Homeschool Convention Tip #7
When a mom hears the word exhibit hall, she becomes quite excited at the thought of all those books and products within her reach. Before you walk in those doors you are going to want to know the exhibit hall strategies in this homeschool convention tip #7.
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Imagine walking into a large room that may be the size of football field full of homeschool supplies. Most likely, that is what you will find at a homeschool convention. The sheer volume of vendors, tables, and books can be overwhelming and exciting. Even though it can be intimidating, it is wonderful to be able to see the materials first hand; talk with the vendors and authors; purchase products at a discount; and receive free shipping on orders.
There are strategies for helping you tackle the exhibit hall without wandering around aimlessly. Prior to entering the room, write down the vendors you want to visit on your Convention Shopping List. Include the vendors’ booth numbers. You will find the list of vendors in your convention program.
When you enter the room, turn to your left to begin browsing. Why left? People naturally turn to their right when entering a room or when facing a line. The less congested areas are usually to the left. Another tip is to begin in the back of the room and move forward, since the front of the room is frequently more congested.
Start browsing but do not buy yet. Reason being, you may find a similar product, which will be more suitable for your children’s needs at a different booth. In addition, you may discover a different vendor is offering the same product at a lower price. Please keep in mind most of the vendors are homeschooling families and their company is a large part of their income. As a courtesy, please be respectful of their time and the prices they have established for their products.
Collect brochures and catalogs as you go through the aisles. Make notes on your shopping list and include the location of the vendors who have the products you wish to purchase. It can be frustrating later on when you are trying to locate a booth among the congestion. Once you have completed your browsing, go to the vendor booths you noted on the Convention Shopping List. Avoid making impulse purchases that will later cause buyer’s remorse. There are so many wonderful products and supplies available and a homeschool mom can easily purchase too many.
When you begin your shopping, you will discover the value of having a rolling cart or suitcase with you. The books can become quite heavy in a hurry. A small zipper pocket located on the outside of a suitcase is handy for keeping your wallet. It is much easier than frequently getting your wallet in and out of your purse.
If you have not taken along a rolling cart or suitcase, you have two other options. Your husband, if he is along, can be the package handler. His job is to carry the packages and deliver them to your vehicle or hotel as needed. After a few trips, he will see the true value of a rolling cart. 🙂
The other option for handling your packages is to see if there is a package holding area. Near the front doors are usually volunteers willing to keep your packages while you shop. There is typically a small fee for this service.
To help make your exhibit hall experience even more pleasant, consider doing your shopping when workshops are in session. Of course, that will be during the times when the workshops you do not wish to attend are occurring.
Take the time to stop at booths where organizations offer services rather than products. The representatives have valuable information to share. The type of information might range from legal issues to college enrollment.
As your homeschooling progresses, you may find the workshops less appealing. It is okay to attend the convention just for the exhibit hall only. The advantages are more time for shopping and less time away from home.
That’s it for today. Please join me the next time for the Homeschool Convention Tip #8.
Here are the other posts in this series:
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