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      November 23, 2020

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Homeschool Buyers Co-Op vs Nest Learning

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

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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.

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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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1.5 stars
Nest Learning

NEST LEARNING

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Nest Learning (and its parent company, Nest Entertainment) started out more than two decades ago as a producer of animated stories from the Bible and from American and world history. However, they've expanded to be a retailer of a wide range of products, including homeschool supplies. You may even be a little overwhelmed to see just how many different categories of products are sold on this site: far beyond what you might need to teach your kids at home, with jewelry, home decor, and even pet products!

Discount promotions

When we visited the Nest Learning site recently, we got a pop-up offering a 15% discount on our first offer if we signed up for their email list. We also saw that they were offering free shipping on all orders of at least $99 with a coupon code provided at the top of the site, so be sure to look there for any offers that might be in place at the time of your visit. Otherwise, expect shipping costs ranging from $6.95 to $16.95, depending on the purchase amount of your order.

Lots to offer

Nest Learning has a lot to offer when considering the breadth of the homeschool supplies they sell. While the site has a decidedly religious focus, you can still find plenty of non-religious options: whichever you prefer. For example, under the Math category, you can buy AOP's LifePac Consumer Math, Saxon Algebra, Houghton Mifflin's Complete Homeschool Kit for 7/8, and so on. Many products are discounted from retail prices too.

Good teaching resources

Our favorite category when shopping for homeschool supplies is probably Teaching Resources. Here, you'll find classroom resources like posters and certificates, school supplies such as dry erase boards and file folders, and craft supplies to color, paint and glue to your heart's content.

Haphazard shopping experience

However, using this site to actually find what you need is a little haphazard at best. The dropdown boxes at the top of the page can give you a good start: shop by brand, homeschool curriculum, grade level and more. So far, so good.

Patience needed

But, we had a less polished shopping experience when we clicked on the Math category in a banner ad. Looking at the filtering options on the side of the page there, we saw useful distinctions like grade levels and brands, but also fairly useless choices like bar code numbers and other information we couldn't make sense of. Even within some categories, we found items that didn't seem to fit (for example, a multi-tool on a carabiner clip for classroom supplies?). For that reason, you may want to make frequent use of the search bar and dropdown boxes on the main page, or plan on spending some extra time to browse through the site once you're in a category you've selected.

20% restocking fee on returns

How about returns? As long as your products haven't been opened, you can return them within 30 days of your original purchase date and you'll need a Return Authorization Number. You can either exchange them or request a refund, but refunds will incur a 20% restocking fee. This isn't the most generous policy we've seen.

Customer complaints

Because Nest Learning has a well-rounded inventory of homeschool supplies, we hoped they would be a retailer we could endorse. Unfortunately, their "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau earned them our lowest ranking. With more than 50 complaints filed with the BBB over the year leading up to the time of this evaluation, Nest Learning hasn't exactly given the best impression. In many other places (like Nest's social media channels and third-party review sites), people complain about being charged and never receiving their orders - all while still getting plenty of marketing emails encouraging more purchases!

Can't recommend

Yes, Nest Learning has options for all ages, all approaches to homeschooling, and homeschool supplies that go well beyond curricula. But, where it really counts - namely, customer service and the overall shopper experience - we can't confidently recommend this company as a trustworthy retailer. We encourage you to consider the higher-ranked homeschool supply stores in our review.

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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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