Quick Tips for Saving $ on Next Year’s School Books

Trying to stretch your homeschool budget? Here are a few quick tips to help you think creatively and save money on next year’s homeschool books.

1. Spend some time researching what books/curriculum you need and prepare a list. It’s hard to catch a bargain if you are not sure what books you want or need. If you are not settled on the specific books, then make a list of the subjects or unit study themes you plan to work on so you can still bargain hunt efficiently.

2. Do you know another homeschooling family with children at different levels than yours? Approach them with the ideaJar of Money of swapping or borrowing books for the year. Doesn’t matter if they live five states away- media mail is still fairly inexpensive. You will have to be clear with your swap or trade partners on when you may need the book returned or how you want to deal with consumable materials. Making sure swapped books are labeled and covered for protection is also a good idea.

3. Used bookstores – take some time to browse the used bookstores in your area or the nearest big city. You may be surprised to find the books you are looking for on their shelves. Be sure to let the store know what you are looking for, they may have ways to source the books you need inexpensively. If the bookstore also buys books, bring your old books in- you may be able to earn enough in cash or store credit to get the books you need with no out-of-pocket funds.

4. Public Library- have you shared your book-list with the children’s librarian at your public library? Librarians are always making book purchases, why not see if the library will add the biographies or reference books or videos you are interested in to their collection? Doesn’t cost to ask, and it could save you money!

5. Private libraries – Ask the avid readers in your church, your relatives and non-homeschooling friends. Do they have any interesting books on planets or the biography of an explorer on their shelves? Share your book-list with friends – you might be pleasantly surprised to find what you are looking for on the shelf of a friend.

Green apple on books6. Check around online for free e-books and websites. You may not need to purchase a specific book at all- you may be able to collect what you need for free online. There are lots of homeschooling-for-free websites that can assist you. It does take a bit of time and organization to collect online resources, but time and organization don’t cost a dime. To save time, make your search terms more specific, rather than general.

7. AHE Swap – Are you a member of the AHE list? Then you can join the AHE Swap and put the word out for the books you are looking to buy. The families on the AHE Swap list may have just what you need. List a few books of your own and earn some extra book money at the same time.

Do you have an additional quick tip on how to acquire school books inexpensively? Please share your ideas in the comments!

Pinned on Pinterest: Printable Planners and Organizers for Children

My 11yo needs a bit of extra help organizing his day.  I’ve discovered that he functions best when he has a clear understanding of  not only his school assignments, but the chores and playdates, and other activities that we are doing each day.  A chore chart and family calendar are helpful to him, but what about putting all of his information in one location?

I  use a paper planner to help me stay on track,  so I decided that he would benefit from one as well.  As I researched for free printable planners and organizers for children,  I pinned them on the AHE Organizational Ideas Pinterest Board in case there were other parents like me looking for an inexpensive way to keep a child on track.  Click on the link below and you’ll see what I’ve found so far.   If you know of any other free printable planners for children, please share a link in the comments below so I can add them to the Pinterest board

What’s Your Homeschooling ‘Thing’?


What’s your homeschooling ‘thing’ right now?  What is that one item that you love to use or  just can’t live without? That simple item that is at the top of your supply list?   For many years my ‘thing’ was freezer paper (my craft paper go-to).  However, now that my children are older, my new can’t-live-without item is colored paper, specifically the neon Astrobright colored paper.

For many years each of my three children had a main pastel color that I used for planning and printables.   I could look at a stack of papers and know that the pale green papers were for one child, the yellow for another, etc.  Keeping each child’s paperwork organized by color made sorting and organizing so much easier.

Now that I’m down to one student, my love of colored paper has increased, not decreased!  Now I’m in love with the shockingly bright Astrobright paper.   I categorize and print multiplication fact cards and review sheets by color.  A different neon color for each part of speech in his grammar notebook, the uses are endless!  I always keep a healthy supply of colored paper, cardstock and lined notebook paper on hand.  Always ready to print!

What item makes life easier/more cheerful/more organized/simpler for you?  Share with us your homeschooling thing in the comments!

Keeping Organized When You Don’t Have a Schoolroom

It’s fun to scroll through pages of fabulously decorated ‘learning areas’ for homeschool room inspiration. But what if you just don’t have room to create a schoolroom? How do you keep things organized?   This very helpful article has some great suggestions for keeping school supplies in order.   Click on the image below to go directly to the article on ChristianHomeschoolMoms.com
organized homeschool without a schoolroom

Looking Back: Organization


Household organization and cleaning seem to be a mysterious burden for all of us.  In answer to your requests this new column will pass along hints and ideas.  Feel free to contribute your own tips.

We devoted the September, 1994 issue of AHE to organization.  Mainly homeschool records, but also a little “fall house cleaning” and getting ready to start the new school year.  Since then, I’ve received letters and phone calls expressing your frustration and need for more help in this area.  Homeschoolers are constantly in their homes and I know that they have a tendency to become messy much faster than homes where the family is gone all day.

Now I’m not an expert at this, but I am a melancholy by nature and I can’t tolerate messy surroundings.  I’m always looking for ways to keep my home, work area, files and schedule organized and clean without spending a lot of time doing it.  I have found lots of ideas, information, and cleaning tools and supplies from Don Aslett’s Cleaning Center, P. O. Box 39, Pocatello, ID 83204.  Write for a free copy of the Clean Report which arrives in a file folder marked Cleaning.*  I read about the various ways to clean and the professional supplies to use, and I have proved it myself, it pays in time and money to do it right using the proper tools and cleaning supplies. I set a monthly amount to spend and slowly built up what we needed as we ran out of grocery store brands, replaced them with professional cleaning products.

Children and Husbands

So since you asked for it, I’m starting this little column with tips and ideas to help make life a little easier.  I’m going to start with the biggest problem of all – children and husbands.  I read in one of Don Aslett’s books that 90% of the messes are made by children and husbands, and that 90% of these messes are cleaned up by the woman of the home.  By the way, he agrees with me, husbands and children should participate in picking up their own clutter.

The best rule for keeping a home organized is to have a place for everything and put everything in it’s place.  This means to have a bookshelf or special place for school books and work when they aren’t in use.  A toy box of some kind to put away toys is imperative.  It also helps to have a place where the children can work on projects and not have to clean them up before each meal.

Have two or three times during the day when everyone helps to pick up the house for five minutes.  Just before school starts, before or after lunch and then again before bedtime are good times.  Even toddlers can help with this project and it really helps keep down the clutter of toys, books and other things.  Half of the housework is picking up and putting away things that others leave out!

Make a household rule that if someone puts something down where it doesn’t belong they will pay a fine (1-15 cents depending on individual resources) or do a chore, to get it back.  Children (and husbands) will quickly learn to put things where they belong.  Donate the money you collect to investment or missions.

Another good rule is if you make a mess, you clean it up.  This teaches children to clean up after themselves.  You may have to touch-up or help at first but it’s a good habit.

The best advice I’ve ever been given was from Dorothy Moore.  She said, “Don’t do anything for your children that they are capable of doing for themselves.”  She meant making beds and picking up after themselves, etc.  We are not the maid, we are the mother and we must train our children to help keep the home tidy and clean just as we discipline or homeschool them.

Turn your young mess makers into helpers.  I was longing for a maid when my daughter expressed a desire to earn money.  I had my “maid!”  Each child has their daily chores which they do just because they are part of a family and those things that have to be done daily.  But I pay for cleaning bathrooms, scrubbing the stove, washing the car, heavy duty cleaning, etc.  Not much, 20-75 cents per chore but it provides her with a small income, and I get much needed help.

I hope these ideas help you tame the messiness around your home.  Remember this is an ongoing process – keep working at it and you will be rewarded.

Article from The Adventist Home Educator Newsletter, February 1995, p. 6.

*Resources have not been checked out to see if they are still available.