Buying Used Educational Products Can Be a Great Thing

Image: eBay Listing by bksfoursail
Image: eBay Listing by bksfoursail

My eBay Collections were curated as part of my collaboration with eBay. #followitfindit

Homeschooling, or just teaching your kids things at home, can get really expensive when you’re trying to give them authentic experiences. Some of the best products are quite pricey, but sometimes inexpensive options aren’t available. What’s an autodidactic family to do?

Fortunately, people selling their often-gently used things abound on the internet. So if you can’t (or won’t) afford full price for math text books, science kits, or primary source history document sets, for example, your patience and perseverance while searching for what you need will eventually pay off.

Image: eBay listing from user costumehub.
Image: eBay Listing by costumehub.

My first (and usually last) stop for things like this is eBay. Since homeschooling can be expensive, most parents sell their materials when they are done with them, to raise money for the next set of purchases. Of course, they sell them cheaper than the products would be new, so you can benefit from these discounts. Sometimes the materials are in new or almost-new condition as well. Another advantage of buying previously used materials is that you get a much wider variety of materials from which to choose. Some things are out of print, and aren’t available brand new.

One of my favorite discoveries for homeschooling history is Jackdaw publications. The Jackdaw company takes a topic, such as the Great Depression, Westward Expansion, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, or the War of 1812, and accumulates primary sources from that time. Letters, photos, court documents, maps, timelines, and advertisements are rounded up, printed on high quality paper, and put together in a portfolio. They are obviously aimed at educational settings, which is great for homeschooling, or if your family wants to delve deeply into a topic.

eBay is a great secondary market for items such as these, which I’ve highlighted in the History Education Kits collection, and I’ve done the same for science topics in the Science Kits! collection. Like the best garage sale in the world, you can find just about anything on eBay. Sometimes you have to wait, but eventually what you’re looking for will be sold by someone. It helps to plan ahead.

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Jenny Bristol is an Editor at GeekDad and a founding Director at GeekMom. She is a lifelong geek who spends her time learning, writing, homeschooling her two wickedly smart kids, losing herself in history, and mastering the art of traveling on a shoestring.