Finding homeschool books can present a challenge. Here are some hints and tips for getting your classroom stocked with the homeschool books you need for yourself and your students.
Ask at Schools
It may be the case that schools in your local district may have an extra pupil and teacher edition of one or more textbooks that they would be able to lend you. This is, in some ways, an ideal set-up: you get the books for free, and the fact that the school uses them indicates that it meets all state requirements. Besides public schools, you can also check with private schools. Perhaps you’ll find that you can get homeschool books for reading from one and homeschool books for math from another. These books will need to be kept in good condition for return to the lending school.
But besides their current texts, there is another possibility. Every so often schools replace their textbooks. In this case, you might be able to obtain for free homeschool books that you could mark up and keep.
If the books have already left the schools, check with agents for the local landfills or dumps. Some sanitation districts have special policies for handling books, and you may find that there is actually a selection available at some designated location.
And don’t forget that homeschools, too, may have books they no longer need. And besides getting homeschool books, you may get some pretty good reviews and insights into how to use them . . .
If a local college or university has a Department of Education to conduct teacher training, they likely have a library section that includes school texts. It is possible that you might be able to borrow these to use as homeschool books.
Another library option to try is library sales. Often, libraries will invite patrons to donate books that they sell at greatly reduced prices. These sales may supply you with wonderful reference books, as well as with literature study books. In addition, you may find videos or other materials that have classroom value on sale.
Visit Yard Sales
People who are cleaning out a section of their home or moving to a new location often part with educational books and toys. Again, if you have a college or university nearby, look for yard sales run by the married student housing office in May or June - this is a prime time for students to move to a new location, passing on unwanted items.
Even booksellers who specialize in new books, like Barnes and Noble, may have a used book section. And online, you’ll get an even better selection. Try Amazon.com, where used copies and their price range are listed along with new books, and Alibris.com, which specializes in used books.
At some specialty used book shops - both local to you and online - it may be possible to request a search for a particular title you need. And if you expect to place a number of orders, make sure to check out programs like Amazon Prime, in which - for a yearly fee - you get every qualifying purchase (most things that they sell directly; not things that they represent for other companies) in two business days with no shipping or handling charges.
You may not be aware that many textbook publishers add value to their books by providing additional resources online. You can extend your homeschool books if you take advantage of these.
An example is Prentice Hall’s site for Words Their Way, an excellent book to help you with literacy instruction. The companion website, Companion Website for Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction, 3e, provides supplemental materials that extend the value of the book.