So we will be attending our first homeschool conference next month in the Twin Cities. Would love to hear any advice or tips you have. Also a couple of questions:
- Are the used Curriculum Sales at the conferences good? I am assuming you want to get there early. Any tips on buying used?
- Is the new Curriculum that is represented by Vendors any cheaper at a conference? I know that some offer free shipping if you buy at the conference. Are there sales/coupons too?
I know someone mentioned bringing a little cart on wheels to haul things. Any other suggestions/tips? Thanks!
I’m hoping to attend my 1st homeschool conference in June so I truly appreciate your question! Hoping for some very informative answers.
I’ve been to several homeschool conferences, and have often bought the bulk of my school books for the following year from the used tables. My advice is to be very organized–bring a detailed list with what you want, what you might be willing to use if you find it cheap, and how much each thing costs brand new. Then stick to your list :). Definitely get there early–the good deals will go fast.
Make sure your hands are free for digging through tables–I’ve found a backpack to be best. The time I brought a little wheeled suitcase, I was extremely annoyed by the room it took up around the busy tables.
I haven’t found new curriculum to be much cheaper at the conferences. Some offer small discounts (usually <10-15%) or free shipping if they don’t have something in stock, but many places don’t offer conference discounts (Nancy Larson Science, Teaching Textbooks, I’m looking at you :)).
I’d say to look at the things you know you want/need first. Anything you are undecided about, leave until later. It is less overwhelming to make a decision if you know you’ve already gotten most of what you need.
Wear comfy shoes & bring a sweater–it’s always cold in those halls :). Have fun!
Agree with having your list for the used sale.
Also, have a budget in mind for “unplanned purchases.” Especially once you hit the regular exhibit tables (not the used ones).
It’s not too big of a deal if you buy a bunch of used books and don’t end up using them–maybe you took a risk for $10 or $20 that didn’t pay off–or maybe the kids will read them in a couple of years or a younger sibling will eventually like them…
But it’s VERY easy to overspend on all the shiny, pretty, new curriculum unless you go in with a plan. I have 2 main rules:
Don’t buy it at the convention unless:
-I can’t order it later (rare, but could happen–or maybe it’s one of those cool science items that would be bulky/expensive to ship)
-I have a plan for it (not, “oh, this is shiny, I think I’d like it…” but an actual plan. Even something simple like, “put it on the coffee table and see if the kids get interested” is a plan, but at least I understand completely what I am paying money for.)
I find I actually prefer to mainly look at the convention and just get a few things. More often, I buy something I planned on buying if they are going to ship it to me–but I try not to pick up too much that I actually have to carry. If it’s just as easy to go home and order it online, I make sure I have the info I need and do that instead. It’s really not fun to lug too much around, no matter what method you use! And, unless they have a stellar sale…there’s not a lot of incentive to buy there. No shipping is about the same as the tax you pay at convention, for example. Some companies will offer free shipping if you order there, or give you a coupon–and then you can order from home.
Have fun! Conventions can be overwhelming, but also such a great opportunity to hear some speakers and see curriculum in person.
Thanks for posting this topic, Kelly! My husband and I are going to our first convention in April, so any tips/suggestions that are shared because of your questions are beneficial to me (and others)