Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Curriculum Fair... woo-hoo!

 This past June, I organized and hosted the largest curriculum sale in my area.  If you knew how disorganized I am, you would think it is funny that I am in charge of this event.  It got handed down to me by accident (long story), and now this is my 5th year hosting it.  For the past 4 years, my friend and her son have faithfully helped me in the planning, set up and tear down, and what a blessing that has been.  But she is "retiring" from homeschooling, and was out of town this year, so it was just me and my 3 children.  And with my bad back, I am mainly a supervisor, pointing out what needs to be done.  My ds is 20 something, and was the main muscle of the day, along with his friend, who I can't thank enough for helping us as well.  My oldest dd is young, but strong and very capable and was also a lot of help with the physical side of the event.  My youngest dd is still a little slight of stature, but she was still busy doing what she could and kept busy helping me with less strenuous set up tasks. 
    The one bummer is that because my administrative mind is in full gear during the entire event, I can't seem to make any sensible purchases myself.  I know it sounds crazy, but I walk around from table to table, and can't really "see" anything.   So, in the end, I miss out on some great deals and items I might have needed.  Oh well... it is still worth it.
    Each year, as I plan, I wonder if anyone will come?  I am from the old school of homeschooling, and I love a curriculum sale.  But as more and more families join the public school at home programs, it seems the pool of "new" homeschoolers searching for wonderful, discounted materials is dwindling.  And with online resources so easily available, it also might cut down on the need for a local sale.  Still, I figure, as long as folks sign up to sell, and as long as folks come to shop, I will organize the event.  
   This year, I was not disappointed at all.  We had a good steady stream of shoppers and the large room was buzzing with conversations... old friends catching up, newer homeschoolers gleaning all they can from veterans, acquaintances getting to know each other better... it all blessed my heart to watch.
    I had almost 40 vendors, and probably over 200 shoppers throughout the day.  We set up a Kids Corner, where I put out a table with a small TV/VHS player, playing Winnie The Pooh or Donut Man videos, along with coloring books w/ crayons, and a few puzzles.  This seems to be a great blessing to moms as they can relax a little, still keep their eye on their kiddos, and shop with a little less stress.
   Once the day is over, and just before the vendors start to pack up, I draw names for a few door prizes for the vendors.  It is my way of showing my appreciation for their participation.  This year I did 3 baskets.   I made a "Kitchen Basket" that contained some really nice dish towels, a very cute homemade apron, and several kitchen goodies, like sponges, toothpicks, zipper type baggies, etc., and a few treats, like a candy bar, specialty tea bags, and a small, pretty plaque with a scripture verse on it.  Secondly, I made an "Office Basket" that contained computer paper, sticky notes, paper clips, Ticonderoga pencils (of course!), highlighters, etc., as well as the other goodies, like a candy bar and Christian plaque.  Finally, I made a "Coffee/Tea basket" with a pretty mug, a Starbucks gift card,  several specialty teas, chocolate covered candy stir sticks, honey sticks, etc., and again a candy bar and Christian plaque.   I just drew names, and handed them out that way.  It seemed to finish the day on a happy note.
   The feedback I received was all very positive, so I hope others thought it was as successful as I did.   For now, I will pack up my few remaining items in boxes, label them BOOK SALE, and tuck them away in the basement until next year, when I will do it all again. : )

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