Are you planning on attending a homeschool convention this year? They are incredible events to attend. But if you don’t prepare for homeschool conventions, you won’t be ready to get the most out of attending one.
So here are ten tips to help you prepare for homeschool conventions and get the curriculum and tips you need to give your children an amazing homeschool year!
10 Tips to Prepare for Homeschool Conventions
While just attending a homeschool convention will be amazing and helpful, there are a few ways to prepare so that you can get the most bang for your buck. You’ll be able to walk away from the convention with your questions answered and the curriculum you need.
Plus, you’ll be ready to jump into the new school year.
1. Research Homeschool Conventions
The first step is to browse through the homeschool conventions that you’re interested in attending. Find out when and where the convention is being held, who will be speaking there, and what curriculum providers will be attending.
Check to find out if there are any activities for the kids or if the convention is only for the parents.
Each convention has a different focus, speakers, and curriculum providers that show up. So check out all the homeschool conventions you’re interested in attending to discover which ones will best fit your needs.
2. Determine What You Want from the Convention
Now that you have an idea of what’s happening at the various conventions, you can make sure you know what you want to get out of the convention.
Are you looking for curriculum, inspiration, or help? If you’re just starting to homeschool, do you need how-to tips or pointers on homeschool methods that fit your family’s needs?
When I’m looking at homeschool conventions, I’m often wanting to get some advice about areas my kids and I are struggling with. This may be writing, history, or even scheduling advice, especially when I had six children at home. I needed all the help I could get to balance the needs of both my high school teenagers and my little toddlers!
So make a list of what you’d like to get from the convention. Also, note what speakers and events you really want to attend.
3. Do You Want to Take Your Family
Now it’s time to figure out if you’d like to take your family. To be honest, when I had very young children, 6 years and younger, I left the kids at home with my husband and attended the curriculum by myself.
Often, the conventions have activities for older children. Kids love meeting other homeschooled kids and getting a chance to check out books, activities, and opportunities that may be available to them.
Plus, teenagers enjoy having a say in the curriculum they use. For instance, I will give my teenagers a choice of acceptable science curricula that they can choose between.
Teenagers can check out the programs at a homeschool convention and choose the one they like. High school teenagers are more invested in their classes when they have a say in what they study.
So decide if you want to go by yourself or take your family along.
4. Make the Reservations
Now it’s time to make your reservations! Unless the convention is happening close to your home, you will likely need to book a hotel or find a place to stay. You may also need to make travel arrangements if it’s a long distance.
Don’t forget to sign up to attend the convention!
When you sign up, usually you’ll be choosing which events you plan on attending, if you want your children to join the children’s activities, etc. So it helps if you already know what you’d like to do at the homeschool convention. It will make signing up a breeze.
5. Subjects and Grades
Homeschool conventions are an excellent place to go curriculum shopping. You’ll find vendors from all over the country showing their different programs, and you’ll be able to thumb through the curriculum.
But the problem is that there’s so much to offer that you can be easily overwhelmed by everything available.
So make sure you know what subjects and grades you’ll be teaching your kids this next school year. You don’t need a detailed plan, just an idea of the subjects and grades.
6. Research Curriculum
Now spend a few minutes looking into what providers will be there. You won’t have time to spend hours at every booth in the convention, but if you have a couple of programs you’re trying to choose between, you will have time to hang out at both booths.
Each booth will have people who actually use and develop the curriculum ready to answer your questions. They can help you determine the correct level, give you pointers for getting started, and answer questions about how the curriculum works in real life, with real kids, at the kitchen table.
Plus, you can thumb through each program and come away with a good idea about if it’s going to be a good fit for your family.
7. Set a Budget to Prepare for a Homeschool Convention
Do not, I repeat… do not go to a convention without giving yourself a budget!
There are so many wonderful providers, kits, and opportunities that it’s too easy to break the bank. So make a budget for how much you’d like to spend at the convention so you don’t overspend and break your budget.
8. Prepare for Homeschool Conventions: Create a Schedule
Homeschool conventions are crazy in a good way. There’s so much to do, so much to see, and so much to buy that it’s hard to fit everything in.
Before you head to the convention, outline a general schedule for yourself.
- When will you be attending specific events or listening to speakers?
- When will you eat?
- When will you browse and window shop the various booths?
- Are there specific booths you want to hang out at, ask questions, and spend a long period of time getting familiar with the program?
- And when do you want to purchase the curriculum you need?
Make sure you have a general schedule outlined along with meeting places in case your family and friends get separated in the crowd.
9. Plan to Take Notes and Ask Questions
Take a notebook and pens along with you when you attend the convention.
Making a list of questions ahead of time that you’d like answered, a list of programs you’d like to check out, and speakers you’d like to hear is super helpful. This way, you’ll be prepared if you run into the speakers hanging out at the convention or during a question-and-answer time period.
So stick a notebook and some pens into your suitcase!
10. Pack for the Convention
When you’re packing for the convention, be sure to take a pair of comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet for hours!
If your family is staying at a hotel, remember to pack swimming suits. Snacks are also handy to keep up everyone’s energy while you’re running around the convention trying to do and see everything that’s available.
Ultimately, a convention is an amazing event that will help you become a better homeschool parent for your children. And these amazing ten tips will help you prepare for homeschool conventions so that you can get the most out of attending one.
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