My kids have been homeschooled their whole lives and so, as they grow, we’ve started to really accumulate used homeschool curriculum. Like outgrowing boots and coats, kids also outgrow curriculum. What learning tools you might use with a first grader, you won’t use with a middle school. Of course, some things are good for all ages, but some things, you’ll simple outgrow.
Or maybe this is just your first year of homeschooling and you tried something and you realized it just isn’t working for your kids. I’ve definitely done that before!
So what do you do with all this curriculum you aren’t going to use?
If you have the space, you could always save the curriculum you’re done with. Store it safely, so that it doesn’t risk being damaged. I often use storage bins for this purpose, that have a lid and are generally (though not 100 percent) watertight.
How do you know what to save?
- Curriculum and manipulatives that you really loved and you think you will use with a younger child who isn’t ready for them yet.
- Finished workbooks or notebooks that you think are a really good sample of your child’s work.
- Curriculum that you think is great, but when you started using it, it was clear that your child wasn’t ready for it. This could be saved for when they are older.
Do not try to save everything. Trying to save everything will overwhelm you, so try to pick out the used homeschool curriculum that you think will have future value to you. I know that you might have paid a lot of money for a curriculum that doesn’t work, but it will just frustrate you to see it taking up space on your shelves not being used.
If your curriculum is in good shape, you could consider selling it to try and recoup some of your funds. Most of the time, you are not going to make the amount of money that you paid for it, but you could get a little back for it.
I sell most of my curriculum through Facebook groups. I like to sell in local groups, so I don’t have to deal with shipping. But if you are shipping, make sure you check out if the items you are selling qualify for the media mail rate. This is a reduced rate that the post office offers for certain educational items.
If you have curriculum that is very well known, there may even be specific Facebook groups dedicated to it where you can resell it. This is a great option, because you know that everyone in that dedicated group is already interested in the curriculum, which is why they are there.
Don’t resell your curriculum if it is
- Damaged in a way that makes it unusable. Like extensive water damage, mold, or mildew.
- A consumable that is completely or nearly completely filled out.
- A copy that is marked not for resale – samples or ARCs are often marked not for resale.
- A printed PDF. Most PDFs are not meant to be sold and shared in this way.
- A software that needs a license key to work. Most license keys are for one individual household only.
Basically, be an ethical seller. When it doubt, you can always ask or look it up.
There are other options for selling beyond just Facebook groups, like eBay or book selling sites. Wherever you sell, make sure you are careful to watch out for scams. Someone attempted to scam me the other day when I was selling something, so always protect yourself.
You could also hold a rummage sale to sell it. This works best if you have a large amount to sell and can advertise that you have a large amount of homeschool curriculum to sell. Curriculum curious homeschoolers will come and check it out!
Pass It To Another Homeschool Family
I can’t tell you how much we have benefitted from the things that other families have given us. Passing things around to others you know can be really helpful. I find that this method works best if you have someone specific in mind to pass it to. For example, a friend of mine mentioned how much her pre-school aged son loved games. With that knowledge, I knew I had the perfect person to pass on any games we were outgrowing.
You could also choose to bring it to a homeschool get together. Where there are several homeschool parents, odds are one of them will be the right fit for whatever resources you’re done with. You could even organize a swap where everyone could bring the materials they were done with and trade them around.
There is something so exciting about finding the book or the game you’ve wanted for a long time in the thrift store. Once we lost one of our math wrap ups and despite looking everywhere for it, we could not find it. I was thrilled when I found that exact math wrap up at the thrift store for 50 cents! Here was a way to replace it without buying an entirely new one. Of course, I then found it a few weeks later wedged deep into our couch. When I found it, I took advantage of the option to pass the one I had found in the thrift store onto a friend.
Donating can be a great option if you want it all out of your house quickly. Of course, this assumes you aren’t going to put it in your trunk to take to the thrift store and then drive around with it in your trunk for several months. (I have definitely done this.) Donating can be a great option to get rid of what you have without sorting through and pricing it or figuring out the best place for it to go.
Craft with It
This is possibly the most unconventional idea on this list, but you could always craft with your used homeschool curriculum. Use those letters from word games to make cards or magnets. Take old books and upcycle them – if you search on Pinterest, you’ll get about a thousand ideas for how to upcycle old books.
I have to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever known anyone to craft with their old curriculum, though I have known people to craft with games like Probe and Scrabble. But, there’s always a first time for everything! And it is a way to turn an old book into something new.
Sometimes curriculum is too worn out, damaged, or dated to be passed on to someone else in any form. With this curriculum, unfortunately, it can be best to dispose of it. If it is a paperback book, often you are able to recycle those directly. If it is a hardcover, check with your local recycling facility to see if they accept hardback books. They may not – or they may request that you cut the pages out and recycle those.
If it really can’t be salvaged or recycled for anything, it is okay to throw it out. I definitely have kept things longer than I should have, but there is wisdom in not holding onto everything forever.
What do you do with your used homeschool curriculum?