First of all, congratulations for considering homeschooling! Now comes the difficult part: finding curricula and supplies that work for you and your child/children.
One of the best ways to find out about the array of materials available to you is by attending a homeschool curriculum fair. MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) puts on an annual 3 to 4 day curriculum fair which attracts many national homeschool publishers. Homeschoolers with used curricula at greatly reduced prices are invited to rent a table and sell their no-longer-needed items. Major distributors also have discounts on their products at the fair. But I also found that the fair made my head swim with all the possibilities. How to narrow down your selection?
One good way to know what is available out there is through homeschooling magazines like Practical Homeschooling, Home Education Magazine, and others like them. These will often give excellent reviews of new homeschooling materials. Perusing the ads in one of these magazines can be very educational. Mary Pride wrote the Big Book of Home Learning series which contains excellent reviews and other bits of information about supplies and curriculum.
If you belong to an area homeschooling group, you can swap or sell your textbooks and also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different homeschooling materials. Sometimes these groups share resources like geoboards and other math manipulatives.
My mother has found homeschooling books at rummage sales for good prices. With rummage sales and the swap methods, you don’t have to pay full price and you can determine for yourself if the material is worth the asking price and will work for you.
Some online homeschool support groups offer a ‘trading post’ area for their members. And I have used Ebay successfully to get Saxon math textbooks, test books, and other materials. With this method, pre-determine the maximum price you are willing to pay, make sure you know you can’t get the books anywhere else at the bid price, and stop bidding at your pre-determined price. (Bidding can be addictive.) Carefully read the description of the seller’s wares. If you don’t want a test booklet that has the first two tests removed, don’t bid.
Note that I began this answer with the words ‘what works for you and your child/children’. Know your own teaching and personal learning style. Know your limitations. Observe your child at work and play and determine the learning style to which you will be teaching. Don’t waste your time and money with curricula that doesn’t fit.
Live, love, and learn together!