It’s Homeschool Convention season, one of my favorite times of the year! I love to attend the encouraging and educational workshops at the convention, but I also love to shop at the homeschool convention. For me, the homeschool convention is the perfect place to shop for next school year’s curriculum.
The wise homeschool mom is a savvy curriculum shopper. She’s done her research ahead of time and arrives at the homeschool convention with a well organized shopping strategy to help ensure she gets the best curriculum at the best price.
If you plan to shop for curriculum at this year’s homeschool convention, here are some tips to help you spend your money wisely while making the best use of your time.
Create a shopping list. Make a list of the materials and curriculum you wish to purchase. The list will keep you focused as you shop and will help prevent overspending.
Know which vendors are coming to the convention. Visit the homeschool convention’s website. Most include a list of participating vendors. Review the list to see if the company you wish to purchase from will be represented at the convention.
Research at the curriculum at home. Before you arrive at the convention, take plenty of time to review the curriculum you’re considering. This will give you a better understanding of the curriculum’s components and will help you determine if the curriculum is a good match for your family. Because you’ll also be attending scheduled workshops, you may not have time for the vendor’s extended “Let me help me get to know this curriculum” chat.
Prepare a list of questions for vendors ahead of time. After you’ve researched the curriculum, you may still have questions. Write down your questions and bring them with you. When you stop by the vendor’s booth, you can make the most of your time there by asking your specific questions.
Attend sessions hosted by specific vendors. This is a great way to learn more about a company and its curriculum. A vendor hosted session is also a great place to ask specific questions. Plus, hearing the answers to questions posed by fellow homeschoolers often gives you further insight into the curriculum.
Ask about discounts. You want to save money, so ask about special offers for convention shoppers. In order to lure shoppers, many vendors will offer incentives. Over the years, we received complimentary supplements and free shipping just by ordering and paying for curriculum on site.
Look for a Used Curriculum sale. Our state’s homeschool convention hosts a used curriculum sale. It’s one of the convention’s most popular attractions. It is an awesome place to find Abeka readers, games, manipulatives, as well as complete curriculum at discounted prices.
Set a budget and stick to it. The homeschool convention is an exciting, colorful, and friendly venue. At an event that is designed to appeal to all five of a mom’s senses, it is easy to overspend. Don’t lose your good sense (or your good cents!) with irresponsible spending. Refrain from making purchases based upon a smooth sales pitch or pretty packaging. Know how much you can spend and stay within your budget.
Be flexible. One thing I love about the homeschool convention is learning about new curriculum and products. You may come to the convention with your heart set on a particular curriculum but you may discover a curriculum that solves one of your homeschool dilemmas. Be willing to consider a curriculum switch if it meeds your needs and fits within your budget.
Peruse the vending area before making a purchase. Before you make a single purchase, take time to walk around the entire vending area. Familiarize yourself with who is there. Many homeschool conventions add or lose vendors at the last minute, so walk the aisles so you’ll know who is there. You may discover that prices on supplemental materials (journals, dictionaries, math manipulatives, science kits, etc.), varies from vendor to vendor. After you know who is there and you have compared prices, you’re ready to make wise purchases.
By preparing at home ahead of time and by using smart strategies while at the convention, you can successfully shop for the curriculum your family needs. Enjoy your time at this year’s homeschool convention. Happy shopping!
Photo courtesy of renjith krishnan/freedigitalphotos.net
© 2014 – 2015, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.