by Susan K. Stewart
Some homeschoolers attend a conference solely to buy curriculum in the exhibit hall. The exhibit hall can daze even a veteran convention goer. There are so many bright and shiny new items for sale every year. So it is necessary to enter with a battle plan.
A shopping list is an absolute must. Know in advance what you need to purchase for the upcoming year. Usually the major publishers and sellers return each year. By using last year’s catalogs, you can plan your purchases and their cost (add about 10 percent to last year’s prices).
Are you new to homeschooling? Get some advice before you go shopping. Read Cathy’s Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum Before the convention, talk to someone who uses the material you have in mind. Ask difficult questions about it. Then ponder before making your decision.
As some conferences, exhibitors have workshops to talk about their materials. This is a good way to become acquainted with new materials or something looks interesting. You will have the opportunity to ask questions that pertain to your home school.
As you spend time with remember that many of these venders are small, family-run businesses that make sacrifices to bring their products to you. Do talk to venders; learn from their experiences and wisdom. If you decide to purchase a product they offer, do so from them at the convention as a way of thanking them for taking time to answer your questions.
One method of saving money is to take only cash into the exhibit hall. Because you are making your shopping list at home, you can figure your total and know how much to bring with you. Of course it’s okay, if you can afford it, to plan a little extra for an impulse purchase.
An alternative, if you don’t like to carry cash, is to bring only the number of checks you’ll need for the purchases you have planned. If you plan to buy from two exhibitors, bring two checks. However if this is your choice, don’t bring cash with you.
Many exhibitors offer free shipping. If you have selected your purchases ahead of time, this can be a great savings. But if you are considering an item that is not on your pre-planned list, the cost of later shipping, after some time to think, may be cheaper than a book that will sit on the shelf until a used curriculum exchange next year.
By using some of the same shopping techniques you use at the grocer store, purchasing materials at the conference’s exhibit hall can be a real plus.
Copyright 1993. Susan K. Stewart. Adapted from California Parent Educator News Magazine, July/August 1993, published by Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) of Califonia.
Susan K. Stewart and her husband, Bob, live in a small rural community in central Texas. Susan brings her practical and inspirational messages for women, families, and homeschoolers. She is the author of Science in the kitchen, Fearless Science at Home for All Ages and Preschool: At What Cost?. She can be reached at email@example.com or visit her website www.practicalinspirations.com. This article is based on Susan’s popular seminar by the same name.
Susan will be speaking at the following AHEAD conference:
|July 12, 13, 14||CHEA of California||Pasadena, CA|