I’m such a miser with some things and will do anything to save a penny. In simpler terms, I’m cheap. And there is something about consuming workbooks that really eats at me. So here are a few options for saving money.
1. Make copies of pages. If you have a copier on hand, this is sometimes an option. And I have on occasion used this method for coloring books and artist studies where a copyright allowed it. But the thought of making multiple copies of pages is more effort than I’m up for most of the time.
2. Place pages in sheet protectors. If you don’t have a copier or a laminator, this is definitely an option. That is, if you’re willing to tear out lots of pages and regularly insert them in the sheet protectors; and if you’re up for cleaning the sheet protectors after use. I’ve read about this method, where others have used dry erase markers (or permanent markers and clean with alcohol), but these methods never worked well for me. Perhaps I did something wrong, but cleaning the sheet protectors was not as easy as it sounded.
3. Laminate an empty sheet. I’ve recently discovered a much simpler method that has really worked like a charm. It does, however, require a laminating machine (which I highly recommend as a very handy piece of equipment). But the method is quite simple: just insert an empty laminating sheet into your machine. I then take the hardened plastic and place it inside the workbook or 3-ring binder that we are using. The kids work through the exercises by placing the laminating sheet over top of the workbook page that has been assigned and working the assignment with a dry erase marker. I’ll check their work, and then let them do the erasing. No tearing out workbook pages, and no copyright violations!
For my little one, I’ve started her out in a 3-ring binder with some worksheets that I’ve printed off. It’s great practice for her right now, because if she messes up with the sheet and accidentally marks on my pages I can easily print off a new copy. But I’ve been really surprised how well my three year old has done with this, and she loves having her own notebook.
My son has one laminating sheet for his Building Thinking Skills workbook. It is both a bookmark and page protector. We’ve used this method all year long, and it’s worked out great! Not only is it fun to work through the book with a marker, but the book is in perfect condition for the little one to use in a few years (and baby #3 after that!)
I’ve also given him a sheet to use with his Math Mammoth worksheets. Another key advantage to this method is that it has been very easy to have him do a worksheet more than once, and it has saved on printing multiple pages for him.
Just a few ways to stretch a buck and make that workbook go a little further. What are some ways you save or recycle?