I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

How to Buy and Sell Used Curriculum

Great tips for buying and selling at a used curriculum sale.

Written by Tammy Sorenson

What does a homeschool Mom love more than the smell of coffee, clean laundry, and clean children? I would venture to say it might be the smell of books and curriculum at discounted prices.

Many homeschool groups get together throughout the year to have used curriculum sales. These swap-and-shop gatherings are a great way to add books and curriculum to your homeschool without having to spend a ton of money, which makes most homeschool moms do a little happy dance.

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Buying and selling tips for used homeschool curriculum sales.

Before heading to a book sale, keep the following simple tips in mind:

Buying at a Used Curriculum Sale

Have a list and have a plan

The first time I ever went to a used curriculum sale, I had no idea what I was looking for. I just thought I’d wander around looking and seeing, and just pick up whatever caught my eye. That was a very bad plan of attack. I ended up with some good but not-good-for-me curriculum, most of which I never ended up using. Ever.

What I learned from that experience is that having a list of what I’m looking for, even if it is a vague list at best, is still better than no list at all. The list helps me to stay focused on my wants and needs.

I try to plan ahead of time by making a list of curriculum/books and their current prices. This helps as I walk around and browse through all the pretty tables filled with books that are calling out to me saying, “Pick me!” or, “Take me home with you!” With the list in hand, I can confidently purchase what I want at the sale knowing I am getting a good price, or I can stroll on by knowing I can get it somewhere else at the price I am willing to pay.

While it is a good idea to look around at all the tables at the sale, a word to the wise, if you see something you really really want at a deeply discounted price, don’t wait too long to buy it or it will be gone. (Don't ask me how I know.)

Ask Questions

Early on in my experience at sales, I would just walk around looking for the curriculum I wanted to buy, purchase it, and move on. While that's certainly not the worst plan. I've learned that there's a better way.

Now, I ask the vendor all kinds of questions about the curriculum or book. Questions like the following:
How did you like using this?
What did your kids think about it?
Would you recommend it?
Can it be used for multiple ages?
Why are you selling it?

Asking the right questions helps me determine whether the curriculum is really what I’m looking for.

Before I make my final purchases, I also ask about the price of items. I know a lot of homeschoolers are selling their old curriculum in order to make money to buy new and different items. So I’m not trying to negotiate a garage sale deal. But like most homeschoolers, I have a budget to maintain. Over the years, I've learned that it never hurts to ask if a vendor will sell at a lower price.

Be Prepared

Another lesson learned from past experience is, don’t forget to bring something to put all your wonderful purchases in. Things like bags, bags, and more bags, pull carts or your children work well for this. 

Probably the most important thing to remember to bring is money. Since cash is usually the preferred way to pay at a book sale, make sure you have enough with you in a variety of different bills.

Teaching Textbooks

Selling at a Used Curriculum Sale

Besides buying books, you can also sell your own used items at a curriculum sale. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from selling in the past.

Know your curriculum

During a sale, many people will approach me and ask, “Do you have Bob Jones curriculum?" or, “Do you have any Sonlight books?” Obviously, I know whether or not I have the materials they are looking for. But I try to keep in mind that while I might not have all that they want, I may have some of what they need. I don’t use either Sonlight or Bob Jones curriculums, but I do use many of the same books listed in those curriculums. Knowing that ahead of time, helps me snag potential buyers. The same thing goes for a book series. If someone wants a series I don’t have, I try to show them a similar book or series that I do have.


While you want to make money from selling your used curriculum, the primary goal is to get rid of unwanted materials. Sometimes that means you have to use competitive and rock bottom prices. Often the age of your used curriculum will dictate how high or how low a price point should be. Has the curriculum been updated recently? Is your copy an older version? Is it in good condition? Is it full of highlights and other markings? Does it have coffee stains and PB&J remains splattered all over it? 

Other helpful questions worth asking yourself when determining price are the following:
Am I willing to bring this curriculum or book home with me because I didn’t get the price I wanted for it?
Is it that special?
Will there be another opportunity to sell it at a different homeschool used book sale in the future?
Do I want to try to sell it on eBay or through some social media outlet?
Would I rather sell it for less on the day of the sale, and go home with less clutter?

Be sure to bring a large amount of small bills with which to make change. I highly recommend bringing more money than you think you will need. It's quite common for a shopper to give a $20 bill for a $2 book. If that were to happen even just a few times, you might find yourself scrambling to make change for the next person. Trust me. I know.

Have an organized table

It's helpful to group materials by publisher. If I have a lot of Apologia science, I bundle the books that go together and keep them with whatever other Apologia resources I have. The same thing goes for Teaching Textbooks, Story of the World, Mystery of History and so on.

I also try to keep my table neat and organized. A disheveled table is confusing and uninviting. I may have what a shopper is looking for, but if the item can’t be found, it won't be bought.

Be a blessing

Most of all, I want to be a blessing to another homeschool family. Whether that is selling an item at a lower price, directing them to another vendor when I don't have what they are looking for, or simply answering their questions honestly and openly. In this way, a used curriculum sale can be an opportunity to encourage one another along.

For more on curriculum buying and selling


Tammy has been a wife for 25 years and a homeschool mama for nine of those. She enjoys running, photography, sewing and her quiet time in the early hours of the morning. If you had asked Tammy at her high school graduation what she sees herself doing in the future, being a pastor’s wife and homeschool mama would probably have been the last two things to come out of her mouth. But when Christ comes into your life and changes your heart, you find out life is a grand adventure as you follow hard after Him.

Guitar Lessons for Homeschool


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