Even though we have been homeschooling for 6+ years (depends on when you start counting), I am a homeschool conference newbie. We attended our very first conference the first of this month. It was kind of, sort of a disaster. We had no idea of what to expect so we were not prepared and the day was more stressful than I had hoped for. Next month I will be attending Teach Them Diligently in Nashville (YAY!) and I am already prepping myself to make this a better experience. This is all the more important to me because I will be traveling 4.5 hours to this convention versus the 45 minutes or so we had prior.
Without further ado, here are three things I am doing (or doing better!).
Note: This was written in 2013, I’ve now been homeschooling longer, been to a few homeschool conventions, and written a few more posts on the subject. The tips below still come highly recommended from me, but I’m unfortunately not heading to Nashville next month. 😉
Baby Gear – Diaper Bag, Stroller, and Carrier
A fully stocked diaper bag will be the first thing in the car. I have had three babies before this little guy, one would think that I would have this part down, but nope. I forgot a change of clothes and his cup. He had a blowout of a diaper right as we got to the convention and was, therefore, pants-less until lunch when I bought him another pair of pants. And, of course, the poor baby was thirsty…with no cup. Total fail. This time our diaper bag will contain an extra set of clothes, a clean cup, snacks, toys, and diapers/wipes.
I only took our umbrella stroller with us instead of our bigger stroller. When we took him out of it, it fell over because of all the stuff on top of it. Taking our bigger stroller would have meant that my husband wouldn’t have resembled a pack mule and our older kids could have taken turns sitting in the second seat (we have this stroller).
I knew when we were leaving I should have grabbed my Beco carrier. I KNEW it but didn’t. Lesson? Trust your instincts. The carrier would have made wrangling the little guy much, much easier.
Food, Glorious Food
For the love of sanity (remember that?), bring snacks for your kids (and yourself). Look around online for places to eat ahead of time (or do it exactly when you get there) so you don’t hit a wall where everyone is hungry and grumpy AND you are trying to decide what to eat. It ain’t pretty, pity parties may be started and then there’s the kids to worry about… Pack a lunch or pick a restaurant before you need it. Plan ahead, people.
Don’t Try to Do It All
I was so excited, I had several speakers I wanted to hear and wrote all the information down. I promptly forgot the itinerary at home. Then we were so overwhelmed with the exhibit hall and our cranky kids, that we attended exactly ZERO sessions. This time, I have the benefit of multiple days so I won’t be trying to cram it all in one day. I will still mark who I want to hear, but this time I will be designating my “must” and “would like to” sessions. I will do my best to prioritize my list so that I at least get to hear a few sessions. If you want to know what sessions I am wanting to attend, you’ll just have to wait with bated breath. 😉
Note: You don’t have to hold your breath any longer. I talk about those sessions in this post.
I also intend to block off time(s) just for exploring the vendors. Want to know who I’m most excited to see? Well, you’ll just have to wait for that, too.
That’s what I have for you for now, I have two more posts in the works for you. The first will be curriculum that I will be checking out at Teach Them Diligently. The in the second, I will be showing you what I’m packing. Until then, check out what advice my blogging friends (those are really real) have for you over at the Teach Them Diligently blog.
Have you ever attended a homeschool convention?