Sunday, July 02, 2006

Copycat Shoes

I bought a pair of "copycat shoes" yesterday. You know, you see a cute pair of shoes on a girlfriend, say, "Cute shoes! Where'd you get those?" and then go pick up the same pair for yourself, imagining that you'll look just as cute in them. These were copycat flip flops, actually, and rather than having asked her where she got them, I stealthily tossed them into my basket yesterday at Target. So, actually, no one but me would know they were copycat. I mean, we all buy flip flops at Target, right? Well, today I put them on and they are SO... uncomfortable! Of course, I slipped them on yesterday at the store, but they were attached to each other, so I couldn't get the "feel" of them. (You can't freely flip and flop in them when there is elastic holding them together!) I simply checked for size and off I went. HOW can flip flops be this uncomfortable? Well, they are. Hmph.

I've bought exactly three pair of copycat shoes in my life. This is the third time that they have not fit. I think I see a pattern here! Now, I've had shoes before that I've chosen, only to discover that several other people have those same shoes. To me, that's not the same as a copycat shoe because I picked them out for myself. We just all happen to have made the same choice. I've been shopping with a friend and we have mutually agreed that some shoes were cute, tried them on together, and have decided then whether or not to purchase them for ourselves. Those haven't been copycat shoes, either. No, exactly three times I have bought shoes I wasn't otherwise looking for simply because those shoes look SO great/ comfortable/stylish/ hip ...on her. Exactly three times those shoes have been a complete wrong fit for me.

I realized today that I have done this with homeschool curriculum as well. Copycat curriculum. I have shelves and filing cabinets full of it! We, as homeschoolers, are so prone to chronic curriculum comparison. The curriculum is always greener on the other side of the exhibit hall! So often I have read one mention of what worked for someone on a message board or heard a friend talk positively about a certain program, and have bought it (even when what we were using was working!) only to find that it just doesn't fit. Just like shoes, we must walk in our curriculum daily. And ill-fitting curriculum can be painful! Sure, sometimes we make informed choices and carefully research curriculum, only to discover that it doesn't quite match with our teaching style, our kids' learning styles, or the flow of our schedule. But how often do we see what works for another family, what looks so good on another family, and immediately get it for ourselves? Families, like feet, have different sizes, shapes, and dynamics. And, no, it's not always possible to get the complete "feel" for curriculum until you get it home and try it on. Just like shoes that are tied together at the store, sometimes you've got to get the books home, get the shrink-wrap off of them and try them on. Sometimes you've got to "flip" and "flop" in it for a few weeks! This summer as I'm continuing to purchase next year's curriculum, I'm going to be more aware of why I'm buying what I'm buying. Is it a well-researched recommendation or is it a copycat?

Anyone wear a size 7? Can I interest you in a pair of flip flops?......

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