I don’t use homeschooling catalogues. Here’s why:
1) I generally don’t spend money on things that I haven’t seen in person. And preferably, I would like to see it in action.
2) There is enough stuff on Amazon to satisfy any book interest we have. Or at the library. Or at garage sales. Why do I buy on Amazon? Because there are real people reviews there, along side other information that makes it easier to decide. And, I have lots of Amazon coupons. And it’s free shipping.
3) Anything that is “made for school” or “made for homeschoolers” worries me. What is it about homeschoolers or kids that are in school that’s different? And, if there is a difference, how is that going to apply to real life? How is that going to bring the real world to my kids? Anything that’s “made for homeschoolers” went though a filter somewhere. Perhaps many filters. And if I don’t know what that filter was, specifically, I don’t want it.
Granted, there are things in homeschooling catalogues that aren’t made specifically for homeschoolers. But most of those things I can get elsewhere, or I can live without easily enough. We don’t live in Siberia.
4) We already have too much stuff. There’s a certain point where having too much stuff impedes learning, because it’s crazy making (for us anyway). The stuff we do get, I want it to be something that I know we’ll use, or I’ll be fine with sitting it on a shelf for ages until someone decides it’s interesting enough to use.
I do like to look through the catalogues. It gives me ideas and makes me open to possibilities I didn’t know existed before. And, someday, something that I’m trying to sell might be in one of those catalogues. Nothing wrong with catalogues.
I guess I’m not a catalogue person. But I buy off the internet all the time. The internet, it doesn’t discern. The universal catalogue for the universal shopper. Much closer to the real world than catalogues. Maybe that’s why I like it better. And why I like learning from the internet as well. Lots of crazy ideas on the internet, that’s for sure. But I WANT to know about those crazy ideas. I don’t want information to be filtered for me. It’s by hearing the crazy ideas, sometimes, that inspiration hits. It’s certainly on the road to understanding.
On the other hand, just like having too much stuff, having too much information can be overwhelming too. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to filter incoming information ourselves. To do that, we gotta be overwhelmed sometimes. Learning entirely through filtered information is like living on barely enough food to live; when you are finally free from being protected, you want to know it ALL. You’re famished for new information. Different information. Or, you’re so stuck in a rut, that knew information is scary and threatening. If all you ate was bread and water all your life, and suddenly you’re presented with a big fat ice cream sundae, what would you do?
Anyway, back to catalogues. I like them, but they are just a small chunk of what’s available out there to learn from. Most of the stuff in the world that’s worth learning from, you can’t even buy. So, homeschooling catalogues to me, are like looking through a candy catalogue. Looks yummy, but very, very rarely would I buy candy from a catalogue. I can get candy from Vons. And it’s yummy too.