Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not Just for Homeschoolers

Homeschool conventions.

I've gotten save-the-date and registration info from two organizations this week.

The exhibit hall of a homeschool convention is a wonderful place to scout resources, whether your are a full-time homeschooler or a part-time homeschooler.

If you are the parent of a child with special learning needs, and that child goes to a public or private school, chances are good that you supplement what that school is doing at night, on weekends, and in the summers.

If you're a homeschooler, you are supplementing all of the time.

If you've not checked out the vendor hall at a homeschool convention, you may not know about some products and resources that would fill a need at your house.

Products from therapy catalogs are expensive. I have found resources at homeschool conventions that are similar to items in therapy catalogs that are much more affordable.

And, interestingly, quite a number of resources marketed to homeschoolers have a visual, a tactile, and a kinesthetic component built right in.

Most vendors at a homeschool convention offer some sort of discount. Some discounts are quite good.

Find a convention near you (look here to start); study the vendor list (here's an example), which means click through to vendor web sites, look for vendor presentations online (sometimes you'll find a video), look at the convention speaker list to see which vendors are presenting, too, and preview them before the convention. Narrow down the math products or reading products or writing products or science products so that you maximize your time in the massive vendor hall. The vendor hall is where you can look at products up close and where you can ask questions about them. If you are really curious about an item, be sure to check the speaker list to see if that vendor is presenting in a workshop.

Be sure to check out the list of speakers. Google their names. You may find a speaker who is an expert in an area where your child has learning challenges. As I browsed the Cincinnati convention web site just now, I found a presenter who is new to me: Hmmm. If I am unable to hear her in person, I need to order an audio cd of one of her presentations, I think.

If you plan to attend one of the gigantic conventions, do your speaker/presenter homework a little at a time, between now and then, so you maximize your time there. Sometimes, as you search, you'll find a presentation online. Listen to it now and you can skip that speaker at the convention. Important note: Find out as soon as you arrive to the convention which speakers will NOT be recorded and sold on audio CD- you'll want to make sure to attend those in person if they are on your must-see list. And check out the multiple-CD discount, know the numbers for the discount.

If you are like me, you will have to plan to miss some presentations, to buy the audio cd to hear later, in order to have enough time to shop in the exhibit hall.

Be sure to mark a second choice presentation and sit by the door so that if your first choice turns out to be something different from what you expected, you can slip out and attend the second choice presentation.

Note to self: Get to work researching math products, the ones that come with manipulatives. I found a new-to-me vendor while browsing that web site:

If you get an opportunity to hear Carol Barnier, Melinda Boring, Dianne Craft, or Tammy Glaser, go! The Human Calculator is a fun presentation, too. (And if you don't find speakers that interest you, look for an "exhibit hall only" pass, which may save you $.)

My two cents worth,

No comments:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou -

Stat Counter