100_5744aBack in May when I made the decision to homeschool, I knew the curriculum that I had picked (Kolbe Academy, a Catholic program), didn’t have a history program I wanted to use.  Their history book was written in 1960, and while I love their curriculum, I wanted something that would make history come alive for Bookworm.

I got the Sonlight catalog and feel in love with their history and literature courses, but decided that at $479 for the complete set with the readers, read aloud books, history books and teacher’s manual, I simply couldn’t afford it.

But I kept coming back to Sonlight and knew that it was a history and literature program both Bookworm and I would love.

In the end, I decided to buy it, and I’m so glad I did!

How We Make Sonlight Affordable

There are several things we do to make Sonlight affordable.

Buy reader and read aloud books on Amazon.  I love Swagbucks and accrue enough every few months to get a $25 Amazon gift card.  I use my Swagbucks to buy some of the books at a price cheaper than Sonlight’s,, and with the Amazon gift card, I’m getting them for free!  (Unfortunately I can’t buy all of the books this way because not all of them are available on Amazon.)

I also buy our books on an as needed basis.  For instance, I have the books that I need for the first 10 weeks.  It’s about time that I order books for the next 5 to 10 weeks of lessons, but I still have to earn 400 more Swagbucks before I do.  Spacing out my order like this gives me time to earn more Swagbucks.  I’ve saved at least $100 using free Amazon gift cards and only buying when I have another gift card.

Place a large enough order to get free shipping from Sonlight.  If you spend $150 on your Sonlight order, you get free shipping.  I bought my teacher’s manual and a few other items I needed such as the timeline book and stickers when I placed my initial order, so I got free shipping.  Then, after I had the complete list of books that I needed and when, I ordered the books that I couldn’t buy on Amazon.  I already know that I’ll be using Sonlight’s K program for my daughters, so I went ahead and bought the Instructor’s Guide for that level and got free shipping for my second order.  Now, Bookworm’s Core D for the year is complete, and I don’t anticipate buying any more from Sonlight until next spring.

Join Sonlight groups on Facebook.  I’ve joined a few groups on Facebook including Sonlight Home School Curriculum Used Books Sell/Swap/Share.  From this group, I was able to buy 5 of the books Bookworm needed for only $3 each.  I also got all of the readers and science books that PB & J Girl will need for her K program for $125, which is a significant savings off buying them new.

Shop used on eBay.  During the spring and summer months, keep a close eye on eBay.  Buying a core for 50% off or more is entirely possible.

Keep the program and reuse with all of your children.  I estimate that Bookworm’s Core D for literature and history cost me approximately $300, which is a savings of $179 off buying it brand new thanks to the strategies I mentioned above.  However, I also plan to use this curriculum with PB & J Girl and Cuddle Bug, so now the price becomes a much more affordable $100 per kid.

Sell the Core when you’re done.  As soon as Bookworm finishes a book, I store it in a tub to keep it in good condition.  After the girls are finished using the Core, I plan to sell it on Facebook or eBay.  By then, it will be 6 years old, so I don’t expect to get a premium price.  I’ll estimate that I’ll get $100, though I will likely get more.  Now the cost of my Core is $200.  Divided by 3 kids, that works out to $66 a child.  Suddenly, Sonlight has become very affordable.

Sonlight Is Not Right for Everyone

Sonlight is definitely not a perfect fit for every family, but if you’ve perused the catalog and you love the program but don’t think you can afford it, don’t be discouraged.  Using these techniques, Sonlight can be affordable.

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