Spring means the end of the school year is near and for homeschoolers that means it is homeschool convention season! It is time to look for new curriculum or the next years textbooks as well as take is encouraging workshops. Many locations across the country offer family friendly homeschool convention options with great price options. Individual tickets or family tickets depending on if it’s a parent getaway or a family staycation! If you plan on taking the kids with you then consider making them their own ID.
Homeschool Convention Tips for the Parents
1.Read the schedule before going
One mom who goes to the Midwest Homeschool Convention EVERY year suggests downloading the schedule onto a tablet or ipad. Jot down the workshops that interest you then highlight everything once the final schedule and exhibit hall map are available.
2. Pack snacks and water
Jerky, cheese and cracker packs, fruit leathers and a small lunch will keep your wallet happy! Make sure that your bag can carry a water bottle. Throw a whole case into your car’s trunk if you plan to attend the whole 3 days of convention.
3. Wear comfy clothes and layer
More then one mom told me how the temperature can very from freezing to hot depending on where you are in the convention center. You will want a light sweater or jacket for the cooler rooms. Be sure that you have shoes that are comfortable and good for walking (pack a 2nd pair to swap out if you are attending all 3 days.)
4. Backpack and a Rolling cart
Be sure to have a comfortable backpack for your snacks, wallet, and pocket folder to hold all the inserts and handouts. If you downloaded notes onto a device like a tablet or ipad be sure to pack that as well. The rolling cart will come in handy if you plan to purchase curriculum in the vendor hall.
5. Phone charger & head phones
You will be in a large building with tons of people so even with free WiFi it may be limited. I personally rely on WiFi to keep our bills down for our Republic Wireless phones but off WiFi the battery goes down quicker. Grab a wall charger or rechargeable power pack to keep your phone going all conference long!
Know where you parked (take a picture on your phone!) Then always park near the skywalk (if they have one) so you are not having to walk around the streets. I think it’s level 5 in Cincinnati?
Homeschool Convention Tips For the Kids
1. Backpack for EACH child
Bring a book bag lightly packed with books, games, whatever will keep them entertained if they don’t want to listen in on the workshop. If you have young kids and the convention has a program for them, use it! They will not want to walk around for hours. Regular deck of cards or uno is the favorite among kids 8-12.
2. Pack a lunch
Be sure to include light and healthy choices as well as some sweet and salty treats to keep their energy up! Don’t want cranky tired kids who cannot walk back to the car or hotel, lol! If you didn’t have time to grocery shop BEFORE you got to the conference you can place an order from Amazon!
3. Have them wear comfy clothes and shoes
Make sure your children pack the right sizes and that their shoes are not too tight or too big! Nothing like hearing a kid whine all day because their clothes or shoes don’t fit!
4. Make ID’s for your children
I wrote a whole post about how easy it could be for a younger child to get lost. Hop on over and read how to make a FREE ID for each of your family members!
More Homeschool Convention Tips
The following tips are from Jenny of Faith and Good Works–
Don’t buy anything the first walk through, and take notes. When we went, it was two days so we collected lots of catalogs and took notes the first day, took them back to the hotel to look through, and then went the second day to do any purchasing.
Take a notebook to write notes in the workshops. Bring a rolling cart of some sort to lug your goodies around. If you are going to be there the entire weekend, try to hold off on shopping until Saturday. Make a wishlist on Amazon of everything that you might buy for price comparison. Always check the second-hand vendors first (there are usually two or three of them)!
The last time I went, sadly they were prohibiting people from bringing their own snacks into the vendor hall, food & drinks are expensive. I did have nuts/snack mix in my purse though. Then went out to eat, which was slightly less expensive. I bought one bottle of water in the vendor hall and when it was empty I just refilled it at the water fountain or in the bathroom.
If you want to buy used curriculum from other families then you should check out my list of Used Curriculum Facebook Groups!
If you would like to make a free ID for each of your children or read why I would recommend one then check out my post Home School Convention and Lost Children