We are quickly approaching one of the most exciting times of year for a homeschooling parent: Convention Time!
There is something really invigorating about being in a place with thousands of homeschoolers. You can’t beat the vibe, that’s for sure. As much fun as a homeschool convention can be, your first few conventions can be overwhelming.
I’ve put together what I consider a survival guide, things that are MUST HAVES for anyone attending a convention.
Homeschool Convention Survival Must Haves
1. Good shoes – Trust me on this one, you want to wear good shoes. Might I suggest my favorite, Crocs flip flops? Ok, so maybe Crocs aren’t your thing, but you are going to want a pair of comfortable, worn-in shoes that will carry you through miles of walking.
2. A Game Plan & a List – Most conventions list their speakers and vendors ahead of time. Make a note of those lectures you most want to hear and the vendors you most want to visit. Organize them by day and time so you have a basic game plan.
3. Something to Carry Your Stuff – Even if you don’t buy anything you’re going to get a lot of swag, you’ll want an easy way to carry it around. If you don’t mind walking to your vehicle frequently a reusable grocery bag will probably work, but you might want to consider a roomy backpack or a pull cart. You can usually buy pull carts at the bigger conventions but you’ll save a lot of money by bringing your own.
4. Several Pens & a Small Notebook – You never know who you’ll meet and click with, or when you’ll want to take notes in a lecture or to mark prices when you’re looking at curriculum. Bring several working pens and a small notebook so you’re prepared for anything!
5. Pre-Printed Address Labels – You know all those address stickers you get around the holidays? Save them this year! If you don’t have any you can easily print your own. The perfect address sticker will have your name, address, phone number, and email address. Why do you want to bring these? Almost every vendor will have a box to enter a giveaway or to be put on a discount list. Having pre-printed address labels will save you precious time and energy.
6. Cash – Most vendors will take cards but you’ll want to have some cash on you for incidentals like parking, sodas, snacks, and small purchases.
7. Snacks – Pack your bag with some high protein snacks or meal replacement bars. If your convention allows you may even want to pack your lunch! Conventions are fun but they’re busy and you’re going to need a snack.
8. A Smart Phone With a Data Plan – Not every convention will have free wifi, but a phone with a data plan is a great tool to have! From it you can price check, follow Facebook pages for special discounts, connect with friends who are attending, and keep in touch with your family.
What would you add to this list? Comment below or join the conversation on Facebook!
Meg Grooms is a long-time homeschooling mother of 6 children, ranging in age from preschool to married with kids of their own. Always a vagabond at heart, Meg and her family have embraced a slow travel lifestyle and currently call Southern California home. Your guess is as good as hers as to where they’ll end up next.
Meg blogs about secular homeschooling and gameschooling at Homeschool Gameschool.