Host a “Curriculum Chat” in Your Homeschool Community

Picture this— long rows of tables filled with curriculum and resources beautifully arranged. However, unlike conventions, used-curriculum sales, and conferences you are NOT running around like a foreigner in a Moroccan bazaar overcome by an intoxicating drug-like frenzy frantically purchasing everything in sight.  No, these materials have all been laid out with the sole intention of prompting a dialogue.

That’s it; just a talk with no strings attached.

We’re coming up to that wonderful time of year when homeschooling families begin analyzing the curricula and resources they’ve been using to figure out what they’ll continue with and what new things they’ll add in the upcoming year.  As talks of conventions and sales fill the air, I face the truth of my own curriculum addiction which afflicts so many homeschooling parents.  While discussing this phenomena of curriculum hoarding with some local homeschooling moms in my own community, an idea for an event took root.

A “Curriculum-Chat” — where local homeschooling moms and dads bring materials and resources that they’re using and conduct an informal “show and tell”.

Parents get the chance to talk in-depth about certain resources- more than the general samples and reviews you get online, and more forthright and critical than you’d get at a convention or designated sales event.  NO MORE IMPULSE SPLURGES!  You get tangible hands-on time with materials and real-world application advice from parents in the know BEFORE you hastily purchase any and all curriculum that happens to be placed in front of you.  And the best part?  No temptation to buy (at least not right away).

Hosting a “Curriculum Chat” is fun and easy to coordinate.  Here’s a few pointers to help you get started:

  • Find a location that can comfortably hold lots of tables and, if possible, have plenty of room for kids to play.  We hosted ours at a home with trampoline, tree-house, and large enclosed yard which allowed children to play outside while the parents ogled materials inside.  (Other possible locations could be parks or libraries.)
  • Consider making it a pot-luck event.  Everyone likes snacks!
  • Bring name tags.  A lot of the parents in my community had previously only chatted on our group’s Facebook page.  It was nice to finally put a face to the name.
  • Have a sign-up sheet accessible online so folks can list the curriculum they’ll be bringing to chat about.  Hopefully this will alleviate too many people bringing one particular resource and instead lend to a variety of materials for everyone to peruse!
  • Decide if you’ll allow people to sell some of their resources.  We ended up opening our event for folks to bring things they wanted to sell-  however the event was extremely informal and there was no pressure or emphasis on purchasing anything.  We did end up with a large-sized FREE table which soothed the curriculum-hoarder in all of us.

The true purpose of the “Curriculum Chat” is giving parents meaningful hands-on time with curricula before making any purchases.  It also provides parents a platform where they can share what works (or possibly, why something doesn’t work) with other homeschooling families.

My show-and-tell assortment for the Curriculum Chat

By spending some constructive time with materials you’ll be more knowledgeable and better prepared the next time you walk into a convention or sale. You’ll have a better idea which resources will be a good fit for your family.  You could save a buck or two . . .

Who knows?  You may just be able to tame your inner frenzied-curricula-beast.

Do you plan on hosting a “Curriculum Chat”?  Feel free to print off  my sample flier for use in your community. 

CurrcChatPrintable

If your community hosts a Curriculum Chat, leave me a comment and let me know about it!  Or better yet- share pictures of your gathering!

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About Kristen

Home schooling classically with a dash of whatever strikes our fancy.

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12 Responses to Host a “Curriculum Chat” in Your Homeschool Community

  1. Jody says:

    Wow! I would love to attend that event!! I spend so much time reading reviews but it is still so difficult to decide if something would be a good fit when you haven’t had a chance to see it. This is a fabulous idea!!

  2. This idea is brilliant! I have felt the temptation to buy everything I see in the HS conventions. I bought a few passionately and now I have not been able to sell it!

    • Kristen says:

      Mayra,
      It was not a huge deal to coordinate either. All around it was well worth the effort. It gave me the chance to look at both my top math choices side by side and talk to moms using it about the real pros and cons to both.

  3. Shannen says:

    I love this idea! We’ve done some curriculum sharing in our groups, but it’s always green sporadic, so it’s been hard to plan for it. We have a used curriculum sale in the spring, so this would be great to do the week before. Thanks!

  4. Karyn says:

    Thanks for this post. I have always wished there was a place to just see different resources. I am going to plan one of these this year!!! Maybe even annually…

  5. Jennifer says:

    This is a fantastic idea. Do you have a suggestion on how too do the online sign up sheet? I’d like to have 2 parts- one for curriculum you can bring and one for curriculum you would like to see. Thank you!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      We kept ours really low key and just had an editable document on our local Facebook page. People would RSVP and then write in what they planned on bringing in the document. If you are planning something a bit more bigger, your best bet would probably be to create a GoogeDocs spreadsheet. That would also allow you to make separate columns for the resources they plan on bringing and the ones they are hoping to see. Whenever someone sees that they have a resource being requested they can erase it from the “request” column and write it in as being brought.
      Hope those suggestions help. You’ll have to let me know how your event goes!

  6. This is such a great idea! Curriculum can be so overwhelming, especially for new homeschoolers. I was blessed to have group of veterans around me when I first began teaching. This would be a great way to encourage other while window-shopping everyone’s school stuff!

  7. Amy says:

    This is great, Kristen. I think the biggest hurdle is just getting someone to organize something like this (even though it can be low key!) Thanks for sharing your pointers and even the handy flyer!

  8. Amber says:

    Our informal group hosts ours in the spring. It is my favorite gathering all year. And it is not hard…choose a location with tables, date, time…and prepare to not want the fellowship and curriculum display to end.

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