Homeschool convention season is fast approaching. My favorite part of these conventions has to be the vendor hall. I love planning for the next school year and browsing all the possible new curriculum and resources. Sometimes, however, my excitement gets the better of me. I can quickly move from excited to overwhelmed to confused.
The vendors are usually so helpful and love their products, so I end up wanting it all! This is especially true with science resources. Good science resources make me a little giddy and I want to take it all home. So, to make sure I don’t, I go in the vendor hall with a plan.
This plan can be used by anyone going to any homeschool convention vendor hall shopping for any subject.
Know what you want going in. I’m not saying you have to choose your curriculum before you go, but determining these things before you hit the vendor hall will help immensely.
- Are you going to teach all your children using the same curriculum or will you use separate science programs?
- What area of science do you want your kids to learn? Biology? Chemistry? Astronomy? A mix?
- Do you want a hands-on science curriculum?
- Do you need a curriculum that comes with all the experiment materials?
- What do you NOT want in a science curriculum?
Look over the vendor list. Before the convention, take a look at the vendor list. Highlight those who you absolutely want to see. That way, you won’t miss them.
Have a budget. Some women spend all their money at the local mall. Homeschool moms blow the budget at the homeschool convention vendor hall. Know how much you have to spend and stick to it.
Get your hands on all parts of the curriculum. That’s why you are going to the convention and not shopping online! Look over the books, workbooks and study guides. Ask about an experiment kit and examine it carefully if they have one. Make sure the entire curriculum is what you want.
Talk to the vendors. If you have questions about a curriculum, ask the people working the booth. They are the experts. Many times, the authors or homeschool parents who have used the curriculum are working in the booth.
Go to sessions given by science curriculum authors or companies you are interested in. You can get lots of questions answered and learn so much. Don’t forget to take notes!
Don’t buy the first time through the hall. Take your time going through the vendor hall. Look at everything. Take notes.
Take time to think. After you have seen everything you need to see, head to a quiet spot to go over your notes and think. Compare your notes to the list you made before the conference. Find the resources that match your original criteria.
I’ll be using these tips while I walk through the HUGE vendor hall at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. Are you going to a Great Homeschool Convention or a local event? Don’t know why you should attend a homeschool convention? Read Why Go To A Homeschool Convention.
If you haven’t made plans, check out the Great Homeschool Conventions’ website for their locations, vendor lists and speakers. I’m looking forward to learning a lot, getting encouraged, and buying curriculum!
Learn more of the How’s and Why’s of Homeschool Conventions from the iHomeschool Network bloggers.