Homeschooling can be as expensive or as cheap as you make it. Some people use boxed curriculums that cost an arm and a leg and some people are good at finding all kinds of cheap and free resources. Because we compile resources and use unit studies, I end up spending a lot of money on books. Yes, I could get many of them from the library, and I do. We’re usually at our local branch at least twice a week! There are times, though, that our library system doesn’t have a specific title or there may be a certain book or subject I know we’re going to revisit again. And now that it’s time to start working on this summer’s Adventure Boxes, I’m looking for books that will be gifts for my kids. So how can you fill your home with good books without going broke?
- Library and School Sales: When my son was little and we were just starting to use Five in a Row, I was able to find many of the books at the library sale in Norman. Yes, some of them may be a bit bent, but most of them are in good condition and a fraction of the price you would pay for a new copy. (If you find a copy that is not in very good condition you can always buy it to take apart and use for a flannel board or to make a game.) Also watch for school sales. There are two private schools near me that have large yearly sales and I always come away with some great finds. The other good thing about these sales is that the books are usually so cheap that my kids get to pick quite a few things that they want just for fun!
- Used Bookstores: Some used bookstores seem to be geared toward grown-ups (I hate to say “adult books” ha!), but sometimes you can find ones that carry a good selection of children’s books. Locally we have a store that carries many good children’s titles and will even order new books for us at a discount if they don’t have what we’re looking for. In Oklahoma City I love to go to Half Price Books because they have a huge selection and I’ve found a lot of unique books there, too. Get on their mailing list for coupons and you can save even more!
- Scholastic Warehouse Sale: Yes, you can get books for a good price from book orders, but you can get an even better deal if you visit their warehouse. The selection is also much larger and really, it’s just fun to wander around a giant warehouse filled with books. The OKC sale is going on through May 24 and you can even sign up for discount coupons to get a better deal!
- Paperback Swap: I may be one of the few people who hasn’t used this site, but everyone I know who uses it loves it—and maybe I’ll give it a try one day when I get through all the books I’ve gotten elsewhere! The basic idea is that you list books you have that you are willing to swap. When someone requests one of your books, you mail it to them and you can request books from someone else. Your only cost is shipping.
In the words of Frank Zappa, “So many books, so little time.” Happy reading—and shopping!