Attending a homeschool convention can be the highlight of a homeschool mama’s year. It is a place to recharge oneself, and go into a new year fresh and ready. The speakers share experience and wisdom, while the vendors give attendees a hands on look into their curriculum and products.
Yet, it can become overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. Here are a few considerations and guidelines for you to follow to get the most out of the homeschool convention experience.
Before the Convention
Check the Speaker Schedule: Most conventions will list a speaker schedule on their site. Begin to plan your time by looking over the schedule. You may want to print the schedule and highlight the sessions you are interested in attending. Consider sessions that will minister to your needs and offer you inspiration and encouragement for the next school year. Think ahead to stages and educational issues you may encounter and plan to attend sessions to help address it.
I’ll be at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio this coming weekend. I hope you’ll add me to your “must-see” speaker list and stop by for a visit when you’re in the exhibitor hall. I’ll be hanging out in my booth — just there to offer support to moms and dads like you who are navigating the world of homeschooling super smart kiddos and need a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on.
image credit: Jennifer Vail
Check the Vendor List: On the convention site, you should also see a list of vendors who plan to attend. List the vendors you are the most interested in seeing. Leave room to visit vendor booths you are unfamiliar with to give yourself the opportunity to find a new treasure. The vendor hall is crowded and busy so having a plan will help you make the most out of your visit.
Set a Budget: Vendors often give special discounts on curriculum purchased during the convention. You will want to be prepared to buy which not only means bringing your wallet but a budget. The lure to buy may tempt you to overspend but setting a reasonable budget before you get there will help.
What to Wear and Bring
Comfortable shoes and clothing: It may go without saying, but make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You will also have no trouble getting in your steps for the day so comfortable shoes are a must. A convention offers you as much sitting as walking, so you want to remain comfortable during all the sessions you attend. Wear comfortable clothing and bring a light jacket or sweater in case the convention center is chilly.
Items to Bring: Don’t get caught without a notebook, pens, and highlighters. You will want to take speaker notes to remember all the nuggets of wisdom and encouragement you will hear. You will also want to write down curriculum information and vendor contact information for future reference. You can organize all of your thoughts and plans on this free printable homeschool convention organizer. Simply click the link below, enter your email, and it’ll be sent right to your inbox and you’ll be directed back here to finish reading. Go ahead! It’s easy!
During the Convention
Get an Overview of the Convention Center Layout: Before you jump in, get an overview of the convention center layout. Take note of where your sessions of choice will be held, the vendor hall, and the bathrooms. You may not have a lot of time between sessions so it will be helpful to navigate the area first.
Prioritize: Get out your list of “must-see” speakers and vendors. While you may change your mind once you arrive, your list can help you set a realistic schedule. You may want to do everything once you arrive but choices will have to be made. So, get out your schedule and adjust but stick to it so you don’t feel you missed anything you consider important.
After the Convention
Reflection: You may feel overwhelmed with all you learned and experienced during your time at the convention. Don’t allow your motivation to deflate because you never gave yourself time to process and put what you learned into practice. Give yourself time to review your notes and plan for the next school year. Connect with speakers who inspired you through their blogs and social media to continue to be encouraged throughout the school year.
Make sure you keep in touch. Let me know how I can help you make this the best homeschool year yet… eben if we don’t meet at a convention this year.
image credit: Jennifer Vail
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