There is nothing that beats being able to hold a curriculum and flip through its pages when you are trying to decide what to buy, but that’s not always possible. Whether you simply can’t make it to a homeschool convention, or the curriculum you are interested in isn’t anywhere to be seen, shopping homeschool curriculum online can be done. Even though it’s not quite the same as seeing a book “in person,” you can still get a good idea of what a curriculum is like with a few simple tips.
Tips for Shopping Homeschool Curriculum online
Tip #1: Read reviews
My go-to site when I’m starting my search is always Cathy Duffy reviews. Whether I’m checking out a curriculum a friend has mentioned or beginning a search without a clue of what I’m looking for, this site is THE BEST! Not only are her reviews thorough, giving you a great perspective of pros and cons of curriculum and how much is involved in using it, but also she has reviewed just about everything on the market. The website is well-organized and easy to maneuver. Select the subject you are searching for, then scroll through the options and click on what interests you. The Cathy Duffy “top-picks” are usually well-worth her recommendation and can narrow your search even further.
Once I have a curriculum that I think I like, I google “[curriculum name] reviews” to read from homeschool mom-bloggers in the trenches who have put these products to use. These reviews are valuable because I get a chance to see the curriculum working for a family like mine. I can see where the kids may be similar or not-so-similar to my kids and get a better idea of how this particular curriculum works with different homeschool styles and learning styles. Although you could spend all day doing this, usually one or two of the first reviews listed will give you a pretty good idea.
Tip #2: Find online previews
While nothing beats being able to hold a book and flip through it, there are some really great online preview options that will let you get a pretty good idea of what you are looking at. Many curriculum websites will provide you with some online samples, but I’m not always thrilled with the limited sample I’m given. In those instances, I’ve got a couple of other websites that I depend on for sample previews:
Amazon provides decent curriculum previews, but most of the time, I find my best sample previews at ChristianBook.com. Search for the curriculum you are interested in, then click on “sample pages.” Christian Book usually provides both teacher guide samples and workbook samples on their website. Shopping homeschool curriculum online isn’t always easy, but these two websites have made it a whole lot easier.
Tip #3: Shop for the best price
One of the perks of shopping homeschool curriculum online is the ability to compare prices and get the best deal. If I’m looking for used curriculum, I’ll shop ebay or search for a homeschool curriculum group on Facebook that sells those items. If I need to find the best price on new curriculum, I have four places I shop online.
- the official curriculum website (This gives me a baseline for what an item may cost. Sometimes it’s the best price, particularly if the website is running a sale.)
- Amazon.com (About half of the time, Amazon is pretty competitively priced. But not on everything! Watch those prices carefully.)
- RainbowResource.com (I buy 90% of my curriculum from this website. They usually offer the best price, and they carry nearly every curriculum available.)
- Homeschoolbuyersco-op.org [affiliate link*] (This is like a homeschool bargain store. There are great bargains offered through this site, but you have to make regular visits to catch them. Sign up for their updates so that you don’t miss any of their specials.)
In many ways, shopping homeschool curriculum online is a lot of fun. The pressure is off: no one is trying to talk you into a sale, and you can shop in the comfort of your own home—in your jammies with a cup of coffee! Once you’ve got an idea of what you want, chat with friends! You may discover that someone has your newly found treasure sitting on their shelf at home.
* This post contains affiliate links. That means when you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small compensation. It costs you nothing and helps me offset website expenses. Thanks for your support!