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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How NOT to Pick Curriculum

This time of year we homeschool mom's start looking at next year's school books.  We scour catalogues, peruse websites, and stalk friends' facebook pages and blogs in search of new curricula.  We question, make lists, circle books, and talk our husbands' ears off before making a decision.

But, how do you make that decision?  There are all kinds of articles talking about How to Choose the Right curriculum but about an article about How NOT to Choose Curriculum?

We all know there are things we do that we shouldn't when we are choosing and buying new curricula that we shouldn't do.

So here's my list.

How NOT to Pick Curriculum for Your Kids:

1.  Do NOT make impulse buys at Convention.  Yes, we all know that the spiels they give in workshops are designed to hook you and convince you that their product is the best ever and will solve all your problems and make your children little Einsteins.  They will make you feel all warm and fuzzy and guide you to their booth with a form filled out waiting for you.  You will leave with a bag filled with their product and have no idea how to use it.

2.  Do NOT buy curriculum sight unseen based on third-party opinions that don't know you or your children.  We all know that our curriculum is the best ever and want everyone else to use it because it would work perfectly for them too.  Of course we all know everything about every curriculum out there, right?

3.  Do NOT buy used curriculum without looking through it thoroughly first.  Enough said.

4.  Do NOT buy curriculum just because your friend uses it.  Your friend will sell you on the high points but may forget about the downfalls.  ;-)

5.  Do NOT buy curriculum based on price alone.  Just because it is cheap doesn't mean it will be better and vice versa.  Just because it is the most expensive product out there doesn't mean it will work for your family. Price point is not evidence of a good product.

6.  Do NOT buy curriculum when you are tired.  Okay, we are homeschooling moms and we are always tired but you know what I mean.  Don't buy new books when you are at the end of your rope and can't see straight.  If you can't read the name of the curriculum you are looking at you are too tired to buy it!

7.  Do Not buy curriculum when you have cranky kids in tow.  Again, when isn't that going to happen?  But, if you have never seen, touched, or read through the curriculum do you really want to buy something with screaming or fighting kids touching you and pulling at your clothes?  Can you really focus on something new when your child is practically standing on top of you, touching your arm every 1.4 seconds saying, "Mom" over and over again?

8.  Do NOT buy curriculum when you are hungry.  Doesn't this advice go for everything?  I mean, really, how can you concentrate when your stomach is rumbling and you are weak with hunger?  Right?  Fighting off the effects of hunger clouds the mind and causes you to make impulse buys like in #1.

9.  Do NOT buy curriculum you aren't willing to ask questions about.  We've all been there where we think the people in the booth are the smartest people we have ever met and we are intimidated by them so we become mute.  We stand there smiling and nodding with a dazed look in our eyes and never speak a word. We just silently hand them our money and walk away wondering how that just happened.

10.  Do NOT buy curriculum if you already own something you love for that subject just because it's new and better than anything else ever.  New doesn't mean better.  Just because it is sitting there so pretty, shiny, and smelling like new school books doesn't mean you need to buy it.

There are so many more but those are just the ones I could think of at the moment!

Of course, I am not against Conventions and I am not against new curriculum.  I'm a reviewer for goodness sake!  But, I have fallen into the shiny new books that promise to do everything I need it to trap before (and probably will again!) and wanted to pass on what little wisdom I have.  Spiced with a little humor of course.

Take all this with tongue in cheek and a fair amount of salt.  ;-)  Leave a comment and tell me your Do NOT rules to help us all stay away from the buyers remorse guilt.

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