Teachers Pay Teachers is like the “Amazon” for educational resources and materials. Teachers create worksheets or lesson plans to sell to other teachers. There are millions of listings and more than 100,000 teacher-authors so you just might find what you’re looking for!
When I first attempted to use Teachers Pay Teachers for homeschool resources, it was an overwhelming site to navigate. There are a lot of choices and options for a first time user that it can be hard to know where to start.
Over time, I learned a few tricks that saved me time (and money) that can be a big help to other homeschooling families. I’m sharing some of those ways the site can help homeschoolers below.
How can homeschool families use Teachers Pay Teachers?
1- Find Unique Ideas
Search can be narrowed down in TpT so it becomes a bit like a search engine just for educational resources.
Use the filters on the left side of the website to get the best resources that are specific to your query.
The results may be something you want to use or give you some ideas for your own homeschool lessons. Using the drop-down menus to narrow your search can lead to some unique ideas and great resources that you can use in your homeschool program.
For example, we have a set of dominoes. I did a simple search for “domino math activities” and the description of the resources gave me some great ideas for using dominoes for math lessons.
2- Free Resources
After you have put in your search topic, change the view to Price Ascending. This will populate all of the free resources first. You can find a ton of materials for free on TpT. You can also use the term free in your search, which sometimes works (unless sellers have used the word free in their product description).
You can also earn points to redeem for future purchase. Every time you make a purchase, write a review for the product! Those reviews add points in your account that become redeemable credits. Every $1 spent on TpT earns 1 credit when you provide a review. When you receive 20 credits, you can apply those to future TpT purchases.
If you sign up for the TpT newsletter, they regularly send out 10 free products each week. They let you choose the newsletter between grade level spans of K-5 or 6-12 so the free products are geared toward that particular grade span.
3- Thematic Units
If you are going to the TpT site for a specific thematic unit, chances are you will find it! This is a good way to find supplemental activities for any topic, especially with social studies and science.
At the time of writing, there are 49,000 results for thematic units and 4060 results for free thematic units.
In the public education sector, many teachers have had to forego social studies and science text books with budget cuts. They have also been told to integrate those topics into language arts. This has resulted in a lot of teachers having to create their own units and lessons. I believe you can find some high quality and unique materials because teachers have truly had to be innovative in finding these resources for their students.
4- Curriculum Planning
TpT can be a great tool to use for homeschool curriculum planning. Just narrow down to your homeschooler’s grade and a subject area. Then search for yearly products or full curriculums. Some of these resources are expensive so they are very descriptive about the contents and go through the lessons from the start of the year to the end of the year. This can be a big help to those who are creating a DIY curriculum or if you just want to use the descriptions to help plan units of study.
If you want to plan curriculum that’s based on your state’s same standards, TpT can help with planning yearly content. If you have provided your location in the account settings profile, and it’s a product that has a standards-crossover match you can click on it to see the state-specific wording of the standard. (Exceptions- TX, VA)
You can narrow courses by checking the “homeschool” option but I have not found any real advantage of doing this. I’ve gotten better results from searching all listings.
5- Saving time
Sometimes I use TpT when we’re covering a certain topic and I have an idea for a resource but just don’t have the time to create it. Usually there is a similar resource there and I go ahead and purchase it to save time. Sometimes paying the $1.00 for a quality resource gives me more planning time and it’s a good investment.
You do not have to wait after purchasing a TpT item. It’s instantly available to download and print. If you choose to store your payment information, then it’s very simple (too simple!) to have a product ready to print in just a few clicks.
A timesaving tool on the site is the wish list. Simply add items to your wish list when you come across resources that you know you will need later. It keeps everything a click away so that you don’t have to look for it again. You can also use this feature to watch for special sales and discounts through the year.
6- STEM/STEAM Resources
TpT has all kinds of activities in the STEM/STEAM space and the materials continue to grow and expand to lessons that integrate with online learning tools, such as Google Classroom.
If you are looking for a specific format of an activity, using the resource type menu can help narrow down the choices.
The areas of art and music for supplemental homeschool activities are also found on TpT as well as ideas for project-based learning activities.
7- Follow favorite sellers
If you have found a certain set of materials and resources that your homeschooler really likes, make sure to follow that seller.
When you do that, you will see their latest products on your home page as well as receive updates about sales and new products.
8- Holiday activities
Some homeschool curriculum kits may not include any special activities for the holidays. These activities, especially for younger kids, get them excited and it’s fun to do something out of the normal routine around the holidays. Homeschool moms and teachers in a traditional classroom… we all share the need for an occasional color by number or word searches!
Teachers Pay Teachers has tons of activities and printables for holidays throughout the year. At the time of writing there are nearly 81,000 results just for the Christmas section of holidays!
9- Find templates
TpT has all kinds of templates for both teachers and students. These are great because a good writing template (for example) or note/research template can be used all year long for various lessons.
There are graphic organizer templates that can be used across subject areas and different grade levels.
There are lesson plan templates and other planning resources for teachers that work for homeschooling needs too.
10- Sell homeschool materials
One way to gain back any money spent on TpT (or earn a side income) is to sell your own resources. Other homeschool families are using the site as well as teachers. There may be a product that you can provide that doesn’t exist or brings a unique perspective to a traditional content area.
For some classroom teachers, their TpT store generates a consistent supplemental income. Many homeschool families are using TpT and it continues to grow. As it does, there will be a need for materials and resources that fit homeschooling families.
For example, there’s a lot of graphing activities that involve responses of multiple students in the classroom. There are a lot of games that require a whole class. I once purchased a spiral math resource without realizing that each day had school specific questions (such as tally the number of days of school) that didn’t really work for our situation.
I believe there is potential for sellers of more resources that work for homeschooling families.