Are they really necessary to attend? I've had several people tell me I needed to. I've already chosen the curriculum we are using. I really don't see the need to.
Is it really necessary or is it okay to skip those?
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 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.
7 years homeschooling and I have never gone. I am just too busy to make the time. Most of them are a ways away. If I spend that much time away from home I rather go to a museum. I think it can be really helpful to some people but I never felt the need.
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.
I have had to attend food shows, hospitality conventions, and mediation seminars in the past for work. I am conventioned out, TTYTT. I cannot foresee planning a convention trip in the next ten years. In this day and age when so much information and so many catalogs are available online and in the libraries, I don't think HS conventions are vitally important for most of us (we also prefer to fly under the radar in many ways, so we avoid registering for a lot of things). I can see how it would be helpful to me once we get to the upper grades to hold curriculum side by side to gauge the value for us personally, though, so I will never say never. ;)
I'm not going to one this year and likely never will. The one local to me only has one or two vendors I'd be even slightly interested in. Most are religious. It's been the same the last two years when I checked into it. I do not expect anything different with where I live. I haven't even looked into speakers and such this year but last years did not interest me.
I'll hold out hope that the secular one in ga takes off and maybe there will be one close enough to me in a few years.