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      November 26, 2020

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Homeschool Buyers Co-Op vs Knowledge Box Central

To help you find the Best Home School Supplies, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Homeschool Buyers Co-Op and Knowledge Box Central.

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Get Your Home School Supplies from Home School Buyers Co-Op Today! Where can you find the best selection of homeschool supplies? Homeschooling is on the rise in the United States, with an estimated 2.5 million students - and those numbers growing anywhere from 2-8% every year.

Whether you're a seasoned home educator looking for new and innovative curricula and materials to work into your plans, or you're brand-new and need all the help you can get, you'll definitely need a reliable, affordable source of homeschool supplies.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2020

Homeschool Supplies Reviews

5 stars
Homeschool Buyers Co-Op

HOMESCHOOL BUYERS CO-OP

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TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Homeschooling can be overwhelming, but getting supplies at the right price doesn't have to be. Homeschool Buyers Co-op takes care of finding the best deals across every imaginable type of curriculum, online learning platform, book, magazine and much more - bringing you the savings and freeing you from the hassle of having to scour the internet to get it all.

Free resources are amazing

While at first glance the site may not seem like a cutting-edge resource for homeschool supplies, be patient and start to browse. The free resources alone are amazing: want to generate a homeschool ID card? How about field trip suggestions? The world's largest database of free homeschool curriculum? You'll get all of that here.

Lots of curriculum choices

But, maybe what you are really looking for is something to jump-start learning for a particular subject. Head to the Curriculum section to see what's on offer. While sometimes the available products will change based on group buys and other promotions, you'll still find plenty to choose from. Categories include Early Learning, All-in-One packages, Language Arts, Special Needs, and more. These may include tangible things like textbooks and worksheets or access to online learning platforms and other digital resources. Most of the best-known producers and publishers of homeschooling materials, both secular and religious, can be purchased through Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

Best Homeschool Supplies

Significant savings

The savings you'll get when buying any of your homeschool materials here are significant. Here are some examples we found during our last visit:

  • Discovery Education Streaming Plus, grades K-12: $150 (retail price: $375)
  • Rosetta Stone foreign language: discounts up to 41%
  • Explode the Code Online, grades K-4: $35 (retail price: $65)
  • PLATO Learning Comprehensive, grades 6-12: $34.95 (retail price: $400!)

Membership is free

You will have to join the co-op to purchase anything you find on the site, but membership is free and they don't sell your information. With nearly 300,000 families as registered members, that's how they have the buying power to get the best prices. The site also has a SmartPoints rewards program that lets you apply points towards purchases on the site. Get discounts AND rewards? Why not!

Solid reputation

This company also has a strong reputation, as shown by an "A+" rating and accreditation from the BBB. But, they're also very well-known among homeschoolers of every variety, from the more formal school-at-home folks, to the interest-led "unschoolers", and everyone in between. Really, who doesn't like a good deal on their homeschool supplies?

Highest rating

Homeschool Buyers Co-op can feel like a treasure hunt: you never know exactly what you're going to find, but chances are it's going to be good! It's one of the only homeschool supply stores that legitimately offers something for everyone, and the best part is that it's always at a fantastic price. For all of those reasons and more, the site earns our highest rating.

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2.5 stars
Knowledge Box Central

KNOWLEDGE BOX CENTRAL

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In order to understand the homeschool supplies offered on Knowledge Box Central, you'll need an idea of what a lapbook is. Lapbooks are a way of arranging a student's learning experience with folders and booklets, almost like a pop-up book. They can include graphic organizers, maps, creative writing, vocabulary and more. You'll need to stock up on glue and have some scissors handy for this style of homeschooling!

Lapbooks for younger kids

The lapbook templates sold here take it an extra step by incorporating the science of "color psychology" and shape recognition to help students retain information longer. We were hoping for some how-to instructions on the Videos link on the site, but sadly it was empty when we most recently visited the site. But, at least there was one intro video on the main page that can give you a little more information on color psychology, as well as a better look at what an assembled lapbook looks like when it's finished.

Lapbook journals for older students

Does this sound like it might not be a great fit for older students? Knowledge Box Central "gets it", so for the middle and high school levels, most of their products shift to "lapbook journals", which keep some of the booklet elements of a regular lapbook but focus more heavily on journaling pages with questions, information, and room for the student to take notes, document their thinking process, and so forth.

Shop by subject or age

The easiest way to shop the homeschool supplies sold here is probably by either subject or age. You'll find traditional subjects - Art/Art History, Language Arts and Literature, Math, Science, Social Studies / History, etc. - as well as specific topics like Bible & Religion, Financial Responsibility, and even Olympics and Holidays. Knowledge Box Central has lapbooks for all ages, ranging from the Up to 5 category to 14 & Up, as well as Parent/Teacher resources. There's also a section for Overstock Sale and $1 or Less!, if you're looking for a bargain. Plus, at the bottom of the site we saw an offer to save $5 on our first digital order if we entered our name and email address.

Print it yourself

If you have a printer and plenty of ink, you can buy any of these homeschool lapbooks directly from the site as an eBook. On the other hand, if you want it to be printed for you or in CD format, you'd have to look for Knowledge Book Central's materials on third-party sites. Also, be aware that there are no refunds on eBooks once they've been downloaded.

Inexpensive

So, what are the advantages of shopping here for your homeschool supplies? Well, first of all, you won't find many lapbooks, copybooks, or lapbook journals for more than $10 - largely because you're getting access to an eBook, and all of the paper/ink cost is on you. Still, it's an inexpensive way to try this approach.

Learn by assembling

Plus, some visual and kinesthetic learners truly benefit from the lapbook method. Being able to see how information comes together - while physically assembling it into a tangible product - can unlock learning for kids who struggle to grasp concepts when using less hands-on learning models.

Sharply defined focus

However, when compared with other retailers of homeschool supplies, Knowledge Book Central has an extremely limited focus. You won't find math manipulatives, curricula from well-known publishers, online learning platforms or science experiment kits here. And, if your student hates the "busywork" of cutting out and pasting/taping/stapling all of the components for a lapbook - or if it's not your cup of tea either - you're probably not going to find much that interests you on this site. For that reason, Knowledge Book Central winds up towards the bottom of our rankings.

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Continued from above

Fortunately, all of the books, worksheets, science equipment and anything else you could possibly want for teaching your child(ren) at home are easily found online. The top retailers of homeschool supplies can help you narrow down what you need - A single curriculum or mix-and-match? Digital platform, parent-taught, or a hybrid? - and get it to you at prices you can afford.

Plus, it can take some trial-and-error as you determine which approach to homeschooling works for your family. What went well in your first year may need to be switched up in the second year, as you get more comfortable or as your learners' ages and needs shift with time. That's normal! While no homeschool supply store is going to let you return used workbooks and art supplies, the best retailers do have generous policies for items you get home, take one look and say "This is NOT what I thought I was getting!"

No two retailers of homeschool supplies are exactly the same. Some sell curricula from just one publisher, while others offer choices across multiple companies. Other stores give you an eclectic array of workbooks, musical instruments and other items, so that you can piece together a custom approach to your kids' studies. Finally, you'll find some sites that only sell online home education programs, from self-paced to remote learning with a certified teacher. The sky's the limit!

So, what should you look for when deciding where to buy your homeschool supplies? Naturally, that will depend on what you're hoping to find, whether that's a new curriculum or just some fun extras to supplement what you're already doing. However, here are a few criteria that can help you choose:

  • Easy-to-Use Website. No matter what kind of supplies you need for your homeschool, you want an online store that is hassle-free. Look for a site that's clean and updated, with an intuitive layout, good search features and results filters, and definitely a secure URL!
  • Selection. How much variety is there when considering the store's inventory? True, if you already know you just want the curriculum of one specific publisher, you can go directly to their site to make your purchase - but you might also want additional supplies that they don't carry. A wider selection makes it more likely that you can do one-stop shopping instead of making multiple orders from different stores.
  • Return Policy. If your homeschool supplies arrive and you decide you don't want them, can you send them back for a refund? If so, how long will you have to do so?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best homeschool supply providers available today. We hope this information helps you find the right curriculum, program, or supplemental materials to confidently educate your children at home!

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