Getting Discounts as an Educator
By Ann Zeise
In this feature I will step you through the procedure for getting educators’ discounts. As a homeschooling teacher you are entitled to receive discounts through businesses that offer such discounts to public school teachers or private tutors.
Please read the other features I wrote concerning selecting a name for your homeschool and homeschool stationery. You will need some physical proof you are a teacher before going to a business and asking for educators’ specials. Don’t be fooled by any homeschool organization that says they’ll provide you with an ID for money: you already have a computer and printer, and you only need to spend a bit more for paper.
Skip over this section if you are the type who has no qualms asking for lower pricing, but I know some of you probably just HATE to haggle. First off, you are a real “educator” and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Secondly, you aren’t taking anything from the store that they aren’t pleased to give. Businesses are used to giving discounts to those other than public school teachers, people such as tutors, coaches, scout leaders, and others involved with teaching, such as music teachers. The IRS gives tax breaks to the store and the manufacturer for contributing to educational enterprises. You are also helping their Public Relations programs, which love to boast how much they help education. Hope that helps.
Types of Businesses to Ask
Homeschoolers have asked and received discounts at all sorts of places of business:
- Arts & Crafts
- Catalog Suppliers of all sorts of things
- Computer Stores (computer hardware and software for teacher & students)
- Furniture Stores (student desks & chairs)
- General Merchandise
- Hardware Stores (For all those bookshelves and projects)
- Music Stores
- Office Supply
- Science Stores
- Sewing Stores
- Sporting goods
- Video Stores
Who to Ask
Ask for the general manager in most businesses or for the sales person in charge of corporate accounts at larger businesses. Ask that person if they give an “educators’ discount” BEFORE you tell them you are a homeschooler. A “yes” answer will give them less room to wiggle out once you do tell them you homeschool. If they say “yes,” tell them you are a homeschool teacher (No need to go into great detail.) and you’d like to apply to get an educators’ discount as you “plan to be purchasing several hundreds of dollars of merchandise from them for your homeschool within the next year.” OK, so maybe you are exaggerating, but with a discount and winning the state lottery you might!
What to Expect
The business may want any combination of the following, so be prepared.
- Have an ID card that “proves” you are a teacher. This is where creating a homeschool teacher’s ID with your computer and printer comes in handy.
- Have a written statement on letterhead from your school saying you are authorized by that school to make purchases. It won’t matter that you’ve made up that school letterhead on your computer and your husband has nicely signed it as “principal” so you may make purchases in the school’s name. (And vice versa so your husband can shop at his favorite “homeschool supply” stores.)
Now, the store manager knows you are a homeschooler. They just need to make a copy of these documents to give to their accountant. In turn, they may issue you a special card to use when making purchases, or ask that you make your purchases at the “business window” where they’ll have an account set up for you.
Firms that Offer Discounts or Freebies to Homeschoolers
Please contribute to this list by emailing me. Say it is for the “Educators’ Discount” page. I’ll add the merchant and their link here. This list does not mean I endorse these merchants or their products. The list is of firms that are not typically thought of as resources for homeschoolers. This is not a list of discounters in general. Better buys exist, so do shop around.
Apple’s Home for Homeschools
Homeschool families can get Apple products at educator rates. Hot item now: Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard for only $116! New and refurbished iPods – engraved, too, if you’d like! Best prices on new Apple products are here for homeschoolers and instructors!
Barnes & Noble
Homeschooling parents are eligible by providing a photo ID and a letter with the following information: Family name and address; Name of homeschooling parent(s); Grade level of each child being homeschooled. Barnes & Noble offers pre-k-12 educators, librarians, and homeschoolers a 20% discount off the publisher’s list price on select items that we consider suitable for use in the classroom or with the student population, including most hardcover and paperback books, toys, and games.
Big 5 Sporting Goods
Local manager offered me last sale price on whatever I wanted, for this month only. Not a regular policy, so you should talk to your individual store manager.
Offers an educators discount in their stores. Check store for details.
Our Organized Teacher program offers educators special discounts throughout the year to help organize their classrooms! Please complete the form below to receive your first offer, redeemable in-store, online or by phone. Program ends December 31, 2014. Verified on Facebook.
Creation Engine: Academic Discounts on Software
Ann, we will offer any homeschool people that visit your website free shipping on their orders. All they have to do is enter promo code “gomilpitas” when they check out.
Homeschool family with a real great product offer their microscopes at discount to other homeschool families.
Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts
[Message] Offers a 10% discount card to educators. At our store (Medford, OR) I just TOLD them that I was a homeschooler and they gave me the card, no questions or proof needed. They’re great to deal with! Hope this helps! Debra
15% off entire purchase everyday. Products designed for the classroom. Some exclusions apply. See a store associate for details. Available in store only.
It pays to be a Teacher Rewards member. When you sign up, you’ll earn 5% back in rewards, and 10% back in rewards on teaching and art supplies. Plus, get Free Shipping on every staples.com® order. You may need some proof, some homeschool documentation, when you sign up. The rewards are giving annually.
To create an account, simply mail or fax a copy of the paperwork described below to Virtu Software, along with your name and email address. Once your paperwork is verified, you will receive an account number, which you can use when purchasing software.
More Lists of Stores that Discount to Homeschoolers
HEA Australia Member Discounts
The HEA have negotiated the following discounts for its members. We are speaking continually with other service providers, so visit this page again for updates.
New Hampshire Store Discounts
List of stores, addresses and what they have to offer homeschool families.