I have teamed up with Great Homeschool Conventions to share information with you I feel you will benefit from. I did receive compensation for my time writing up this post. I never share a product with your I can't fully endorse.
Why attend a Homeschool ConventionIn case the term homeschool convention is unfamiliar to you it is a chance to be encouraged as a homeschooler, equip yourself as an educator in the topics that you need most (there are 100s of workshops to choose from), and come back invigorated.
I highly recommend Great Homeschool Conventions because it is incredibly affordable (your family registration even includes Grandma & Grandpa!), amazing speakers, 100s of workshops, comedy night, huge exposition hall to look through all the different curriculum out there, and more! They have 4 convenient locations to choose from so there is bound to be one in your neck of the woods.
Read more >>> 5 Reasons to go to a Homeschool Convention
Tips for Attending a Homeschool ConventionOkay, so you have decided you are going to a homeschool convention. I bet you are excited . . . . and a little overwhelmed. How in the world are you going to get to 100+ workshops?! Yikes! So here are some tips to help you relax and make the most of going to a homeschool convention!
1. Offload the KidsIf you can possibly bring Grandma and have the kids hang out at the hotel pool or leave everyone at home for a special weekend with the Grandparents that is ideal. I know you love your kids, but you will get more out of the conference if you aren’t having to focus on caring for your kids at the same time.
2. Attend the Conference with your SpouseAttending a homeschool convention with your spouse allows you to both take an active roll in your children’s education. You can both be informed and get excited about the possibilities for your homeschool. It allows you to be on the same page and strategize in downtime on what you really want for your homeschool. Plus (and this is a big plus) you can divide & conquer with the workshops so you can hit twice as many!
3. Figure out Your ObjectivesSure there are 100s of workshops, but you don’t need to attend them all. If your kids are going into Kindergarten you are going to want to focus on how to start homeschooling, handson learning, learning styles, etc. Although you may be interested in the high school workshops you’ll have time for that in the future. Attend workshops that:
- Meet a current need/concern (learning disability, better reaching your child’s learning stlye, etc.)
- Are going to help you plan for the next 1-2 years (by going a little early you have time to mull over the information, get additional information, and be ready to launch at the right time)
- Help you be a better parent and teacher
- Sound Fun (if it sounds fun chances are it speaks to you on some level – go ahead jump on in!
4. Take Good NotesAlthough it may seem like you’ll never forget that clever idea or anecdote, chances are at the end of all the speakers and workshops chances are some pearls are going to get lost. Make sure you right down key points that spoke to you clearly, concisely, and (speaking to myself here) neatly. Then you and your spouse can compare notes on the workshops you both attended and look back on these notes in the upcoming year as you need the encouragement and wisdom.
5. Visit the Curriculum Hall with List & a BudgetThe huge exposition hall filled with all the wonderful curriculum choices you didn’t even know were available is like a toy store to us home educators. It can take a lot of time to go through and can lead to some impulse buying that you may regret. But before you just decide note to wander, here is why you need to wander through the curriculum hall with a list & a budget:
- Only chance to actually browse the books - Most of us homeschoolers buy sight unseen from a catalog. Sure we live in a wonderful age with the internet that brings us reviews and often times some sample pages, but that is usually not enough to know if it is a good fit for you the teacher and your students. So make sure you visit booths of any curriculum you are considering for the next yera or two and spend some time actually looking through the books.
- Discounts – Many suppliers have special promotions if curriculum is purchased at the convention. Expect free shipping and even some 10% discounts.
- Find the hidden gem – Sure we’ve all heard of the big curriculum suppliers, but what about that wonderful curriculum designed by a homeschooling Mom herself that might be just what your family really needs. But they don’t have the steep pockets to advertise yet. Take some time to wander and you just never know what hidden gem you might find. This is the fun part!
6. Have FUN!Going to a homeschool convention is fun!
It is exciting, exhilarating, and inspiring. You will learn a lot and be encouraged by all the other homeschoolers out there – there is a real sense of community. Plus at Great Homeschool Conventions you get the family comedy night with Mark Lowry and will have a chance to just laugh – and we all know that laughter is the best medicine!