If you are a Homeschooler, you are more than likely addicted to books.
Books, unfortunately, are expensive. Buying books full-price can eat up your homeschool budget in no time at all, leaving nothing left for other subjects. Since we have moved to a very literature heavy unit study approach, I have been dealing with this a great deal this past year.
That, and my girls devour books like candy.
So I thought I’d write a post about how we’re attempting to maximizing our Homeschool book budget.
- First of all, I start by reviewing book lists and pick tons of books that might go along with our upcoming unit study ideas. In My Father’s World’s curriculum, this is called “the book basket.”
A few resources I started with:
2. I scour through what we already have on our shelves and set it aside.
3. Then I collect these lists together and enlist our Homeschool Dad’s help. He will go through those lists and see what we can check out- either through our library or through in County Library loan program.
We started Amazon Lists as a way to keep track of what we could find and what we can’t. This is extremely useful when I’m out and about and wondering if a certain book is needed or not. (I wrote about that here.)
4. Hit the Used Curriculum Sales and Homeschool Conventions! I only did HEAV this past year, I didn’t have a chance to do any other local curriculum sales. And I have found that with some of the books I want to read, there is just no better place to find it than from other homeschoolers. Missionary biographies? Yeah, local libraries aren’t likely to have many of those. But homeschoolers will have those resources coming out of their ears! And for what I couldn’t find in the Used Curriculum Sale, the Exhibit Hall awesome for!
5. Once I had exhausted those ideas, I then turned to Paperbackswap.com. Paperbackswap is a great way to get of those books of yours that didn’t sell at the Used Curriculum Sales. You then earn points which you can turn around and use on books you do want. I got rid of a lot of items this way. Sadly, I didn’t find the books I desperately need for this fall, but I did find some of the ones I just wanted to have. I still have a running list and will continue use this as a resource.
6. My other favorite resource for books is searching locally at thrift store type shops! I have just had the best luck with this the past few years. In Virginia, there was a thrift store we used to frequent that sold children’s books dirt cheap and had racks of books to choose from! (I’ve heard they made them more expensive now, though.) I never left there without finding tons of book resources.
Now in PA, we live very close to a Habitat for Humanity ReSale store. They sell children’s books for about 25 cents each. This is where we are able to find the best books to feed our kids’ book addiction. I love it because I can very easily find all the great old chapter books and classics I grew up on – our last trip we spent $15 and walked out with more books than we could carry!
Little Free Libraries are starting to become popular in our local area as well, and since I’m friends with many of the owners, I do like to stop by and just see what’s up. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised!
And I might send out an SOS to homeschool moms in local groups just to see if anyone wants to trade or share something that is just sitting on their shelves! And oh, I might just mention that wish list to grandparents for gift ideas as well!
7. Now that I’ve exhausted most of these resources, it’s about time for me to break down and decide which books I must absolutely must have, and need to purchase. Having the books on an Amazon list does help for pricing purposes at this point, but as much as I love Amazon, I want to support our HEAV exhibitors, and see if I can find good deals as well!
I met GoodStewardBooks.com at HEAV, and had a great conversation with them (as well as buying several more books, of course). They have great prices and also offer free shipping on orders of $25 or more. They seem to have a really good stock of Christian fiction that might be difficult to find in a regular bookstore. I would definitely recommend checking them out!
(They did give me one free book to review which I will be sharing about in an upcoming post!)
I do realize I’m not going to be able to own and/or find every single book I might want out there. That’s not going to stop me from trying though!