Going to your first anything can be scary, but in my opinion, it’s especially scary if what you’re doing can affect your kids. This is the case with homeschool conventions. While they’re fun, they can also be nerve wracking and stressful and no one wants to deal with that when you’re trying to do what you feel is best for your child. The thing about these types of conventions or any convention really is that there are certain things you can avoid doing to make your experience better.
The first thing you need to realize is that things WILL be hectic during your convention. The second is that mistakes will happen and so might a few minor emergencies. The best thing to do is plan for what you can and deal with the rest one step at a time. To plan, take a look below at what you don’t want to do. Avoid these things at all costs and chances are, your convention trip will go off without a hitch.
- Not setting a budget- Speaking from experience one thing you do not want to do is walk into a convention without a very specific plan, but yet one that allows for extras. Even though I had already chosen and purchased my curriculum for the next year, my first convention found me filling my bags with games, leveled readers, read aloud books, activities, supplements, and more. I did not go in with a budget and therefore overspent outrageously.
- Comparison– While one of the benefits of attending a homeschool convention is to be able to compare curriculums and other items if you have already chosen your curriculum don’t let your head be turned by everyone you see. There are tons out there and not one is right for every person. If you do find one that you just feel strongly about get the catalog and a business card from the rep. Take them home and if you still feel the same when you get home you may be able to sell your other curriculum on an online curriculum board for a price close to what you paid. Then, you can alleviate some of the guilt for buying a whole new one.
- Going alone- Of course you could go alone, have a good time and get a lot out of it but in my opinion it is better with a good homeschooling friend or your spouse. Someone to bounce ideas off of, laugh with, and maybe help keep you in check is a great idea! Share a room, ideas, a meal, and some great memories. The ticket I purchased for mine included my spouse’s admission and the kids however I wanted to go without the kids so that I could be unhurried and not distracted when looking.
- Going without a game plan- Conventions are so big and so overwhelming it is easy to miss out on things you would have enjoyed. Check over schedules beforehand on their website and come up with a flexible game plan. When should you shop? What times are the best speakers or classes being offered? Make sure you have time for relaxing too!
- Being rushed- Allow yourself plenty of time, get there early- sometimes you will find lines for registration, information, or a speaker that you want to hear who is popular and seats are limited. If the convention is 2 or 3 days consider getting a room and staying the entire time so you have plenty of time for shopping, activities, and speakers.
- Getting overloaded with information- If you go with at least a general knowledge of what you are looking for in mind you can stay focused and only spend your time at the booths that will meet your needs as well as sitting in on select speakers.
- Exhaustion- I would have laughed at this one had I not gone and seen how very much there is to do and see there. Just the vendors displays alone took all day and we didn’t even see everything. Take a coffee break or two, stop for lunch, spend a couple hours at the pool lounging if you can.
Have you attended a homeschool convention lately? I’d love to hear what you think should be avoided for new convention goers!
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