Nothing invigorates me more about homeschooling that being around a bunch of other homeschool moms. I have found a few conferences that perhaps you would like to attend this year that can give you a boost. I posted this blog earlier, but have updated it for 2013. You will find the conventions and conferences according to the dates in which they will be held.
MACHE Homeschool Conference, St.Paul, Minnesota, April 19-20, 2013
Eastern (Tulsa) Oklahoma Homeschool Convention, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 30-May 1, 2013
Ultimate Homeschool Expo another online option with several events throughout the year. The Ultimate Transformation Expo, May 13-17, 2013.
Tampa Bay Homeschool Conference, Tampa, Florida, May 23-26, 2013
Can’t get away, but would like to attend a home school conference? What about an online option? Schoolhouse Expo , May 28, 2013 will be about homeschooling through high school.
Indiana Home School Convention May 31-June 1, 2013
Arizona Home Education Convention & Curriculum Fair, Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2013
CHEO Convention There are some great speakers lined up for this summer. June 20-22, 2013 This will be its 29th year! Akron, Ohio
So, you decided you are going to go. Great, but before you go there are some things you can do in order to make your convention experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
Some Conventions Tips:
Be sure and pre-register so you can save on the admission price.
Do your research before you go! Read what speakers are going to be at the conference, when they are speaking, and what topic are they addressing. Read reviews of curriculum to find out what you’d like to look at when you attend. Create a list of must-have curriculum and books and a list of would-be-nice-to-have books. Write these items in a notebook and give each one a few lines so you can write comparison prices. Don’t forget art and writing supplies! Estimate how much you can afford to spend.
Don’t become overwhelmed. The curriculum hall at the conventions are monstrously HUGE! Avoid the urge to buy the first thing you see. Use the notebook of the list you complied of items you are wanting to purchase before you went to the convention. Compare the prices of vendors of the curriculum. Be sure to note the name of the booth and their location in the vendor hall. For instance: Bravewriter Aisle A next to Rainbow Resource, near the end on the right. I need a landmark, maybe you don’t.
Stick to your estimated budget! I know it is tempting to buy, buy, buy! Only purchase those items you know you will use. If you go home and find that you really needed that skid of construction paper order it online! It would have been difficult to fit it in your vehicle any way.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. You are going to be doing a lot of standing and sitting so wear what looks nice and provides maximum comfort.
Pack bottles of water and healthy snacks. Food and drinks can be expensive and food lines can be long. You want to keep up your energy and brain power for the vendor hall and lectures!
Take a rolling cart, suitcase, or a backpack that you can unload if it gets heavy. The car is probably parked a distance that you are only going to make one or two trips maximum to the car, so be sure and take something that you know can handle the load of a lot of books and supplies. It is also going to be crowded so keep that in mind as you think about maneuverability of you and your burden carrier. 🙂
Consider asking your husband to attend. Dale accompanied me a few times and I appreciated his input about curriculum choices and viewpoint of the speakers we heard. If he can’t go, ask a homeschool friend to accompany you. Make it a fun time to be out and get rejuvenated.
Purchase the CD’s Couldn’t make it to hear all the amazing speakers? Why not buy the CD’s and ask a few friends to share the cost with you? This way you can listen to them whenever you like. If you think they would benefit more homeschool families, perhaps you can ask your local support group to purchase them for your lending library.
NOTE: These have already occurred, but I thought that you could keep them in mind for the future as they are well established conventions. Next year I will remember to update this in January instead of April. Sorry about that!
Great Home School Convention (Southeast), Greenville, South Carolina, March 14-16, 2013
Great Home School Convention (Midwest) This is right here in Cincinnati, Ohio where I live. 🙂 April 4-6, 2013
Continue your journey through the vendor hall, purchasing what you need from your chosen vendors. If a curriculum author is selling his or her own books, there will often be a special convention price or free consultation offered along with your purchase. If an author or small vendor spends a lot of time answering questions or otherwise helping you, it’s courteous to make your purchase directly from them, rather than accepting free advice and then purchasing from one of the big mega-dealers (the laborer is worthy of his/her hire).
You are right, Alleen. It is important to support the authors as they give of their time and depend upon sales to continue their business.