Welcome!

I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

5 Reasons I Go to a Homeschool Convention Every Year {and why you should too!}


My oldest child was two-years-old the first time I set foot into a homeschool convention. Yes, you read that right. I had a two-year-old. Just writing that makes me blush. To say that I was eager to launch is obviously a gross understatement.

In my defense, I tend to be a proactive parent--one who looks ahead and builds for the years I can not see--as opposed to a reactive one.

I wanted to learn all I could about homeschooling during those early years, so that I didn't get drowned by a firehose of information later on.


(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

That was twelve years ago. And I've been going to a homeschooling convention every year since.


I started attending because I was a newbie. I had all the tell tale signs of ignorance: the dazed-and-confused look, the five-page list of questions to ask the veteran moms at the mentor's booth, the mental paralysis with matching headache. I'm certain the vendors could smell my fear the moment I sidled up to their booths.

Now, I'm no longer a newbie. But I still go to a convention. Every year. And if truth be told, so should you. Here's why.

You need to hear success stories

A homeschooling convention will bolster your bravery because it will fill your doubting heart with the much-needed success stories of others. Insecurity is often the collateral damage of choosing the "different" path of education. It's easy to begin to doubt your decision to homeschool when you're going it alone. While attending a convention, however, you'll see that your struggles are not unique, that your particular problem is not the spotted unicorn, and that others share your same concerns. Your decision to home educate will be validated and affirmed as you see others not only doing the work too, but doing it well. If you never see it, you won't ever believe it and the Enemy will use that unbelief to try and pry you from your post

You need to find a tribe

Without community, homeschooling can be a lonely road. Attending a homeschool convention will allow you to rub shoulders with like-minded people. Momma with 7 kids, you won't be the exception to the rule. Stay-at-home, homeschooling dad, you won't be the lone wolf. Mother of a teen who's tiptoeing towards college admissions, you won't be the minority. You'll finally know what it feels like to be known and understood, even for just a few hours. While sitting in sessions or cruising the vendor hall, you'll bump into men and women who need a tribe just as much as you do. Use that time to link arms and form friendships with those who share this same common denominator of life, homeschooling.


You need to be mentored by real-life people

In an age of blogs {ahem}, podcasts, and webinars, online homeschooling mentors can be ordered up to suit a mom’s perceived needs just like a Happy Meal at McDonalds. While digital mentors are good, especially for those living in remote areas or who don't have the financial or physical means to attend a real-life conference, they're not the best and most authentic way to cultivate connection. A convention allows you to have face time with 3-dimensional veterans who don't just talk AT you, but also WITH you.

You need to try it on before you buy it

The "Look Inside" feature on Amazon is helpful, that's true. It can give you a glimpse into a book and allow the idea to percolate before you plunk down your real cash money for it. But when it comes to curriculum, a "look inside" doesn't always cut it. There's often more than just a book at stake. Curriculums come with CDs, manipulatives, guides, and even project kits. At a convention, you'll be able to hold your potential choices in your hands, flip through the pages, and ask questions of vendors and other moms around you. When you're not sure which curriculum to root for, you'll be able to set two good choices next to each other, compare them, and decide which one is the best choice for your family.

In addition, buying at a convention usually comes with financial perks. Most vendors offer special convention discounts that they don't extend at any other time or place. Some conventions even host a used curriculum area that allows you to haggle prices over gently used books, guides, games, and teaching aids. Who knows, you might even stumble upon a title that you never knew you always wanted. (I give you Exhibit A: The best Easter resource I have ever read. I found it years ago while foraging for math resources in a used vendor booth.) 

You need to add to the collective conversation

Deep calls to deep. The homeschooling community needs you. Your attendance at a homeschooling convention helps to keep vendors, speakers, and supporters in business. A healthy and thriving homeschooling community cultivates the landscape for future generations of homeschoolers. Your presence shows policy makers and naysayers that home educators are not a group to be messed with. In addition, many conventions have reciprocating arrangements with the Homeschool Legal Defense Association and other non-profit bulldogs that fight for your rights to educate at home. By just showing up, you are sending encouragement out in big, lavish waves not only to these organizations, but to other moms in need of hope. The ripple effect of your presence will be far reaching.


Join me at a convention near you!

Are you ready to encourage and be encouraged? Register for your statewide homeschool convention. Don't have a convention close to home? Head on over to the Teach Them Diligently Convention and sign up for the sessions nearest you. I'll be there sharing about some of my most favorite homeschooling topics:
  • scheduling your homeschool day
  • occupying your babies & tots while teaching your big kids
  • notebooking the Charlotte Mason way
  • creating a reading culture in your home (even when your kids don't like to read)
I'd love to save you a seat!


6 comments:

  1. I agree with you on many points. But where I live, the only state-wide convention is distant, expensive, and year after year does not impress me with their speaker lineup. So, to encourage and support my local homeschooling community, I organized a free conference for local parents. We still get the mentoring, the learning, and the tribe-finding, but without all the expensive/commercial aspects. It is a really special day for all of us who can attend! So if you can't find a local convention to attend, maybe you should consider starting your own grass-roots, free, non-profit mini-conference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's a great idea. I started a monthly moms' support group in my town years ago for similar reasons. Although I no longer lead it, it's still going strong.

      Delete
  2. I have never heard of the Teach Them Diligently Conference! Too bad they are all so far away or I'd be there in a heart beat! With bells on!! (or maybe it's more like where we live is just the farthest away from everything ever.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you. Other than this one convention, nothing like this ever comes north enough for me to attend.

      Delete
  3. Thank you for posting. My daughter is currently two and I already feel like I need that tribe. My family looks at me like I'm crazy for not going back to work yet. Only a couple of people know that I plan to continue teaching at home into elementary school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the tribe, Colleen. You are more than welcome here!

      Delete