Whether you’re a newbie homeschool or a seasoned veteran, homeschool conventions provide a valuable source of encouragement, information, and fellowship.
Hitting the Road: Homeschool Convention Time!
The first time I walked into a convention center for a homeschool conference, I had already been homeschooling for nine years, but I was immediately OVERWHELMED!
After attending several conferences over the past few years, I’ve learned a thing or two, which make the experience less-stressful and more valuable.
So, if you’re headed to a convention this spring, here are some survival tips for you:
- Look at the list of vendors and speakers for the convention you are attending on the conference website, and note which ones you want to be sure to visit.
- Make a list of any specific products you want to check out. Go to sessions sponsored by those vendors to learn more about them.
- Keep a running list of items you might want to purchase after seeing them. I didn’t purchase anything on our first walk-through. I used that first time to “window shop,” and then went back to buy things later. This prevents extra trips to the car or having to haul around a bunch of stuff, and it also gave me pause to think before making an impulse buy.
- Speaking of those trips to the car — pack snacks and drinks, and take breaks! Food can be pricey at convention centers, and many will not let you bring anything in, so use your car as home-base. Especially if your kids attend with you!
- Schedule time for an initial walk-through, and plan to go back at least once more to be sure you cover it all. Planning to go back helped me prevent impulse purchases because I knew I would have time to go stop back by the booths.
- Many vendors offer coupons or codes to use later, so you don’t have to feel pressure to buy at the convention.
- Be flexible and willing to change your product list. I was surprised to find that some products were not what I thought they would be and to discover new products I never would have considered before seeing them and hearing the speakers.
- Use DISCERNMENT! Realize that a convention is a money-maker for the host, and some (many) of the vendors might not necessarily have the same worldview, parenting philosophy, etc. that you do. Do your research! Be aware that vendors and speakers are presenting their best face at the conference.
- Enjoy yourself and have fun! My goal is not to “shop” as much as it is to “see.” Bringing home a few new things is just a bonus.