This time of year we get a lot of homeschool catalogs in the mail. The other day, we got one from a company that we have used in the past that did not work for us AT ALL. But, I glanced through the catalog because that's what I do, and still thought, "Wow. It looks so good in the catalog. I just wish it worked better in our homeschool."
I do my research. Sometimes for months on end. I look pour through homeschool catalogs. I research products like crazy on the internet. I read tons of reviews paying close attention not to whether or not they liked the product, but WHAT they liked and didn't like about it (this is something I learned after writing so many reviews myself.) If I have an opportunity I look at the books in person, but honestly that just doesn't happen very often. I spend a lot of time making before spending money and making decisions about what we will use in our homeschool.
But, even after all of that research, it sometimes just doesn't work for us. Why? You really don't know how something is going to work until you have a chance to actually implement it in your homeschool day. Curriculum companies come up with these products and put a ton of time and effort into producing and marketing them. Product reviewers spend a TON of time (trust me on this!) testing out products in their homes and reviewing them to help other homeschoolers make decision. Even when you get to go to curriculum fairs, the vendor is going to do their best to pitch their product because they believe in it. But, they are not you. They cannot account for each individual homeschooler's needs, and even a fabulous product just will not work for everyone.
So what happens when that curriculum that looked so good in the catalog does not seem to be working at all for your child? You try something else. Many companies will offer a money back guarantee if the curriculum is returned in so many days. Or if it isn't a violation of copyright, you can resell it. Or if it is not something that you (or your child) loves because it isn't as exciting as you would like, you can always supplement with something else, like adding in living books or a lapbook. Do you have more children? Maybe it will work better for one of them later on. There are a lot of options out there! You do not have to stay with something that is making you and/or your child miserable.
Every homeschooler out there has made a purchase or two that looked much better in the catalog then it did in their homeschool day. Don't feel bad about that. Keep looking through those catalogs, reading reviews, and doing your research. You will find the right product for your homeschool.
Happy Homeschooling : )