Shopping at Book Fairs

SHOPPING at BOOK FAIRS – The Four “P”s

I. PRAY (for direction)

a. Pray WITH your spouse about the direction God has for your home school.

b. If you haven’t already, write out your home school “Statement of Purpose” or “Doctrinal Statement” and a Bible verse that will be the theme for your school and family. You’d be surprised how much this will narrow down your purchases.

  1. An example of a “Statement of Purpose” or “Doctrinal Statement” would be: “It is our belief that the Lord has called us to spread the gospel to all the world, and first and foremost to our own children. We believe that He has called us to the task of home schooling, and that with His calling He provides for ALL our needs, physical, emotional & spiritual.” Bible Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
  1. When purchasing curriculum, make sure it doesn’t go against what God has called you to in your family.

II. PLAN

1. Visit the websites listed (on the 2006 Texas Book Fair List) to download the schedule or to get on the mailing list.

2. Highlight any seminars that interest you. Most book fairs offer the same seminars 2 days in a row so that if you only  attend one day – you can still attend the seminar of choice. Although some ‘veteran’ homeschoolers don’t attend book fairs because they feel they can get better prices through catalogs, the SEMINARS are well worth the time & effort even if you don’t buy anything!

3. If at all possible, plan to attend BOTH days. Check your schedule for vendor booths. Make a list of  which ones you want to visit & go to those first. There are a lot & it can be overwhelming!

4. Plan “shopping” time, “thinking” time and “seminar” time. If you can’t make a seminar, tapes are available for approximately $5.

III. PREPARE

a. Make a list of what worked for you and what didn’t (in your home school).

b. Start now looking at curriculum that may work for your family.

1. Call people in the GWCHE directory who list using what you are considering & go to the Curriculum Review that GWCHE will sponsor in April. (April 20 GWCHE Meeting)

2. Plan to attend vendor workshops if available and visit booths for demonstrations.

c. Put on your equipment! This includes a large shoulder bag, a fanny pack or purse that allows your hands to be free, comfortable clothes and walking shoes! (It wouldn’t hurt to bring along your favorite pain reliever for possible stress headache!)

d. Take a sheet of personal address labels – this will save you TIME filling out mailing lists & giveaways.

e. Take a small notepad to keep track of purchases and to jot down notes at seminars.

f. Take some snack crackers to nibble on during your “thinking” time. Most bookfairs do not allow meals to be brought in; so, either plan a picnic in your car or plan to spend $5-$10 per meal on convention food.

g. Most bookfairs discourage bringing children. ME TOO!! It’s a crowded place, not much fun for young children. Most will not allow strollers or wagons. You may bring nursing babies in a Snugli, etc. . . but, it is VERY crowded & hard to move around (especially at the Arlington Bookfair).

IV. PRICE COMPARE

a. Don’t buy at the 1st booth unless they are the only vendor that carries your product. You’ll save $$ by comparison shopping.

b. Check your catalogs for the product BEFORE you go to the bookfair. Include the cost of shipping/handling & have a ballpark price written down so you’ll know that you are getting a good deal.

c. If you know a particular booth tends to run out of materials, make this one of your FIRST stops! (Hint: The Miller Pad & Paper Booth at Arlington has tons of cool art supplies, and they DO run out sometimes late Friday & early Saturday.)

(for Mentoring Mondays by Karen Rankin-January, 2003)