Monday, April 30, 2012

Books, Books, Books!

Have I told you lately that I love books?  I do.  They are wonderful.  You can learn about interesting people, travel to faraway lands, and learn some really interesting and important things from them.

This is the time of year when many home schooling families start selling off the curriculum they no longer need to help subsidize next year's purchases.  While we aren't ready to pass on curriculum yet, thankfully, we have been able to benefit from some of that!

This past week the kids and I went to a sale, where everyone sold out of their trunks in a church parking lot.

On the up side, you can pick up things you would have paid full price for (like all those flashcards) and you can add to your library things you've wanted, but put on the not really necessary list, like A Child's First Book of Virtues and A Child's Garden of Verses (until all of the sudden the book is only $3 instead of $25 or the cards to go with your spelling curriculum are free--score!).  There is the benefit that you can look at the programs you've considered (like Wordly Wise) in person and even talk to the person selling about what they and their children thought of it.

On the down side it is easy to get carried away.  I had a hard time walking away from several items and I picked up the Five in a Row: Character Development book on a whim, but when it is only a $2 whim at least you aren't out much...and I have to admit, I've heard great things about FIAR and will enjoy using it with the littles.

My most expensive purchase was $10 for the set of spelling and thesaurus books.  The spelling dictionary has already gotten good use, so I think it was money well spent.  I got all of the books and cards for less than $25.

These sales are much better if you go with loose expectations, like 'some type of poetry book' or 'a book to round out our geography unit,' not a specific text--though sometimes you'll luck into something.

My next strategy to getting used texts is by contacting other parents directly.  You can find some books on craigslist, but that can be time consuming.  I put out a list of 6 specific items I wanted on a local home school listserv.  I was able to get one of the items already at half price.  I've heard back about the possibility of three other books too.  If I'm able to get all four, I will have saved over $40 by purchasing used texts and gotten exactly what I wanted!  The down side on this is the coordination of meeting up and having to bow out of a sale with inflated prices and incomplete workbooks.

Then there is the very best way to get books--gifts.

Thanks to my parents for the box full of items that were on our wish list.


The Crislers said...

Hi Kristy,

I just found your blog through PW Homeschooling, and I have a question: How did you find out about this from-the-trunks-of-their-cars sale? I'm always interested in finding inexpensive books for our children; do you have any suggestions on how to find these kind of used book sales?

-Another Kristy

Kristy said...

The best way I have found to learn about book sales is to get on a list serve for home schoolers in our community. Many people post book sales, fun activities they've found, and some times they even organize group purchases for zoo passes or field trips.

The Home School Legal Defense Fund has a listing of many organizations here: