How to Save Money on Printable Free Homeschool Curriculum
If you’ve spent any time on OPC, you know that we LOVE free homeschool curriculum. I’m a sucker for a deal. I love to piece together lessons for my children using resources I find online, and more often than not, I create my own worksheets and materials for the kids instead of buying them. I offer all the materials that I create in our shop, so before I send you over there to download them, I wanted to take a moment to share with you how you can use our printable curriculum or the free homeschool curriculum you find online without totally breaking the bank.
It’s no secret that even “free” materials are going to cost you a little bit to use. Sure, you could probably use most of them on something like an iPad Pro, but unless you are willing to invest in the biggest screen they have and their fancy pencil, your child is going to need printed copies to have enough space to write. With younger students, you really need to print their materials so they can color, cut and paste to their hearts content.
Printing curriculum can add up, but if you follow these simple tips, you can save money on your printable free homeschool curriculum:
Print Multiple Pages per Sheet
Depending on your child, you may be able to print more than one page per sheet. I do this often with reading materials, coloring pages, or teaching materials. My eyes aren’t always up for the challenge of reading smaller print, but my children do not often complain when I do this.
Subscribe to HP Instant Ink
Having ink on hand is key to being able to use printable curriculum on a regular basis. I have found that the most difficult aspect of using printable curriculum is the cost of printing. The good news is, you can get affordable printers and affordable ink these days. HP has a new program, HP Instant Ink, which allows you to subscribe to printer ink and pay based on the number of pages you print each month, instead of the number of ink cartridges you use up. Your printer will automatically order new ink when you need it, and send it right to your home so you never run out again. I checked out the plans, and for about ten dollars a month, you can print 300 pages (including full color!) – that’s a huge savings over the 60 dollars I currently spend on ink for my printer.
Print in Black and White
Most of the printables I create on this blog are in black and white because I know colored ink adds up over time. With HP Instant Ink subscription service, your printer ink is charged on a monthly basis according to the amount if pages that you print (not the amount of ink used). This means that everything costs the same (4-6 CENTS per page), from simple documents to full color photos and everything in-between.
If you don’t have HP Instant Ink, printing in black and white is a great option to save a little. I have many printable eBooks and workbooks that are just beautiful in full color, but I always, always set my printer to black and white for consumable products. Your kids can always add color themselves!
Use Write and Erase Pouches
If I am printing off materials I expect more than one child to use, or its a handwriting sheet or some other document they can use again and again, I’ll put them in these write and erase pouches and have the kids use fine point vis a vis markers on them. This allows me to use the worksheets again and again with the kids while minimizing cost.
Laminate Hands-On or Reusable Printables
My own stash of printables contains plenty of flash cards, puzzles, pocket chart materials and other hands-on activities. I have a low-cost laminator and always run these materials through it before handing them over to the kids. It keeps the colors bright, the corners crisp and me from having to print them off more than once.
Keep Printed Materials Organized
You can keep re-useable printables in a filing cabinet. My laminated goodies are stored in ziplock bags, and everything else goes in a file based on the subject matter of the printable.
Keep Digital Files Organized
Digital files are even more of a beast. You can start a google drive account for yourself, or organize your files on your computer. I name mine based on the topic of the printable (for example “moon phases” or “ancient history- egypt” and then use the file tags to put the grade level of each item or other details (like lapbook, flashcards, worksheet, curriculum) so I can find the things I need easily. If you keep your files organized you won’t make the mistake of buying them more than once, or worse, lose access to a printable you love and not be able to find the original to download it again!
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