It’s here! Homeschool Convention session is finally here! Regardless of where you are in your homeschooling journey, this is an exciting time of the year. Homeschool conventions are what many of us look forward to for the entire year, dreaming of the friendships we will renew, strategies we will learn, laughs we’ll have as a family, and, of course, the great curriculum deals we’ll score. So, if you’re not sure if you should attend a Homeschool Convention this year, read this post. For those of you who’ve registered, booked your hotels, and are already scouring the workshop list to make your plans, here’s your go to Homeschool Convention prep list, so you’ll make the most from your time this year.
The Must Have Homeschool Convention Prep List
- Book your travel arrangements. Homeschool conventions are popular, really popular. Usually, they’re connected to a hotel or group of hotels that you can book for a discounted rate. But, those rooms sell out fast! Book your hotel rooms and plane tickets ASAP to secure the best rate and ensure you get a room. If you’re bringing the whole family, plan to come a day early to decompress and get to know the lay of the land before the convention starts. Want to save money on food? Bring your snacks and try to book a hotel with a small fridge. Or, bring along a large cooler and make use of the free ice in the hotel!
- Make a list of the workshops you want to attend. You’re a homeschooler, a rock star, a family-focused parent. So, chances are you know what you’re doing well and what you could improve. Make a list of those ways you want to grow this year as a homeschool parent, and the ways you want to help your kids grow and goals you want to see them accomplish. Then choose your homeschool convention workshops based upon these goals. Choose a main goal to focus on, like finding a record keeping strategy, helping your student with ADHD, or teaching writing. Attend workshops devoted to this main goal. Try to choose only 2-3 per day so that you do not get overloaded. There’s no way you can hear and see all you want to see so plan to purchase the recordings at the end of the convention. And take notes! You’ll forget a lot of what you hear, but your notes will last and give you a refresher on what you found most helpful.
- Make a list of your curriculum needs and holes. A homeschool convention is a great place to purchase curriculum because you’ll often score the best deals and extras. But, if you come to a homeschool convention without knowing what you need, or at least a vague idea of the holes you need to fill in your curriculum plan, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Remember, the vendors are there for one reason only, to sell you curriculum. So, homeschool conventions are not the best place to make curriculum decisions on the spot. Rather, view the vendors as a way to peruse options to fill the holes on your needs list. I like to categorize my list this way:
- Must Buy Publishers- the curriculum you know you’re going to walk out the door with;
- “Take a Look” Publishers- these are the publishers or learning resources that have peaked your interest, and you want to take a look at;
- Curriculum Holes- these are your wide open areas where you need a new curriculum and just don’t know where to start! Consider attending workshops that speak to this area to give you a good start at curriculum considerations.
- Make a packing list. You’ll need more than just your basic travel needs like clothing and toiletries. Plan to pack a rolling suitcase or a milk crate on rollers to lug your curriculum around. You’ll also need a notebook, pens, highlighter (for the convention map!), camera, and a large bag to hold all of the workshop handouts you receive. Snacks, water bottles, and a small first aid kit is always a good choice as well. Bring a deck of cards, activity books and other small games for your kids to do while they wait for the child area to open or during meal times. Oh, and dress in layers, the convention hall could be too hot or too cold depending upon your internal temperature.
- Map out your convention. Download a map of the convention hall, vendors, workshop locations, and even food stands you’ll be visiting. Get out that highlighter and highlight the places you’ll be going and write the time and date next to them. Consider using a different color highlighter for the places your kids will be attending Then make a color copy for each member of your family old enough to read a map, so you’re all on the same page.
Use this homeschool convention prep list to make sure you’re raring and ready to go come convention time. Trust me; it will save you time, stress, and money! Above all, don’t forget to take the time to spend with your family and enjoy being around other homeschoolers. Chances are this is the one time each year where you’re in the majority. Soak it up and enjoy!
Which homeschool convention are you attending this year and why? Tell us in a comment below!