sale
Find out from homeschoolers who know where the largest sale is near you and plan to attend. Pray that you’ll find what you need at just the right price. Earlier in the day you’ll get the best selection, but later you may get the best price. Sellers may be willing to take much less in order not to have to take their materials home.
A Local Bookstore or Library that has Materials on Consignment
An advantage to shopping a local bookstore or library is you aren’t constrained by used sale dates or times. Often the management also prices materials appropriately and won’t accept books in shoddy condition.
Search for the books you need on Amazon, then look at the Used options. I’ve purchased numerous books at a penny over shipping and handling. You’re less likely to find complete curriculum that includes binders or audiovisual materials here. In fact, if you are ordering something like Shurley Grammar from Amazon used, make sure the CD is included. If it isn’t mentioned in the listing, contact the seller and ask.
These are like support groups for particular curriculum in the form of an online forum, a Yahoo group, or Facebook group. Who better to buy used curriculum from than a group of people who are looking to unload theirs? User groups are not exclusive to curriculum, but are also for approaches to homeschooling. If you’re a classical homeschooler, for example, you may be able to find everything you need used from a classical user group. The Well Trained Mind Forum has listings of used curriculum. Google the curriculum or the approach you’re interested in followed by the phrase “group” or “forum” and “used curriculum.” If your child is taking an outside class, ask the instructor if materials from the previous year will be used and if s/he will help you purchase them from last year’s participants.
Ebay and Half.com
When purchasing from any used source, make sure you are getting the copyright date you want. Again, if the listing isn’t clear, make sure to ask the seller. I’ve had a good experience buying from eBay because most sellers are homeschoolers themselves. Half.com is an extension of eBay and is a better option for finding single books than it is for complete curricula. Best Homeschool Buys has a list of eBay curriculum by publisher with explanations and links to reviews. This is a great place to start your eBay search.
Homeschoolbooksforless sells used curriculum on consignment and also donates curriculum to missionaries and needy families. I have not purchased from them, but it might be an option to consider for you.
HomeschoolClassifieds, while not having the clearest user interface, offers excellent prices on used curriculum–typically with postage included. Listing fees are free or very inexpensive which means the seller can offer materials at low cost to you.
Homeschool Trader is a new face in the used homeschool market, but they have a really clean interface. You can often get great deals on newer sites like this one.
Homeschool Tree is another new entry into the used curriculum marketplace. I’m most interested in their future notifications of users when a curriculum they want is listed.
Google + Curriculum Classifieds Community
Curriculum Classifieds offers the buyer more of a personal touch because of Google+’s public information on sellers.
Joining this Facebook group allows you to buy used curriculum with less anonymity than other forums.
Homeschool Buy Sell Trade is another option.
Craigslist or Freecycle
Homeschoolers are listing popular curriculum like Abeka and My Father’s World on Craigslist. The advantage is you can see the quality of the materials before you buy and don’t have to pay shipping. The disadvantage is you may have to trek across town to someone’s home that you don’t know. You have the same disadvantage with Freecycle, coupled with the difficulty in requesting or picking up the materials before someone else does.
I haven’t used Vegsource personally, but it’s a popular place to purchase used curriculum. Links to used resources by grade level are on the right of the website.
Create a “Want to Buy” Listing
Many of the above resources allow you to create a wish list of curriculum. Don’t neglect to post this on other social media you participate in, even listing the price you want if that’s important.
You’re unlikely to get current or complete curriculum at Paperbackswap, but you may get some valuable books here for the price of shipping a book of your own. I’ve gotten workbooks, many classics, and science experiment books here. Because books are not to be written in, you can feel pretty comfortable that the workbooks will be appropriate. If not, contact the “seller” and ask for a credit to be returned. Note: Paperbackswap now charges a yearly membership fee to participate.
The Book Samaritan
If your family is really in need and you don’t need curriculum from a specific publisher, consider the Book Samaritan. You only need to send a request with the grade levels of your children and agree not to sell the curriculum when you are finished with it.
Yellow House Book Rental
Renting curriculum for 10 months is another great option. Yellow House Book Rental supplies this option and others on this list to make homeschooling affordable for families.
Home 4 School Books
Jennifer shares her new site that offers used books at reasonable prices. You can find it at Discount Homeschool Book.com.
Second Harvest Curriculum
Check out this site for used curriculum at UsedHomeschoolBooks.com.
The Best Places to Sell or Donate Used Curriculum
Maybe you’d like to finance your curriculum purchases for next year by selling this year’s curriculum? Maybe you just want to be able to find the dining room table for a change? Then selling or donating your used curriculum is a great idea. The same places you will find used curriculum are also good places to sell or donate it.
Your Local Support Group
You might consider listing your “for sale” items via your support group’s online forum or group. Make sure to abide by the rules. Before you sell or donate elsewhere, you may want to check any “Want to Buy” listings other members have posted. I have a couple of boxes of materials that are being donated to my support group’s curriculum library.
A Local Used Curriculum Sale
Again, determine the most successful sale in your area. Calculate the time you have to invest in working the sale and any expenses before deciding that this is the option for you. I haven’t made much for my time at used sales in the past, but I’ve enjoyed chatting with friends and have gotten good deals from other sellers.
A Local Bookstore or Library that has Materials on Consignment
Find out what the policies on consignment are and ask others who have used the particular site you’re interested in. Recognize that stores that price materials for you may under or over-estimate prices which could affect your return. It’s most important to find out how long they will keep your materials and what they will do with items that don’t sell. Calculate time required to complete any paperwork (some stores require a detailed accounting of each item) and the percentage the store will keep before consigning.
Because Amazon is the first place I look for used books, I decided to try selling my used curriculum through them this year. Because my time is most valuable to me, I also decided to let Amazon fulfill my orders. What that means is that I input all my materials into their system, together with the prices I want them at, and then shipped them all to Amazon’s warehouse. Now when someone buys one of my used books, Amazon will ship it to them. My work is done. In a month’s time, I cleared $500 and have very few things left. To see my used curriculum, click on my Booksmark Amazon seller page. In the same period of time, I have not sold any items I listed elsewhere. I highly recommend Amazon for selling used curriculum.
List your curriculum on forums or online groups that are associated with the curriculum or approach you use. An advantage is marketing your stuff to the people most interested in it. A disadvantage is that you will have to arrange payment and shipping with people you usually don’t know. If your child took an outside class, ask the instructor if s/he is using the same books and if s/he would be willing to help sell it to next year’s students.
Ebay and Half.com
Ebay seems to be more popular for used curriculum than half.com. If you choose to auction your materials, you may make much more or much less than you expect. If you don’t like that uncertainty, list your materials using Buy It Now. Payment for materials is more secure if you use PayPal, but you will still have to handle shipping.
Homeschoolbooksforless also accepts materials on consignment. Be sure to read their policies before choosing to consign there. I have no experience with them and would love to hear if you do!
HomeschoolClassifieds‘ biggest advantage is the low or no listing fees. I have sold a number of items through them. The disadvantage is a cluttered home page and slow communication with buyers at times. Again, you will have to ship items. If you list as “postage paid,” you need to make sure you are allowing enough money to cover costs.
Homeschool Trader is a newer option for sellers, but the site makes it really easy to enter your items. You’re likely to get a lot of views of your materials because there are fewer sellers to begin with.
Homeschool Tree is another new entry into the used curriculum marketplace. I’m most interested in their future app to make listing products easy.
Curriculum Classifieds also boosts sellers’ confidence as you can “see” who is purchasing from you.
When you join this Facebook group you will also have a little more information about who is purchasing your curriculum.
Check out Homeschool Buy Sell Trade for selling as well.
Craigslist or Freecycle
I have not sold curriculum on Craigslist, but I seriously considered it this year. The disadvantage is having to be home for buyers who may not show up or may not want your curriculum once they see it. The advantage is you don’t have to ship. Can you tell that I hate shipping things? Freecyle is another option for donating curriculum, but I would be concerned that someone is snatching up your charity only to resell it.
Vegsource has been recommended to me as a seller, but I haven’t used it. Please comment if you’ve used it!
Many homeschoolers use Paperbackswap and are on waiting lists for curriculum books. You can list them here and ship them to members when requested. You might even get a personal thank you! In exchange, you will receive credit in books. Be aware that you can sell your credits if you’d rather not be paid in more books.
The Book Samaritan
The Book Samaritan accepts donations for needy families. Please read their submission guidelines before shipping.
You can drop off your books at Goodwill or a charity book sale. The YMCA has a huge book sale in our area. You can also have charities come by and pick up your books in many cities. I like to donate regular books to charity, but not homeschool curriculum. Why? Because I know homeschoolers will have a hard time finding it. That’s why I don’t recommend looking at Goodwill for curriculum. Supplementary books, yes. Abeka or Sonlight, no.
The Happy Housewife
Don’t miss any more hot homeschooling articles on Pinterest!
Where will you be buying, borrowing, selling, or donating used homeschool curriculum this year?
Sometimes when people hear that I homeschool six kids, write, and speak, they tell me I'm a Wonder Woman. I'm not going to disagree, but they don't know the whole story.
In honor of the St. Louis Homeschool Expo where I'll be presenting, I've made the real story behind this Wonder Woman FREE! On March 23rd & 24th, click on the book below and you'll be able to read So You're Not Wonder Woman for free on your Kindle, any Kindle app, or your computer (get free app here) regardless of whether you have Amazon Prime.
I hope you are blessed by the book! If you are, I hope you will bless me in return by leaving a review for the book. I can get my book into the hands of more Wonder Woman wannabes if they read a number of positive reviews.