When you attend a homeschool conference, your head can swim from all of the information on homeschooling that will be "thrown" at you! Whether this is your first conference or your tenth, it can still happen that by lunch time you won't know whether you are coming or going.
There are a few things you can do ahead of time to make your conference trip much less stressful, more enjoyable and more profitable.
1. First, know why you are going. Are you going to collect general information on homeschooling? Do you want to check out specific curriculum or providers? Do you know exactly what you want and just want to pick it up and avoid shipping charges? Are you going to listen to the talks and recharge your "battery"?
Keeping your goal in mind will help you to stay on track and to focus on those activities which will help you to meet your goal.
2. If you are new to homeschooling or are just checking it out via this conference, it might be best to go there with the intent of just looking and listening. Take in the talks, especially the ones geared to new homeschoolers, and browse the vendor hall. Try not to buy anything so that you can go home, study all of the information you've collected and make sure you know what you want.
Too many times we get caught up in the excitement of the conference and spend more money than we should have and then end up using only half of what we bought.
3. If you are an experienced homeschooler and you know what you want, make sure you go with a list in hand. This will help you to stay on track and not overspend. Again, if you don't have a set list, you are likely to be swayed to purchase something at every booth you go to.
5. Before you go, make sure you've taken inventory of what you already have. You may be surprised to find a book that you forgot about that will work perfectly for one of your kids for the next year. Why buy something if you don't need to?
6. Go with a budget in mind. If you don't set a limit ahead of time, you will walk away amazed at how much money you just spent.
7. Make sure you are armed with the following:
The goal of a conference is to get what you need, both in terms of information on homeschooling and curriculum, to refresh yourself and to boost your enthusiasm.
The more thought you can give to your upcoming school year before you get to the conference, the better your conference experience will be.