We just came away from the Nashville Teach Them Diligently Convention and I’m reminded once again of why it’s so important to attend homeschool conventions!
Even though we were only there as vendors I left encouraged as a homeschooling parent myself! There is something about the environment there, you see swarms of other families walking through the vendor hall and you know they are on this crazy difficult, yet super successful journey of educating their children at home. You suddenly rouse from your little cocoon shell and realize how many other families are out there on the same path as you.
We know in our heads that other families homeschool, and we even have friends around us. But when you are suddenly around hundreds of other families it changes things. Your spirit is lifted and it gives you hope to keep pressing on!
Life is really busy but I’m still attending our local homeschool convention this weekend as parents, not vendors. I need the encouragement and the fresh breath of new air. I want to feel the books in my hands and chat with other moms across the table.
After watching hundreds of moms walk by our booth, I started seeing what moms looked calm and put together, and what moms were super frazzled. Here are some tips I have to share based on people watching! 🙂
Sean and our two boys at our Character Badges booth!
1. Don’t bring your young children to convention!
I know this isn’t possible, but try to leave them with family or friends! Take this one weekend to come and be encouraged without needing to deal with toddlers crying and fussing. I felt so sorry for the moms who had 3 young children with them who were unhappy. I’m definitely not of the mind set that my children go everywhere I go. I think it’s healthy to have some time as mothers to recharge for the new homeschooling year ahead.
If you have a young baby you need to bring, try to use a baby carrier instead of bringing a stroller. The aisles are normally crowded and it slows you down a lot. I love my Tula baby carrier!
2. Ditch the purse!
Bring a backpack to wear instead of a heavy purse. Or bring a cart to pull around that you can keep a small bag with just your essentials in, and then you can put all your new purchases there.
3. Bring a notebook.
If at all possible, attend the speaker sessions and write down thoughts! By the end of the weekend you will have ingested so much new information that your notes will be very helpful as a refresher when you get home.
Sean speaking on the Not Now Parenting talk for Character Badges
4. Take pictures on your camera
I bring my phone along and snap all sorts of pictures of books throughout the weekend. While I wish I could buy every single book I wanted, we all obviously have budgets and limitations! I take pictures of books that I think I might be able to get at the library, or if it’s an item I want to research more. Instead of taking the time to write the title down, I just snap a quick picture.
5. Bring along sticker labels with your name and address.
There are so many giveaways at homeschool conferences! I know I gave away a $50 gift certificate to Deborah & Co. at our booth and had lots of ladies enter! It’s so smart to print off sticker labels with your name, address, email address and maybe your phone number on there. Then you can just peel it off and quickly enter!
Our Deborah & Co. booth!
6. Take a look at the whole map and plan out your day.
Figure out where you want to start in the vendor hall and have a plan. You are going to miss booths unless you start at one end and go clear through to the other end. Our booths were at the left hand side of the wall and we had people come up at the very end of convention saying they had just gotten over to our side! Make sure you at least quickly walk through the whole convention hall so you can discover new businesses! I found a new geography program that looked interesting because I quickly walked through the aisles and it caught my eye.
If you don’t have a conference near you, or childcare just isn’t available to you this year, make sure you still fill your tank. We put together an online homeschool conference last year and there are some amazing messages still available for you to listen to!
You still can receive access to all 12 sessions and receive the free homeschool planner! We had a physical copy printed out of the homeschool planner at the convention we just attended and everyone loved it that came by and looked.
I hope these tips helped and that you receive some fresh encouragement this spring!