A highlight of myhomeschooling year was always the FPEA Convention in Orlando, Florida. It was a weekend of books and more books, friends old and new, a great hotel, and eating out. What’s not to love!! I almost always went with three or four friends and we made it a moms’ time away. We looked at what each person bought, stayed up late talking, ate together, shared teaching ideas, ate chocolate, talked, painted our nails, talked, and had a lot of fun. Sometimes we would go with our families, but most years it was just the “girls.”
It was always most successful if I had a plan. I LOVE BOOKS, but am also a compulsive organizer, so this was always a great time for me. I would look through catalogs for weeks before the convention and make what I called my “look at” list. I would make a rough plan of what we were going to study the next year and make my list. Of course, I would always be tempted to buy things not on the list (for some weird reason, especially phonics and Latin programs). I will not admit to the unused amount of books I bought the first few years –live and learn!
As the years went by, I learned a few tips for convention attending:
- Decide which convention you want to attend –large or small
- Pre-register to get a discount
- Reserve your hotel room as far ahead as possible –they do sell out
- Make goals -what do you want to get out of a convention? Do you want to listen to speakers? Shop for curriculum?
- Create a budget
- Print out the schedule and list of vendors
- List the speakers you want to hear
- Plan, plan, plan your shopping list with comparison prices –check other vendors and Amazon, too
- Make a look at list with “needs” and “wishes”
- Bring paper and a pen to take notes in lectures and the exhibit hall
- Bring a tote bag (and a wheeled cart if you plan on buying a lot)
- Use the first day to go through the vendor hall and just window shop
- When going to hear speakers –choose wisely, and sit near the back if you are unsure you will stay. You can usually get a recording of the lectures, too.
- At the vendors –browse, ask questions, and know your educational goals for your family. Don’t get driven off course.
- You don’t have to buy it all (or any of it) at the convention. Anything can be ordered online. Don’t panic!!! Remember, “Be still, and know that I am God.”