Homeschool Convention Survival Tips
Sponsored post by Time4Learning.com
Congratulations, you made the exciting choice to attend a homeschool convention! These conventions provide a unique opportunity to meet other homeschoolers, learn educational styles and techniques, attend workshops, explore the many resources out there, purchase curricula for the next year, and more.
There are plenty of opportunities in such a short period of time, which can be stressful for any convention attendees whether new or old. To make the most of this homeschool convention season, we’ve developed some tips and tricks for families. Read on to best prepare for your upcoming convention experience!
- Confirm your attendance or registration. Many conventions require families to purchase tickets ahead of time, or at least RSVP to know how many guests to expect. Find out if the convention you plan on attending has a website or a phone number and a contact for registration. Print out emails that indicate your registration and store them somewhere; if you’d like, keep a portfolio of all logistic information about the conference you’re attending.
- Research the venue. Does the location allow outside food or drink? Is there a maximum size for bags allowed inside of the venue? Most homeschool conventions will allow attendees to bring ample supplies, but it is wise to be prepared! This information can be added to the portfolio that includes your convention registration as mentioned above.
- Secure hotel, if necessary. If the convention is out of town and/or for multiple days, it is important to book a hotel in advance. Some conventions will arrange deals with certain hotels, which will offer discounts to attendees. These hotels can fill up quickly, so make sure you do your research as soon as you register for the convention! Print out and bookmark your hotel reservation so it’s easy to access as the date approaches.
- Talk to local homeschool groups. Homeschool groups provide a wealth of knowledge about homeschooling, especially conventions. See if any members of these groups have attended the convention before, or if they’re going to the same convention you’re going to. It can help to have a friend or two to attend a convention with, especially if it’s your first one.
- Look over the schedule in advance. Most conventions provide a copy of their schedule on their website, which includes a list of workshops and speakers. Start creating a schedule, marking down which sessions you want to attend at the convention. Research the speakers and workshops to determine which would be most relevant to you – remember, you don’t have to go to every session offered at the convention! Planning in advance will help you avoid stress and fatigue the day of.
- Research the vendors. Homeschool conventions offer the opportunity to explore the resources the homeschool world offers, such as kits, curricula, gadgets, and more. Sometimes, with over 100+ vendors, the vendor hall can seem large and overwhelming. To minimize stress and discomfort while at the convention, research the vendors that will be attending in advance. Create a list of the vendors you want to learn more about, purchase from, and those that can be skipped if you’re running short on time.
- Complete an inventory of your current materials. Know what subjects and materials you already have for your homeschoolers, and create a list of what you will need to acquire while at the convention. Try to avoid purchasing unnecessary materials that will go unused for the next year – remember, the convention will be back next year so no need to stock up, if not necessary!
- Determine what materials you can sell. Certain conventions will allow you to sell old or unused materials and books that are in good condition. Make sure to check while researching the convention to see if such an event is scheduled, and what the requirements are to sell back your materials!
- Set a budget and bring cash. There are plenty of opportunities to make purchases while at the homeschool convention, but be careful not to go overboard! After researching vendors and creating an inventory, adopt a budget to adhere to during your time at the convention to avoid overspending. Make sure to allow around half of your budget to cash, as some vendors may not accept card payments, and ATM fees can be a drag.
- Plan your meals. This is especially important while creating your budget – are you planning to purchase food while at the convention, or bring your own lunches? Make sure to pack snacks and keep hydrated throughout the day! Again, research the venue to determine what the best options are when it comes to food.
- Bring a basket/cart. Besides vendors, homeschool conventions are home to lots of swag, like free shirts, cups, pens, and more! It can be tiresome to carry around books and other materials around with you all day, so make sure to bring something to carry around your goodies throughout the day. Check with your venue to see if carts or baskets with wheels are allowed.
- Keep a notebook and pen handy. Between workshops and speaker events, there is ample information to learn at homeschool conventions. Most find it helpful to take notes while at conventions to make the most out of the experience. For those who are more organized, you may want to invest in a binder with tabs to designate space for different speakers and workshops.
- Dress for success. Most homeschool conventions have long hours and involve a lot of walking. Dress in casual, comfortable clothing. Bring a jacket in case the venue is freezing inside, and wear comfortable shoes.
- Have fun! Remember, these conventions provide an amazing opportunity to connect with homeschoolers from all over. There are so many opportunities to learn, meet new people, and have fun. Take this time to bond with your family over the amazing choice you made to be homeschoolers. Relax – you’re going to have a great time.