For some attending a homeschool convention can be intimidating while for others it’s a trip to a candy store. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the wealth of workshops, keynote addresses, and resources for sale or conversely felt so giddy that you just had to buy, buy, buy, these tips for staying on track should help.
Leave the convention smarter than when you came. Don’t spend all day in the curriculum fair skipping the workshops or speakers. Even seasoned homeschoolers can use new ideas or the boost that listening to others talk about homeschooling brings.
Be open to meeting homeschoolers who may live at a distance from you. You may just find the email or Facebook buddy that is the perfect accountability or support partner you need. Sometimes eclectic homeschoolers just need to know there are others like them.
Spread the word about the Eclectic Homeschool Online to others at the convention…so many have never heard of us.
Don’t buy anything the first day unless it was a planned purchase before setting foot in the door.
Have a list of curricula or companies to focus on. Don't go in blindly. Way too overwhelming!
Try to mostly look and take notes about things that interest you in the vendor area rather than buying a lot. You can look things up later online, and then you can read reviews and think in a more relaxed state of mind.
If a used curriculum sale is available, shop there first. You made find something you really want for less and have a larger selection before everything is picked over.
You don't need a whole lot for homeschooling—better to start out with too little, because you can easily fill in what you need as you go along rather than starting out with too much and trying to use it all whether it's a good fit or not.
If a particular vendor is very helpful in explaining a product to you, buy it from them at the convention or from their website. Don’t cheat them from a sale they made for a discount somewhere else.
Special thanks to Nikki, Laura, Lillian, Dan for their useful insights for this article.