Homeschool conventions are held all over the country every year. Should you attend and if you do, how can you make the most of your time there?
Getting to the convention can be the first hurdle you have to overcome. Many times Moms with many children have a hard time being able to get away for a weekend or even a day. I'm sure most Moms that make it to a homeschool convention are glad that they came and would say that it was well worth the effort of getting there.
Conventions can be overwhelming at times. The vendor hall usually contains many vendors that all think that their curriculum or resource is the best. One advantage of attending homeschool conventions is the ability to get your hands on lots of material. It's hard to know whether a book or curriculum will work for your family when you are at home looking at it in a catalog. If you have the opportunity to look over it in person, you get a much better idea as to whether you should purchase this item or not.
Homeschool conventions have some of the best speakers. They have main sessions in an auditorium or gym where everyone joins together, usually at the beginning of the day, to listen to one of the main speakers. Then throughout the day they have smaller workshops every hour or so where you can hear even more speakers. Many times the workshops are held by vendors giving you a more detailed explanation of their product or service and sometimes it is just another homeschool mom or dad telling about their experience with homeschooling and how they solved a problem they were having.
Going to the seminars, talking to the vendors and being around all these fellow homeschoolers can be very inspirational. You see that you are not alone in this homeschool journey and that you are not the only one that encounters a few problems along the way. The main speakers and seminar leaders can help you renew your focus and vision about homeschooling and give you the extra push you need to determine to make this a great year.
The only disadvantage to attending homeschool conventions that I can think of is that you might be swayed to purchase a curriculum or book that you wouldn't normally have purchased if you hadn't talked to a convincing vendor. You should either decide ahead of time what you want to purchase or make sure you walk away from a booth to think before you make any major purchases.
If you had decided to use unit studies for the next year and talk to a convincing Abeka vendor and get sucked into the idea of having everything laid out for you, you should probably step away for a while and make sure that you want to make that major curriculum shift before you rush into a purchase. That is a lot of money to spend on a decision that you might later regret.
New and veteran homeschoolers can get lots of ideas and help when they attend these big conferences. They can meet up with other homeschoolers and speakers who can encourage them along the way. As with anything, you have to keep a healthy balance. You might even be the one to encourage another homeschool parent there.
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