1. Two years ago, I went to the Greenville GHC and heard a particularly exciting presentation from a popular language arts curriculum writer. Afterward, I and many others went into the vendor hall and visited her booth. There she was selling her products at full price. The day before, I had received an email from the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op offering the same products at their 40% group buy discount. I asked her about it, and she said that all products at the convention were full price and that they were not advertising the deal with the HBC to convention attendees. Many single-income homeschooling families paid hundreds of dollars for the curriculum that could have been 40% off.
2. Another curriculum that purports to be a "Charlotte Mason" curriculum is currently offering several books on their website that are in the public domain, which means they are out of copyright and are FREE on your Kindle or e-reader. You can download them at Amazon, mainlesson, Google books, etc. Now, lots of publishers, including Dover and Yesterday's Classics, reprint public domain books for a very modest price (as in $5-$6), and I've bought several because sometimes I want a "real" book! However, this website is offering books by Jean-Henri Fabre for $20-$25. They are offering a geography book by Charlotte Mason (!) for $17. They are offering a book by Margaret Gatty for $35, though the sample from this one contains added Q&A worksheets and written reports at the end with no mention of oral narration (worksheets and written narrations before 10 yo are not part of the Mason model).
Folks, all of the books mentioned in the previous paragraph are F.R.E.E. I have made a $700 mistake at a convention before (still painful to think of, but there you have it). If you need to, text a friend (like me!) to ask what they think. A friend, E.S., shared her plan for convention shopping:
- Go with a plan. Look at the speakers ahead of time, research them online, and go to the ones you think will help you with the children you are currently schooling. Buying curriculum that you think could be used multiple times is tricky, as your next child's learning style could be completely different.
- Have a shopping focus. Go with a list of things you know you can get cheaper at the convention (also consider there is no shipping cost).
- Don't get sucked into a sales pitch. You can often get a vendor to give you a conference offer that lasts through the Monday so you can go home and research.
- Buy only what is on your list and have a budget limit for "extras" you can buy, such as a fun game or puzzle for your kids.
It could be a great deal. But it could be a devastating waste of money. Take deep breaths! Have a great time! Remember that homeschooling your kids CAN cost less than a few hundred dollars a year. You don't need to spend $1000 to prove your children are learning. :)