So even though we have at least six more weeks of this school year (what with having the baby and packing/moving and all), I'm planning next year's schedule and supplies...because it's fun and I'm a neurotic and compulsive planner/list maker.
The first thing I do to get ready for the next year is plan out my curriculum list. I usually know well before hand exactly what I need and write it all out. You could do this on the computer using heaven know's what all programs you want, but I like the therapeutic feel of a pen in my hand.
Once I have everything written out, I start the really fun part: the pricing! I start at the website that the curriculum comes from. I write down all of the manufacturer's prices because that gives me a starting off point. Frankly, I never pay what they price their material. I do it as a "Yay, me!" kind of thing when I'm budgeting.
What?! Yay, me? Here's why: After I write down the manufacturer's price, I then go Amazon, eBay or Christian Book Distributor and compare prices. I write them down next to the original price. They are almost always less. So already it feels like I'm saving money.
Therefore, Yay me!
My favorite online resource by far is Rainbow Resource. It's a huge online homeschool site that sells almost everything. single. thing. you'll ever need for homeschooling at fantastic prices!
On to the next step! Once I have all of my price comparisons, I hit the local used curriculum sales with my list in it's plastic sheet protector in hand. Yes, I am a nerd. Usually, there are about four around here that happen before our convention in July. This year, there are only two, one of which happens on Moving Day, so guess who won't be going to that one. Must think about how I could weasel out of moving day to attend. Hmmm.... Usually, I find some of what I need at a great price, plus a lot of what I don't need but it's really, really fun. Thank goodness I'm saving (?) money buying used.
After the curriculum sales, it's time for convention. The good thing about buying at convention is that
a) the items are new and complete...ah, the sound of a book spine being cracked open for the first time...
b) free shipping. If they don't have what you need, most places will ship what you need to your home for free. In fact, Rainbow Resource, again my fave, has a huge booth at convention. However, their catalog has tens of thousands of items (seriously). If I find anything in their catalog that they don't have their booth, they'll ship it for free.
The great thing about planning out what you need before convention is that you're not as likely to get overwhelmed and overburdened by all of your bundles. Honestly, our curriculum hall at convention is so huge that I've heard of people leaving in tears because it's just too much. If you have your list and have done some of your shopping at the used curriculum sales, you won't need as much and it won't be daunting. As for me, once I smell those new books, though, it's like letting my mother go at shoe/purse sale. She's like a blood hound, I tell ya.
I do try to write down the actual price that I have payed for something next to the original price so I can
While I'm sitting here waiting for my diamonds, tell me what you do to save on or plan your homeschooling curriculum. I'm also interested in learning what other states requirements are for homeschooling. Arizona has fantastic homeschool laws, but I know that in many other states there are different laws.