Spring and summer generally offer more opportunities to go to a home educator’s conference or convention. You can spend a good bit of time and money at these events. When you prepare ahead of time you can minimize wasted time and money. Here are my top 18 tips for maximizing these opportunities:
1. As early as January, research the events that are within reach – time, money and geography wise.
2. Once you have your list of possible events, determine if you want to plan on going to one or more of these events.
3. Make a list of your goals for going – Sample goals:
a. To hear a specific speaker.
b. To hear someone speak on a specific topic.
c. To review a specific curriculum.
d. To see what curriculum is available for a specific subject.
e. To receive some encouragement.
f. To learn how to use a specific curriculum or method of teaching.
g. To involve your children during the conference.
h. To have a date with your spouse so you can plan together.
i. To find a class or other resource in your area for your children during the year.
4. Research those web sites of those organizations hosting your list of possible events.
5. Make a chart of your goals along the side and the events along the top, you can mark an X in each of the corresponding boxes when you find a goal that would be potentially met.
6. If you have time, you can wait a week or so before you go back and look at the information with fresh eyes.
7. Make a choice and check to see if pre-registration or lodging or child care or other preparation is required ahead of time.
8. Before the date, look on the web site to see all that is being offered at your conference and what exhibitors who will be present.
9. Make a budget with items that you know you need to purchase and how much you have to purchase. Going to web sites can give you an idea if an item is in your price range. There may be some conference specials that will help.
10. Make a plan of which workshops or general sessions you will attend and when you will visit the vendor’s hall.
11. Make a schedule that will be easy to read. If the brochure is available online, you may want to download, print and highlight.
12. Make a list of vendors whose booths you want to visit.
13. If you are going to be there two days, you could go through the whole hall fairly rapidly the first day to see what is interesting.
14. On the first day, you can collect materials that you can study that evening.
15. On the second day, you can plan on visiting some select booths so that you can ask questions.
16. If others man the booth while the speaker is speaking, you may want to plan a time other than right after you listen to the speaker or while he is speaking.
17. Allow a little time in your schedule to relax and enjoy doing what you enjoy doing at a conference.
18. If these tips micromanage your life too much, take the ones that you need to help you maximize your time at the convention.
Homeschool conventions can provide the support you need to enjoy the journey of learning with your family.