17 tips to prepare for a Homeschool Convention
Homeschool Convention Season is upon us. It is important to be prepared. You don’t want to go to the grocery store without a list. If you don’t have a list at the grocery story, you might come home with three bags of potato chips and forget to buy milk.
Why would you want to go to a homeschool convention without a list? You might come home with six different curriculum to teach spelling and forget to buy next years math textbook.
How do I know this might happen? You guessed it. I have six different spelling curriculum on my bookshelf.
17 tips to prepare for a Homeschool Convention
1. Prepare for the convention like you are training for a marathon. Start walking a mile a day carrying 10 pounds of textbooks.
2. At the convention wear practical shoes. The convention is not a fashion show. No high heels please. You will be doing a lot of walking. Do not buy new shoes for the convention. If you are foolish enough to do that. Bring moleskin and band aids. Sorry to call you foolish. I am foolish all the time. I just have moleskin in my shoulder bag.
3. If Todd Wilson from Familyman Ministries is at your convention, go hear him speak. I have heard him talk at Home school Conventions in Illinois, Minnesota and California. No, I wasn’t stalking him. I am just addicted to his funny stories and practical wisdom. And we moved a lot. You can check out his speaking schedule here.
4. Only bring cash. I once emptied out our checking account buying books I just “had to have.” The books I bought will be labeled and sold at this years Used Curriculum Sale; the spines uncracked. When your money envelope is empty you are done shopping.
5. Do not buy anything the first day. You want to check out all your options and prices. Unless it is at the used sale. The book you want might not be there later.
6. Know how much the books cost on Amazon. Look on-line before you leave home and know what the prices are on the books you want to buy. Then you will know if the “Best price of all the vendors,” really is.
7. Have a list. Just like at the grocery story. Know what you really need for next year and stick to your list. I know the book on How to Teach Your Children How to Love Cleaning Their Room looks wonderful, but wait until you get the books on your list first. And the How to Teach your Toddler Calculus looks interesting as well. However, your child hasn’t started to talk yet.
8. Look at the schedule for conference speakers before the convention starts. Plan out who you want to see the most. And don’t worry about missing all the talks. Most conventions record the speakers and you can buy the recordings at the conference.
9. Check the convention guidelines to see if they allow you to bring in wheeled carts or strollers. Some conventions do not allow strollers.
10. Bring address labels. A lot of vendors will have raffle drawings. You do not want to waste precious shopping time filling out your name and address. Just stick on an address label and keep shopping.
11. Park in the closest parking lot. If that means you have to pay more for parking than pay it. Dragging all of your books three blocks to your car will make you wish you had parked closer. Books get heavier the farther you have to walk.
12. Book your hotel room early. Most hotels offer a discount if you book early. They are attached to the convention
13. Book a hotel close attached to the convention site. You may pay more for the room to have it attached to the convention site. But often parking is included in the price. The advantage to being so close is you can sleep later and you can come and take a nap during the day without having to drive and find a parking space.
14. Get there early. If you are driving to the convention each day, get there early and grab a parking spot close to the door. Make it easy on yourself to get your pounds of school books to your car. Books get heavier the farther you have to walk. See #11.
15. Do not carry a purse. You will probably set it down when you are looking at books in the display hall. If you don’t want to listen to me and decide to carry a purse, put a remote sensor in it. When you realize you have lost your purse, hit find and your purse will start beeping. A purse with a should strap is a better idea or a fanny pack. You want to make it really easy to get out your money.
16. Relax. There is no perfect curriculum. What you used on one child might not work for the next one. You friend may love one math curriculum and you just don’t. If you don’t like what you bought, save it and sell it next year at the used curriculum
17. Smile. This is the most important advice I can give you. Your child may be able to spell pneumatic and know their times table by memory when they are three. But all of that doesn’t matter if their mommy doesn’t smile and love them when they make a mistake and spill their milk. No curriculum can help them feel loved. Only you can. So remember to smile.
I’ll talk to you later. I’m about to take my textbooks for a walk.
Can you think of anything I missed?
Please let me know in the comments. I would love to chat.
About Pamela Hodges
My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.