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.
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.
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!