There’s no better place to fully immerse yourself in the world of homeschooling than at a homeschool convention! It’s a great place to gain valuable insights and information, whether you’re new to homeschooling or have been doing it for a while.
That said, attending a homeschool convention can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t prepared. Below, we’re sharing some tips to help you have the best experience possible. First, let’s look at some reasons why attending a homeschool convention is worth it.
5 Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Convention
Here are five reasons why homeschoolers should attend a homeschool convention.
1) To Educate Yourself
Education is a constantly changing field. As a homeschool instructor, it can be challenging at times to keep up with the latest developments. What new curriculum materials are available? What new ideas or techniques will help you in your teaching? Attending a homeschool convention will help you answer these questions and stay current.
2) To Renew Your Vision
It’s important to stop regularly and revisit your reasoning for homeschooling. Why did you make this decision for your family? What are you hoping to achieve? Going to a homeschool convention can help you refocus on your “why” and refresh your goals.
3) To Visit Vendors
A homeschool convention is a great place to explore different educational materials, interact with curriculum options, and speak with vendors before you make any purchases. In a world where online shopping is now the norm, having the chance to engage with curriculum providers and their products in person is incredibly beneficial.
4) To Excel in Your Calling
If you’ve been called to homeschool, then you should train for your calling. A homeschool convention provides the perfect opportunity to listen, learn, interact, and grow so that you can be the best homeschool instructor for your students.
5) To Get or Give Support
Are you new to homeschooling? A homeschool convention provides an opportunity for you to get valuable support from others who have walked this path before you. If you’re a veteran homeschooler, you can probably remember the support you were given during your early days. Now, you can offer that same support to others. When you’re walking the convention hall, watch for the newbie with the “deer in the headlights” look or the long-time homeschooler who droops with discouragement. You never know who you might be able to encourage!
Tips on How to Survive a Homeschool Convention
Whether it’s your first time or your fifteenth, attending a homeschool convention can be challenging for various reasons—especially if you aren’t prepared. Here are some of our top tips to help you have the best experience possible while attending.
Before the Homeschool Convention
Take advantage of any early discounts and get all the information you can about the convention ahead of time, including:
- Venue information
- Featured speakers
With this information in hand, you can start planning your personal agenda.
Think Through Travel and Lodging
If you don’t live within a reasonable distance from the convention venue, you’ll have to plan out where you’ll stay. Be sure to consider both costs and convenience. For example, it may be cheaper to stay at a friend or relative’s house in the area, but it may make more sense to book a hotel that’s near the convention center.
Set yourself up for success by coming up with a plan before you set foot in the exhibit hall. Since you’ll have a limited amount of time at the convention, we suggest noting which vendors you want to visit and what questions you want to ask in advance. We also recommend taking a photo of your current curricula and/or writing it down to reference at the convention. Print out our handy homeschool convention planning sheet to organize all of the information you need!
There’s a lot going on at homeschool conventions, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and distracted once you get there. Planning ahead will help you remember your priorities amidst all the hustle and bustle.
Review the Speaking Schedule
Check out the speakers who will be presenting and what topics they’ll be focusing on. Then, highlight which sessions you think would be most valuable for you. Be sure to consider some alternatives in case your first choice is full or turns out to be a dud, that way you can quickly slide into another session.
Additionally, don’t feel that you need to attend every session that’s offered. In fact, we suggest that you set aside a good amount of time to shop and rest. Many conventions will provide recordings of the sessions via email, which you can order while there for a nominal fee.
Gather Everything You Need
Not sure what you should bring along to a homeschool convention? Here are ten items we suggest putting on your packing list:
Be sure to notify your card company in advance if you’re traveling so that it doesn’t deny any purchases.
During the Homeschool Convention
You’ve finally made it to the convention—now what? Here are a few tips to help you tackle the day!
Adjust Your Choices as Needed
Just because you came with a plan in mind, doesn’t mean you can’t adjust it as you go. A session isn’t what you expected? Don’t feel obligated to stay! Slip into a different one or use the extra time to do something else.
No longer interested in attending a certain vendor workshop? No problem! Feel free to adjust your schedule and choices as needed to make the most of your experience at the homeschool convention.
Visit the Exhibit Hall More Than Once
The exhibit hall can seem overwhelming when you first enter. To make the most of your time there, we suggest that you give yourself time for at least three laps.
- First, look over all the booths without stopping to get a general overview of what’s available. Then, take some time to decide which booths you want to visit more extensively.
- Next, go around and stop at the booths where you’d like to get more information, enter drawings, or pick up catalogs.
- Finally, take an extensive break to organize your thoughts before going around one more time to make any final purchasing decisions.
Talk to Other Attendees
A homeschool convention is a great place to meet fellow homeschoolers, expand your community, and get valuable insights from others who are either currently in a similar boat or have been in the past. So, don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and talk to others. The connections you make at a convention can be incredibly valuable.
Homeschool conventions can be exhausting if you don’t stop to recharge your batteries. If you give yourself breaks and keep hydrated, you will come to the end of the convention feeling tired but happy.
In addition, you will have gained inspiration and a renewed focus, ready to continue leading your family in its homeschooling adventure. You—yes, you—have survived the homeschool convention!
Ready to Attend a Homeschool Convention?
Homeschool conventions are a wonderful resource, whether you’re just getting started on your homeschool journey or you’ve been doing it for years.
Demme Learning will be exhibiting at several conventions across the U.S. this year. Our knowledgeable staff is excited to meet you and answer any questions you may have about our products.