Friday, March 17, 2017

Homeschool Conventions

I love homeschool convention time!  It's not every year that I can attend, but when I do, I enjoy visiting with the vendors, looking at new products, flipping through books, and listening to the speakers.  It is so great to have all the homeschool companies in one place at the same time.  

So how do you prepare to attend a homeschool convention? 

Check the speaker schedule

Several weeks before the convention, get the speaker schedule and decide who you want to hear.  Once you have narrowed that down, make a note of how much time you will have to walk around the vendor hall and when you have to leave to listen to the speaker.  Sometimes this can be hard to decide because there may be several great speakers and their times may overlap.  I think most conventions offer recordings of the speakers that you can purchase afterwards in case you miss out.

Make a list of vendors

Before you get there, scroll through the list of vendors and highlight those you really want to visit.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming once you get there and you may miss that booth you really wanted to see.  

Scope it out first

The convention closest to me is not tremendously big, so what I usually do is walk up and down the isles first and just check everything out.  I don't stop at any booths the first time around.  I'm just taking everything in.  

Take your time

When I've gone through once, then I start on one end and take my time.  Keep your eyes open, listen to questions other parents are asking, ask questions yourself, grab brochures and business cards, and check out samples.  

Make notes

If there is a vendor that you liked, make a note of it so you can come back to review it again.  If you are in a large convention hall, also write down what isle you are in so you can find it later.

Bring snacks  

If you have your children with you this is a must.  Even if you don't, sometimes the food options are not the best and there can be long lines, which just wastes precious time.  Pack snacks, and even your own lunch, to save time and money.

Get there early

If you can, get there as soon as they open to get the most for your money.  Parking alone can take a long time, depending on how large the convention is. 

Set a budget

This may be the most important thing.  In all honesty, I rarely purchase from the conventions.  I just love to go to flip through materials and check out curriculum I've never seen in person.  It's easy to go overboard.  Set a budget before you get there so there is no temptation to buy more than you need!

Have fun!  

Leave the kids at home if you can and go with friends.  Make a day trip or weekend out of it.  Enjoy your time!

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