As we enter homeschool convention season, it seems only fitting to mention that one of the biggest tips I can give to any homeschooler or potential homeschooler is to attend a homeschool convention. There many homeschool conventions all over the country and each state is bound to have one or more to attend at some point during the year. If you have never been to one, you are missing out.
Whether you attend a big homeschooling convention like the Great Homeschool Conventions in Cincinnati, OH, Greenville, SC, Ontario, CA, or Ft Worth, TX, or a small state sponsored homeschool convention like the upcoming Indiana Association of Homeschool Educators (IAHE) Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, you are sure to find some wonderful resources and something to benefit just about anyone at a homeschool convention.
Here are some advantages to attending a homeschool convention:
NO SHIPPING – If you are in the market for curriculum, the homeschool convention can give you the opportunity to pick up your curriculum, usually at a homeschool convention discount, with no shipping. We all know book can be pricey to ship so this is a great time to save your homeschool budget a little money and save on those shipping charges.
TALK TO THOSE VENDORS – The homeschool convention gives the parents and students the opportunity to talk with vendors about their curriculum. This is an excellent time to discuss where you are going with your education, if you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about a particular curriculum, or consider something new. We all know that we can find something that is good for us but sometimes our kids have interests that we may not have a lot of experience in. For instance, my daughter loves (is there a stronger word than loves) rocks so I am always looking for ways to keep her learning about rocks and minerals in new ways that are interesting and education. The homeschool convention gives you the opportunity to explore new and new-to-you vendors.
MINGLE WITH OTHER HOMESCHOOLER – I love that we can go to the convention and see just how big our homeschooling community is. Whether you are a classic homeschooler, an eclectic traditional homeschooler, or an unschooler, you get to see all these families that have made a similar choice about their children’s education. And the kids get to see that they aren’t the only family schooling at home (or in the driveway or up the tree in the backyard). We have met some interesting people and families while we have been trolling about homeschool conventions.
RENEW YOUR SENSE OF PURPOSE – Homeschooling conventions are typically chalk-full of workshops, demonstrations and resources to help homeschoolers renew and rejuvenate their homeschool. Even if you are going along just great and feel you don’t need to change a thing, you may be surprised at how refreshed you feel after attending a few workshops at a convention. I always enjoy listening to speakers and learning why some of the curricula was developed. Many times curriculum is developed by homeschooling families themselves so it’s fun to meet those people and listening to their children tell us why they like the curriculum their parents have written.
FOCUSED TIME ON EDUCATION – We always look at the convention as a time to focus our energy on our children’s education. My husband and I discuss what we are doing, what is working and what is not, and explore other resources if necessary together at the convention. We see the convention as a time for us to focus on our long term educational goals and spend some time thinking about it and discussing our goals for our children. We always feel reconnected and ready to get going again after we are finished with convention.
RESOURCES – My kids get excited when we tell them its convention time. We have made it a family tradition to purchase a new family game (usually educational) at the convention, which the kids look forward to. We also get a new audio book at most conventions, which the kids LOVE! We also find it a time to see if there are new resources out there, visit used curriculum booths to restock items we need, and check out booths about extracurricular activities in our area (assuming we are attending a local convention). This is always fun and enlightening, learning what opportunities are available and what will be available as the kids grow. It is exciting. My kids have watched military demonstrations, watched learning videos, participated in science experiments, read books just released, talked to other homeschooling kids, and even had the chance to try playing the harp at homeschool conventions. We always have a good time when we attend.
Be sure to check out my post last year about attending the Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention last year as well as my post on 7 Reasons Your Should Attend a Homeschool Convention and look for an upcoming post about our attendance at the IAHE Convention this year coming soon.
Do you go to your homeschool convention? What is the best part for you?