Hosting a curriculum night is an incredible way to be able to check out resources in person and hear firsthand experiences from families who have used them. Check out these tips to make your own curriculum night a success.
Tonight is our local homeschool group’s annual curriculum night– arguably one of the most exciting nights of the year for homeschool moms. Friends, books, snacks, and discussions about history and grammar?? YES PLEASE.
Curriculum night is simple. Everyone brings resources they have at home, then the resources are spread out at the host’s home. We mingle, talk pros and cons, get opinions and experiences, and enjoy the unique opportunity to both flip through books and works AND hear first hand what people liked and disliked about each.
It’s a night that yields a ton of reward for minimal effort. (And all the busy homeschool moms said, AMEN).
I’ve shared about this tradition many times on Instagram, and every time I do, I get a lot of responses– usually either reasonable jealousy, or requests for more details to host one themselves. Happily, I’m about to help with the latter, and the former can be likewise remedied by taking the step and starting a tradition of your own.
Ten Tips for Hosting A Curriculum Night
In order to avoid overcomplicating what should truly be a simple endeavor, I’m just going to offer ten tips for hosting a successful curriculum night. What’s most important to remember is that you can make it your own!
Also worth noting is that while I have the privilege of having the platform to share this awesome tradition, the idea wasn’t original to me. Actually, it was at a curriculum night hosted by a friend years ago that I met and began to develop relationships with some of my dearest friends now. I share this because there’s a good chance that you may feel like you don’t know enough people to have an event like this.
However, curriculum night is a great opportunity to invite a lot of people you may not know well (maybe through a local moms group or homeschool group on FB). The nature of the night guarantees that there will be plenty to discuss. Add in some tasty finger foods and a fun beverage or two, and you have the beginnings of beautiful friendships.
Now for the practical tips…
- Host the event in a space with enough room(s) to be able to spread out curriculum, as well as room to be able to get comfortable flipping through and talking. Think, a home with multiple flat surfaces or available rooms, or a church fellowship hall, or a library room, or even a park shelter.
- Ask everyone to bring a variety of resources to share. (For resources that are very popular, you might share in a group chat who is bringing what so there are not too many repeats). All-in-one curriculums, reading instruction books, math workbooks, history, and so on. Even if it wasn’t your favorite, it may be a good fit for someone else, or may be helpful for others to rule out options they were considering.
- Bring more than just curriculum. This is one of the best things about curriculum night, (and maybe making it a misnomer). Homeschool is much more than language arts and science studies. It’s games and beautiful books and handiwork and manipulatives and WHATEVER ELSE families have found helpful! So, be sure to communicate that other resources are welcome too. You’ll be amazed at the ideas you’ve never thought of!
- If possible, divide the resources by subject/type in separate rooms. This will make it a lot easier for people to find what they’re looking for, and will help discussions to stay on the topic of the room.
- LABEL. Write names in the books or use post-its to label resources so everything goes home with the right people.
- Plan for a way to take notes. This is one of those situations where information is totally like drinking from a fire hydrant! Pack a notebook, maybe a recorder, and take pictures on your phone. You may even want to go ahead and create a books wishlist on Amazon, even if you end up finding resources used later.
- Remember that one person’s genius idea might not be a genius fit for your family. Homeschooling is so much trial and error, and being willing to adjust and try something new as needed. So, you may get immediate direction for math or inspiration for history, but you will NOT be able to implement everything you see and love.
- AVOID THE COMPARISON TRAP. Unashamedly raising my voice about this one. You’re going to be tempted to let inspiration or admiration get twisted into feeling like you should be doing more, like you’re not measuring up, or any other non-truths we so easily fall into believing. It’s natural. But since you recognize this possibility, you’ll be ready to reject it. Replace negative comparisons with reminders that (1) you are the best person for teaching YOUR kids, (2) having the company of other inspirational homeschooling moms is a huge blessing, and finally, (3) at the end of the day, homeschooling is more than the resources you use– it’s the relationship, the experience, the love of learning.. all of which can’t be bought or even tangibly displayed at curriculum night.
- Don’t forget the snacks. People are going to get hungry after all that walking and flipping and analyzing. Also, water. Those mamas are going to need hydration with all the talking they’ll be doing.
- Make sure people know they can attend even if they do not have much to contribute. Curriculum night is an INCREDIBLE opportunity for new(er) homeschool moms to get ideas and learn from others’ experiences. But it could also easily be daunting or overwhelming. Look out for and invite the newbies.
I hope you find an opportunity to host (or attend) your own curriculum night, and that you have fun with it!
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