Make the most of your time at a homeschool convention or conference with this free printable homeschool convention planner.
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Attending a homeschool convention can be completely overwhelming! I remember my first trip to a convention. My first glimpse of the vendor floor stopped me in my tracks. I had no idea there were so many vendors, speakers and homeschoolers for that matter. It was a whole new world, but I had no idea where to begin.
After a few years of attending conferences, I developed my own strategy for making sure I get the most out of each convention.
How to Get the Most Out of a Homeschool Convention
Determine Your Needs
Start by making a list of your needs. Why are you going to this particular homeschool conference or convention? Is there a particular speaker you want to hear? Do you need to purchase curriculum and save shipping? Do you need find a new curriculum to replace one that is not working?
Determine Each Child’s Needs
When we begin homeschooling multiple children, we quickly see that no two children learn in exactly the same way or have the exact same struggles in school. Assess each child, where they are, where they should be, identify needs and weaknesses.
Print and Mark The Speaker Schedule
I am always super excited when the speaker schedule for a conference is released. This is where my serious planning begins. If you are attending a larger conference like one of the Teach Them Diligently conferences, there are about 20 sessions offered each hour by some amazing speakers.
I make my first pass over the schedule marking every session I am interested in with a small pencil mark. After this first pass, I go back and look at each hour to see, when my options are compared, which class I want to attend most in that particular hour.
*Note: Some conventions allow speakers to offer the same class in more than one hour.
Tip: Split the class offerings you want to cover with friends at the conference. Then, exchange notes.
Another Tip: Plan to purchase the conference audio set. This will alleviate the stress of feeling like you need to make it to every single session you want to hear.
Make Your Own Schedule
Using the form provided in the planner below, make your own personal schedule to follow. This will allow you to quickly see where you are going each hour without sifting through pages of the conference schedule.
Tip: Be sure to include some downtime and some time for shopping the vendor hall.
Another Tip: Be sure to schedule some classes just for you! Use this time to unwind and practice some self-care.
List All Curriculum You Plan to Purchase
It’s helpful to have a list of curriculum you plan to purchase. You can use the form included in the planner below to list the curricula and record prices from several vendors to compare and make the best purchase.
Tip: Make your purchases as late in the day as possible or even on the last day of the convention so you don’t have to carry them around all day.
Another Tip: Set a budget for the conference and agree on the budget with your spouse for accountability.
Plan Your Accommodations
It is always best to stay in a hotel that is connected to the conference center if possible. This allows you to walk back to your room for some downtime in the middle of the day if needed. It also prevents walking to your car after dark in larger cities.
Stay if with a friend if this relaxes you. If not, stay by yourself. Do whatever you need to do to be able to relax and get the most out of the conference. If you don’t mind sharing a room, share a hotel room with three other moms to save money.
Make sure your room has a mini fridge and coffee maker. If not, bring the coffee maker or anything else you may need. I really like my coffee, so I travel with a french press and use the coffee maker in the hotel room to heat the water.
Things to Take With You
- Comfortable Shoes (These are my new favorites!)
- Sweater or Jacket
- Cart (for purchases and books)
- Water Bottle (My favorite!)