Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How a New Homeschool Mom Prepares for Convention

This will be my third year attending the HEAV convention.  So I guess I am no longer a “new” homeschool mom, but I still remember preparing for my first two conventions and what worked and didn’t work for me.  I want to share a few tips and tricks I learned these last two years and send one lucky person to the convention (details below)!

How A New Homeschool Mom Prepares for Convention

Here are 10 quick tips that helped me to get the most out of my first two conventions:

1. Do your Homework – Look through all the things you have and get a general plan for your year.  Figure out what items you need and write a list.  On your list include the price you know you can get it for online (including shipping).  Look through the list of exhibitors and see if you can purchase anything while at convention.

2. Create a speaker schedule – Read through all of the speakers bios and topics for the convention.  Look at the schedule and figure out which sessions you would like to attend.

3. Wear comfy shoes – You will do LOTS of walking so wear some shoes that will allow you do that!  I usually wear my sneakers!  They are not the most fashionable, but my feet thank me later!

4. Walk through the Exhibit Hall once with out making a purchase – This was something I did quite by accident the first year I went to convention.  I walked into the Exhibit hall and was completely overwhelmed by all of the booths, people, and awesome things wanting my money!  I walked through and just looked at everything.  I didn’t really stop and touch anything or look through anything.  I just got the lay of the land and took it all in.  The next year I did the same thing.  This helped me to see all of the different venders that were there that I wasn’t familiar with.  This allowed me to buy a couple of things from places I would have missed since I didn’t know them by name and would have used my “fun” budget money up already.

5. Set and stick to your budget – There are so many wonderful companies out there.  They have some great curriculum, toys, games, books, etc. that are calling to you.  You, however, wont be able to use them all and your bank account needs to stay in the black!  Before you go to convention, set a budget for the things you must get, would like to get, and some “fun” money.  The “fun” money is for all of those cool homeschool extras that you know your kids will love.  Since you already did your homework, you know how much each thing will cost you if you buy it at home.  If you find a great deal on something you can return home under budget or move the allotted money to the “fun” category .. I usually go with the latter. *hi Tim!*

6. Talk to the speakers Don’t be shy!  Ask them questions during the Q&A part of their talk, or wait until their session is over and ask questions, or better yet find them in the exhibit hall and talk to them!  I have learned so many wonderful things from the various speakers I have talked with over the past two years.  I felt so much more prepared to start on this homeschool journey.

7. Bring something to take notes with – You will forget most of the things you heard in the session.  You don’t think you will but you will get a TON of information thrown at you while at convention and it is impossible to remember it all.  Whether you are a traditional pen and paper kind of note taker or a tablet/laptop note taker, take notes!  It usually takes me about a month to finish going through all of the things I learned in one weekend at convention.  This would not be possible without taking notes!

8. Check out the Used Curriculum Sale I have purchased some amazing resources at the used curriculum sale.  I have found several things on my “need to get” list and got them a lot cheaper than in the exhibit hall.  This allowed me to make several fun purchases that Sammy has really enjoyed!

9. Relax – Don’t let the convention weekend be stressful.  It is suppose to be a fun time to learn from different people and find curriculum that works great for you.  You don’t have to go to every single session or check out every single booth in the exhibit hall. 

10. Pray – Do this before you go, while you are there and after you leave.  Pray about your plan for next year.  Pray before you make any big purchases! Pray that you can use everything you learned and purchased to make your next year wonderful. 

Now for a Home Educators of Virginia Convention giveaway!

2013 Homeschool Convention

You have the chance to win  a Full Family Registration for the 2013 HEAV convention.  This includes workshops, used curriculum sale, exhibit hall, and tickets to the Duggar keynote session.  This is an $89 dollar value!!  Enter the giveaway using the widget below.

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