Thursday, July 13, 2006

Convention Advice Please

In a comment Elizabeth asked,

I'm going to my first homeschooling convention tomorrow, and want to maximize my time there. What do you suggest I do, this or that? (It's the NOVA conference for Northern Virginia. The search engines were not coming up with much helpful advice, maybe I choose some bad terms, I don't know.Thanks in advance to all who choose to reply!
My advice is go with a closed purse and an open mind. Listen attentively to what people present, but don't make any major decisions or purchases. I know saying that may make a few vendors mad, but it's a lesson I learned the hard way. I've still got a few unused things "I just had to have" from my first convention years ago. If you do end up spending a lot of time learning from a specific vendor, go back and place your orders with them. It may cost you a dollar or two more, but their time is worth something.

I also recommend taking an empty notebook, both for workshop notes and vendor hall notes. Jot down titles and impressions of things you see. Attend a variety of workshops of differing methods and philosphies of education. Then when you're home and of a sound mind, begin to think about what would actually work in your family.

Lastly, wear comfortable shoes and plan a night out with your hubby for dinner soon after your return. You'll be a chatter box of information and he'll have a good meal while you download it all. Discuss all of these things with him and get his input. Fathers see things from a different perspective so be as open to his input as you are to the speakers you hear at the convention.

About Homeschooling has a some recommendations here.

Barbara Frank (Imperfect Homeschooler) offers a free e-course Keys to a Successful Homeschool Convention Experience.

Any others have some thoughts for Elizabeth? If you have a blog post and want to leave the link that's fine too. This is a popular question and we all learn from the experiences of others.

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