In a couple days I will be heading down to Cincinnati for the Midwest Homeschool Convention. I have been looking forward to the convention for several months now.
I remember my very first homeschool convention….it was in 2007. I was not prepared for the convention, wasn’t really sure what to expect. We had only been homeschooling for about two years and I didn’t know anyone that was going. Needless to say, I left feeling very overwhelmed by it….and spent way too much money on things that we never used…..and was exhausted trying to lug all of my purchases around in a book bag or in my arms. I never made it to any of the workshops or speaker sessions. It was NOT a very nice experience for me.
Thankfully, that terrible experience didn’t deter me from attending another convention. This year will mark my fourth convention and each year since the first has been a better experience then the last. I learn something new each time that makes it a little easier and more enjoyable.
So I am going to share with you some of the things that I have learned about attending conventions.
1. Review the speaker session schedule to plan which sessions you absolutely want to attend. I was really disappointed the first year that I missed the speaker sessions. Last year, I really studied the session schedule so I knew exactly when & where the sessions were that I wanted to attend. I was able to attend at least 3 speaker sessions each on Friday and Saturday and then I purchased the recorded CD of a few more.
2. Bring a notebook & pen/pencils for taking notes during the speaker sessions. Most of the sessions that I attended had handouts/pamphlets that you could take notes on, but I found it easier last year to have one place for all of my notes & session schedule to be. I used a zippered 3-ring binder last year, which was little cumbersome sometimes in the really busy sessions that don’t have much space, this year I will be bringing just a pocket folder, note pad/pen, & my iPad for notetaking….we will see how that works out.
3. Don’t forget to bring the list of books/supplies/curriculum that you are wanting to purchase. I did that last year, thankfully, I remembered most of my list because it wasn’t very long.
4. Check the second-hand vendors FIRST!!! Always check the used/second-hand vendors first for specific items. My second convention I purchased a book at full-price at one vendor and then ran across it at one of the used/second-hand vendors for half the price 🙁
5. Bring a wheeled cart of some sort. Your arms and back will thank you later!!!! Like I said before, my first year I lugged several books around in my arms for a few hours because I didn’t take anything to carry what I purchased. Not to mention all of the free things that you pick up along the way.
6. You probably all ready know this but….wear REALLY comfy shoes!!! Lots and Lots of walking!!!!
7. Bring a sweater or jacket. It is sometimes chilly in the vendor hall and sometimes you have to walk outside a little to get to a few of the speaker sessions….and in Ohio….you just never know what the weather will be like this time of year.
8. Bring a water bottle. There are water fountains in the convention hall so that you can refill as needed. The refreshment stands are little over-priced.
9. Last year I decided to eat at one of the local area deli/cafe’s outside the convention hall. The weather was nice for walking a few blocks. I felt refreshed and was able to regroup my plans for the rest of the day. It was still a little pricey but definitely not more than eating at one of the refreshment stands.
10. And something I am doing this year….printed address labels. Instead of constantly filling out all of the free drawings/vendor mailing lists cards, I will just affix one of my printed address labels….quick and easy! Make sure to include your name, address, email, & phone number on your label.
Well, I hope that these little tips help you prepare for your convention trip. If you are heading to Cincy….keep an eye out for me and say hi!
Oh & this year….added bonus…I will get to meet some of my fellow Schoolhouse Review Crew members!!! So excited to get the chance to meet some of them face to face!!!
Thanks for stopping by!