Most homeschooling families are on a budget, so free or cheap textbooks for homeschoolers are ideal. Although homeschooling costs can quickly add up, especially if you are educating multiple children, there are some ways you can easily cut costs and find cheap or even free textbooks.
Where to Find Free or Cheap Textbooks for Homeschoolers
If you purchase textbooks brand new, then you might want to consider looking for used textbooks instead. You can save an average of about 50 percent by purchasing used textbooks. Cost will vary depending upon the demand for a given series and how many used books are available. Some curriculum choices hold their value better. For example, Math U See materials tend to resale for about 70 percent of their original retail cost.There are many different places to find used textbooks to purchase:
- Garage sales
- Goodwill and thrift stores
- Homeschooling book sales
- VegSource Homeschool
- HSLDA Online Market
- Homeschool organization e-mail loops (post what you are looking for and someone may have used curriculum to sell to you)
- Library book sales
- Half Price Books
- Secondhand bookstores in your area
One thing that you'll want to be careful of as you purchase used textbooks is to make sure that either you can purchase the matching solutions manual or that it comes with the textbook as a set. Some parents will also want the teacher's version of the textbook and workbooks. Every brand of curriculum is different, so what is available will depend upon which set you purchase. If you are purchasing the solutions manual separately, be sure the versions are the same. Many textbooks come in different editions as problems or information is updated.
If cheap textbooks can help your budget, free textbooks are even better. While you won't often find free textbooks, you can find some with a little ingenuity:
- Trade your services for textbooks. For example, you may be a great cook and offer to cook a certain number of meals in exchange for another family passing down their textbooks to your family.
- Trade books with other homeschooling families. Find another homeschool family with kids of varying ages. You offer to let them use your curriculum in the years you aren't using it and you use theirs in the years they aren't using it. This only works if both families use the same curriculum and the kids are in different grades.
- Ask your church if they have any curriculum. Some churches now collect used curriculum for their homeschool families. Many times these resources are free to use.
- Try the local library. Your local library may have some textbooks in their collection. Libraries can also locate specific volumes via interlibrary loan. Some common programs include Hooked on Phonics and math programs.
- Finding cheap or free textbooks for homeschoolers, both in hardcopy and online can save your family hundreds of dollars per year. Be creative and talk to others in the homeschool community about your needs for textbooks and you will likely find even more free and cheap resources for books.