Homeschool Supply Thrifting

Hi there friends! I hope you are doing well, and that you enjoy this post about how to get a few more extras for your homeschool on a budget. I wrote another post a while ago about Goodwill & Thrift Store Shopping Tips which are relevant here, so be sure to click the link and check it out.

Thrifting is my favorite form of retail therapy. I feel like every time a find a treasure it’s a little gift from God replacing something I lost in the Camp Fire. It’s seriously so much fun for me. I really like shopping and I really like saving money, so thrift shopping is just the bees knees! I wanted to start off spring semester 2021 with some new material for our homeschool library (and a therapeutic thrifting trip for this homeschool mama was way overdue)! After a fun and successful shopping experience, I thought I’d just jot down some tips and tricks to share with y’all.

When I’m homeschool thrifting I’m keeping a bunch of information floating around in my brain. Information like: What unit studies do we have coming up? What are my kids really into right now? What have I seen on amazon or other online stores that I’ve saved in my wishlist? These questions, and the answers to them keep me focused while I’m thrifting.

It can be helpful to make a list of ideas, themes, and inspiration before you head to the store so you can keep your focus. Thrift stores can be overwhelming because of how the merchandise is displayed. It’s easy to get swamped with visual stimuli and give up. If you have a clear idea of the types of things you’re looking for it’s easier to stay focused. However, it can be very frustrating to bring along a shopping list of specific things you want. Going to a thrift store to purchase one or two particular books is setting yourself up for disappointment. You never know what you’re going to find and that is part of the fun of it! 😁

I usually hit the picture books first, then kids chapter books, cookbooks, coffee table books, DVDs, and end with games/puzzles. I like to focus on one shelf at a time, and try not to rush. Here are my favorite homeschool finds from my latest thrifting trip.

I ended up purchasing 4 books on marine animals which was our current unit study. Don’t you just love it when you find exactly what you need, right when you need it? I totally snagged up “Rain” by Peter Spier because I brake for anything by Peter Spier and it also could’ve been because it was currently raining when I went out thrifting. On that note, “Rain” is a wordless picture book. If you’re like me, and you’re not exactly sure what to do with wordless books here’s a great resource from Sarah Mackenzie at Read Aloud Revival.

I was super excited to find easy reading books for B (he loves Biscuit) and Wall-E because he loves Wall-E. We have lots of Biscuit books but we didn’t have any of these ones! Woo hoo! B also collects anything related to our family’s favorite robot, Wall-E.

I grabbed a book illustrated by Susan Jeffers because I love her illustrations. If a book is illustrated by Susan Jeffers, I buy it first and ask questions later. I couldn’t resist a book featuring a sloth, because sloths are just absolutely adorable! I wouldn’t have thought twice about getting a book about a llama or a platypus either. My oldest son, age 10, recently finished reading “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London and I thought he’d get a kick out of a picture book version to contrast/compare with the original.

In addition to all these “new” and “replacement” finds, I scored some duplicate books that we already have. I bought the duplicates to send to friends. I absolutely love sending book care packages to friends. This is my small way of beginning to “pay forward” the kindness of my friend in TN who has been sending us book care packages since right after the Camp Fire. She is our own personal book fairy godmother and she has touched our hearts and inspired us to be book fairies for others.

The books at Goodwill were priced at $1-$2 each. I spent about $40 on 23 “new” books for our homeschool library, 7 books to send to friends, and one book for my dad (a fill-in journal for grandparents to make for their grandchildren, not pictured).

Here’s a quick recap of the important points for Homeschool thrifting:

1. Make a list of ideas and themes you’re looking for. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What themes are you currently studying?
  • What themes do you have coming up?
  • What are your kids really into right now?
  • What is in your current “wish list”?
  • Who are your favorite authors and illustrators?

2. Take your time.

3. Have fun!

Here are some of my favorite children’s books authors and illustrators. I usually buy anything I see that has any of these names on it:

  • Tomie de Paola
  • Jan Brett
  • Eric Carle
  • Patricia Polacco
  • Peter Spier
  • Robin Preiss Glasser
  • Susan Jeffers
  • James Herriot
  • Virginia Lee Burton
  • Karma Wilson
  • Mo Willems
  • Felicia Bond
  • Jack Prelutsky

I’ll almost always buy books if they have any of the following stickers or emblems on them:

  • Caldecott Medal
  • Newbery Medal
  • Reading Rainbow Book
  • Dolly Parton Imagination Library

Themes I will always buy:

  • books about tea or tea parties
  • books about libraries
  • books about quilts
  • poetry for children
  • alphabet books
  • American Girl
  • Curious George
  • books about lighthouses
  • books about picnics
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • books about peacocks or flamingos (or sloths, or llamas, or platypuses)
  • any Holiday books
  • books about pancakes

On this thrifting trip, I also got a few “new” clothes to give our homeschool teacher (me) a mini spring wardrobe makeover! Those fun finds will be coming soon in a future post. I’m super excited about them! Until then, I hope this post inspires you to shop local, support a good cause and check out a thrift store near you!

10 thoughts on “Homeschool Supply Thrifting

  1. I hope to do so in the near future. Have you checked out the library bookstore? They have interesting finds too for super cheap.
    Also, do you know that Barnes and Noble gives 20% discount? You need to show a teacher’s ID, which is hard for us homeschoolers. But you can look into it online.
    Keep us updated on new finds?

    Liked by 1 person

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