10 Useful Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention

Jan 17, 2014

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Homeschool conventions can be a fun, rewarding family experience. It can be a great source of inspiration, ideas and encouragement. Here are some useful tips to help you help you have a great experience at your next homeschool convention.

Pre-register for the convention to save money.

Most homeschool conventions offer pre-registration discounts. Save a little money by purchasing your registration as soon as possible.

Plan where you will be staying.

Do you have family or friends in the area? Be sure to confirm and reconfirm the dates. You don't want to show up at their house only to learn your friends or family went on a weekend holiday.

Will you be staying in a hotel? Reserve your room as soon as possible. Do not wait until the last minute. The closer to the convention date you wait, the more likely the hotels will be booked. Taking the first fleabag motel you can find, once you arrive, will certainly not make for a pleasurable weekend. 

Many homeschool conventions have special pricing arrangements with nearby hotels. Be sure to look into that. If you have a membership with the HSLDA, check out your membership perks. You can get special discounts at hotels as a member. 

Set Goals

What do you most want to achieve? Are you seeking inspiration and encouragement from speakers? Is your focus to research homeschool curricula? 

Start creating a list of goals. Study the list speakers and workshops. Which ones meet your goals? Create a list. 

Plan for the vendor hall or curriculum fair.

This is probably one of the most fun parts of a homeschool convention. Review the list of vendors, decide what you're interested in researching. Then plan a budget. You wouldn't turn your kids loose in a candy shop or toy store with your credit card. Don't turn yourself loose in the vendor hall without a budget and a plan. 

Create an itinerary. 

Although it's tempting to play it by ear, this probably isn't the best idea. There are a lot of speakers and workshops scheduled back-to-back. It's unrealistic to think you'll be able to attend everything at the event.

Go over your list of goals, speakers and workshops. Prioritize them. 

If you're bringing a spouse or other adult (I'm bringing an adult daughter), you can visit two speakers or workshops at the same time, take notes and share with each other. 

Create your schedule for the weekend. 

Plan for your children.

A homeschool convention can be fun for the family, but kids are kids. If you don't plan for them, you'll have bored, fussy children on your hands. That's no fun for anyone. 

Find out if your convention offers children's programs and workshops. Make sure you fit that on the itinerary.  

Set a budget.

  • What will you spend on food?
  • Curriculum?
  • Family activities not related to the convention?
  • Gas/travel?
Set your budget and stick to it. Homeschool conventions can be fun, but going broke is never fun.

Pace yourself and make time for fun.

You can't do it all. It's simply not possible. Enjoy the things you have on your schedule, but remember to take breaks. Tired, achy feet and unhappy children make for a miserable day. 

Academics, support and encouragement are great, but remember to be balanced. Include rest and recreation in your schedule. Go back to your hotel room for a rest and some T.V. Maybe visit a local park, play mini-golf or children's museum. 

You'll feel refreshed and ready to head back for the next set of speakers and workshops. 

Pack plenty of snacks for energy. 

Pack high protein snacks for the entire family. Peanut butter and crackers, granola bars, protein bars, containers of fresh fruits and veggies are some good ideas. Low blood sugar or low protein can mean cranky moods and tired bodies. Make sure everyone is snacking in between meals. Remember to bring water, too. 

Connect at the end of each day. 

Review your day together. What did each person particularly enjoy? What did they dislike? Was there a time when they just wanted to go take a nap?

Discussing the day can help you adjust for the following day's events and plans. Most importantly, it shows a respect for each member of the family, letting them know you are considering their wants and desires.

What tips do you have for attending a homeschool convention? 

Learn more reasons and tips for attending a homeschool convention from the other bloggers at iHomeschool Network.

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Happy Homeschooling!

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