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Are Homeschool Conferences Worth The Time?
When my first son was approaching pre-school age, my husband and I made the decision to teach him at home. This was in 2002. Homeschooling was still catching on as an alternative to public or private school education. Friends and family members would smile awkwardly when we told them our plans to homeschool. I did not realize how uncomfortable our choice could make others feel. Who knew, the decision to educate your own child is seen by some people, as strange and rather crazy!
Who knew, the decision to educate your own child is seen by some people, as strange and rather crazy!
My husband and I believe it was a great decision for our family. God blessed us with enough resources for me to stay home with our kids and be their teacher. The journey to figure out how to educate them was often overwhelming. One thing that always “pumped me up” and reassured me that our decision was the right one was our annual visit to an amazing conference for homeschooling families.
One thing that always “pumped me up” and reassured me that our decision was the right one was our annual visit to an amazing conference for homeschooling families.
Within the walls of these conferences, we found other “strange and rather crazy” families that had also been convicted or directed to educate their own children. These families would sometimes ask, “Why do you homeschool your kids?” My answer was always the same, “God told me to.” It still amazes me how much we can hear when we simply get quiet and listen for God’s direction.
Many different groups present homeschool conferences all over the country. When you choose to attend one there are some things that can make your visit more productive and informational.
- Study the agenda beforehand. Decide which speakers are relevant to your current situation.
- Divide and conquer, if sessions you want to attend overlap, then send another friend or family member.
- Some presenters sell digital editions of their sessions if you cannot attend live then purchase the digital version.
- Take the kids!! They will benefit from meeting other homeschoolers, they will point out vendors that have products they find engaging, and there are often kids sessions.
- Study the map of the vendor’s booths layout and mark the ones you know you cannot miss. Then take a survey tour to them all! There are so many companies that cater to homeschool students and many offer products that you are not even aware of yet.
- Take notes and pictures of the materials (if the vendor will allow it) so that you have reminders when you are deciding on your purchases.
- Go to the conference ready to spend money. Many vendors give huge discounts or freebies if you purchase materials at the conference.
- Talk to other families and build a network of homeschooling friends. Homeschooling can sometimes be a lonely endeavor.
- Register for the conferences early. Sometimes there are discounts for early registration.
- Enjoy yourself. Our family plans to see the local attractions in the city where the conference is being held.
My boys and I have many happy homeschooling memories. The connections we made with each other and the inside jokes about our successes and failures have made us a close family. Going homeschool conferences can be a memory-making experience for your family.
By: Jennifer Hilder