Parents who are searching for the best curriculum for their homeschool may be overwhelmed by the vast number of choices available online or in school supply stores. It can be difficult to get a good feel for a curriculum’s resources and quality without physically handling the materials. Real and detailed answers to questions about the curriculum are not always easy to obtain through online or are hard to understand. Curriculum fairs offer homeschooling parents an opportunity to speak to the publishers of the curriculum to get legitimate answers to questions or address concerns about the material. Parent/teachers have a chance to look through the materials, test the quality of the paper and the appropriateness of the content based on skill level, educational goals, and family values.
Curriculum fairs are a place to get inspired, to be exposed to new instructional ideas and technology, to hear in-depth analysis of homeschooling techniques and educational strategies, and to be inspired by other homeschooling families’ stories. Many curriculum fairs offer more than publishing house booths hawking their resources but also feature speakers, small group sessions, and hands-on tutorials in teaching strategies related to a specific curriculum. At a well-planned curriculum fair, a parent/teacher would have the chance to listen to at least two speakers on best practices in homeschooling or how to creatively tailor a structured curriculum to meet your family’s needs. The parent/teacher could then attend at least one small group session with mediated discussions on instructional laddering or the best use of technology in homeschools. A panel discussion with professional educators and long-time homeschoolers might be on the agenda so parent/teachers can ask questions of the experts regarding age-appropriate skills or how to teach “new math.”
In addition to examining potential curriculum choices and garnering information from publishers and experts, curriculum fairs are a great opportunity for homeschooling families to meet, mingle, and exchange ideas. Parents might bond over a shared appreciation for a particular publishing house or grade level curriculum. Small group sessions might end in an exchange of contact information so that parent/teachers can continue to bounce ideas off one another or finish a particularly interesting discussion on behavior modification for ADHD kids. A panel discussion question that leads to even more questions might require contacting the expert at a later date for further explanation or contacting another group member to debate the expert’s analysis.
An added bonus of curriculum fairs: children in attendance have a chance to meet and play with other homeschool children while exploring the booths and playsets displayed. Not only does this activity encourage social skills practice but allows children to meet other kids outside of their community and enlarge their friendship circle. In addition, parents could consider giving their children an opportunity to voice their opinion about the curriculum chosen after careful examination of the top three choices. The autonomy and confidence boost listening provides cannot be overestimated and the results are easy to see in the pride and self-satisfied joy the child will exhibit.
Parent/teachers are encouraged to seek out curriculum fairs and attend with an open mind that is ready to learn and be inspired.
For 15 years Mimi Rothschild has been privileged to help hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers educate their children at home. The MorningStar Academy is a private online Christian school offering diplomas and teachers. The Jubilee Academy is an online Christian curriculum provider offering over 150 full year online Christian courses for PreK-12.