Finding suitable curricular materials can be frustrating as
periodicals, in general, do not review K-12 educational materials. Here are several suggestions that I hope will
help in your search to find K-12 materials. Note that this
page is geared more toward finding individual materials.
There are other pages that contain information on the many
complete programs, such as Calvert.
Many Schools of Education have Educational Resource
Centers that contain, among other things, curricular
materials and teacher training materials. Locate a
School of Education at a nearby college or university
and see if they are open to the public. If they are,
then pay them a visit and browse through their materials
to help in your purchase decision.
There are a few retail stores that cater to homeschoolers.
If you are lucky enough to have one of these nearby, then
a visit might prove fruitful.
Abeka has roadshows in the Spring and Summer where they
display their materials.
Your school district may have their own curriculum library.
Contact your superintendent to see if you could look
Ask the members of your local support group if you could
look through the materials that they use.
Many vendors now have home pages on the world-wide-web.
Some provide very little information, such as a picture,
the number of pages, and the price. A few provide an
overview along with the table of contents.
You can ask about specific materials in one of the
homeschooling newsgroups or on one of the mailing lists.
You can ask vendors for catalogs. These will give you
pictures and prices but not much else.
Various homeschooling groups put on curriculum fairs
where you can view materials. Contact your state
associations to see if there are any in your area.
You may be able to preview materials using interlibrary loan
at your local library. This is useful if you have a
particular textbook in mind. You typically need to fill
out a form at your local library and then wait until your
request is filled.
If your child is interested in college-level materials, then
visit your local college or university bookstore near the
beginning of the semester and have a look around.
Some cities have stores that sell teacher supplies. You
may be able to find useful materials at one of these.
When I was a child, I visited one of these stores in
Boston and purchased a book on Algebra II. I taught
myself Algebra II in a few weeks. You might also see
if they have clearance sales.
To get an idea of the topics involved in math and science
subjects, I'd suggest looking through an Encyclopedia
Brittanica under mathematics and science and their subtopics.
Curricular materials on a budget
In general, buying materials individually costs less than buying
complete programs, typically sold by grade. You also have more
flexibility in that a student can work on materials at his own
pace and ability level. Costs can go up (more than double) if
you have to buy the teachers guide though. Here are some
suggestions for finding materials inexpensively.
Libraries (public and private) are a good place to look.
They are typically limited in that you can only have
materials for a fixed amount of time. In some cases, it
might be useful to purchase a membership at a private
School districts dispose of materials from time-to-time for
various reasons. Contact your local school district to see
when they do this, and, if you can have them or if you
can buy them.
Some school districts dispose of their materials by selling
to a reseller. If this is the case in your district, then
contact the reseller to see if he sells the materials
Your school distract may lend materials to homeschoolers
in the district. Contact your superintendent to see if they
There are a few web pages where you can buy and sell
Libraries dispose of materials from time to time. Ask them
when they do this and how they dispose of materials.
Older materials may be quite suitable for certain subjects
and can frequently be had inexpensively at used bookstores.
Your parents may have textbooks that they used when
they were younger that may be available to you.
You may find educational materials at garage sales in your