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Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention

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Attending a homeschool convention can be a HUGE help and boost to your homeschool year. Workshops provide teaching and encouragement for families while vendor halls and tables provide an up close and personal look at resources you may need for your children’s education.

Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention

These tips are my personal suggestion to make any homeschool convention fun! I will be attending the Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention {HEAV} at no cost and share about my experience there.

Before you attend a homeschool convention, here are a few things you may want to think about to make your trip a little less stressful and a whole lot more FUN!

  1. Determine your budget before you go. This may seem simple, but it is very easy to get carried away when you come upon that ‘perfect’ curriculum. Trust me – I know! Before you head out to the convention, sit down and know what you have to spend. Leave a little wiggle room though, because there are always lots of fun little things you’ll want to pick up for the kids while you are there!
  2. Bring your spouse or a friend. Attending the homeschool convention is always more fun if you have someone to share things with and bounce ideas back and forth. It also gives you a chance to ‘divide and conquer’. My husband has attended our homeschool convention every other year and likes to go to different sessions than I do, but we both share what we’re learning with each other. It’s a win-win!
  3. Review the speaker and workshop schedule before you attend. Most conventions offer a downloadable version of the convention schedule that you can go over before convention starts. Print it off, make notes in the margins and think about what workshops and sessions you would like to attend. You can narrow it down more when you get there.
  4. Attend workshops and take notes. That vendor hall will be enticing and there will be plenty of opportunity to visit, but you will be so very encouraged with the speakers and workshops that your convention provides. What you learn in the few days you are attending will be encouragement to you in the upcoming months as you continue to homeschool your family. Don’t underestimate what you can learn in a 45 minute session!
  5. Ask lots of questions! Make a list of questions you have for various companies and vendors. No question is too silly – I can guarantee they have been asked a wide variety of questions over the years and they are more than happy to help you out.  Be sure to grab catalogs as well from the vendors to review in your hotel room or at home.
  6. Make a list of what you are looking for and know the prices before heading out the door. There will be some great convention deals and some conventions have used curriculum sales {HEAV has a fabulous one!}. For example, that math curriculum you want may be $50 online {with free s/h} and the same price at the convention, but you have to lug it home. You may find it though for half the price. Because you also set up a budget, you may realize you have some extra wiggle room when all is said and done!
  7. Bring a rolling cart or something to haul around all of your goodies. Rolling suitcases also work great. Your arm will otherwise be a bit weary from the heavy books. Many vendors sell rolling carts at convention, but I’ve also seen them at Costco {and they collapse for easy storage}.
  8. Keep the kids happy. While we’ve never brought out children with us to convention, many offer a fabulous children’s program {HEAV offers a variety of programs for children and teens}. Some conventions allow children in the various sessions, so be sure to check to see if there are any age restrictions.
  9. Wear comfortable shoes. Think hard, cement floors and lots and lots of walking. And then add in another few hours of walking. Your feet will thank you for it {ask me how I know}.
  10. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy it! I hate to tell you, but you might not be able to conquer it all. That’s ok!! You have your list and your budget, so hopefully that will help you focus on what you need. Remember this: many conventions offer CDs or mp3 recordings of the various sessions from the weekend – take advantage of this. You can’t be in multiple places at once, but you can always listen to the recordings later {Note: the HEAV convention tells you in the schedule if a session will not be recorded, so you can be sure to attend those in person!}.

Last year I also shared my ten favorite things about the Home Educators of Virginia convention – not one of those reasons have changed!! Be sure to read that post here. You can also follow along this year with the #HEAVcon hashtag on Twitter. We’ll be sharing links and goodies leading up to the convention, and there will be a little something for everyone.

Attend the HEAV {Home Educators of Virginia} Convention!

One convention that I attend is the Home Educators of Virginia convention that is held annually in Richmond, VA. It has been a fabulous resource for encouragement, getting a peek at curriculum up close, and always has a collection of fabulous speakers.

 

 

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Two choices of student planners from Homeschool Creations - help get your student on track

 

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Comments

  1. ONE thing I’m most excited to do at the convention this year…. EVERYTHING!! Hard to choose just one thing!

  2. I am most looking forward to wrapping my head around everything involved with homeschooling a high-schooler. I haven’t been this stressed since we first started homeschooling!

  3. Shopping at the used curriculum sale!

  4. Joy Suits says

    My daughter’s highschool graduation!!!! Homeschooled since day 1, so this feels like a huge MILESTONE in our lives! We did it!!!!!!!!!!

    • BIG HOORAY!!!! {throwing confetti} that is WONDERFUL, Joy!! Congratulations to you and your daughter – that is definitely a huge milestone!

  5. So excited this year my very good friend and I are going and just taking babies with us!! We even get to stay over at the Marriott! So we’re going to do it all!

  6. Kim Lankford says

    I am very excited to see hands on the curriculums so I know which direction to go for next year. planning on making a list of specific ones to look at so I don’t get overwhelmed

  7. Kelly Johnson says

    I am excited to learn how to keep track of high school credits at the workshop!

  8. This is my first year to attend the convention and I’m super excited to hear the Duggars speak! I love watching their family and am looking forward to hearing their hearts away from the TV camera.

  9. I can’t wait to attend the convention. It will be my first time to hear the speakers.

  10. I’m excited to browse the curriculum hall, get fresh ideas, meet new homeschooling families and connect with friends.

  11. Shelly C says

    I am totally excited to see/hear Dianne Craft!!

  12. This would be my first convention. Looking forward to the keynotes.

  13. KelliBelly says

    I love browsing in the exhibit hall.

  14. I hope I get to go! This would be my first time and we’re trying to budget it in. I look forward to hearing Dianne Craft.

  15. The “Pin This Post” link isn’t working.

    • Michelle,

      The pin it option should be working now. You can always click the button under the main image in the post as well to pin it otherwise. Sorry!!

      Jolanthe

  16. Our family is so excited about this years convention; workshops, exhibits, graduates, Oh My!

  17. I’ve never been to that conference because I live in PA. I’ll be in MD during that week and would love to encounter homeschoolers from the South.

  18. apdobson says

    Will be a first for our family, and very much looking forward to it!

  19. Would so love to win this! This would be such a blessing to our family this year!
    Rough past twelve months medical wise, really eating at our money.
    CherylB1978@hotmail.com

  20. I love going to the HEAV convention every year. But this year I am especially excited to hear Jeff Meyers. I heard him many years ago and he is always so informative and inspiring.

  21. I am excited about the Used Curriculum sale!

  22. Tip number #35: Don’t cry. When I saw all these people with lists, books, and kids crying, I didn’t know what to do with myself I felt like the Mom’s Corner was a place to curl up and cry until I could get a hold of myself and look at curriculum my first year. Just go and have fun!

  23. I tried tweeting about this giveaway for the Rafflecopter entry & the link tweeted about an Easter wreath giveaway.

    • I edited that and for some reason it didn’t save correctly. Thank you so much for letting me know. Here’s the tweet to send out:

      Win a family pass to @HEAV #homeschool convention via @jolantheerb! Enter here: http://bit.ly/16ComCn #HEAVcon

      Jolanthe

  24. Excited about the conference and excited for a chance to win a pass :-)

  25. I am excited about the used curriculum sale. I’m hoping to find everything I need for the up coming year. :)

  26. I am excited about the curriculum sale, the duggars, and going with friends!

  27. Great tips! I’ll be attending a convention in my home state, and I’m looking forward to hearing workshops about writing and math in particular. One comment I had about your list for those of us attending other conventions, is to check and make sure your convention allows rolling carts before you buy one just for the conference! The conference I attend in MN prohibits them, but does have a “book check” where you can leave your purchases while you attend other sessions.

  28. Most excited to hear Polyface Farms Joel Salatin!

  29. Can’t wait to hear the Duggers.

  30. I can’t wait to spend time with my best friend and find the best curriculum for our boys.

  31. I attend every year but even after 17 yrs homeschooling, i feel i need to attend more than ever!

  32. I want this!

  33. Can’t wait to hear about multilevel teaching from the Duggars.

  34. Sherry Wolfe says

    I’m excited about meeting new friends!

  35. I’m excited to get away with some girlfriends and re-energize for the upcoming school year!

  36. Love the advice! Looking forward to my daughters graduation

  37. GREAT advice!

  38. I tweeted (quacked7) what you put in the comment earlier, but I don’t see a widget to use for the giveaway.

  39. Penny Kouns says

    Thanks so much for all the great tips! Looking forward to being refreshed and encouraged. Excited about the used curriculum sale :) and the Duggars ;)

  40. Jennifer Holland says

    Looking forward to seeing the Duggars and having some R&R.

  41. Heather g says

    I am super excited to hear the Duggars speak. And, to be refreshed, encouraged, and inspired by all the workshop speakers. Always my favorite reason to go.

  42. I’m really looking forward to hearing the Duggars!

  43. dflorentine says

    I’m excited about Jonathan Lewis speaking, his articles in Homeschool Enrichment have been such an encouragement to me!

  44. I am excited to hear from the Duggars. If they can homeschool 19 kids I surely can handle two!

  45. This would make my day!

  46. Would love to win …trying to decide whether or not homeschooling is right for us

  47. The Duggers and the used book sale!

  48. Kim Lankford says

    I am very excited to see the duggars of course but also to see hands on curriculums and used curriculums. my son is vision impaired so its crucial to see hands on before ordering so I can see what works for him

  49. The UCS and vendor halls are my favorite. I love to be able to touch and see curriculum I am considering.

  50. Tracy Minyard says

    I love HEAV and am excited about the whole thing!

  51. I just attended an AWESOME convention myself and your tips were exactly what I tried to do too. I am so glad I was able to attend this event too. So much fantastic information and I can’t wait to attend another one.

    Take care!
    Dee

  52. Sometimes it feels like we’re the only homeschoolers – so mingling with others who homeschool and being able to discuss what I learn with them is my highlight.

  53. I’d just love to attend my first convention, period! I’ll figure out what I’m most excited about while I’m there! =)

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