It’s an exciting time of year for homeschooling families in the US as March is the great homeschool convention month. Homeschool conventions conjure up feelings of excitement and anticipation in many homeschooling families, and absolute panic in others! While homeschooling tradeshows can be a great place to find the perfect curriculum, fresh homeschooling strategies, and even make connections with other homeschooling families, they can also be overwhelming, confusing, and downright frustrating, especially for new homeschoolers! Whether you’re headed to Great Homeschool Convention, Southeast Homeschool Convention, Texas Homeschool Convention (learn more about Texas Homeschool Requirements) , or a host of other gathers around the nation in March, stick with these helpful tips to make the most of your experience without losing your homeschooling mind!
3 Strategies for Homeschool Convention Success
- Go with a plan in mind. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. This sentiment is 100% true at a homeschool convention where you’ll be surrounded by hundreds of vendors trying to sell you something! That’s why the most important part of finding homeschool convention success happens before you get there! Start by viewing the vendor lists on the homeschool convention website. Make a list of the curriculum outlets, publishers, etc. you want to visit along with what you’re looking for and place it in a 3 ring binder with a folder and some extra paper to take notes at the convention. When you get to the homeschool convention spend 20 minutes locating those vendor stalls on your map and mapping out a route so that you don’t miss your key players. Many attend homeschool conventions to gain more insight, knowledge, and support in their daily homeschooling life. The same strategy above applies to homeschool convention workshops. Before you go, make a list of the types of strategies and information you need to up your homeschool game next year. Then puruse the workshop schedule and make a plan for those talks you really want to attend, making sure to give yourself breaks in between workshops. Prioritize the concepts or training you think is most critical. Don’t forget to take your binder with you and stash all of the workshop handouts in your folder. You’ll find these events are information overload so take notes and plan to revisit them later after you’ve come down from the convention high!
- Bring your A game, and snacks!
Homeschool tradeshows are like marathons! They can be overwhelming in their size and scope and exhausting, which is why physical preparation is as important as mental. You’ll spend 2-3 solid days on your feet surrounded by others being and hearing more than you can possibly process! That’s why it pays dividends to be physically ready for the convention. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing layers. Bring snacks, water, and a rolling suitcase or bag for curriculum purchases so you’re not lugging them around on your tired shoulders. If you’re bringing your children definitely pack a stroller, more snacks, and consider taking long range walkie-talkies so that you can communicate across the stadium with bigger kiddos. Just like a trip to Disney, you may want to schedule a break in the middle of the day to rest and recuperate before the afternoon and evening events.
- Be Smart, Be Brave, Be Thrifty
Seasoned homeschoolers know that homeschool conventions often have the best prices on curriculum. And there’s nothing like scoring a deal to make you feel like you’ve achieved convention success! On the flip side, there’s nothing more frustrating than walking around the corner after a purchase to see the exact item you just purchased being sold for less at another vendor. That’s why it pays to walk before you talk! Walk around the convention hall to see the sales a few times before you purchase anything. Take notes of prices and ask if the vendor does price matching or has a convention special. Vendors will often offer great deals like free shipping from the convention, special percentage discounts or free items after the first day so take your time in making your purchase decisions. And be brave! Ask each vendor to beat their competition. Chances are you’ll win if you play “let’s make a deal!”
March is the great homeschool convention month, so make the most out of your experience with these 3 strategies and we’re sure you’ll walk away feeling like the homeschool expert we know you are! And don’t forget to come visit our booth’s this year as we will be at all the Great Homeschool Conventions.
What are you most excited to see at this year’s homeschool conventions?