As a homeschooler, you’re sure to find that there are tons of resources you can review online from the comfort of your own home. You can read other types of informational content, subscribe to newsletters, watch YouTube videos galore and read blogs until you’re bleary-eyed. You can even head over to social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find groups to join. There are even many groups that are strictly for the “swap and shop” niche for used curriculum and materials. All of these outlets are not only convenient and beneficial, but I would venture to say many of them are even necessary.
However, there are some things you simply cannot take advantage of online. Even if you’re part of a homeschooling group, co-op, or club, there are still some aspects you might be missing if you only make use of online and nearby opportunities. Attending a Great Homeschool Convention is a great way to fill in the blank spaces and truly round out your experience. But how? What does a homeschooling convention offer that makes it such a necessity? Well, that’s what we’re going to look at specifically in this post.
Find New Homeschool Curriculum & Resources
When you find yourself in the vendor hall at your Great Homeschool Convention, you will see all the extensive options and choices that are available. You can’t just wander into your local bookstore or Walmart and find a great curriculum for your homeschool. And even if they were largely available in areas like these, you still wouldn’t find the boundless variety you’ll discover at your homeschool convention.
The curriculum choices you’ll find here are not limited to a specific homeschooling style or learning style. Instead, you’ll find excellent resources for every one of them. Whether you’re using the Traditional homeschooling style or even if you choose radical unschooling, you’ll find materials and resources that are sure to work wonders for your child or children.
One of the best things about choosing your homeschool curriculum while attending a Great Homeschool Convention is that you can actually examine them in person, page by page if you prefer. This is something you simply cannot do if you’re purchasing online or buying from a social media swap-and-shop group. Amazon may have the “Look Inside” feature, but the truth is, sometimes even the texture of the paper can be off-putting for children with special needs. It seems like a small thing, almost too small to mention. But having a son like mine, with a severe sensory disorder, I know the difference something like this can make. For us, even pencils had to be tested.
Sometimes, though not always, curriculum vendors may offer special deals if you purchase while there in person. These specials can range widely, but it’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’ve had a hard time deciding between two or more curriculum choices.
Gain A Wealth Of Information From Workshops
In our commitment to helping you be completely successful in your homeschooling endeavor, we offer a wealth of workshops where outstanding speakers talk about things pertinent to homeschoolers all over the nation. There are hundreds of these sessions over the course of one Great Homeschool Convention weekend. Here’s a sampling of some of the speakers you’ll have the opportunity to hear:
For a list of all the great speakers you’re likely to see and hear from at one of our Great Homeschool Conventions, CLICK HERE.
It’s A Great Place For Encouragement
In all that you’ll be able to see, hear, and do at a Great Homeschool Convention, finding encouragement will not at all be hard to do. You’ll feel supported as you attend workshops and meet other homeschooling parents. Some of these parents may be first-year homeschoolers; others may be veterans with decades of experience behind them.
No matter where you are on your own homeschooling journey, you’ll always be able to find new ideas in something you see, hear, or experience. Whether it’s a new curriculum or resource, or a new idea that’s presented by one of our amazing speakers, you’re sure to reap abundantly from your attendance. Even though the curriculum is generally used over the course of the school year, the anecdotes, notes, and ideas you leave with are likely to last you a lifetime.
Most of all, you will quickly find that you are NOT alone in your homeschooling endeavor! You’ll meet so many people, many of whom are just like you. Meet new people, make new friends, and create connections that may last a lifetime.
You’ll Learn SO Much
It isn’t every day you get to be in an environment where so much information is available in so many formats! The truth is, one of the most important things you can take to the Great Homeschool Convention you attend is a note-taking device. You might think you’ll remember everything that really makes you think “WOW!”, but the truth is, the excitement is likely to cause you to forget more than you remember.
Notebooks and writing instruments are never out of style, of course, and they use no batteries, so you should stash a couple of these in whatever you take with you. However, many people find it easier to take notes on a device. There are tons of note-taking apps out there, many of which are free, and you can always make use of Google Docs. Either method is fine, so long as you make sure to take plenty of notes.
In addition to taking notes on what is said, you can also reserve a space to write down questions the speaker might not have answered. If there is a meet-and-greet opportunity, you can pull from your notes to ask these questions, or if they have their own blog or website, you can use their “contact me” section to have those questions answered as well. You’ll not only find all the information you were looking for, but you will have given your children an example that anyone at any age can continue learning.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Great Homeschool Convention
There are many ways to take advantage of the Great Homeschool Conventions you choose to attend, but these are some tips that will hopefully help you get the most out of the experience. We realize that not everyone is fond of the idea of planning, but a little planning can go a long way, especially with a homeschool convention.
Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan to attend a convention in the near future:
- Register for the convention with plenty of time to spare. This saves you a lot of time at the door and it can even save a bit of money too if early discounts are offered.
- Make sure to solidify hotel plans if you’re traveling. Make sure you take advantage of the hotel discounts we offer because they do fill up fast. As soon as you register, make your plans and print off all the information so you don’t lose track of it for when the big day comes. If you need to make special arrangements, especially for babies, toddlers, or children with special needs, speak to the hotel directly to make sure the accommodations will be ready when you get there. This can save time at check-in and all the extra stress that might go along with it.
- Find out which speakers and workshops you most want to hear and attend. There may be so many speakers and workshops available during the convention that it might not be feasible to hear every one of them. Be sure to review the schedule well in advance and mark the ones that are the most important to you. If you find that you’ll miss something really important to you, you might have the opportunity to purchase MP3’s, CD’s, DVD’s, or written material that correlates with what was covered during the workshop. This makes it much less stressful for you and gives you the opportunity to review materials at your leisure once you’re home.
- If possible, invite someone who has previous convention experience. Especially if this will be your very first Great Homeschool Convention. With a veteran attendee in tow, you can gain insider knowledge about the best aspects of the convention, what not to miss, what can be put off until later, and which items you should cross off your to-do list right away. Plus, you’ll have someone to enjoy lunch with for a few moments of much-needed decompression in the midst of all the excitement.
- Browse and window shop. It’s quite likely that you’ll find the same materials offered by at least two different vendors, and sometimes many more. If you have the extra time to browse, make sure you compare prices, especially if you are on a strict budget. Finding items you love can make it almost impossible to ignore them, but for the frugal homeschooler, comparison shopping is always worth the time it takes.
- Know your vendors. If you know ahead of time which vendors will be presenting, do some research so you’ll have an idea of what each one has to offer. This can save time by allowing you to visit only those vendors who will be offering materials you might actually use. That way, if you realize you’re not going to have time to see them all, you can at least visit those that mean the most to your own homeschooling plan.
- Stick to a shopping budget. Even if you’re not frugal, it’s easy to let spending get out of hand at a homeschool convention. Hundreds of vendors will be available, and over-spending is definitely an issue if you’re not adhering to a specific budget. While the impulse buys might make sense at the moment, buyer’s remorse can set in once you get home and the excitement wears off. You can even break your budget down into more workable sections to make it easier. Planning to spend a certain amount on curriculum, a certain amount on resource materials and a certain amount of learning materials for yourself can all help to make sure everything you purchase will be put to good use after the convention is over.
- If you’ve been a homeschooler for a while and already have some curriculum items, make a quick list. This helps assure you don’t wind up with two of the same thing.
- Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you make the mistake of wearing shoes that are going to cause you to be uncomfortable after the first hour of walking, you’re going to feel pretty defeated. Conventions have plenty of time for taking breaks, sitting to hear speakers, and other opportunities to get off your feet, but a good deal of your time will be spent in the vendor’s hall and getting to and from workshops. Dressing comfortably is really one of the most important tips I can give you!
- HAVE FUN! There are so many opportunities in life for stress, but this doesn’t have to be one! With the right amount of planning, you’ll already be in complete control of your experience, so the only thing left to do is enjoy the time you’ve set aside for this monumental experience. Bond with your family, make new friends, bring home some fabulous resources, but most of all, make sure you all have a great time.
Attending one of our seven regional Great Homeschool Conventions is an exciting experience. To make it even better, we make sure to offer hotel discounts to those families traveling farther than others, or that intend to stay for each day of the event. We also offer military discounts and free admission for active clergy members.
We know how exciting a homeschool convention is and we want to help make it as memorable and advantageous as possible. Please VISIT OUR WEBSITE to sign up for email updates and look over the tentative schedules for your intended Great Homeschool Convention.
To view a list of our upcoming Great Homeschool Conventions locations, CLICK HERE.
To register, CLICK HERE.
To read additional blog content, CLICK HERE.
And remember, our Great Homeschool Conventions are: Equipping… Encouraging… FUN!