If you are good, you are good. I'd skip it.
I haven't gone either... but I do a lot of online research when choosing curriculum (and refer to Cathy Duffy's books that review them) and I also find my stuff on deals (rainbowreasearch site, and ebay/amazon).... I have heard folks get a lot of deals when they go to the conventions but I get deals online (with free shipping) all the time so that is not reason enough for me to go. I have heard a lot of the speakers are motivating at conventions too, I have no doubt that they would be inspiring, but I have a handful of encouraging books, and a network of other mom's nearby ...... to travel over an hour and pay to get into a convention doesn't make sense to me now. Maybe when I am shopping for high school curriculum I might though.... or if I hit a discouraging year...
I want to go, but it is REALLY REALLY expensive for the local one. I just want to put my hands on a different curriculum before commiting to it. Otherwise I see no reason at all for attending.
I go for the encouragement. I also look at a lot of the new stuff they come out with. I love to look at the other non-homeschool books they have. At my local convention many of the vendors offer discounts and free shipping if you purchase your items at the convention. I take advantage of that that since shipping is very expensive.
I don't think they are necessary. But they are fun and encouraging. Some of the vendors have awesome sales (like 10-40& off all books plus free shipping). So sometimes it is worth going just to order your books.
But don't let other people make you think you need to. There are plenty of other ways to buy books and find information and encouragement.
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