There are at least 100 things I love about spring: Warmer weather. Longer days. Greener grass. Flowers. And the startup of the homeschool convention season!
Whether you’re talking about a small local event or a giant regional one, I love homeschool conventions! I love the workshops and the sharing of ideas, and I love wandering through vendor halls filled with homeschooling materials.
But I’m amazed sometimes at the number of homeschoolers I meet who have never attended a homeschool convention.
I realize sometimes people don’t attend simply because they can’t. If you live hours from the nearest convention, finding the time and money for travel can be a real challenge. And even if you have a convention barely beyond your back door, sometimes there are logistical issues within a family that just can’t be overcome. If that’s the case with you, be aware that many conventions offer recordings of their workshops for purchase or for free. And thank heavens we live in a day where there are so many wonderful resources available for homeschooling moms online, like this cool website I know of called Hip Homeschool Moms …
But for those of you who may have never even considered visiting a homeschooling convention, can I offer you a few things to think about? I believe there is something good you could bring away from a convention, and it might be one of these things …
- New and Fresh Ideas
If you’re completely satisfied with your homeschool, if each and every component of your homeschooling day comes together seamlessly, and if all your children are excelling in each and every subject, then this takeaway may not be so important to you.
As for the other 99.95% of homeschooling moms: Sometimes we just need some tips for making science more interesting to our kids or we could use some advice for motivating a reluctant learner or for scheduling our homeschooling day. I don’t care how long you’ve been doing this – there’s something you can learn from someone else and, whatever it is, it might just prove invaluable to your homeschool!
Did you know Thomas Jefferson used a self-designed standing desk to help him concentrate in his work? Standing can actually help with focus, so little boys stuck on the same math problem for 20 minutes could possibly benefit from something so simple as standing up while doing their math.
Guess where I learned that useful little bit of information. You guessed it! A homeschool convention.
- Loads of Encouragement
Conventions are often chockfull of workshops designed to offer encouragement to the homeschooling mom. If you don’t need that, GREAT, but I’d say most of us do. We all get discouraged sometimes in our roles as wives, as moms, as disciplinarians, and as teachers. Sometimes an encouraging word can make all the difference.
There’s also something about seeing scores of other homeschooling moms and families that just brightens your day somehow. It’s a reminder you’re not alone on this homeschooling journey.
I even remember blubbering my way once through a workshop on dyslexia. My 9-year-old daughter wasn’t reading yet, and I was feeling like an abysmal failure as her teacher. But I can’t tell you how uplifting it was when another mom grabbed me and hugged me, assuring me she could pray for my daughter as I prayed for her son. No, that didn’t do a thing in the world to teach my daughter to read, but it lifted my spirits more than you’ll ever know!
Hey, who doesn’t love FREE?
I love coming away from homeschool conventions with free information, sample materials, catalogs, books, book lists, book marks, product samples, calendars, magazines, subscriptions, CDs, and DVDs, etc.
And who couldn’t use a few more tote bags and click pens, right?
- Visual Aids, Teaching Aids, and other Homeschooling Materials and Supplies
Generally speaking, the materials sold at homeschool conventions are like those you’ll find in a basic teacher supply store, but much more homeschool oriented, which is nice. I’ve stumbled across so many great materials and visual aids in homeschool convention vendor halls, and I’m always giddy about getting them home and putting them to use.
- Curricula and Books at Discounted Prices
Reading about curriculum in a catalog or looking at sample pages online is not the same as holding a book in your hands and flipping through its pages for yourself. I like to see a curriculum before I purchase it, and homeschool conventions offer me that opportunity.
Many curriculum companies offer special deals at homeschool conventions like a certain percentage off or free shipping, which can sometimes add up to big bucks.
Workshop speakers and booksellers will often offer their books at a discount as well. I’ve gotten some tremendous deals before, which is a big plus for a bibliophile like myself! I usually go with a list in hand, but I’ll stumble across other gems in my search.
So is visiting a homeschool convention imperative to your homeschooling success? Obviously, no. But taking advantage of some of the great things a convention has to offer can be a real boon to your homeschool, both by encouraging and inspiring you as your kids’ teacher, and by giving you the resources and materials you need to make your job easier.
Will you a visit a homeschool convention this year? What great things do you expect to take away from your visit? What is your favorite thing to see/do at a homeschool convention?