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.
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