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Why Should I Attend a Homeschool Curriculum Fair?

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It’s April! That means we’re smack in the middle of my favorite time of year. No, not spring, though there is that, too. I’m talking about homeschool curriculum fair season! Our local fair isn’t until July, but, during April and May it’s hard not to find someone who isn’t looking forward to going to a curriculum fair somewhere.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a homeschooling newbie, a veteran, or still just considering. There are lots of reasons to make sure you get to at least one curriculum fair this year.

10 benefits of attending homeschool curriculum fairs

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1. Look at curriculum first-hand

Probably my favorite reason to attend curriculum fairs is the opportunity to look at curriculum first-hand. You can research, read reviews, and look at samples online, but there is nothing quite like holding a book in your hands and flipping through the pages yourself to really get a feel for whether or not the curriculum you’ve been considering is a good fit for your family.

2. Talk to homeschool vendors

I love talking to homeschool vendors. They are passionate about the products they sell and love answering your questions. Last year, when Brianna and I were trying to decide on her history curriculum, we were talking to one of the vendors – a sweet little old man – selling the Uncle Eric books. I mentioned that we were probably just going to get the World War II book because that was what she was really interested in.

He was appalled.

After listening to him explain how all the events of the two wars wove together and how WWII was basically WWI, Part 2, we bought both books. Although Brianna was skeptical at first, she was so glad the she worked through both of the books (and can’t wait to read more Uncle Eric books).

At another booth, I had a vendor walk me all the way across the vendor hall to another booth in order to show me a science book she thought would be a good fit for Brianna – even though it was something she didn’t sell at her booth.

Many homeschool vendors are homeschool parents who aren’t just out to sell a product; they want to help you educate your kids. {tweet this}

3. See your friends

Curriculum fairs are like a family reunion to me. Our local fair is always on Friday and Saturday. I could go on Saturday, when Brian is off, but I always go on Friday because that’s when all my friends are there. (Plus, it gives me an extra day to think if I’m not sure about what I’m getting.)

I usually don’t actually get much shopping done until late Friday afternoon. The morning is spent catching up with everyone I see. Hey, you didn’t really think we were weird and unsocialized, did you?

4. Meet people who want to help

If you’re a newbie, curriculum fairs are a great chance to meet people who are happy to answer your questions about homeschooling in general – and I don’t just mean the vendors. Our fair has badges for veterans who are willing to answer questions and there are signs at the main entrance telling newbies to look for those veterans.

I’ll never forget one fair a few years ago. I spent probably 20 minutes or so answering questions from a nervous mom who was considering homeschooling her daughter. She didn’t start that year, but the next year I met her again – at one of our group’s homeschool functions! She was still so appreciative of the time I took answering her questions and it made me feel great knowing that I could help.

5. Be inspired by speakers

New and veteran homeschooling parents, alike, can benefit from the encouraging words of a homeschool curriculum fair speaker. No matter how long I’ve been at this, I still come away from a good speaker session feeling empowered and ready to take on another year.

6. Get discounts on curriculum

Most vendors offer curriculum fair discounts. Even if it’s not a huge discount, you can save a bundle not having to pay shipping.

7. Be among like-minded people

I love soaking up the essence of other homeschooling families. That may sound dramatic, but it just energizes me to be in the presence of 1,000+ people who don’t think I’m crazy, who don’t think I’m ruining my kids, and who understand my struggles and triumphs. I think I could walk through a curriculum fair vendor hall without talking to a single person and still come away feeling renewed.

It’s a great feeling to be among your tribe.

8. Find out about local opportunities

A curriculum fair is also a great place to find out about local opportunities – well, assuming you haven’t traveled way out of town to attend the fair. Our city’s fair always has a couple of booths set up to spread the word about local options. There is always one booth for finding out about the homeschool sports teams – volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, and more. Then, there is a booth with information about the yearbook, graduation, plays, and clubs.

9. Plan for the future

In addition to offerings by the larger umbrella group, there are usually representatives from nearby colleges with information about dual enrollment for high school students or admissions for rising seniors. This makes a curriculum fair a great place to start planning for the future by finding out what the admissions requirements are for colleges your student may be considering or learning more about the post-graduation options that may be available for him or her.

10. Learn about new products

Despite the fact that word-of-mouth among homeschoolers is second to none, chances are there are some great homeschooling products out there that you’ve never heard of. Curriculum fairs are a great place to discover new products and do more of #1 and #2 – look at it in person and ask lots of questions.

Curriculum Fair Survival Tips

Finally, be sure you’re prepared for your curriculum fair – particularly if it’s your first. They can be overwhelming. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a rolling cart of some sort, and make sure you’ve got something on which to take notes. Check out my complete list of curriculum fair survival tips for more suggestions.

Will you be attending a curriculum fair this year? Which one? Maybe I’ll see you there!

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.

 

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6 Comments

  1. I’m probably one of the few homeschoolers who eschews fairs. I attended one right before we began homeschooling and amassed a whole lot of information as well as a whole lot of feeling overwhelmed. Also, since we are sticking with Ambleside Online, it’s dangerous for me to see too many other options; I tend to get intrigued and then sidetracked. And soon we’re off track.

    I do think you’ve listed several important benefits. But it’s just better for me (and my kids!) if I stay away! 😉

  2. I’ve been considering homeschooling and didn’t even know there was such a thing as a curriculum fair. How can I find one in my area (Centreville VA, near Dulles airport)

    1. I would check my state’s homeschool support group site or search “homeschool curriculum fairs in (state name).”

  3. I am so glad I found this pinned on Pinterest 🙂
    I will be attending my first curriculum fair in June and will begin homeschooling my 6th and 3rd graders this fall .
    Thanks for all the tips and info, can not wait for the fair now 🙂

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