Conventional learning materials such as textbooks are usually easy to find. If you're interested in the type of texts used in the schools, you can check with your local school district or county office of education to see if they have a curriculum library. Sometimes access to such libraries is limited to public school teachers, but often the public is also allowed to peruse school materials there. Media and technology centers, from which laboratory equipment, films, video and audio equipment and tapes, or computer hardware and software can be borrowed. Availability to homeschoolers will depend on state and district regulations.
Your area may also have a used book depository, where textbooks, library books, and equipment no longer used by area schools can be purchased for thrift-store prices or are free for the taking. Old encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference books are fairly common but are far outnumbered by the literature: historical novels, literary classics, just plain good reading. Some educational publishers will ask for a school purchase order or for an order on your school letter head.
Others are happy to sell textbooks to home-schoolers but draw the line at teachers' guides and answer keys. Some refuse to deal with homeschoolers at all, but a few educational publishers, such as Follett, have set up divisions specifically to serve the homeschool market. Also worth checking out are local teacher supply stores. Most homeschoolers will not be interested in the endless racks of seasonal bulletin board decorations and "Great Job!" stickers, but many such stores also carry lots of supplementary materials for science, math, and literature.
Usually, you'll also find an assortment of paper and other consumables: colored construction paper, newsprint both blank and ruled for various grade levels, poster and finger paints, pens, and pencils. Dozens of catalog businesses are aimed at the home schooling market - with more popping up every day. Some mainly carry books about homeschooling; others carry mainly curricular materials.
Recently, as homeschooling has become more popular and well-known, larger companies have entered the market, some carrying materials previously unavailable directly to homeschoolers and others carrying the more popular products of smaller companies but undercutting their prices. If you tend to enjoy the more obscure resources, you might want to make a point of patronizing the smaller companies, even for those items available elsewhere, just to help keep those interesting but obscure items available. A relatively new dement in the homeschooling market in recent years are the independent dealers.
Dorling Kindersley and Usborne Books are especially active in the homeschooling market, fueled largely by homeschooling parents who sell the books to afford to buy all the volumes they want for themselves.
Joshua Poyoh is the creator of http://homeschoolingreport.com . He writes and researches into the area of the home schooling requirements