Tomorrow morning bright and early, I am heading out to the CHAP homeschool convention at the Farm Show complex in Pennsylvania. I choose this convention for convenience. It is about 40-50 minutes from my home. A friend and I are planning to go on Friday only and are traveling together. It is a two day event but I want my weekend for my family. This is not my first convention. This is the third time I have gone to chap. I have also gone to our local homeschool associations convention a couple of times, which is on a much smaller scale but is also better on the used curriculum side.
Before I head out for this convention tomorrow I wanted to get my thoughts together . What better way to do that then to write it out. At least that is what works best for me. I have some things figured out exactly and some things are vaguely planned.
TIP # 1 When going to conventions it is more fun to go with a friend or spouse than it is to go alone but it is still fun. I have done both. Alone trips and groups of people. It is nice when you have like minded individuals along for the ride that you can bounce things off of if you aren't sure on a decision.
One thing I want to stress is that my money is important to me. I don't want to go off and start making quick purchases without thinking them through. Prayer is always a way to get answers but answers don't always come right away. Just because it's a deal doesn't mean you have to buy it this day.
Tip # 2 One way I like to save is to bring my own food and drink. Now this convention has a rule of no outside food or drink, however you can leave and go to your car. So we are going to pack a snack and stop on the way home for something to eat to round out the day. This will also be helpful when my bag gets to heavy to carry. I will be able to unload, drink some water and have a snack. A nice lunch time break.
Now as I mentioned above I am not made of money so I want to make good purchases. First I wanted to
(TIP #3) create an outline of all that I want my kids to be doing next year. So I made myself a chart in word and filled in all that I could fill in. I am still working on this chart . It will be an ongoing project for the entire summer. Once I choose the right books I will add those in and then I will look for online likes to go with each study. This chart though will help me when planning. It does have many blanks but that is part of what going to the convention is about. Looking at and touching things to see which curriculum would be the best fit and Asking a lot of questions. I will be able to purchase any books that go with our study and any curriculum I need based on our topics of interest. I am looking at much of our work through the eyes of Unit studies. Some decisions I already made so I wrote out my small list so far of the things I want to purchase. I made sure to add the online price so that I can compare that to see if purchasing it Now is best or waiting and purchasing it later. Sometimes conventions have discounts that normally you wouldn't get from the Company.
Tip #4 Search the vendors Online. Some things I am not sure how I want to approach and so I went through the vendor list and searched around the many websites. Some of the products interested me and I want to take a better look at what they have but the vendor hall is so big that while I'm sifting I might miss it. So I wrote out a list of the couple I really want to take notice of and make sure I stop and look. Apologia so I can say hi to a blogger friend.
Tip #5 The Speakers- This year at Chap I didn't find to many things I wanted to hear. I really like a lot of the Schoolhouse Convention that is online so I didn't feel like I needed to many of the choices available. The great thing about Speakers is that you can get them on CD to listen to later if you want to shop or mp3 and have it sent to your email address. I love the Mp3 option. I hope to hit these two on Friday but if not I will order them before I leave.
My main focus is looking at curriculum and shopping.
Tip # 6 Don't make quick purchases
My main goal is to go and look. To really pick out the things I want to purchase and take the time to look through it. I may not purchase it there. I will take a notebook and jot things down that I might want to get at a later time. Sometimes when you are out shopping and in the heat of the moment you grab things you normally wouldn't select. To avoid this I come with my plan. I try to stick to it and I write down the names of books I am unsure about purchasing so I can look at it online some more and pray about it. Often times I can find it locally at a cheaper price by posting my wants to our local homeschool group.
Tip #7 Too good to pass up
There are some deals you might come across that are to good to pass up. Often times there is a book vendor that has books for $1. If they are good titles who can pass up a new book for that price. Just try to keep your focus but do allow for some fun purchases. Just make sure you can use them.
I can hardly wait till tomorrow to get there and get shopping. I also hope to meet up with some of the vendors of products that I was able to review. If you are going let me know . Perhaps we can meet up.