The market is saturated with homeschool materials, and whether you’re a seasoned homeschooler or a new one, shopping the vast selection can be overwhelming. The following tips can help you tackle the challenge of finding the right educational products for your family.
Attend a Convention
Homeschool conventions are great places to listen to inspiring speakers and network with other home educators. One of their biggest draws, however, is the fact that curriculum companies come from miles around to set up booths at these events. When making plans to attend a homeschool conference, schedule in time to explore the vendor displays.
Seeing books and materials in person affords you the opportunity to really look through them and consider whether they would be a good fit for your family. Plus, you can talk to the company representatives and discuss your unique homeschool situation and structure with them. They can give expert advice about which of their products would work best for you. Additionally, many homeschool families appreciate the opportunity to buy materials right there at the convention, so they don’t have to pay shipping costs.
Although no family’s situation is exactly like yours, reading other users’ reviews of a curriculum you are considering can give you a feel for the materials. Reviews can help you determine how the product is structured, which types of learners the materials are geared for, the difficulty level of the lessons and the ease of use for the instructor.
Cathy Duffy Reviews provides free reviews of many of the homeschool products on the market. The creators of this site also sell a book featuring their 102 top choices for home education materials. Although information about these top selections is also available on the website, the book consolidates the recommendations into one handy guide.
Shop Used Curriculum Sales
Like at a homeschool conference, at a used book sale, you can get your hands on the materials to preview them before you purchase them. Unlike at a conference, with a used book sale, you never know what resources may be available that day, a quantities of various items are typically rather limited. However, the discounts that can be found by purchasing secondhand materials often make browsing through the stacks of books at a sale worth the effort.
Used curriculum may also help you feel freed up to experiment. When you haven’t broken the bank to buy your materials, you may not feel as obligated to keep using a program that just hasn’t turned out to be a good fit for your family. You can return this item to the secondhand market and purchase a different program that will hopefully work out better for you.
Use ‘See Inside’ Features
Some websites give shoppers a look at the inside of the books that they sell. These previews are often include a hearty selection of pages to browse, including the table of contents, selections from the main body of the text and the index. These samples can give you a good idea for what a book is like and what information it covers. Amazon and Christian Book Distributors are two sites where you can often see previews of a homeschool materials.