Teaching On a Budget: For Teachers, Homeschoolers, and Moms with Kids.

February 27, 2009

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I’m a homeschool mom to five kids, ages 8 and under.  In some minds, that makes me either crazy or heroic, but I do have an interesting household most days.  See:

Buying school supplies for a large family means I’m always on the lookout for a good deal.  And there are plenty to be had if you know where to look.  Here are some of my favorites:

Educational Software

Did you know you qualify to purchase the education version of most mainstream software packages if you are a college student, a teacher, a homeschool parent, or on behalf of your child grade K through 12?  Yes, all you have to do is have a child in school to qualify! 

And these are full working versions of the software for a fraction of the cost.  You do need to read the education qualifications for the specific software to verify before purchasing, but usually it just requires an education ID of some sort.  A report card or one of the free IDS many children get now from the portrait companies at the beginning of the year works fine.  (Homeschoolers:  Get a free eligibility letter from Homeschool Buyers Co-op – see below)

For example, you can get the latest Microsoft Office Pro for $119.95 on The Academic Superstore, a discount of 70% off the same program sold for $395.99 on Amazon.  (If you decide to buy from The Academic Superstore, join Coupon Cactus first and get an extra 1.5% rebate – see this post)

The only downside is when an upgrade comes along you can’t get the discounted upgrade price since you don’t own a ‘Full Version’.  In the past, however, I’ve found that buying the educational version each time is still cheaper than a full version followed by the discounted upgrades.

Educational Internet Deals

  1. Freebie of the Day – This is a great site with a free homeschooling resource you can download each weekday.
  2. CurrClick – They sell lots of high quality electronic curriculum for decent prices, and if you sign up for their email newsletter you’ll get a free downloadable product each week.  We really enjoyed a recent free lapbook download about bees.
  3. Homeschool Buyers Co-op – For the homeschool parents out there:  Did you ever wish you could get the great discounts that schools get by buying bulk?  Well, that’s what the Walter family wanted, too.  So they started an awesome co-op that now has thousands of members.  They go out to suppliers and organize great discounted deals for all of us.  Best of all, it’s free to register.  Feel free to explore their site.  They also have lists of many free resources

Where to find Used Curriculum

  1. Homeschool Classifieds is a goldmine of curriculum listed by homeschool parents for very reasonable costs.  And unlike EBay, it’s free to list up to 7 items, with only a $5 charge per year to list more. 
  2. Ebay is always a good place to look for hard-to-find items.  Try using a couple newer features to help get what you want:  Saved searches can send you an email any time an item you’re looking for is posted. 
  3. Local Homeschool Co-ops usually have a curriculum sale once or twice a year with great prices and best of all, no shipping!  Find a local group here.

Teacher Discount Cards (for public school and homeschool teachers)

  1. Joanns – get a 15% off Teacher Rewards card from Joanns here.  If you are a homeschooler, you need to get a PEAH number first here before registering with Joanns. 
  2. Staples – Get a Staples Teacher Rewards card here, print a copy online to use right away, or ask for a card to be sent in the mail.  (The best deals are found the last month or two of the summer.)
  3. And check out this great page for more homeschool discounts including Borders, Barnes and Noble, Kinkos, and more.  (Caution:  there are broken links on this site, but still good links for some of the major retailers.)

All-in-all the internet has not just revolutionized teaching with more resources than you have time to get to, but it has done the same with finding bargains to make teaching supplies much more affordable.  Please share your tips on getting teaching bargains with us!

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7 Comments so far

  1. docmisty March 26, 2009 1:44 pm

    Larry, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Enjoy your foray into homeschooling. It’s an amazing life!

  2. Larry Clemons March 23, 2009 12:59 am

    Great Ideas!! We will be starting homeschooling later this year and as the economic conditions continue to try us, we will be doing everything we can to give our kids the “bestest for the leastest.” Let the spellchecker choke on that one! My wife is a Financial Analyst (she predicted this economic crisis 5 years ago) and she says that we have quite a few long and hard year ahead of us. Let’s learn to live with a renewed sense of stewardship and discipline!

    Yes that means that I, the Dad, will be the homeschooling parent!

    Thanks again!


  3. docmisty March 10, 2009 11:01 am

    Thanks for the heads-up Lorrie!. I’ll add a notice, since there are still some good links on that site – mostly for the larger commercial businesses (like Barnes and Nobles, etc.) and their teacher discount programs.

  4. lorrie March 10, 2009 3:45 am

    oh, and while many of these links are very helpful. the link to homeschool on the shoestring has many broken links and ended up being quiet a waste of time. might want to update this post as this is a good blog.

  5. lorrie March 10, 2009 3:33 am

    i second the library comment. my library, and im not sure if its just mine or all of them (i live in portland, or) but you can get a homeschoolers library card seperate from you regualr library card.
    it lets you put more items on hold and check them out for several more weeks than normal and there are other services too.
    also there are many art stores that give homeschool discounts as well as teacher stores. thanks for the post.

  6. Misty February 28, 2009 9:29 pm

    That is an excellent tip! I know I’ve done the same thing – found a good book and then remembered to check my library at the last minute before buying, and they often have it. Thanks!

  7. mrs. dani February 28, 2009 9:31 am

    One costly mistake I made when I was first homeschooling was not checking my local library’s online card catalog (it is free all you need to sign up is your library card number)

    When I see something I think would be good, I check there first. Nine times out of ten, my library has it!

    ANd this is not only for books! they also have an incredible collection of educational ( and not so educational) videos


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