To Print or Not to Print: And How I Answered that Question

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We're a techie family. We use tons of online resources and I have lots of digital curriculum. So, how do I decide what to print?

You probably know that we’re a big techie family around here. We’re big into Digital Schooling and love to use technology like our Kindle Fire tablets as an integral part of homeschooling. And, while a completely paperless homeschool might seem like a great idea, it’s not always possible or even ideal. Keep reading to find out why I no longer have a dilemma about what to print!

We're a techie family. We use tons of online resources and I have lots of digital curriculum. So, how do I decide what to print?

{This post contains affiliate links. I was given free access to the product in exchange
for my honest opinion. See disclosure. Thanks for supporting HSWOTW.

Do YOU Print Digital Documents?

Some of our resources and curriculum choices are 100% digital, like Khan Academy so there’s nothing to print. Some of them don’t work unless they are printed, like our downloaded PDF Homeschool in the Woods lap books. But there are a whole lot that are in the middle. You can purchase them online/digitally, but you might not want them to stay that way …

  • Brave Writer Arrow Guides – I’ve seen lots of mamas displaying the dictation passage on a screen or tablet for their kiddos to copy. But our struggling reader and our newer reader really do better with a paper copy right in front of them. Plus, the kids like to mark up their copies, circle words we talk about, and underline some of the literary elements we’re exploring.
  • Mr. D. Math Pre-Algebra – Some of the math practice problems and quizzes are online, but some require printing. The answer keys can also be used on-screen, but it’s often easier to check a paper worksheet with a paper answer key side-by-side!
  • Math Geek Mama – Some of the logic problems or math challenges could be usable on a screen, but a lot of the puzzles and activities are better printed!

So, how do YOU decide what to print and what to use on a screen? Printing might be the answer if …

  • You need your kids to have to practice with handwriting
  • More kids need access to it than can have the use of a screen at one time
  • You need to be able to use it when you won’t have internet access
  • You want to be able to highlight or make notes in the margins
  • You want to access content without the distraction of other apps or notifications

But Color is So Expensive

Even after you’ve picked what you want to print, one question still remains: black and white, or color?

Color printing is so lovely and visually attractive. Many documents are formatted using color in order to highlight certain important points or separate items being highlighted. While printing a color document in black and white is certainly an option, you often lose some of the visual contrast.

We're a techie family. We use tons of online resources and I have lots of digital curriculum. So, how do I decide what to print?

On the other hand, color ink can get sooo pricey! I often feel guilty for printing in anything other than black and white (maybe even on “draft” setting), especially when I’m printing a ton of copies for a passel of kiddos.

Our current printer is the HP Envy. We love it. We grabbed it around the time our family expanded to include four Chromebooks. We wanted to be able to print wirelessly, since Chromebooks can’t download printer software. And it has done everything we needed it to do without a hitch.

But. This is the color ink cartridge for the printer. It says it will yield about 165 copies. And of course, the black ink has to purchase separately. It is advertised to provide 200 pages of black and white printing. Or you can get them in a bundle for $30 (at the time of publication).

So, for $30 (or more), I can get about 365 prints. And that number will definitely decrease if I decide to print photos or anything that requires a great deal of color, like, say, pretty planner pages! Super cheap black and white printing might run me $0.07 each. Color prints will cost $0.08 or $0.09 at the low end. And that’s at today’s ink prices.

No More Hard Choices

But now, I don’t have to choose anymore! Every single thing I print costs $0.05. Print a worksheet? $0.05. Print a full-color 8×10 photo? $0.05. That’s it. Because: HP Instant Ink!

Another great benefit to our wireless printer is that it is eligible for the HP Instant Ink program and even able to order its own ink! I’ve signed up for the $4.95/month plan. At that price, I can make 100 prints a month of anything I want!

It could be 100 documents.  100 color-coded worksheets. 100 photos. Anything. 100 prints. So, no matter what I print, it costs me $0.05 a print!

If I go over my 100? Just $1.00 for each additional 20 pages (so still $0.05 each). If I don’t use all 100? I can roll over up to 100 prints from one month to the next!

If I need to, I can also upgrade to a $9.99/month plan for 300 prints, bringing the per-any-kind-of-print price down to just over $0.03! And additional prints are only $1.00 for 25, or roll over up to 300 prints! (There is also a $2.99/month for 50 pages, if that’s more your speed.)

And, since the printer is wirelessly connected to the internet, it automatically notifies HP when I’m running low on ink and new ink arrives in the mail. Before I even realize I’m running out, the back-up supply is in hand! And I’m not being charged per cartridge, just per print. So the frequency of new cartridges isn’t necessarily monthly, but on an as-needed basis.

Now It’s Your Turn!

So here’s the thing. If you have an eligible printer (or if you’re in the market for a new one), you can try out this crazy deal for yourself. HP has partnered with a number of homeschool bloggers because they know that homeschoolers need to print stuff! And, because they are certain that you’re going to love it, they are offering a month of free printing!


Save up to 50% on Printer Ink Replacement with HP Instant Ink! Receive the 1st Month Free - Sign up Now!

I am seriously excited about this deal, especially because the next few months are homeschool print-a-palooza, what with all the planning and next-school-year prep coming up. I sure hope you’re able to take advantage of it!

You pay monthly, so there’s no long-term commitment or annual fee. Really, if you have an eligible printer (or plan to get one) you’ve really got nothing to lose, other than the opportunity to print up to 300 pages for free!

  • Mama Rachael says:

    I love the idea of printing in color, but we have a B&W laser printer! So, it makes printing super cheap and fast, but no color. Ah, well.

  • […] If you own an eligible printer (or if you might be in the market for a new one for the upcoming school year) you can enroll in the HP Instant Ink program and even try out the first month for free. So you could get your planner printing finished for free! (Curious for more details? You can read a post about the HP Instant Ink program here.) […]