Have you noticed that more and more homeschooling curriculum is being offered digitally?
I Love Two Things About Digital Curriculum
Because the publishers have a lower overhead, I can often purchase digital products very inexpensively. (Don’t think the cheaper prices mean cheaper products! Overall, I’ve found reputable companies to offer really good curriculum via digital files.)
I can store and organize digital curriculum easily without the need to keep adding more bookshelves to our schoolroom. Well, I do keep adding bookshelves…for living literature, but that’s a different post.
It can be hard to USE digital curriculum, though. Getting into the file and scrolling to the correct lesson to make plans and then getting back into the curriculum and scrolling back to the correct lesson to teach can be daunting. Heaven forbid if I also need to run upstairs to my husband’s office to print a student sheet.
I was given one free order from The Homeschool Printing Company in order to have a clear understanding of their services and prices so that I could write an honest opinion of their company within this blog post. I have also been compensated for my time in writing the post.
How to Get the Most from Digital Curriculum
Over the years, I’ve learned one important thing that helps me get the most from digital curriculum: PRINT IT OUT.
PRINT IT OUT.
I know this sounds counterintuitive to what I just said above about the bookshelf space and $$$, but…
I’m only printing out exactly what I need for each particular school year. That typically means only printing a few e-files per year. Whether I hole-punch and store the pages in 3-ring binders or have the curriculum spiral-bound, there isn’t a lot of bookshelf space necessary. And…
I’ve found a wonderfully inexpensive source for printing digital curriculum. I used to shy away from printing too many e-files because printer ink is so expensive and the local office store isn’t that much better. But, The Homeschool Printing Company offers such low prices that I don’t have to hesitate to print every file necessary for the school year.
Why Print Digital Curriculum?
I’ve found several great benefits to printing entire e-curriculum files:
To get the most from any curriculum, you need to understand how to use it from start to finish. I find it’s easier to get a full understanding when I see it in it’s entirety. That can be a difficult task with e-files. With a printed copy, it’s easier for me to start at the beginning and flip back and forth through the pages as I get a feel for how we’ll incorporate the curriculum into our schedule. Scrolling through a file on the computer doesn’t have quite the same effect for me.
Because it’s “just” a copy of the original e-file, I feel free to pull out my pencils or highlighters to make notes – which helps a ton in pre-planning for our week, month, or year. I’m much more hesitant to mar the pages of a shiny, new textbook.
It’s also easy for me to pull the printed copy off the shelf each week to dole out specific lessons – as compared to pulling up the file on the computer and scrolling through the pages each week to find what I need. With the physical copy, I can turn the corners on the pages or paper clip them to mark exactly where we are.
When it’s time for lessons, a physical copy of the curriculum allows my children to grab what they need and get busy. In fact, because I’m not “bound” by a textbook, I can easily separate the curriculum into teacher pages and student pages and store them separately. This makes assignments and planning even easier.
Additionally, with pre-printed curriculum files, there is no rushing around at lesson time to print off necessary student worksheets. Shame on me, but I’ve been known to skip lessons when too much printing prep is necessary. You, too?
And, like with my planning, my children feel free to make notes or use highlighters on their student pages – which really helps my visual son.
With all these benefits, we definitely get the most from digital curriculum in our homeschool!
Please note: Most digital curriculum providers allow you to make a single copy of your e-files for personal use. However, if you don’t see explicit permission to do so, it would be best to contact the publisher to make sure you aren’t dishonoring their copyright.
The Homeschool Printing Company
Let me tell you a little more about The Homeschool Printing Company.
The Homeschool Printing Company is THE reason I can afford to print our digital curriculum! At the time of writing this post, they will print single black and white copies for 3¢ each and double-sided black and white copies are only 5¢! That’s almost 1/4 the price of my local office store.
I find that most of my digital files print just fine in black and white – even if they’re in full color. But, if you’re a stickler for full-color copies, they will print single copies for 8¢ and double-sided copies for 14¢. That’s less than 1/6 the price I can get color copies printed around here!
As an example, you could print a 60-page NaturExplorers guide double-sided in black and white for $1.50. One dollar and fifty cents!!!
Do you see what I mean? This is VERY affordable. And considering the major difference a physical copy makes in our homeschool, printing that’s this cheap is pretty much a no-brainer for us.
Do you need flashcards? The Homeschool Printing Company can print on various weights of paper, like card stock, and even laminate them for you!
You can ask them to send your files on hole-punched paper for 3-ring binders – or they can send your books spiral-bound if you like.
Ordering is an easy process, too. You fill out the little form on the righthand side of their website and you receive an email response with directions about how to upload your PDF files. I received my package via FedEx within a week. You might expect to wait just a little longer during busy homeschool planning seasons. (They’re a small business comprised of a veteran homeschool family. Supporting homeschoolers is worth a little wait.)
I am over the moon happy with The Homeschool Printing Company.
If you decide to use them for yourself, tell them Cindy sent you to get 10% off the pre-shipping cost of your first order!
Other posts you might like: