Curriculum Fair Survival Tips

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I know many people’s local curriculum fairs have already passed, but ours is coming up this weekend, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tried-and-true curriculum fair survival tips.

Curriulum Fair Survival Tips

1. Wear comfortable shoes. This is definitely one of those days when comfort should come before fashion. This is a tennis-shoes-with-Capri-pants kind of day. (For some of us, tennis shoes with Capri pants are not especially out of the ordinary.) I mean, I guess you can wear your denim jumper and Birkenstocks if you feel the need to fit in, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2. Make sure your cell phone is charged. You want to be sure that your spouse, your sitter and your friends can reach you, if needed. It’s also handy to have if you’re shopping with a friend, in case you get separated.

3. Bring some sort of cart on wheels, if you’re planning to do the bulk of your curriculum-shopping at the fair, so that you don’t have to lug everything around all day.

4. Make notes before you go. Research curriculum on-line or through catalogs before you go and make lists of what you’d like to look at more closely. Your list should include the retail prices, so you’ll know if you’re finding a good deal at the fair.

5. Make notes as you go. Write down the name of the vendor/booth where you found the products you’re considering. How much did each item cost? What did you like about it?

6. Talk to the vendors. Vendors are often homeschooling families, just like you. They’re usually happy to tell you the pros and cons of what they’re selling. Even if they really just want to tell you the pros, knowing what they like about a particular product may help you decide if it would be a good fit for your family.

7. Take a break. If it’s feasible for you, take two days to shop. Don’t buy anything the first day! Go home, look over your notes and take time to consider and pray about your intended purchases. Talk them over with your spouse and make sure everything fits into your budget and you aren’t making any impulse purchases.

Decide if there is anything that you don’t have to have right away. It’s often easier to start with some basics and add things in as you go along and work out a schedule that fits your family. If you can buy something for the same price at a later date, it might be best to wait until you’re ready for it. If you can’t arrange to shop for two days, at least take yourself out for lunch or dinner. Use that time to look over your notes and make decisions.

8. Take care of other school-related shopping. If you’ve got a sitter, this could be the perfect time to do your school-supply shopping. This time of year is the perfect time to stock up on school supplies. It’s also a great time to stop by an office supply or copier store to get the binding cut from books that you’ll be using frequently and have them three-hole drilled. It makes them much easier to use and improves the shelf life.

These are just a few simple steps that you can take to help make your curriculum fair shopping a bit easier and less stressful.

Do you have any tips to add?

photo credit rimse.nefert on flickr

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  1. This is our fifth year homeschooling, and I have YET to make it to a single curriculum fair. I really must make sure I go to one this next year. I know I'm really missing out.

  2. When my friend and I go to curriculum fairs, we have a deal that we have to look at all of the vendors before we buy anything. Then, like you said, we take notes. I have found that all of the vendors are very accepting of when they are trying to sell me something and I say, "I'm looking around and making notes this morning, and will be doing all of my shopping after lunch. I'll be back."

    As far as something on wheels, I didn't have anything, so I took a piece of upright rolling luggage. It worked out pretty well.

  3. Or a great time to get your hair cut without 4 kids in tow!!
    I'll be looking for you tomorrow!

  4. Hooray! I got to your blog! I switched to Fire Fox. Meh… it makes the scrolling jerky, but if it allows me to get to you, IT'S WORTH IT!

    My tip? Don't take two whiny kids that are expecting to be able to buy terrariums with newts and toads and caterpillars because you told them you saw them one year, only they aren't there this year and so they follow you around all day grumbling about said absences.

  5. @Smokity — Girl, you crack me up to no end. You have ever since the day I discovered you might be making a play for my blog name. LOL (I'm still keeping an eye on you.)

    You can still keep your old stinky-but-not-jerky-scrolling IE, if you want to…just keep FF in your back pocket so you can come visit me.

    I will totally remember that tip! I usually go sans kids — all of them! (Yes, "all" being "three" at our house.) This year, my oldest convinced me that she is big enough to come hang out without being bored or driving me batty. We'll see. It may be here last curriculum fair.

    Or, it may be some really cool girl time.

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