I’m an HEAV blogger this year and am being compensated with free registration to the convention but all opinions are my own (and I always blog about convention anyway, it’s one of the highlights of my year!).
I hate crowds! I’m fairly short, noise bothers me, and I’m easily visually overwhelmed. I’ve been known to purchase tickets to something, walk in and walk back out again, because I’m too overwhelmed to enjoy it. But every year I go to the Used Curriculum Sale at the Heav Convention and every year I plan to do most of my shopping either there or in the Exhibit Hall. I have to shop that way because I’m also a very tactile person and I find it almost impossible to get a good sense of whether or not something will work for my children unless I touch it.
With those personal constraints in mind how do I shop successfully for the next year? Like most other things in my life- I make a plan.
I start by sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down what I want the children to study in the coming year. We school year round but I try to do all of my shopping at the convention and so the bulk of my planning happens in May (when I plan what we’re going to cover) and June (after I have all of those wonderful new books and can make actual lesson plans). This year I’m probably also going to try to do most of my printing and copying in June and July so I can just pull stuff as I need it, rather than having to print, laminate etc. every week.
So here’s what my current plan looks like:
I also make a sub-list of what History and Science I think they would enjoy based on their current interests and their temperaments. I then review what things I already have on my shelf (my mother-in-law is really wonderful at finding good science books for them at yard sales and thrift shops so I often have a number of books we can use already). I also do some online research on Pinterest and our local library catalog online. In years past I’ve written all of this down but never filed it or added it to my homeschooling binder, so this year I’m trying to do better at that!
One thing I look for are resources that the children (especially Buggle) can use to self-teach. Our local library has a free online German course so I’ll be letting him use that this year as part of his language study.
Once I’ve gotten a good idea of what I’m going to be looking for, I head to the HEAV Convention website to look for three things.
First I pull up the workshop schedule and figure out what I’m planning to attend and where my shopping windows are likely to be. Secondly I sign up for my volunteer hours, during a time that works for me so I can get my Early Bird Shopping pass to the Used Curriculum Sale and because I really enjoy volunteering at convention.
Thirdly I go to the current vendor list and print it off, then spend several hours (in bits and pieces) going to each website and making a note for myself of what kinds of materials they carry and whether or not I expect to find anything I need at their booth. When I’m done I print a clean copy and put it into my convention binder along with the workshop schedule and the vendor floor map (when it comes out) and my shopping list which is broken down by child and noted with prices (as I have them) and what booths I expect to find the materials at.
All of this probably sounds like a lot of work. It is. It is also the difference between being completely overwhelmed by a really good thing that pushes some of my personal panic buttons and being able to complete my school shopping in one weekend without (usually) forgetting anything! All of that homework (and generous amounts of caffeine during the convention) means that I really enjoy the shopping part of the convention and actually look forward to it for weeks!
Now! This is a first for me as a blogger but I’ve been given an HEAV Convention pass to give away! So here’s what I’m going to do. Post a comment between now and midnight on the 18th, give us a tip for how you prepare for the exhibit hall and the UCS. I’ll number the comments and get Buggle to pick one! Fun for everyone right? And if you are planning to come to the convention come look for me, I’ll be volunteering either at the main HEAV table in the lobby or at the Special Needs Table.
This contest is now closed and the winner has been notified. Thanks for all your comments and stay tuned for another giveaway in a couple of weeks!