Mention homeschooling, and people’s thoughts will fly to textbooks and teaching. Other aspects – like homeschool supplies – may not be as salient until you need them. This article helps you get ahead of the curve by providing some tips on what kinds of homeschool supplies you are likely to need in general and how to get some good homeschool supply deals.
Buy Homeschool Supplies in Bulk
A school has to make a huge supply order, and probably does it with a specialty supplier. What does a homeschooler do? Many types of homeschool supplies are cheaper when bought in bulk, and there are stores besides the specialty stores that sell to large-scale business customers who know this, like Costco. At a store like Costco, you can get a lot of bulk items for a reasonable price without having to seek out a specialty seller, but stores that specialize in school supplies are a possibility too (see below).
If you have a large family or are happy to have extras on hand, you may be happy making purchases yourself. Some people like knowing that they’ve got things covered for several years. If you’d rather split the homeschool supplies and the cost, you may be able to find others to split the order with you. Try these types of people:
- friends and neighbors who need school supplies for their children, even if they don’t homeschool
- nearby private schools and/or specialty schools like art schools or preschools: maybe you can join in on their order
- other homeschoolers – you may have heard of a food coop, so why not a school supply coop?
Three sites with information that can help you find other homeschoolers in your state are:
- A to Z’s Cool Homeschooling: Laws and Support homeschooling.gomilpitas.com
- Homeschool Support Groups by State – homeschooling.about.com
- Home School Legal Defense Association hslda.org
These are some of the supplies that you may wish to consider buying in bulk:
|writing paper||printer paper||pencils||pens|
|tape||glue and/or paste||index cards||binders|
|staples||sticky notes||stickers and other incentive items||art paper: construction, tissue, manila, etc.|
Seek Out Discount School Supply Sellers
You can go one better on your bulk savings by seeking out a discount school supply seller from whom to make your homeschool supply purchases. A Google search on “school supplies discount”: there were nearly 34 million hits on June 12, 2009. Make sure to shop around, to check on reliability through customer ratings, and check the shipping and handling prices and any other extras. PayPal and Google Checkoutare good ways to protect yourself from fraud and to make secure payments.
Look for Sales
What’s better than buying in bulk at a discount? Buying in bulk at a discount and during a sale! Back-to-school sales happen yearly so August may bring you some excellent deals on homeschool supplies. Of course, this is true at your local stores, such as Staples, Walmart, Target, and Kmart, so it’s good to compare because you won’t have to pay shipping if you shop locally. Online stores will have sales, too, and if you order from them frequently and have invested in a service like Amazon Prime, which provides you with free second day shipping for a year for a once-a-year fee, you may save in a different way, as you may be able to buy your books from them as well.
Sign Up for Rewards and Discounts
Staples offers a loyalty rewards program, while booksellers Borders and Barnes & Noble offer teacher discounts. As a homeschool instructor, you may qualify for both. Check with your local stores and see what kind of savings they can offer you for homeschool supplies.
A June 1st, 2009 New York Times article, “Where One Man’s Trash is Preschooler’s Art Material” tells of a Manhattan preschool that uses all kinds of materials for their art classes. Some of the items mentioned include VHS cases, ribbons, buttons, bicycle wheels, corks, seashells, extra fabric, CDs, empty egg cartons, wood scraps, bottle caps, and pebbles. By considering non-traditional art supplies, you may find that you can find homeschool supplies in the most surprising places.