If you are going to the 2009 Southeast Homeschool Expo, raise your hand!
I’m going and I can’t wait! I love conventions and expos, especially the vendors and freebies. At my last convention (NECC ’07), I won a bundle of fabulous software. I also came home with enough free pens, notepads, and post-it notes to stock our school closet for the year.
If you have never been to a convention before, it is best that you plan your trip. The Southeast Homeschool Expo is going to be huge. No matter the convention, you should plan your trip. How am I planning for my trip?
- I am making business cards. I might be given a badge with a bar code on it that will be scanned at each vendor to enter me in contests and sign up for mail. If they don’t, I want to be prepared. Instead of filling out contest entry forms, I can just drop my card in the fish bowl. This will also be great for me to hand out if I need to share about my blog or meet new friends. Do you like this business card design?
- I am going to get a map of the vendor layout and will highlight my “must visit” booths. I don’t see this on the website yet, so I will have to get this when I get there.
- I will be packing a bookbag of snacks, water, pen/paper and my laptop. The venue will have Wi-Fi available and if I have my laptop, I can check product prices to make sure I am getting a good deal, can look at all of my notes on our curriculum choices, and blog about it while I am there.
- I will have a rolling cart. These are a must because I plan on doing a lot of shopping. Hopefully the Dairy Queen can teach me how to make this (hint-hint).
- I am picking my workshops now. I don’t want to take classes that are just “infomercials” for a product. I also don’t want to take a class that is full of information that I can find free on the internet. If you are going with friends to the convention, split up and don’t go to the same workshop. This way, you can get more information. Here are the workshops that I want to check out:
Writing Made Simple
LEGO Robotics: Programmed to LearnART – It’s Essential!
The Human Calculator in You
Homeschooling Your Gifted Child
Creating Your Own Unit Study
Get Organized and Get Relief from Homeschool Chaos!
How to Help Gifted Students More Effectively
Mom’s Book: The Best Organization Tool
- I will pre-register so that I don’t have to stand in line.
- I will wear a badge necklace. You know, that clear plastic thing you wear around your neck that holds your Expo id? I will also put my business cards, convention hall map, and my shopping list inside of it. You’d be surprised how much you can cram into that little thing.
- I will use the coat and baggage check at the venue (Cobb Galleria). I don’t want to have to lug my stuff all day!
- I will have my cell phone with me so I can call the Dairy Queen , and all my other peeps, from across the convention hall to tell her she has to “come here right now so she doesn’t miss this a)presentation, b)product demonstration, c)giveaway, or d)let’s get lunch.
- I am planning my budget for shopping and looking for some “homeschool sponsors” (A.K.A. grandparents) to help purchase curriculum for next year. (*hint hint*)
- I am window shopping before the convention and making a “to buy” list.
I got the vendor list from the website, and I am visiting each vendor’s website (even if it is not linked there, Google the company name. Almost all of them have websites). I have created a spreadsheet of the Vendor, their website, the item that I want to check out, and the regular price listed on the internet. This is really going to help me create and stick to a budget, help me make sure I am getting a good deal on a product, will help me organize my shopping and make better use of my time, and I will make sure I don’t miss any products that I want to miss. Most companies are not going to have all of their products, but I at least have something to guide me in my decisions.