Homeschool Conventions are so much fun and are energizing! They are also just around the corner and it is wise to be prepared before you go. I have found some things to make convention experiences worthwhile and enjoyable.
Be sure and pre-register This can save you money on the admission price.
Do Your Research before you go! Planning, even if just a little, can help with your convention experience. It will help you concentrate on what you need or want to look at and will make your time at the convention a fun event.
Speakers: Read ahead of time their bios, find out when they are speaking, and what topic they will be addressing. If you have friends who have been to the convention before, ask them who they thought were beneficial. Arrive early since rooms can fill up quickly. If you are taking an infant with you, sit toward the back and at the end in case you have to duck out. Surprisingly (or not), those seats fill up the fastest.
Curriculum: 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.
Vendor Hall: The curriculum hall at the conventions are monstrously HUGE! Take some time to look at the map and note any vendors that are of particular interest to you. If you highlight or circle the booths you don’t want to miss that will help you when you go inside. Stay focused and concentrate on what you need first. After you have purchased your materials you will be able to browse without feeling pressured or frantic. You can feel free to supplement your foundational curriculum with other items at this point. (If you have any money left!)
Don’t become overwhelmed. Avoid the urge to buy the first thing you see. Use the notebook with the list you complied of items you are wanting to purchase. 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: Math U See, 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! You also might not have much time in between lectures and you want to make use of the time you have.
Have some cash on hand. You will need money for parking and some vendors (Dave Ramsey) won’t take credit cards, although his booth does allow you to write a check or a debit card.
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 be able to make one or two trips maximum to the car, so be sure and take something that you know can handle the load. 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.
The Midwest Homeschool Convention is April 24-26, 2014 and held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here is a schedule if you are interested in attending. SCHEDULE
Most importantly, have a great time!
Homeschool Convention Planning Sheet Here is a planning sheet for you. It is two sheets with all subjects listed on it. Print off as many as you like for your family. The picture is in black and white, but the document is in color. It is editable so you can type inside the boxes. 🙂