Last Thursday I went to a homeschoolers conference in Richmond, Virginia. Some may ask why I went when I only have 1 more year left of homeschooling but I honestly feel so refreshed after going that I’m grateful I was able! I had wonderful fellowship with girlfriends, ate great food, heard some awesome speakers and got to go shopping – all without children or husband! But for those who haven’t been to a homeschooling convention, let me give some tips that I’ve learned over the years.
1) Ditch the husband and kids and go with girlfriends! It is so much more relaxing and enjoyable and you come home a better wife and mother. Fellow homeschooling moms will always talk curriculum with you – husbands get tired and are ready to move on before you are. And kids get cranky. Need I say more?
2) Wear comfortable shoes. You will walk A LOT!
3) Bring a water bottle – you will do better when you are hydrated.
4) Bring one of those silly looking rolling carts. Your arms and shoulders will appreciate it. Buy it before you go since it will be cheaper. Like this one http://www.amazon.com/Collapsible-Pack-Roll-Utility-Cart/dp/B00JWWD24I/ref=sr_1_23?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1402431093&sr=1-23&keywords=collapsible+rolling+cart
5) Look through the schedule, read the speaker bios and pick some seminars to attend. At this last conference I got to hear the Flylady and Gary Thomas (The Sacred Marriage and The Sacred Search), both of whom I already knew about. But then I also got to hear Carl Kerby, who I’d never heard of before – and he was fabulous. And I loved Lee Binz who talked about transcripts!
6) Bring some sticky mail return labels. So many booths will have raffles – it’s much easier and faster to whip out a label and stick it on.
7) Don’t buy at the first booth you come to that has what you want. Write the price down and come back if you don’t find it cheaper somewhere else.
8) Pack your swimsuit! The hot tub at the hotel feels so good after a long day of shopping.
9) Check out the volunteer opportunities. Sometimes volunteers get special perks. At the HEAV convention volunteers get to enter the used curriculum sale early – but if you really want to be first in you’ll have to get in the line early (we went together and chatted for an hour). If you aren’t interested in the used curriculum sale, volunteering is still good because they need your help to make the convention run.
10) Bring some cash as well as your credit card. Some places don’t charge tax if you use cash.
11) Ask people who’ve been to your convention before for some tips. For the HEAV convention, I recommend staying at the Hilton. The price is about the same as the Marriott, but the Hilton has queen sized beds and the Marriott has double beds. Also, park at the parking lot that has the walkways to both the Marriott and the convention center. I parked on Thursday afternoon and left on Saturday evening (about 50 hours later) and the cost was $25.
Have fun! Homeschooling is tiring – use this time to refresh and recharge!