Homeschool catalogs are everywhere. They can provide the necessary tools you need for homeschooling, but they can also overwhelm you if you try too hard to find just the right books or curriculum.
I encourage homeschool parents to focus on Reading, Writing and Math at first when choosing their resources for the year. When those subjects are in place, then they can move on and add in other subjects. You can use my free homeschool planner to help you simplify your curriculum planning.
One advantage to using homeschool catalogs or shopping online is that you can view everything in the comfort of your own home. Take your time and don't buy any more than what you think you will absolutely need. Less is best.
1. Fold down the pages of the books or resources you are interested in and want to look at again.
2. Circle the items that look interesting to you on the pages that you folded in.
3. Use a planner to help you list each child and each subject. Write down everything on the planner that you might possibly use for each child for each subject.
After you have spent some time looking and praying about the list you have compiled (this could take weeks or months), circle one or two items under each subject for each child. You can put the rest of your list out of your mind because you now know what you will need for the year.
You aren't stuck with this list, but make sure you give yourself at least a few months of using what you have purchased before you reevaluate another purchase.
The items on your list that you don't use this year, can easily go on your list for next year. This will help you from getting too overwhelmed with your curriculum choices. Get a plan and stick with it!
4. If you find a catalog that you don't use much or don't like, get rid of it or pass it on to someone else. There is no reason to keep a pile of homeschool catalogs when you don't use or like them. Keep your favorites and get rid of the rest.
5. Get only what you need. Remember, less is best. If you have more books or curriculum than what you need, you and your children can tend to get burned out and overwhelmed by the pile of books to go through. Some children can learn more without books than they can with a full curriculum. Provide the resources they need to learn and retain the material they come in contact with and don't worry about whether you spent lots of money or not.
The best places I have found to get homeschool books is Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, Sonlight and Learning Things.
These stores provide the best value, in my opinion. You can find almost anything you need at any of these retailers.
Many people buy and sell books and curriculum on eBay.com. Although I have done this myself, I think their prices are a little high especially during the peak homeschool buying months of July and August.