Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog Hop~NOT Back to School: Curriculum Choices AND $aving MONEY!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I have already posted about our intended curriculum  for this year, but I did want to share with you my secrets for finding curriculum inexpensively.  I know there are homeschoolers who share that they spend little money on homeschooling curriculum.  I have never been that fortunate, but I do like a bargain when I find one, like I am guessing you do too.  I have come up with some ways of finding the best prices for curriculum and actual places to look for it for less.

Tips For Curriculum Deals

1. KNOW curriculum pricing.  If you don't know what something will generally sell for then we can't figure out IF we got a deal.

2.  Search for the item in your search engine and read leading sales sites for homeschooling curriculum pricing like ebay, amazon, TOS Store and google the name of the product you want to purchase.

3.  Create a list so you can compare apples to apples and be sure to include any additional charges like shipping, etc...

4.  Note any time constraints such as dates of a sale and time ending.  Oh how sad to have found the least expensive price and found that the sale price has expired.

5.  What about warranties? If there is one, make a note.

6.   Compare the features of the product offered.  Sometimes there are additional resources needed and one vendor may include them in a packaged price while others offer items individually.

7.  Read reviews (several) about a vendor.  If using ebay, look at the feedback numbers and READ those comments. People don't post them because they are happy and we need to understand why a person is not before we risk our money.

8.  When deciding on a product, consider IF this product will accomplish the intended goal for your child within the year~I'd compare it to state testing requirements IF your child is college track. NOTE: IF you refrain from college prep this is certainly your option, but it's my OWN personal belief that children trust parent home educators to prepare them adequately for life and to give a child the option of university work if at all possible is a very very very good thing and almost needful in our world. If a child grows up and wants to blow off college, fine~but it won't be because this mama didn't do my part!  (I know there are differing opinions on this in our community, so please understand that I affirm your personal choices~I am discussing mine.)

     On a side note: Will this product serve more than one child? Is it allowed by the vendor? Some don't allow multi child use while others care less.  Can it be used again for younger children? Note these features in your list.  They will count when deciding actual costs for function of your potential purchase.

9.  Read product reviews and read several.  All reviews are not equal.  All reviewers are different and what works for each of us is going to be different.  I whole heartedly affirm review read, my goodness, I WRITE THEM, but my little tip IS THIS~to try and figure out a balanced viewpoint regarding a product.  When I read reviewers I look at what else they have to say on their site such as non-product posts to see if that reviewer is somewhat *like* me.  I know this would be difficult, but for instance: I have high schoolers.  I can review a preschool or elementary product as someone who has done the job, but can a mom of those ages tell a mom of high schoolers about, lets say...a chemistry course??~UNLESS they have a degree in that field or related field??~YES, they can! But I find that to read several reviews will bring more balance into what I need to know and gives me a more solid sense of the product.  Note these in that sheet when you are comparing price.  ALL products are not the same and we can make choices based on what we feel is best! Putting it down makes huge sense!

NOTE:  This leads me to discussing doing curriculum reviews which is a wonderful way of checking out FIRST HAND curriculum that may or may not fit our families.  As part of the TOS Crew I've been blessed to touch and use many things to try with my kids!  For the MOST part we have loved what we have tried, so it's a great thing to do!!  BTW~a little plug for CREW: There will be announcements next year in the spring sometime for a new crew~think on it! It's loads of fun and you get free stuff to try out with your kids to see what will really work with your children.  Go read the Crew's reviews HERE!! You won't go wrong reading many opinions concerning a product! (Check back often on the Crew's blog too b/c there are weekly GiveAways/Contests, AND our Blog Cruise where you can gain OUR INSIGHTS as a collective about various topics!)

10.  TALK to your homeschool gal friends about the products you are considering. WHO do you know who is using the product you are looking at using?  What do they say and will they let you look, touch, feel it?  What does she say about it?

11. If at ALL possible, get hands on with the product or at the very least check out some samples.  Look at several samples if available.

12.  Swap if you can.
Homeschool Classifieds (DOT) COM
Vegsource (DOT) COM
FREE Homeschool Tools_No Chat (Yahoo Groups)

You can trade curriculum or in some instances give it away or request it.  Try it out! Makes sense to me!

13.  I want to encourage all of us to bathe what we teach in prayer and our needs for curriculum.  God is a provider of all things good; we can bring this to Him!

Thanks for stopping by~check out my sidebars for some cool web stuff AND the giveAway/Freebie tab!  Leave me a shout out and I will follow you in return!


1 comment:

Sheri said...

Hey great post and it should help a lot of newer HSers out with making good decisions. Have a great great year deary!