Conventions and Conversation
Are you ever overwhelmed at the thought of ALLLLLL those people at the homeschool convention you are getting ready to attend?
Extroverts love the big crowds and get energized in a setting like that.
Introverts can be a little overwhelmed.
As a bit of introvert myself, I can speak to that feeling. I have learned to handle those situations a little better over the years by setting goals for myself before I go to a convention. Kym, Marilyn and I are leaving for Spartanburg, SC tomorrow for the Teach Them Diligently Convention this weekend. If you are registered for a convention in the next couple of months but have never been to one before, or are a little a nervous about how to handle thousands of homeschoolers in one building, here are some tips:
- Pray: Before the convention arrives (even months before!), ask God to prepare you. He has specific good things to give you while you are there, and as you pray you will begin to anticipate these good plans, and you will grow more excited and less nervous.
- Set Goals: Decide what your personal goals are for the days you will spend at the convention.
-Are there specific speakers you are going to hear? Are there specific questions you would like to ask them if you get the chance? Write those things down in a notebook you will have with you when you go.
-Are there specific pieces of curriculum or specific vendors you've been wanting to really check out? Write those down. Look over the convention materials and find out where those booths will be, and make a list of questions you want to have answered.
-Is there a subject area you are concerned about teaching in your homeschool next year, or a learning challenge you are facing on the horizon? Pick a couple of names from the list of presenters and vendors, and plan to visit them to discuss your concerns.
No one can tell you how to perfectly homeschool your own kids, but you can get some great direction and encouragement if you have thought through your concerns ahead of time.
- Plan Some Breaks: Make sure you will have a half-hour here and there to just step outside and smile at the sunshine. Those little breaks can re-charge you for the next stretch of time.
- Eat Wisely and Stay Hydrated: Feeling good physically makes it easier to feel good emotionally, even if you don't like big crowds.
- Practice Your Smile: If you plan to make eye contact and smile at people, you will feel less "lost in the crowd" and more like you are a part of the event. Lots of people will start an easy conversation with you if you simply smile; it makes you approachable!
- Set Boundaries: Don't plan to visit every single vendor if you are intimidated by the size and noise of the exhibit hall. You don't have to stop and look at Physics curriculum if your child is in 2nd grade! It's not rude to simply bypass vendor tables that do not interest you. Conserve your "talking to strangers" energy and use it for the vendors whose material is important to you.
- Tell Someone How You Feel: If you are going to the convention with your spouse, with a friend, etc. tell them ahead of time that you find it overwhelming. Ask them to pray for you, and ask them to be respectful of your feelings if you need to take a break, or if you need them to ask a question for you because you are tongue-tied. Share your personal goals with them so they can help you get the information and encouragement YOU need from the myriad resources available.
- Expect Good Things: Even in my younger convention days when the venue was harder for me to handle than it is now, I always came away very THANKFUL that I had come. There was always more good that came out of the experience than there was stress. God has your needs well in mind, and He will meet them there.
If you are attending TTD, I hope you will stop by the vendor table at 7 Sisters and smile. If you don't want to hang around and chat, I will understand! But at least smile at me and know that you are not the only one who feels a little overwhelmed!
Each of us is wired a little differently, and it's okay to be yourself, even if you don't quite know what to do with thousands of others gathered with you in one place. God's plans are good, and they will be a blessing to you!
Here's a little video journal I recorded about my own struggles with Undirected Socialization....be encouraged!
For a peek a the new drama resources in our EBookstore (btw, I'll be conducting a TTD Workshop on Drama on Friday at 4:40....join me!) , or to pick up a Character Study tool to accompany some great Christian biographies like God's Smuggler or The Hiding Place click here.