Surviving the Homeschool Bookfair

This weekend is the annual Homeschool Bookfair I attend in my area.  One of my favorite parts of my homeschooling year!  I thought I’d share a post I wrote last year titled “Homeschool Bookfair Survival Guide.”   Some of my favorite tips to enjoying the bookfair….

 

 

Have you ever been to a homeschool bookfair?  They can be totally crazy and completely overwhelming!!  But they can also be a great resource and a huge blessing to a homeschool mom.  I’ve compiled a list of tips from my own experience with bookfairs – and the tips of other experienced homeschool moms – to help make the most of your time at the bookfair!

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR HOMESCHOOL BOOKFAIR EXPERIENCE:

  1. Make a plan of action for the day
    • Why are you going?  To look at/buy curricula? To listen to the speakers?  Both?
    • Map out your plan of action for the day –  i.e. what workshops you want to attend, on which days.  What day(s)/time you will browse and buy curriculum.
    • Check out the map of the vendors ahead of time to have a good idea where everything will be – especially the vendor booths you really want to visit
    • Take into consideration – your children.  Will you have them with you? One day, both/all days, or not at all?  Don’t forget to include them in your plan of action for the day.
  2. If you know what curricula you want for this year – bring a list: Make a list of the items you need to purchase and their prices.
  3. When you walk into the bookfair – shock might overwhelm you! Take a deep breath!   I promise, it’s is going to be ok! Stay focused and stick to that plan of action!
  4. Take that list and head straight for the used curriculum booth – that is, if you don’t mind buying used, and are looking to save some dough!  And, that is also assuming your bookfair has a used curriculum booth.  Ours usually has a couple of them.  You need to get to that used curriculum booth first thing if possible, to score the items you need at great prices – before they get picked through and disappear!  It might be a little crazy at that booth for a while, but can be worth it.
  5. If you don’t know what curricula you want to use – bring a list of things you would like to browse, see, and get your hands on!
  6. Be prepared to have your world flipped upside-down! You might be going into the bookfair feeling confident in your choice for curriculum for the next year.  One year, I went to the fair, and had already purchased most of the curriculum I thought I was going to use.  However, after talking with the author of another curriculum(one that was a completely different style that what I was going to use), and seeing how wonderful her philosophy on teaching was, and her curriculum was – I was totally torn.  I wandered around that bookfair totally bewildered.  I felt God was tugging at my heart to use this new curriculum I had found – that it was what He wanted for our homeschool – but on the other had, I had already purchased all of this other curriculum!!  At that moment , my mama homeschool world was flipped upside-down!  And, of course, I ended up going with the one that deep down, I knew God was showing me to use!!
  7. To follow up #5 – Listen and look with a discerning ear and eye. Some materials are GREAT, but do not fit your family’s philosophies or way of homeschooling. This is a tip from a friend of mine – a veteran homeschooling mom!  While God might show you something amazing at the fair that you have never seen before or thought of (that He is calling you to use) – the flip side of that is being enticed by things that might not necessarily be the right thing for your family – even though it looks wonderful!  And there will be many wonderful things there – so be careful!!
  8. Wear comfortable shoes – you will be doing a LOT of walking and standing all day!!
  9. What do you do with your kids? Well, if they are really young, you might consider finding a sitter for the day.  The bookfair is a long  day for anyone – but especially a small child/toddler.  Not bringing the littlest ones  just might make everyone’s day a little more pleasant.  For kids that do come with you – be sure to bring activities and snacks!  I have been bringing my kids for the past couple years now, since they were 4 & 6 – and they have done great – even sitting through hour-long speakers.  I just had to be equipped with food and fun!! Lol!
  10. Bring address labels – I saw this tip on our bookfair’s website, and thought it was a great one!  Bring some of your address labels with you, for times when you are signing up for a drawing or for a catalog!  It will save you a lot of time and effort to be able to just stick a label on there instead of filling out the form!
  11. Bring a large, but comfortable bag.  Bring something that is large enough to carry what you need for the day (purse items, lists, snacks, activities for kids, etc) and also have room to stash at least some of the books you buy at the fair.  But also try to pick something that will be comfortable to carry around all day.  Our bookfair does not allow any type of rolling bag – but if your’s does, that would be a wonderful way to carry everything around!
  12. Don’t buy something at the first booth.  Think about how “your” children learn, not children in general.  Stick with your budget!  {These are a few great tips from a fellow homeschool blogger and Hip Homeschool Moms Team Member!}  Thanks Louanne!!
  13. Bring some cash along with that credit card.  It is possible that not all vendors will accept credit cards – although most probably will.  Also – you might need to buy some lunch/snacks!
  14. If this is your first time, and you think you might be totally lost/overwhelmed -go with a friend.  Follow her around at least for the first part of it, until you feel comfortable enough to branch out on your own.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO A HOMESCHOOL BOOKFAIR? 

WHAT OTHER TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR MAKING THIS A LESS-OVERWHELMING EXPERIENCE?  HOW DO YOU GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TIME AT YOUR BOOKFAIR?

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