Q: Where is the best place to buy used curriculum?
A: The BEST place really depends on what curriculum you are looking for. And it is not always best to buy used curriculum. Now, having said that, being on a budget, I often buy homeschool books, curriculum, and resources used. Here are a few of the places I have found good deals:
- Other homeschoolers I know – homeschoolers tend to clean off their shelves as their children move on to other phases or as they realized that the curriculum they have isn’t going to work for their situation. If I hear of someone saying they are going to sell something, my ears perk up.
- Garage sales – Sales held by homeschoolers and former teachers or teachers who are switching from one grade to another can be gold mines for books, manipulatives, and curriculum. Homeschoolers will often post on their email support groups if they are selling curriculum at their garage sale. Some will offer a “pre-sale” time for fellow homeschoolers.
- Email Support Groups – Other homeschoolers are great resources for finding used curriculum. Rules vary depending on the email support group. One of ours locally allows for curriculum sales to be posted once a month, another is open to whenever someone has a list of things they are selling. Generally, I’ve found that people clean out their curriculum in the spring and late fall, when they are preparing for the next term.
- eBay – July and early-August are the absolute best times to find curriculum on eBay, but you can find things year around. I’ve purchased used Sonlight curriculum, books, and my copy of the Robinson Curriculum through eBay. Also used eBay to shop around for Teaching Textbooks before I decided to go ahead and buy it new. On eBay, It’s best to know what you are looking for – and to be both specific and general in your search criteria, otherwise you’ll miss opportunities. (NOTE: A couple years ago, eBay banned the sale of teachers manuals on eBay to prevent students from getting the answer books – and other reasons. So you won’t find teacher’s editions there, but you will find other homeschool curricula and books)
- VegSource - The homeschool swap boards on Vegsource is a great place to find used and new curriculum, but you need to shop a bit to find what you are looking for. (Look on the left hand column for the ”Items for Sale” categories.) One thing that is nice about Vegsource is that most of the sales are “ppd” which means the price includes postage. But not all, so watch and be sure you understand the terms. The transactions are conducted via email and person to person. I’ve picked up books, Apologia Astronomy, and a few other items there.
- Used shelves at the local homeschool store – If you have a local homeschool store, they will often either have a used curriculum section or will have used curriculum events. Be sure to ask and see what might be available in your area.
- Homeschool conventions – When I go to homeschool conventions, I’ll usually check out the used homeschool curriculum event. Not sure if all conventions do this, but the ones I’ve been to have had some sort of used curriculum event. I’ve picked up some great deals here too, especially books and my son’s electricty experiment kit.
Other sources exist, but I’ve not had any direct experience with them:
HSLDA’s Curriculum Market – came about after eBay banned the sale of teacher’s manuals. I have not used this site, but it might be worth looking into.
Sonlight Forums Used Curriculum – You have to be a member of the Sonlight Forums to find and view the Used Curriculum for Sale area. But If you are using or interested in Sonlight, this may be a good choice, I’ve not used it though, as I tend to get my used Sonlight books from other homeschoolers and from eBay.
If you have experience buying homeschool curriculum from one of these or another site, please share in the comments, or write about it on your blog and post a link here. Thanks!