Homeschooling can be a mystery sometimes. There’s a ton that comes along with it and it can truly be overwhelming for even veteran homeschoolers. That’s why I love homeschool conventions. They can help take the mystery out of everything. Yes, they sometimes cost money, but they’re so worth it! I could honestly go on for a very long time about the reasons you should attend your first homeschool convention but I’ll keep it short this time. If you’re considering or already planning on attending a homeschool convention and you are wondering- “Is it worth it?” My answer is a loud “Yes!” There are so many things to see and do at a homeschool convention that I don’t think it matters whether you are a first time homeschooler or a veteran. Even if you have already chosen your curriculum and you just need to pick up some leveled readers, flashcards, or other small items to round out your year it will be worth it.
I could sit here and tell you that you should attend all day, but me saying it and telling you why you should are two different things. I know you’re sitting there wondering what the benefits are for taking the time and investing the money in a convention. There are more than 6 that I could mention, but I feel that these are the biggest advantages. Take a look and then let me know what you think about homeschool conventions. Do you go to them? If not, why not? I’m curious!
Curriculum-First off being able to see and touch so many curriculums and other items to supplement your curriculum is invaluable…especially if you’re new to homeschooling. While it’s possible to choose curriculums that are right for you online using research and advice from friends there is just nothing quite like seeing it in person. You get a better idea of the format, structure, and day to day rhythm of curriculum when you can flip through the pages and ask questions directly to the experts. This is a great idea even if you think you have decided on your curriculum. You never know. You may just change your mind.
Supplements– Aside from boxed curriculums and individual subjects you will find countless resources like games, puzzles, manipulatives, learning toys, and even animals packaged for dissection (so grateful we are still in elementary school). These supplements are invaluable to your homeschool curriculum and a lot of the time you can score fantastic deals on them by buying at the convention instead of online.
Like minded people- There is something about a convention hall full of moms and dads who have the same general goal in mind-teaching their child at home on their own terms that energizes and inspires you to give your best to your child. I also found that everyone is extremely friendly and helpful- vendors and parents. A lot of homeschoolers catch flack from people who don’t homeschool. At a homeschool convention there are no judgemental or snarky remarks because you homeschool. It’s pure acceptance.
Featured Speakers– Are you struggling in a particular area? Need some tips on organizing curriculum? Looking to balance work and homeschool? There is probably a speaker for that. I love getting good solid advice from experts in a given category- conventions are ideal for it. They usually offer free workshops/lectures from well known homeschoolers in a variety of categories and trust me when I say that 99% of the time the lectures are a huge help. Sometimes a convention will bring in a speaker that holds an “extra” lecture. These special talks usually will cost you a little extra, but I’ve never seen it be too much.
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Sense of “normalcy”- Sometimes, even though you have made the decision to homeschool and be “different” from the rest of the world you want them to experience some of the traditions and fun that public school offers. Many larger conventions offer graduation ceremonies and proms for older students as well as day programs to entertain the smaller children while you shop and attend lectures.This sense of normalcy (as compared to the majority of their friends and family) can go a long way for a student (or parent) who is struggling.
Get away– Yes, this is training time for you and while it may not be as luxurious as a trip to Jamaica, it is the perfect excuse to stay a night or two in a nice hotel, have a nice dinner, and enjoy the amenities. Even if the convention is not too far away from your home, consider getting a hotel anyhow and enjoying some time on your own or as a family. Most days we could all use a little bit of time away and your homeschool convention can be the perfect excuse.
Do you see any other benefits to homeschool conventions that I missed? Like I said above, I’d love to hear them!
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