Monday, May 11, 2009

CHAP Convention 2009

This past Fri & Sat was the 2009 CHAP (Christian Homeschool Assoc of PA) convention and Little Bit & I went to it. Since I hadn't been to a homeschool convention before, I figured this was my "learning year", I wasn't going to go into it planning to buy a bunch of stuff or anything, I was just going to go & figure out how it all works so I'd know more for future years, and I wanted to go to lots of seminars (since, as a SDA, we don't "buy & sell" on Sat, I spent all day Sat. going to seminars that I considered acceptible for Sabbath, on character development, etc).

And I DID learn alot:

  • a rolling cart of somesort is a must! Quite a few people just used rolling suitcases, but I think having to unzip & re-zip it would annoy me (even if you're not buying alot, many vendors have catalogs & other handouts so it would annoy me to have to keep zipping/unzipping for that, but maybe less so if I didn't have a baby to juggle? And/or if the suitcase had a front pocket that the small papers at least could be slid into easily?
  • I will bring pre-printed labels with my name/address/e-mail next time, for raffles & mailing lists (address labels would work, but most things I filled out asked for e-mail addy as well, so you'd have to add that, but it might be worth it if you have alot of the freebie address labels laying around)
  • Since I don't do any shopping on the 2nd day of this conference (because it's Sabbath), I'm going to arrange in advance with someone (husband, my parents, a friend . . .) to be available for me to call & have them check online for pricing to see if the convention prices are a good deal or not . . . If it were, say a Thurs/Fri convention that would be a non-issue since you could browse the first day, check prices online in the evening, and buy the 2nd day.
  • Bring snacks to keep in the car. The location (not CHAP) had a rule of no outside food/drink, but not only was the food (& water) EXPENSIVE!!! There were very few vegetarian options, and nothing healthy & quick. Ideally, for a convention like this, I'd bring dried fruit, nuts, etc (and water, of course) that I could eat while I was in the seminars, since that's not an option, and there weren't healthy/filling/vegetarian options to purchase that were things I could take with me into a seminar anyway, and I was able to park relatively close to the entrance, so if I'd had healthy snacks in the car the first day, I could have gone out there & eaten something healthier (and MUCH cheaper) just as fast, or faster than taking time to sit down & eat a salad or pasta from the on-site cafeteria. Admittedly the second day since all my seminars were at the far end of the complex from the entrance/exit, I opted to eat food I could purchase from the cafeteria that was next to my next seminar room rather than hike back to the car (where I did, at least have granola bars I'd picked up on my way to the hotel the night before). So I'd be aware that it might not be used, but I'd at least make sure I had snacks in the car available.
  • Along the same lines, while it said no outside food/drinks, there WAS a drinking fountain there, as it was I bought ONE bottle of water & re-filled it at the drinking fountain. Next time I'll just bring an empty Klean Kanteen & fill it at the drinking fountain.
Little Bit did great!! Especially the first day when I alternated seminars, and browsing through the vendor hall. She generally slept while I browsed, and nursed during the seminars, so it worked well. I was nervous about how she'd sleep that night after napping so much during the day, but it worked out fine. I got to the hotel around 6:30pm and she was awake for awhile, then went to sleep for the night, and I went to bed when she fell asleep so it worked fine.

The second day of back-to-back seminars all day she got abit more restless, but still did pretty well. I have a feeling next year, assuming she's not at a point of being left home with the big kids (the big kids wouldn't have at just past a year, but she's so different from them, who knows . . .), it'll be worth the extra $10 to have a second adult (probably my mom, unless hubby wants to come (and we leave the big girls w/ my parents), but he didn't want to this year, so I assume he won't next year either) come along so we can take turns riding herd on Little Bit, since she's not likely to sit thru many seminars so well next year LOL.

No comments: