With this being the first year that we've bought a prepackaged curriculum, I just realized the investment we would be making would require some budgeting. During my research, I saw packages for over $1,000 or for as little as $300. My goal was to see what I could get for $200, the amount I'd probably spend on school clothes for the year.
I knew that I needed reading, math, language arts, spelling, handwriting, phonics, history, and science as the core for first grade. Since Avlyn will be 7 in December, I will need to keep a record book and portfolio of her work that covers the basic subjects. I researched, read, looked at samples, prayed, and finally decided on what to get. If I purchased everything direct from the publisher I would spend around $465.00 But by looking at used curriculum and discount sites I spent exactly $245.56, over $200 less than buying from the publisher and not much more than what I was hoping to spend. Here's a breakdown of what I did, all paid prices include my shipping costs, too:
We decided to go with the Heart of Dakota curriculum. This curriculum is Christ-centered and offers everything needed for a full year. While I like most of their choices, there were some things I wanted to change. If I had purchased the entire curriculum from HOD, it would have cost me $305 - still very affordable, but even more over my budget than necessary. Also, I didn't need some of the elements in the package and didn't want one of the choices included. So I was off to mix and match and save.
Heart of Dakota - I purchased the economy package and added the science text for $121.37. This gave us all of our history, science, and the teacher manual which is definitely worth the money. The publisher recommended a certain emerging reader set that they sell for $65.33. I went on Amazon and searched for every title. I found every book for a reduced price and most were available for free shipping, making my emerging reader set $43.36 The curriculum also requires read aloud books in certain genres throughout the year. I chose not to purchase any of those and just waited for my teacher guide to arrive. When it did, I found the book list in the back and noted that at least one title from each genre is available at our library. Since these take a couple of weeks to go through, it's not really necessary to have all of them available when school starts for us. The company sells those books for around $50, our cost $0.00.
The next step was to find our math. HOD offers Singapore Math as the option. After much prayer and research, I chose to go ahead with Singapore over Horizons math. Now I could have purchased the workbooks needed directly from HOD, but they don't offer a reduced price on it unless I buy the entire package, which I wasn't doing. Now the HOD curricula only recommends the workbooks for first grade, but being that I'm new to Singapore Math and teaching math in a different way than I learned, I really wanted the textbooks and home instructor's guides that are available. So I was able to find both textbooks and the first home instructor's guide on Ebay for $23.00. I purchased the two workbooks from Christian Book Distributors for 20.97, making my math curriculum a total of $43.97. Had I purchased it all directly from Singapore, I would have spent around $70. I am waiting to see if I need the 2nd instructor's guide before purchasing it.
I wanted to get A Reason for Handwriting as our main writing curriculum. HOD does offer copywork as their handwriting program, but I thought A Reason For fit my daughter better. We will probably do HOD copywork the second half of the year. From the publisher the workbook is around $15. I went on ebay and got the workbook and the teacher guide good for K-6th grade for $12. If I had purchased both of those from the publisher it would have been $47.50.
We still need to work on phonics next year and I've chosen Phonics Pathways. The 10th edition just came out and the publisher wants $40.65. I went on Amazon again and found the new edition for $24.86.
Heart of Dakota original price of wanted items: 241.76 paid price for wanted items: 121.37
Singapore Math original price: 69.60 paid price: 43.97
Emerging Reader books original price: 65.33 paid price: 43.36
A Reason for Handwriting original price: 47.50 paid price: 12.00
Phonics Pathways 10th ed. original price: 40.65 paid price: 24.86
Original Pricing Total: 464.84 Discount pricing total: 245.56
Total Savings: 219.28
I could have saved even more money had I been patient enough to wait for our particular curriculum from HOD to go on sale through the message board. I've seen the teacher guide on sale for pretty cheap, but I was eager to get my hands on it, and I do like to support the publisher somewhat for all their hardwork in creation of the curriculum. Hope this breakdown helps you see how I managed to save over $200 and still get everything I needed for first grade. Happy homeschooling!