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.
Check out the listings at Curricula Exchange. There is also a Facebook page for sales.
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.
Check out the listings at Curricula Exchange.
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.
Don’t miss any more hot homeschooling articles on Pinterest!
Where will you be buying, borrowing, selling, or donating used homeschool curriculum this year?
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Just went through you post. Great Ideas. I would love it if you would take a look at my site. I am a new Homeshool family business, Yellow House Book Rental. Our desire is to serve the homeschool community by giving them MANY options all at one site. Rent, Buy new or used, sell back, rent to own. Thanks for taking a look!
Michelle, I’m thrilled that you shared your site with me. It makes my article that much more complete. I’ve added your site to the list and I hope you get some traffic from it.
Thanks for this list! I am new at homeschooling (though I was a teacher before I had kids.) So far I have just looked at publishers online, amazon, and a local used bookstore that carries homeschooling supplies.
Amanda, you’re so welcome. I hope you love homeschooling as much as I do.
These are some great suggestions. I think you have the most complete list of helpful sites that I have seen. The only site you are missing is mine.
We saved the most by passing down non-consumable curriculum to younger brothers and sisters and using multi-level curricula like Konos or Weaver (AOP) or My Father’s World.
We have homeschooled 5 children for over 20 years and have avoided over-spending every step of the way. There are so many ways to save on homeschool materials as outlined above.
Today, e-readers can make reading the classics that are in public domain a very inexpensive way to offer literature. My daughter loves her Kindle and is always converting books from Archives.org or Gutenberg to Kindle format so that she can read them on her Kindle. It is a great money saving option.
For more used homeschool curriculum options, I would like to recommend my family’s site: http://besthomeschoolbuys.com where homeschooling families can connect to a great selection of used curriculum.
You have a very creative homeschool website. We all can identify with that psycho feeling occasionally. Ha!
Julie (homeschooling in Tennessee)
Julie, I so appreciate your tips and will gladly add your site to the list. I’m glad you appreciate my blog name as only a homeschooling mom can. 🙂
Here is one thing we do to supplement the curriculum. It helps with reading a ton. It is a magazine written by kids 100% which might be of interest to parents who want to give their kids a chance to be published in print and online.
This magazine has been around for years and has a unique approach to inspiring kids to love reading and writing.
Check out the site https://www.thebunkroom.com. The Bunk Room Magazine.
It has a free membership site, a chance to be published and also a print edition subscription opportunity either in classroom sets or an individual subscriptions. Give it a look. It seems to be wholesome and not have a political or religious bent one way or the other.
Thanks for sharing another resource, Mark.
I’ll have to save this post on Pinterest. I’m trying to sell off some of my used curriculum and books, so I’ll definitely be looking closer at these options. 🙂
Best wishes with it, Audra. I’ve been really happy selling on Amazon, though there are some items that don’t work there.
I’m a homeschooling mom myself and I have been selling on facebook for a few months. I finally started my own website last week:) We buy and sell homeschool books and supplies. if you could please check it out I would appreciate it! thanks!!
I didnt see my comment post can u let me know if you got it! thanks!! if you didnt I buy and sell homeschool books and supplies. I’m just starting out and I would appreciate it if you would add me to your list! thanks
What I think is
really important when buying used textbooks is to compare the prices of the
different websites. There are so many
different sites that offer different prices that you need to get an overview
of the best prices to be sure that you can save more money when buying used
textbooks. To get the best price I always use Bonavendi.com. It is really a
cool comparison site and very easy to handle. Here is the link if you want to
check it out: http://www.bonavendi.com/buy/b/Books.html
Thanks for this tip, Vernonica. I’m going to add it to the post!
OK — Awesome resource here Melanie! Thank you!
Thanks, Mary! Glad it’s useful.
Too bad PAperBackSwap has changed policy and now you have to pay to be part of the group.
I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks for the update!
Our homeschooling family started this new website for used homeschool curriculum. homeschooltree.com
I added it to the list. It looks like a promising service. Thanks for letting me know.
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