Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways by HEAV and Convention Registration Giveaway!

So who likes free stuff?  Wait, wait, I am short, I can’t see over all of these hands.

Let’s try this again – who doesn’t like free stuff?  Oh, yes, much better.  I can still see.

April 1st is the beginning of Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways when HEAV will be giving away all sorts of great things for the 30 days of April!  Keep an eye on the following sites for information about the giveaways and to sign up to win!


HEAV facebook

Need something to tide you over while you are waiting??  Of course you do – how about if I do a giveaway?

Bonus Giveaway from Homeschooler on the Edge

Send me your convention tips – you get one entry for sending me tips (one entry/person).  Feel free to send as many tips as you want (although you still only get one entry/person).  I will compile them all into a post to share with everyone.

Don’t have any tips to share?  That’s ok – send a question about convention.  Each person who sends at least one question receives one entry.  Each person that sends lots of questions receives one entry.

So just to clarify – if you leave a comment with tips or questions – you will get an entry into the drawing.  I know it sounds like I am beating a dead horse here, but the is my first giveaway so I want to do it right!

The winner will be choose on April 1st – The first day of the Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways.  Be sure to include your email so that I can contact you.  If you don’t hear back from you in 3 days, another name with be drawn.

Bug will be the one who draws the name from a hat (basket, bowl, or whatever else I find to put a list of names in) and I am sure he would like me to mention that he really likes Thomas trains so if you happened to send a train for me to attach to your name . . . (just kidding – he can’t read yet, so there will be No cheating!)

Se let’s get those comments, tips and questions flowing!!  Yes – I know you don’t know what you are going to win – do you want to?

How does a Full Family Registration for the 30th Annual Virginia Homeschool Convention sound?

Convention-Gift-Certificate-SAMPLEThis includes All Exhibit Hall and Used Curriculum Sale shopping plus tickets to a Duggar keynote session.  Depending on if you are an HEAV Member or not this could be a $59, $69 or $79 value!  So – let’s hear those tips and questions!!


163 thoughts on “Bounty of Blessings 30 Days of Giveaways by HEAV and Convention Registration Giveaway!

  1. Print out a map of the convention.
    Plan your stragedy on it and it
    a notebook.
    Most of all have a list of items
    needed and wanted!

  2. Bring a portable tote or rolling bag to carry all the infornmation and books you buy!

  3. Last year was our fist year at convention and my husband and I found out that the easiest thing for the Exhibit hall was to have mailing labels with our name and address and also our web addresses already printed on them. That saved us a lot of time fro filling out the blanks for mailing list and also give away’s.

      • We are not a homeschooling family yet ( waiting on God’s timing) but love and have learned so much from homeschool bloggers and homeschool friends I have had a dream for years to go to the convention. Do other non-homeschooling families attend the conference?

  4. Buy the recordings of the sessions – there are too many good ones that happen at the same time and you can’t be at them all.

  5. Get CD copies of the audio for classes that you loved, ones that have things you have to remember for later, or ones that have so much info you are sure to forget it! 🙂 I’ve listened to my audios and purchased audios for classes that I wanted to go to but overlapped times with other classes that were necessary. Such a great service!

  6. My convention tip(s): Come prepared to be AMAZED, overwhelmed and inspired, all in the first 10 minutes!! Don’t worry, they record the whole thing, so if you miss a session because you got lost in the exhibit hall, you can pre-order the whole convention, or pick and choose which CD’s to get! I can’t wait!!!

  7. This will be my first convention and we will start homeschooling in the fall. At the convention, what are the best kind of workshops to attend? There are so many. What should I focus on being new to this? Thanks!

    • Check out HEAV’s website – they have a few “New to Homeschooling” sessions that are supposed to be awesome! (I think they are on Thursday?)

  8. Do your research. Come with a list of items you want to purchase and the price you could get them if you weren’t at convention.

    Also, come with a list of items you want to look at while there. Go to those vendors first. Otherwise you could get distracted and never get to where you really needed to be.

  9. Tip # 1- Don’t spend ANY money the first day (exception to this rule being the used curriculum sale, but I highly recommend going to THAT with a list of what you are looking for and prices you can get it elsewhere new or used). If you can help it then don’t even carry money/credit cards/checkbook with you the first day. Just use it to look, explore, ask questions, gather information and catalogs and everything else. Take those back to your room to mull over, discuss with hubby, pray about, and make a game plan/budget for the next day!

    Tip # 2 – Be flexible and realistic. Unless you are wonder woman with time and stamina you will NOT make it to a speaker during EVERY workshop time. Your UCS time slot, meeting/catching up with old friends, sitting down to have a long conversation with an exhibitor you are interested in, and EATING meals will interfere with this.

    Tip # 3 – Be prepared to be extra patient with your spouse and compromise when their needs are different from your own. This event might only happen once a year. It might feel like the number one source of renewed interest, enthusiasm, and encouragement in your homeschooling journey…but we live with our spouses every OTHER day of the year and if we treat them right they can be our real number one source of renewed interest, enthusiasm, and encouragement in this homeschooling journey!

  10. Do you recommend purchasing curriculum at the convention? I’ve read a lot about impulse buying!

  11. My tip would be to not worry about going to all of the sessions. If you get caught up in trying to go to every single one you will not be able to have time to go to the used curriculum sale or the exhibit hall. For 1st timers this is very important. If your budget allows you can always buy the sessions that really tickle your fancy.

  12. Bring a notebook and a roller cart for all the incredible information you will be given!!!! And for all the stuff you will buy… matter howmany promises you made to your husband to exercise self-control before hand…..:)

  13. My convention tip is prepare your list of items needed before heading to convention. Second tip is look at both the Used Curriculum Hall as well as the Exhibit Hall for used items. Third tip is stop by the Curriculum Doctor’s booth.

  14. Bring a rolling crate to haul all your catalogs, books, bags, and other curriculum goodies you’ve picked up!!

  15. If you are on a strict budget, take cash only and when it’s gone, it’s gone!

    Look at the websites of the speakers before you go so you can have a better idea of who you’d like to hear speak.

  16. Convention Tip: Park in the Convention parking lot for minimal charge. The parking garage across the street can cost upwards of $22-30 for a few hours during the night.

  17. Hi! This is great!! My tip is for everyone to take sticky back address labels, or make your own that include name, phone number and email – that saves lots of time juggling and writing if you want to give your info to any of the booths!

    PS – Bug – tell your Mommy to take you to see the REAL Thomas the Tank Engine like I took my kids :)) We went to the Strasburg Railroad near Lancaster PA – FUN!

    • Hi Tammie – I am compiling all of the tips for a later post, but I had to respond to you. For his 4th birthday Bug got to go to Strasburg with Mommy, Daddy, Princess, Big Brother and Grammy and Grandpa – we walked around, road the train and checked out the railroad museum. We have also been there for A Day Out with Thomas – although we didn’t ride that day, we still got to see Thomas and get our picture taken with him.

  18. Last year was my first time at convention….I was overwhelmed! I have 2 tips that come to mind. I took a wheeled cart to put pamphlets, purchases, personal items, etc. in so I wouldn’t have to carry everything. Write a list of curriculum you need for the upcoming school year and stick to it, especially at the used curriculum sale.

  19. I try to do a first pass of the exhibit hall as early as I am able on Thursday evening with a pad & pencil to keep track of items I’m interested in with vendor name & prices. That night I can compare prices among vendors at the exhibit hall as well as online to choose the best options for our family.

  20. Convention tip- Think about what your goals are for the coming year. Do you need help with a new writing curriculum? Really need help with time management? Burt out? Then just focus on what workshops will help you with those goals. It is easy to get overwelmed. Make time to see vendors but be sure to focus on what you need. If you have history covered, then don’t look at history programs. Pace yourself and have fun!!!!

  21. My tip is to leave very little ones at home if possible so that you can be fully there for each session, which are very uplifting and helpful. I am looking forward to us all going as a family someday, but I am also looking forward to attending with my husband while our kids have fun with their grandparents at home this year.

  22. I’ve attended the exhibit hall for many, many years. Even though most of the exhibitors are the same i seem to have different needs each year. My husband and i have a plan so we don’t get bogged down at the “fun” booths and run out of time for the ones we really need to visit. We each start at opposite ends of the hall with a map. We speed walk through our half and meet in the middle. While scanning we mark on the map the booths we need to concentrate on, visit these first and spend the rest of the time leisurely shopping.

  23. I have never been to a convention and would like to know the different ways families make it affordable to go. How great is the used curriculum sale? Are those items largely discounted?

  24. I would reiterate the wheeled cart, and perusing the exhibit hall prior to making any purchases. Also, many speakers upload Powerpoints and handouts to the HEAV website prior to their session. It is really helpful to print them out, or have them available on an electronic device for reference and note taking.

  25. I will be homeschooling at least 2 of my 3 kids this coming Fall. Does the convention have classes that talk about tips for homeschooling multiple children?

  26. I have only been to one convention and it was several years ago but I remember being overwhelmed by the amount of information that was at my fingertips. I thought I had to see everything and just ended up feeling stressed. This time I am making a plan ahead of time about which speakers to go to.

  27. Rolling cart, pen and paper, but most importantly bathe your time there in prayer, that you may have a calm spirit and be open to what He wants you to learn. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the “I wants” at these things.

  28. Do you find it easier for the husband and wife to go to separate sessions or to stick together? How do you decide who goes to what?

  29. My thought is bring one of those rolling carts. I showed up as a newbie last year TOTALLY overwhelmed and here’s all these women with carts running around like they own the place!! I will definitely bring mine this year so I can haul around the books I buy 🙂

  30. My question is how do you make it through the whole convention without being completely exhausted by day 2?

  31. I have never been to a convention before. It sounds like it could be over whelming. Any tips or ideas on how to make the most of it?

  32. Park on the surface lots a few blocks away for just a few $ all day. Bring snacks and drinks. If you decide to eat out, walk a few extra blocks to Tarrants or Chez Foushee — both are fabulous for lunch.

  33. My tip: bring bottles of water, wear comfortable shoes & most important….enjoy yourself! Because if you’re like me, we get a sitter (grandma) to watch our 5 children and ‘ta-da’, mini-vacation! God Bless!

  34. Convention Tips: Bring backpack with water and snacks. Bring a rolling cart for all the good deals you are going to find. Plan your TRIP before you go. Know what you need and where those venders are located and about what those items should cost, so you know if you are getting a good deal. Bring return address labels so you don’t have to handwrite your information every time you order or sign up for something. Plus there will be less error for someone misreading your handwriting. ;0)

  35. It’s extremely easy to become overwhelmed and spend too much. Make a list of curriculum, supplies, books, etc., have a budget, and prayerfully consider the choices. The ucs is a wonderful place to find used items and stretch the budget!

  36. Bring your rolling crate and PLAN what you are going to purchase before you go there! Oh, don’t forget to visit the Bread Beckers Booth. 🙂

  37. I would definitely second the suggestions to bring address labels, a rolling cart (those books get heavy) and get copy of workshops (you can’t get to them all and I replay them thru the year to refresh and re-energize). I would add that you should go thru list of workshops and try to plan out 1st, 2nd & 3rd choice for each session. Be flexible. Try to attend the ones that would be harder to visualize on audio. Go with price list of books you may want and shop the Used Sale first. But, if you don’t know what books cost in first place you could pay too much. Most are real bargains but not everything. Oh, and stick around for gleaning at end of convention! Wear comfy clothes and shoes – be prepared to walk ALOT and have fun!!!

  38. Bring your hubby & enjoy this time together! My husband has become a better shopper than me @ used curriculum sale, lol (just print pic of your item or describe really well, he had no idea what the items looked like 1st year)

  39. We are looking forward to our first HEAV convention! It’s my “reward” for completing our first year of homeschooling! I have 2 questions: Do the workshop speakers stick around for a “meet and greet” after their workshops? And, is there time to sit and visit with other HS families or is the Convention a pretty rushed experience with little down time (running from workshop to workshop)?

    • It can be as rushed or laid back as you choose to make it. What works for one might work for another. Some of the speakers might be able to talk but the majority have other things to do fairly quickly. Sometimes you have a better chance of catching them at their booths.

    • It can be as rushed or laid back as tou choose to make it. What works for one might work for another. dont think you have hear every workshop or even one every hour. If you like so many or cant choose then simply plan to buy some or all of them to take home and hear later. The random conversations that can pop up with other homeschoolers can be the most interesting. learning experiences. Some of the speakers might be able to talk but the majority have other things to do fairly quickly. Sometimes you have a better chance of catching speakers at their own both in the main hall.

  40. Make a list of books you want and a list for what you want to look at. Set a budget and be firm to stick to it!! It’s so easy to go over and spend more. 🙂

  41. Go with a group of friends and make a plan to divide and conquer. With so many great presentations, there is no way to be at all of them. Compare notes with your friends at the end of each day. Not going with a group of friends? No worries, just get the audio recordings!

  42. My tips for convention:
    1. Convention is a wonderful time to form new friendships and learn from each other. If you see someone picking up material you have questions about, ask! Homeschoolers are passionate about what they do and I love hearing from other families who have actually used the products I’m considering.
    2. I think I’m the 3rd or 4th person to mention a rolling cart, but after lugging my purchases around at my first convention I can tell you that a rolling cart is a wise investment.
    3. Pen and Paper – simple, but you don’t want to be scribbling notes on old receipts.
    4. Relax – Convention can be overwhelming whether this is your first year or fourth.There is SO much information available. But homeschooling is a journey and part of the fun is always learning something new. I do purchase the convention cd’s. They are a wonderful resource and I don’t stress over missing something.

  43. My tip is to look through the vendors, then go to the map in the directory and circle the ones that are “must see”. Then you cross them off after visiting or not if you want to go back. Saves time and can cut down on the overwhelming feeling you get when you walk in.

  44. Certain vendors have discounts at the convention. If you know that you want to use a particular curriculum or resource, come prepared to buy those while at the convention. Otherwise, don’t let the temptation of a bargain sway your decision.

  45. Any good systematic ways to find books at the used curriculum sale. I brought rolling luggage to pack my books into last year, which helped a lot! I’m not sure the best sections to tackle first or a good system to do it with. Thanks!

  46. Try to go to the convention with a idea of the curriculum you want. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all of the choices. Be ready to take notes in the sessions and consider buying cds of the conferences you liked or missed!

  47. I absolutely must go to the UCS each year.
    It’s very useful to bring a list of each curriculum you want to buy, as well as the price from your best-deal-new source (mine is rainbow resource for most things), arranged by grade. (don’t forget to note which edition you’re looking for). Pack a wheeled case or cart of some type- I usually end up carrying a couple boxes/bags too. It’s great to get to look through all the books you’ve never used before to get a feel for what they entail, often resulting in new favorites being found.

  48. Questions…
    Bring the kids or leave them at grandmas? They are 4, 7, 10, and 11.
    When do they post the schedule? And can we preregister for specific speakers (not the Duggars, other ones)? We would like to make sure to hit our favorite speakers.
    I’m going to be quite pregnant at convention time, is there plenty of sit and rest places, bathrooms, water fountains?

    • Being a huge convention center, I do remember it having great bathrooms. And as far as sitting – there weren’t a lot of seating randomly around. There was a place in the exhibit hall, and many folks just sat along the walls in the hallways to take a rest. It’s nice how relaxed everyone was!

  49. Tip #1: Go listen to Marilyn Boyer.

    Tip #2: As you pick the workshops you want to go to, do a mix of practical and (for lack of a better word) philosophical. You need to hear “How-To” and you need to hear “Why.”

    Tip #3: Don’t leave your parking space to drive somewhere for lunch. You’ll never get it back, and will have to walk 47 miles to the convention center after parking. Either walk to lunch, or take some non-perishable food with you, or buy stuff at the convention center.

    Tip #4: Talk to strangers. Homeschool moms can be shy. Persevere. You’ll either be encouraged, or you’ll encourage someone else. Probably both.

  50. Decide what speakers and workshops you want to attend and plan your time around them. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to spend in the exhibit hall. Decide ahead of time what curriculum you would like to see in person. This is a chance to look, feel, and examine things before buying it!

  51. I agree–take a list of curriculum you want to buy. If the vendor doesn’t have it on hand, we’ve found that they will ship it to you for free if you order and pay there at the convention. Most of them will offer, but if they don’t, always ask about that. I’ve never had a vendor say “no.” You save a huge bundle by not paying all those shipping charges.

  52. I have been homeschooling or 10 years, and my oldest is about to start high school. I’m a little nervous about that, so I’m planning to attend the HEAV Convention for the very first time in order to learn more about high school planning and transcript preparation! I really can’t afford the trip, so I’m wondering what is the best way to get in everything I need to see and do there in the least amount of time so I don’t have to stay the whole weekend? I truly can only go for one overnight stay, so I need to make the best of Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and afternoon and still be able to make it back home on Friday night.

  53. Purchase the recordings! They include ALL the speakers so you won’t miss anything. Totally worth it!

  54. -Bring a rolling cart and a sturdy canvas bag in case you need more room for books.

  55. We all try to plan out which sessions we would like to go to before we get there. After we check in on Thursday and head to our hotel we make any changes we need to make.
    And always have something to put all the paper you collect in. My favorite is a rolling tote bag.

  56. Wear comfortable shoes. Take cell phones or walkie-talkies if two adults are going. Pack a lunch. Check out the schedule prior to getting there and lay out a plan.

  57. I hope to homeschool this Fall and this will be my first convention. My son will be in Kindergarten. What was your favorite curriculum that I should look for? All the tips are helpful!

    • Hello April,
      Kindergarten is such a great age. They are like little sponges and enjoy doing things with you. I have used My Father’s World and Homeschool in the Woods with my littler ones and they enjoy it quite a bit. Homeschool in the woods is more focused on certain topics, while My Father’s World has a great all around kindergarten program. Be sure to keep an eye on my blog (or feel free to subscribe) as I will be posting all of the tips over the next few weeks. I am sorting them according to workshops, exhibit hall and the like so it isn’t quite as overwhelming. Enjoy your first convention!!
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

  58. Haven’t been to a convention in a couple of years, but I did learn the following:

    1. Stay close to the convention
    2. Use a rolling device of some sort to carry your purchases
    3. Visit the Used Curriculum sale first before making any purchases. You can get alot of what you need used and in good condition.
    4. Have a plan! Decide which sessions you want to attend beforehand and have a list of what you intend to buy and stick to it. If you don’t, you may end up purchasing things you really don’t need.

  59. 1. Enjoy the whole process…it’s easy to get overwhelmed especially if it is your first time 🙂
    2. Ask millions of questions.
    3. Bring a bag with wheels. Your back and shoulders will thank you.
    4. Treat yourself to a yummy meal at Pasture…a wonderful restaurant with amazing local food. It’s close by!
    5. Pray.

  60. knowing what learning style your kids and you have, helps to eliminate the items that look great, but will only sit on the shelf. Be open to unexpected finds like the blank art/drawing book you really didn’t know you needed, but is so cool. or those paper airplanes that would work perfectly for VBS.

    A cart is a must. Mapping things out online ahead of time necessary. Visiting old friends required. And refreshing your spirit to persevere yet another year, priceless.

  61. After checking the schedule, determine which sessions you need/want to attend. The vendor hall can be overwhelming so I like to get there as early as I can just to methodically look around and ask questions. The first day, I resist any urge to purchase anything. That night, I look over all the info I have picked up at the booths and any notes I’ve taken. It helps to compare/mull over things while I am not standing in front of it or the booth – I’ve made some spur of the moment *foolish* purchases before! Lastly, I like to order the CD’s of the convention – there is a lot of information and it is great to listen again the sessions I enjoyed and to the ones I couldn’t attend!

  62. Don’t convince yourself you can make it to every talk and workshop you would like to, even though it can feel like a waste to have the opportunity and miss it. Schedule in some down time! Browsing the vendors and used curriculum sale is so much fun and will eat up more time than you can imagine !

  63. I like to plan out in advance which workshops I will attend. That way I go in with a plan! Also, bring a shopping list with you to the UCS. Whatever I don’t find on the first day of the UCS, I will buy in the exhibit hall before leaving.

  64. Don’t forget to eat. 🙂 There’s so much to see and learn. I forgot to eat the first day of my first convention. Come with a list of what you’d like to buy. Bring the prices you can get online. Don’t forget to include shipping. The UCF doesn’t require shipping and many vendors don’t charge it. Enjoy the classes and support. I always come away refreshed and ready for another year.

  65. Color code your kids!! If your not checking them into the awesome kids camp put them all in the same bright color, WAY easier to spot the one that got away. Lol

  66. If you’re booking a hotel room, get one early and close to the convention center. The traffic can back up and the parking garages can fill up quickly!

  67. I attended my first home school convention last year. It was overwhelming and rejuvenating at the same time! My recommendation is to come with a list of items you are interested in using. Researching ahead helped me narrow down the vendors that were priorities for me. It also helped me when searching for bargains (and there are some!) at the used curriculum sale.

  68. Definitely bring a rolling tote or rolling suitcase with you for the used curriculum sale and throughout the exhibit hall. The first time my husband and I went it was quite the challenge trying to carry all of our finds in a small bag we had with us ;).

    • Hello PJ,
      Well, it depends on your preference, the age of your child and the temperament of your child. The children’s program is for children ages 5 – 12 and runs concurrently with most convention workshops. I am blessed to have my parents close so my kids spend time with Grandpa while I am at convention so I have not taken advantage of the children’s program as of yet, however I have heard great things about it. Children may also attend with parents as long as parents take them out of the workshops if they are noisy (this is because the workshops are being recorded.) They are always lots of children at convention – my only issue when mine do come is keeping my oldest from wanting to buy more books, my youngest away from anything that looks like toys and my little girl from all things pink. You can check out more information on the children’s program here – I hope that helps.
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

      • Also, if you have to take your child out of a recorded session, you can get a copy of the recording for free. Just contact the HEAV office after convention.

  69. Last year was my first convention and I read so many great tips before going, including taking a rolling bag, the address stickers, etc. My favorite tip (because it has served me all year long) is to take an expandable file folder to put all the flyers, catalogs and other information in. I labeled each divider by subject and filed each thing as I got it (I also kept those address labels in there and list of items I was looking for). As I’ve had to look for new curriculum during the school year or pre-planning for next year, I have been able to go to that folder and know exactly what things interested me for which subjects from convention.

    I had such a wonderful experience last year that it has been on my heart to volunteer this year.

  70. This is our first convention. We have just moved to VA and I’m excited to come. I saw they have kids classes advertised but would it be good for a 5 and 2 year old??

    • Dear Rayna,
      Unfortunately the Children’s Program begins at age 5, so while your 5 year old could attend, your 2 year old would need to stay with you. You can learn more about the children’s program here – – If you want to know more you can post your question to the HEAV facebook page. I haven’t had my kids in the children’s program yet as my parents live nearby and the kids enjoy spending time with Grandpa.
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

  71. I have been reading the description of the guest speakers, but I am still wondering if one will be speaking on what to do for advanced learners. My son is 5 and has way surpassed the 2nd grade. He has behavior issues too, but I don’t know what to do for him and feel bad for his brother who is 7 that he is working past. Any ideas on where to look at the convention for help I would appreaciate.

    • Hello Stephanie,
      I am not sure who to direct you to, but I do know who to ask. Watch for your question to be posted on the HEAV facebook page and then here on my blog in the coming week or two. That way we can get you an answer.
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

  72. This will be my first year at convention! Great idea on the mailing labels – thank you!
    I have a 5 1/2 yo. and DH travels quite a bit for his job, so likely that he will have to go to the children’s program Friday and Saturday. Any feedback or tips for that?

    • I was a very nervous about my children participating. It ended up that I had to drag them out of there every day to go home. They did not want to leave!! Check in and out was smooth and orderly. You eat lunch with them each day so you can get a good feel about their comfort level.

    • Hello Teresa,
      I have been blessed to have my parents close enough that my dad is able to watch the children while I am at convention so I don’t know much about the children’s program. Watch for your question to be posted on the HEAV facebook page or here on my blog in the coming weeks where you will get much more educated answers than I could give you. I will say that I have a friend who always brings her kids and they enjoy the program every year.
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

  73. From my very first convention I have always gone to used curriculum first with my list of needs. Then I have gone to the vendor floor for the rest and any new great finds. My son usually comes with me, even when he was little. I would let him shop in used curriculum also. He always found the neatest stuff. And then we would shop vendor floor together for that great find also.

  74. We commute to convention each day and pack lunch and dinner. Bring a blanket or folding chairs. It’s really fun in the parking garage to see other homeschoolers out enjoying their picnic. Everyone is very friendly.

  75. If you’re bringing children, make sure you also bring some quiet activities for them during any workshops you’ll be attending or for little ones sitting in the stroller while visiting the booths.

  76. We don’t stay really close to the convention, it’s a lot less expensive to stay maybe 15 minutes away. We park in a garage, close by, and if we buy a lot of stuff; my husband runs it over to the car so we don’t take up the entire aisle with our purchases! No, really, it’s so much easier to get around the convention NOT lugging around every thing we bought, easier to find a seat too. If you’re parked reasonably close it’s worth taking a few minutes to run out and get rid of some of the baggage.

  77. We plan to homeschool next year and need all the tips we can get. We hope to be at the convention for the first time!

    • Hi Leslie – I hope the tips you have found here have been helpful. Homeschoolers are a great group of people who love to share what they know. If you are at convention and you need help, there are always people who will be willing to help out. Be sure to check back on my blog over the next few weeks. I am going to compile the tips into various groupings – such as Workshop Tips, Exhibit Hall Tips, etc – so they aren’t too overwhelming for anyone. Have a great time at convention!

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  79. Never have had the chance to go to Convention …. Is it as great as everyone says or overwhelming ?

    • Both! It is great to see how many other people are involved with the same journey. It is also overwhelming… so many great learning tools. Think about how a child that loves candy feels when you go to a very large candy store and tell them to pick out just one piece of candy LOL

    • Both! 🙂 I know that probably isn’t what you were looking for, but it really is true. For me when I went to convention for the first time, when I left I knew what questions I had. I was so new going in, I didn’t even know what to ask. It really is worth it to go and if you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break. There are places to sit in the exhibit hall and outside of it. You can sit in a workshop session, or just take a break in one of the cool massage chairs in the main lobby area. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed – it’s a big place with LOTS going on, but the value of the experience is worthwhile. Any one else have thoughts on that?
      Michelle Crooker – Homeschooler on the Edge

  80. definitely print off the schedule prior to the convention so you will have some idea of the “must sees”, but be prepared to make changes on the fly if you see a better opportunity when you are there!

  81. I would suggest to bring lots of snacks and a water bottle. Also bring a list of what you are looking for and the price that you can get it for on the internet…that way you will know if you are getting a good deal or not while you are there!

  82. 1. Bring business cards so you can keep in touch with new friends you meet.
    2. Pray for new wisdom and encouragement that you can share with others during your journey.
    3. If attending with a spouse determine which sessions you want to attend together– or not !
    4. Have a clear idea what you are looking for if shopping for curriculum.
    5. Visit the Curriculum Doctors!!
    6. Plan to attend the gleaning. There are lots of great free or low cost items.
    7. Do your research so you know a great price when you see it.

  83. I went to convention by myself with twin daughters last year for the first time – it was extremely overwhelming but I was so thankful for the nursing moms room. This year I’m already prepping by making a list of curriculum I want to see and compare first hand before buying. My son is interested in American history and so we’ll be looking at various resources before committing – that’s what I like about the convention – the ability to pick up books and look at them!

  84. 1.Prepare for the convention like you are training for a marathon. Start walking at least a mile a day carrying 10 pounds of textbooks.
    2.At the convention wear practical shoes. The convention is not a fashion show. No high heels please. You will be doing a lot of walking.
    3.Do not carry a purse. You will probably set it down when you are looking at books in the display hall. If you carry a purse. Put a remote sensor in it. When you realize you have lost your purse. Hit find and your purse will start beeping.
    4. The first thing you should find on the map of the convention hall is where the bathrooms are. You don’t want to waste any shopping time looking for the toilets.
    5. Only bring cash. I once emptied out our checking account buying books I just “had to have.” They will be labeled and sold at the Used Curriculum Sale, the spines uncracked.
    6. Go to bed early. Stop talking to your friends and get a good-nights sleep. You need your energy for the conference.
    7. Smile. Have fun. There are a lot of ways to teach your children. Find what is best for you.

    • I usually take a cooler with food to eat. It is easier than going out and waiting with the others and cheaper. I usually get parking in the garage and it has always been nice enough to eat out there.

  85. Have a map and price items from the various vendors before purchasing.
    Make sure you mark down the name of the vendor, the item you are pricing and their price. Its can vary a lot in price.
    Pack snacks to save money.

  86. my tip would be to plan some other activities around Richmond. there are some great museums in the area if you are staying more than one night that is.

  87. Make sure you look through the brochure before going so you know who you want to see/hear and aren’t making a last minute decision.

  88. I’m thinking of bringing my High and Middle schoolers this year- any tips for kids at the convention?

  89. Just plan to get a lot of information. Try to think about what you want to get out of the convention and stick to it. Otherwise, you could get overwhelmed by the information. Have fun learning and meeting new people. Bringing a pull cart is also good so you don’t have to carry the items you get and buy.

  90. Last year was my first year and I thought I could sufficiently go alone and convey important things to my husband. If I could give advice, it would be bring your spouse! There was so much I just realistically could not share everything with him. I wanted him to hear and experience what I was getting to do and I wanted him to understand why certain things I kind of became pretty passionate about. So, if you can, make it a family thing!

  91. Pack a picnic lunch and eat in the car/parking deck. It saves time and money.

  92. Make a plan for the vendor hall – have an idea of which rows or vendors, etc that you want to visit each time. Don’t try to tackle all at once.

  93. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people around you. Ask questions. Give a comment. Smile be friendly.

    Ask others what sessions they went to and what they liked about it.

  94. Every year, I bring my old beat up rolling carry-on and always leave with it stuffed. Bring something to help you carry all your items comfortably! Also, I usually feel torn between the workshops, the displays, and the used sale… I think the audio CD of the speakers is well worth the price and frees my time for the rest.

  95. I would bring a collapsible, pull behind box with lid to put all your phamplets and give you a place to sit on! I also suggest volunteering to help others and a great event and also get into the used curriculum sale early.

  96. For a first timer with a preschooler and second grader, what should we not miss?

  97. Just very excited to be going to our very first convention! We start homeschooling in the fall! So overwhelmed with curriculum choices, not sure where to start or what to ask. Hope to meet some of you there!

  98. Go with friends! But make sure you hit the sessions you want to hear (even if your friends go elsewhere). Then buy the mp3 CD at convention – so much cheaper and you won’t regret it – start saving for it now!

  99. If the vendors are helping you out giving you suggestions and other advice, buy from them. They are worth the wage, don’t talk with them and then just go and get it at the cheaper place that hasn’t helped you out.

  100. Is there any discount for attending the convention Saturday only as opposed to full convention? …. if I don’t win this, I mean? 😉

  101. Before convention read over the speakers and workshops and make your “top 3” choices for each timeslot. Take a list of everything you need for each child and the best price. Take a rolling cart or cooler and stash your keys and wallet and phone in there – leave purse in the car. Take a water bottle and some grapes for energy.

  102. Look over workshops before going and select the ones you want to attend, it makes it much easier. Bring your spouse so you can divide and concur if needed and so you both are hearing all the great info.

  103. I would stay as close as possible to the convention center and bring one large enough bag to carry needed items. Soak up all of the wonderful knowledge to be found @ convention (not just from speakers but other parents too!). 😀

  104. I’ve never been to a HEAV convention. I have heard it can be overwhelming the first time. What are some tips or strategies that will help me get the most out of it?

    • Yes it can be quite overwhelming, but the first way to tackle that is to know it. When you feel like you are getting overwhelmed, take a break – sit down and have a snack, look through a catalog, or strike up a conversation with a stranger – Know that there is a lot going on – all the time and it would be hard (ok impossible) to do it all, but start with doing research online – the list of speakers and exhibitors will be on the HEAV page – check them out and make a list of who you KNOW you want to see. Finally – remember to occasionally take a break and breathe.

  105. 1. Go to the curriculum sale at the beginning of the lunch break and go to lunch at the end of the lunch break….the lines can be quite long at the very beginning.
    2. Book hotel room before convention registration opens (they book quickly)
    3. Don’t buy curriculum the first day…some things need to soak in.

  106. Bring along a water bottle and snack. It’s hard to stay focused when you have low blood sugar!

  107. Convention is so great! Exactly what I need to jump start the new year!! Would love to win the free pass for the weekend though!

  108. Purchase the MP3’ will want to listen to them again and again and you will pick up nuggets again and again.

    If at all possible, try to find a babysitter for your children or use the children’s program. You can get much more out of the convention if you can completely concentrate…and you deserve the rest and downtime! 🙂

    Don’t try to tackle the exhibit Hall all at one time…it can be too overwhelming!
    Highlight or circle the places you definitely want to visit that are listed in the weekend program, with their booth numbers, and then try to go to those booths first and then browse the other booths at your leisure, it is less demanding and overwhelming that way.

    Try to make time for the “Gleaning” period on Saturday afternoon. Many people donate items in the Used Curriculum Sale and you can snag some great (FREE!) products!

    VOLUNTEER! You will be a blessing and I promise you will be BLESSED!!! 🙂

  109. To avoid impulse buying bring a list of what you need with enough cash to pay for it. Once the money is gone don’t buy anything else.

  110. If its within your budget, go ahead and spend the money to stay at the hotel connected to the convention. Its usually just a five minute walk from your room to the exhibit hall. It was worth the money to me to be able to go back to our room for a relaxing (and free) lunch and some much needed rest before heading back to the convention.

  111. Bring something to carry everything in. Even as a mom of a preschooler last year I had more items than I could carry and thankfully had a rolling tote stashed in my car for such an occasion. Also, arrive early, parking fills up fast.

  112. This is my first year attending so I don’t know any tips or tricks! I would love to win! Thanks!

  113. I had attended the HEAV convention for 4 years in a row, then was not able to afford it last year. Each year I love to volunteer. I highly recommend everyone try to put in a few hours to help. It’s fun ( and you get in early to the used curriculum sale!)
    We really want to go this year, and especially because it’s one price for the whole family now! I am excited about the Duggar’s coming and Joel Salatin!

  114. Go over the list of workshop ahead of time & try to plan out your day & map it out.

    Also, this seems like a no-brainer but research curriculum BEFORE you go. I always get so overwhelmed by the choices at convention that I haven’t thought of. 🙂

  115. We are very excited to begin our 1st year of homeschooling. We recieved our 1st HEAV magazine today. To all the HEAV members : what is the best piece of advice you can give to us newbies? how many of you plan to attend the convention?

  116. I really do appreciate HEAV and the homeschool camaraderie. I homeschooled in Illinois for 3 years prior to moving Virginia 2 years ago. The State of Illinois is not as demanding as the Commonwealth of Virginia, but HEAV has been a wonderful resource and I feel a beautiful sense of community. I attended the conference for the first time last year, and I was overwhelmed by the number of homeschoolers from all walks of life. In Illinois I felt utterly alone in the homeschool arena; here I am enjoying this knowledgeable homeschool community. God Bless, and keep up the great work!

  117. Either place your young children in the kids program, or leave them with the grandparents. It’s a lot less distracting :0)

  118. I’ve never been and would love to come. I would need to bring my kids with me. Would they just follow me around or are there activities to amuse a 5, 10, 13, 15, and 16 year olds?

  119. Set a maximum amount that you will spend in the exhibit hall. Be sure to check the used curriculums first; You might just find what you need for a lot cheaper.

  120. Take your time. Don’t be overwealmed. Have a list of stuff you need instead of impluse shopping! Have fun!

  121. This will be my fourth convention! The first time I came to attend the Free thursday session. I knew God wanted me to pull my son out of public school, but I was scared to homeschool. The Free sessions gave me do much great information & pros to homeschool. I left encouraged & knowing it was worth the “risk”. I highly recommend coming, even if you aren’t sure if homeschooling is for you. So much parenting, marriage, and other workshops/advice. You wont regret coming!

  122. Go to a keynote session. Nothing like saying the Pledge and signing a hymn with a convention hall full of homeschooling families to inspire you to keep on!

  123. Take a tote bag and a pad of paper and a few pens or pencils. If you are taking children along make sure they have their own tote bag with things for them to stay occupied when you are in sessions and they are not interested. Those are my best tips.

  124. There is a food court at the Convention Center.. Some people pack lunches. I’m not sure about the restaurants.

  125. Go to the used curriculum sale with a list to avoid overspending. Bring a rolling cart for your purchases.

  126. As someone who wants to homeschool, what things should I pay attention to the most?

  127. Pingback: Announcing My Newest Gig: HEAV Promotional Blogger! | Becoming a Modern Proverbs 31 Woman

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