15 Easy Ways to Prepare for Homeschool Conventions in 2024 (Freebie Included!)
So you’re attending a homeschool convention (or two) this year and want to know a few ways to easily prepare for homeschool conventions? I attended my first homeschool convention last year and am happy to share my tips, and even a printable freebie, with you!
First, don’t let the number of tips I have to share overwhelm you! Yes, it’s a big number, but that’s because I’ve broken everything down into easily-achievable actions. We could call them baby steps? Either way, I love the instant feeling of gratification I get when I check something off my “to-do list,” so get ready for a whole lotta “yeah, I rock!” moments in your future. You got this!
Table of Contents
15 Homeschool Convention Tips
1. Do your Convention Research
To find homeschool conventions and conferences you want to attend, definitely check out my Ultimate List of Homeschool Conventions & Conferences in 2024. I’ve organized over 80 homeschool conventions by state, so you just need to scroll down to your state and see what’s happening near you. Attending an out-of-state homeschool convention could be a great way to add some educational travel into your schedule, so consider checking those as well!
After you’ve found conventions of interest, take some time to look through their websites. Check the convention schedule, exhibitors, and sponsors to make sure they’re of interest to you. Conventions range from secular to faith-based, from classical homeschooling to unschooling, and even gameschooling.
2. Get your Admission ASAP
Many conventions will offer “early bird” specials for registering months in advance of the convention dates. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, definitely register as soon as you can. Watch for your favorite homeschool bloggers to share discounts, keep an eye on your local homeschooling social media groups for coupon codes, and sign up for specific convention newsletters. If you are a spouse of, or member of, active military, many conventions also offer a military discount!
In addition, many of the larger homeschool conventions will offer kids and teens activities. Those often require registration and spots can fill up quickly.
3. Consider Volunteering
Many conventions offer special perks to conference volunteers. In exchange for your time, you may be able to obtain free admission, special exhibitor discounts, free childcare, and more!
Check the convention website for volunteer opportunities. If you don’t see any listed, consider sending sending an email to the organizer or filling out a website “contact form” to ask if they need any volunteers.
4. Figure out Transportation & Lodging Early
If you’re going to a nearby homeschool convention, you don’t really need this tip. But, if you’ll be traveling a distance to attend a homeschool convention, take some time to figure out your accommodations. Booking in advance will help you to find the best deals on rental cars, lodging, flights, and any sightseeing adventures you may want to include.
5. Review the Schedule
Go ahead and grab our homeschool convention planner and prepare to get organized! Convention organizers will often email you a schedule of presentations and such after you’ve purchased your ticket, but they should also be available on their main website. Use the convention planner to write down the presentations you’d like to attend and the exhibit booths you’d like to visit. Having a hard copy of your convention “game plan” is a super easy way to prepare for homeschool convention success!
6. Determine your Budget
Believe me, once you see all the deals being offered by various homeschool vendors, it can be very easy to lose sight of a budget. Heck, my budget flew right out the room, down the hall, out the front door, and down the highway the last time I attended a homeschool conference. I wanted everything!
Figure out your budget as you’re preparing for the homeschool convention. Take inventory of what resources you already have and what you’re in the market for and plan accordingly.
Then, make sure you stay on budget by writing down your expenses on the expenses page of the homeschool convention planner.
7. Dress in Layers
Convention centers can be warm for some and chilly for others. Dress for convention success by wearing comfortable shoes (Brooks Ghost 14 sneakers are my go-to comfy & supportive sneaker) and dressing in easy-to-put-on-and-off layers. I like to wear a cute t-shirt with a zip-up hoodie.
8. Figure out Storage
Whatcha gonna do with all your stuff? Some like to bring along a rolling cart, but I prefer to bring a backpack with a sturdy reusable bag bag folded up inside. Yes, rolling carts are sturdy, but they can also be a tripping hazard and I’m just not interested in taking that risk.
9. Pack a Notebook & Pens
The homeschool convention planner has pages for taking notes during presentations, but might as well err on the side of caution by packing an additional spiral-bound notebook along with a few pens. I find that pens will removeable caps are a pain, so I totally suggest bringing along a few of your favorite “clicky” pens.
10. Prepare Water & Snacks
The kids aren’t the only ones that get hungry and thirsty, am I right?! Help keep your budget, and thirst/hunger, in check by packing a refillable water bottle and a few of your favorite snacks. If you worry about offending people with post-snack breath, bring along a pack of gum and avoid snacks containing garlic, onion, and strong seasons. Obviously, leave the tuna at home.
11. Remember the Golden Rule
Like there are many varieties of M&Ms, there are many different versions of homeschoolers. What works for others might not work for you and vice versa. Keep in mind that speakers & exhibitors are likely sharing their stories & products in an effort to help the homeschooling community. If you hear something you don’t agree with or a product you don’t approve of, remember that you always have the option of just moving along if you don’t want to continue learning about it.
12. Bring a Smile!
Do you get many opportunities to be completely surrounded by homeschooling parents? Probably not! Take advantage of that and consider getting to know other convention goers while on breaks and in classes. You may leave the convention with a new friend or two!
13. Pack your Chargers
My phone always gets a ton of use when I’m an event. I’m constantly pulling it out to follow people on social media, texting my husband & friends, taking photos & videos…you name it! Whether you plan to use your phone minimally or every chance you get, be sure to bring along a phone charger! There are usually electric outlets located throughout convention halls and within the breakout room. I also like to bring an external battery pack just in case.
14. Bring a Friend!
You know how I suggested bringing a smile to make a friend a bit ago? Yeah, my anxiety doesn’t really agree with that (but you might be ok with it!). As you prepare for homeschool convention adventures, consider asking a friend to go along. It would be nice to have a familiar face around and, hey, they can always watch your bag while you go to the bathroom. That’s a “win” in my book!
15. Get Some Rest
Easier said than done, I get it. The night before attending the homeschool convention, try to get a good night’s sleep. After all, you’ll be waking up and heading to the convention before you know it…and you don’t want to be all groggy, right?!
Enjoy the Convention!
As you prepare for homeschool conventions this year, I hope you’ll remember to enjoy yourself! Being a homeschool parent can sometimes be isolating and homeschool conventions are one of the few places where we can be totally immersed in the homeschool community. Take your time to visit the various vendor booths, chat with the speakers, and be in the moment.
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,
Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.
Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.
When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!
Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!