Cheap Printing for Homeschoolers: 3 of the Best Options
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Finding cheap printing for homeschoolers is not always easy. You’d think the information would be easily available now that there’s a decent amount of families teaching their children at home.
Nevertheless, it took me a while to find affordable printing options.
The Good & The Beautiful homeschool curriculum is hugely popular in the homeschool community, and for good reason.
It really is good and beautiful, not to mention…affordable.
Unless you live outside of the USA…
When I was researching different homeschool curriculum, I loved The Good & The Beautiful but the cost of shipping was just huge, not to mention the added GST and taxes it would incur upon arrival.
Of course, I would have paid for it, but all I could think of was what other things we could be doing with that money…field trips for instance.
However, The Good & The Beautiful offer PDF versions of their curriculum and so I began researching how I could print those affordably.
I spent a lot of time reading what others had done and then finally settled on the option that worked best for us.
You can read all about the different ways to print off their curriculum affordably down below.
The Benefits of Printing The Good & The Beautiful Curriculum
You may be wondering why on earth anyone would bother with printing when you can have the great quality curriculum shipped to you ready to go?
Well, I’ve already mentioned the cost of shipping internationally, but another reason is if you have a large family.
Buying the PDF and then just printing off the workbooks as needed means you don’t have to spend money on new workbooks and shipping for every child.
If you print at home as we do, the cost is very minimal and far outweighs the benefits of getting them shipped already printed.
Should we be supporting the company? Absolutely, and we do as much as we can, but for some families, they may not be able to use the curriculum at all if there wasn’t the PDF option.
The Downsides of Printing The Good & The Beautiful Curriculum
So what are the downsides of deciding to use the PDF version?
Honestly, mostly just the time and effort it takes to get it all completed. Also, if you choose to do it at home then there’s the initial financial cost of getting all the tools that you need.
However, in our case, the cost would have been covered in just a year or two of schooling, so it is 100% worth it.
How to Print Homeschool Curriculum Affordably
When it comes to printing homeschool curriculum you actually have many choices, but not all are affordable.
Taking your PDF to a typical office supplies store can prove to be very expensive (think upwards of $60).
Here in New Zealand it would have cost me over $300 NZD to print the Language Arts Level K workbook…so, obviously not affordable.
Read on to find out the three best options that I found during my research.
This is what we have chosen to do for the most part because it turned out to be the cheapest option and it meant that I wasn’t having to wait on other companies to get my supplies to me.
I could just purchase the PDF and print it off whenever I felt like it.
Tools You’ll Need
If you’re going to print curriculum at home there are several tools that you’ll need in order to make it cost-effective. You could spend an awful lot in this area or not so much, it is up to you and what you think is best for your family.
Here are the three things that you’ll need for sure:
#1 A Printer
Don’t just use any printer. A typical printer will use more ink than it’s worth which will not make this option affordable.
One option that I’ve seen mentioned is a subscription to Instant Ink. If you have a compatible printer then you can affordably print homeschool resources at home without breaking the bank by using this subscription service.
The downside to this is that it is not available in all countries.
What we ended up doing was splurging on an Epson Ecotank 4750. We were able to get the floor model for $200 less than the full price which made it a great deal.
You will pay more for the Epson Ecotank printers than regular printers but there is a good reason for that. The ink lasts a really long time and is very affordable to replace.
So far, I’ve printed 5 workbooks in full color and the ink levels have barely budged. Two of those workbooks were close to 300 pages.
If you do choose to go with an Epson Ecotank, just make sure that you get a model that does duplex printing (like this one). You don’t want the bother of having to flip pages manually in order to print double-sided.
#2 A Laminator
This is not something you want to go without. You can get laminating machines for pretty cheap if you look for deals and you don’t need anything fancy.
I’ve just got an A4 size one because I didn’t feel as though I’d be laminating anything larger than that.
I also got a pack of 100 laminating sheets from Kmart for $25NZD. You can get an even better deal on Amazon HERE.
You’ll use your laminator to laminate the front and back covers of the workbooks that you print off.
#3 A Binding Machine
Technically, you could just hole punch the pages and put them in a 3-ring binder if you wanted, but I didn’t want the bulk of all that and so I chose to purchase a binding machine.
This is a tool you could spend a fortune on if you have the budget, but I did not and so I kept it as affordable as I could.
The binding machine I purchase is the Cinch. I like it because it can do many different sizes and can punch up to 20 pages at a time. It takes 2:1 wire or spiral binding. You can use there’s or just generic.
I ended up purchasing and using the Zutter wires as I didn’t want to have to buy 50 of one size of generic wires which was all that was offered from the office supplies store.
This would have been my first option, but it only did up to US letter size which is too short for our A4-sized paper here in New Zealand.
On the more expensive end of the cost spectrum is the TruBind machine. I’ve heard really great things about this, but I couldn’t justify the cost of getting it shipped here to New Zealand.
#4 Cutting Supplies
This is an optional extra but I’ve used my cutting supplies extensively. You can see what supplies I use just below.
LuluXpress is an online printing company that many people use to self-publish. However, you can also use it for personal use.
If you don’t have an affordable way to print at home, or you just don’t wish to do it that way, Luluxpress could be the right fit for you.
You can choose what kind of binding you want, the type of ink used (color standard, color premium, etc) and even the type of paper.
In my opinion, they’re affordably priced and a valid option.
This is what we chose to use to print off the Level K Reader because I didn’t want to spend the time having to cut it to size. I also liked the idea of having it bound like a regular book instead of spiral binding.
As it is a non-consumable item and will be used for all 3 of our kids, the one-off cost was well worth it.
The Homeschool Printing Company
This is another affordable option that many homeschoolers choose to utilize. The Homeschool Printing Company has services that are affordable and easy to access.
The only con that I’ve heard mentioned is that there’s often a long wait for it to be printed, so that is something to keep in mind if you’re in a hurry to receive your curriculum.
Do What Works for You
The choice of how to print The Good & The Beautiful Curriculum in an affordable way is completely up to you. I’ve seen pros and cons for every option listed above, but they also work for many homeschooling families.
A huge joy of homeschooling is having the flexibility to do what is right for your family and not just what everyone else is doing.
Of course, I’ve written this post with The Good & The Beautiful curriculum in mind, but you can use these options for any homeschooling resources that are offered in PDF format.
I plan on doing just that with the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum when we get around to starting with that too in a year or so.
I hope these tips were helpful. Happy homeschooling!