Preparing for your First Homeschool Convention or conference doesn’t have to be hard! Though it felt that way at first to me, I am so glad we attended that first time and learned that it is worth going every year!
After going every year now, I have learned what is most important for us. However, each family is different, so take that into consideration and plan according to your overall goals for your homeschool.
Local to the Pacific Northwest? Attend the Oregon Christian Home Education Conference every year in Albany, Oregon! More info HERE. The OCEANetwork conference is an amazing two-day event that provides biblical encouragement & practical tips for homeschool families every year.
How To Prepare For Your First Homeschool Convention
- Have it double as a getaway, if possible. My husband & I always go together and use it as an opportunity to get a break from the kids. We also try to stay overnight in a hotel to make it more enjoyable and relaxing.
- Research the venue. Does it allow you to bring your own food and drinks? Will you need to bring money to buy lunch on-site? Are there restaurants within walking distance?
- Research Parking/lodging before you go. Check into this and be prepared to pay for parking if needed! Check out hotels and decide whether you want to be within walking distance to the convention or if a short commute is acceptable each day.
- Take Inventory At Home. If you are planning to buy curriculum and other resources from the conference, be sure to take an inventory of your current materials and make a list of what you need.
- Take pictures of the books you own. I like to take pictures of our YWAM books since I know they will be at the conference offering awesome deals and I will not remember which books we already have.
- Set a budget. If possible, bring cash in the amount you have budgeted. Be sure to bring your shopping/wishlist for the curriculum and other products the vendors offer.
- Plan Which Vendors To Visit. Unless you go in with a plan, you might end up feeling overwhelmed by all of the great homeschool vendor booths! You must explore the conference website and vendor list, make a plan of which vendors are most important to you to visit first, write a list of the curriculum you need and want, and then stick to it while at the conference.
- Decide On Sessions. There are so many speakers at each year’s conference, you will need to decide beforehand exactly who you want to see most. I create a list of which speakers I would love to see and have the times they are speaking written down.
- Bring A Wagon. I am joking … kind of. We bring an oversized tote bag to carry anything we buy, the handouts, free samples, etc. We usually end up making a trip to the car to drop off our treasures mid-day and then fill it back up in the afternoon! I have seen people with wagons, so you won’t be out of place if you do bring one. 😉
- Dress Comfortably. I wear comfy shoes, jeans or leggings, a tunic, and a cardigan. I want to be comfortable in both stuffy and breezy rooms (short sleeves with a light cardigan works for me), while sitting (covering my lower back and making sure my pants aren’t revealing too much while sitting is important to me, hence the tunic-length shirts), and walking (sandals or heels are usually not ideal for hours on your feet at the conference).
- Writing Material. I bring a small notebook that can fit in my purse and a pencil for taking notes during sessions. Most speakers hand out notes and even blank papers for taking notes, but not all do.
- Cell Phone/Camera. I use my smartphone to do price comparisons, look up reviews, and to take pictures (both for personal and professional use, since I am a Blogging Partner for our local conference). You can even use it for your shopping list and for taking notes if you are the techy type. 🙂 Snapping pictures of the vendors that you are interested in, but want to research more at home make it easy to record their information without taking the time to write it all down.
These are the ways I prepare for homeschool conventions. I hope that you will find them helpful!