Special Tips for the Vendor Hall
The vendor hall is probably the most overwhelming part of a homeschool convention. There are so many great books and resources to look at, and unless you’ve come with an unlimited budget, so many decisions to make. Get ready to tackle the vendor hall with these tips:
- Leave yourself plenty of time to peruse the vendor hall.
- Check the convention program for vendor coupons that you might be able to use.
- Pray before you buy anything! God will give you guidance, as well as peace about what to buy.
- Sign up for free newsletters and mailing lists.
- Keep an eye out for free samples of curriculum, and pick up every free catalog you can find. If you end up not needing some of them, pass them on to homeschooling friends who weren’t able to attend the convention.
- Some of the largest curriculum suppliers (like A Beka and Bob Jones) offer free shipping if you place your order at the convention. But it’s crowded and hard to look at their wide variety of curriculum in the vendor hall. Ask if they offer meetings at local motels in your area; they usually offer free shipping at those meetings, and it’s a much more relaxing and uncrowded environment in which to make your purchasing decisions. In the meantime, be sure to take their catalogs home so you can study them.
- Step outside for a breath of fresh air every hour or so. A break from the commotion of the vendor hall helps clear your head.
- Go out to your car and regroup at least once during the day. Enjoy the silence while having a cold drink and a snack. Call home to check on everyone. Think about your goals for the rest of the convention. Occasional trips to the car also let you pack away your purchases instead of carrying them around for hours.
- Buy something fun for your children: new construction paper, clay or maybe a special book for each child.
- “Dance with the one that brung ya.” If you spend 15 minutes quizzing a vendor about a certain curriculum or resource, then cross the aisle to buy that very product from another vendor because it’s a few dollars cheaper there (or decide you’ll buy it later from an online discounter), you have cheated the vendor who spent time talking with you. Be careful not to use vendors in this way. Remember that many of them are homeschooling families trying to earn a living while serving their fellow homeschoolers.
- When exhaustion sets in and you can’t think anymore, it’s time to go home. But before you go, remember to buy tapes or CDs of the sessions you missed (or the sessions you enjoyed so much that you’re going to want to hear them again).
(Excerpted from The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling. Order direct from Cardamom Publishers and get a free 111-page eBook with your purchase.)