Homeschool Conferences – and why we love them! – MBFLP 277

With the world full of resources available online, you can develop your philosophy, order your materials, and start homeschooling without ever meeting another parent-educator. That’s a blessing in many ways, especially if you live in a rural area or a foreign culture. But sometimes we think we’ve found what we need when we join the right group on Facebook and know which bloggers we want to follow and which website we like to order from. You may have found part of it, but there’s more!

 

God tells His people, in Hebrews 10:25, that we must not forsake gathering together. That command didn’t change when our grandparents heard Billy Sunday on the radio or Billy Graham on TV – those were great resources, but they weren’t substitutes for real-life people. We need more than information, we need interaction.

Homeschooling is not church, but it definitely involves spiritual warfare. It’s important to find a flesh-and-blood network to support your homeschooling and provide you with opportunities to help others, too. We’re big fans of local support groups, for just that reason.

But conventions add another dimension – the sheer energy of being in a hall with hundreds, or even thousands, of people walking the same path you’re on. You might have different plans or destinations for your students – college, career, military, home – but you’ve all set out on the path marked “Home Education,” which is one of life’s greatest adventures. And it’s exciting to meet travelers on the same road.

Don’t be shy about talking with other families. You have one little boy, and they’ve got four? Ask them how it works. They have a teenaged daughter and yours is a few years younger? Ask if they have any insights for the next step. You notice they’ve bought a curriculum you’re considering? Strike up a conversation.

Don’t be shy about authors and speakers, either. Most of us speakers are teachers and counselors at heart. We want to reach out and help people.  We expect to meet lots of folk whose opening words are, “I have a problem …” or “I was wondering …” That’s what we’re here for. And conventions are the place where you can actually get one-on-one interaction with the people who write the books and curriculum.

You can bless them, too. We love our readers who buy from the big online bookstores, too. But did you know that when you save a dollar online, the author probably earns two dollars less? If you can, please buy directly from the author or the publisher whenever you can. That helps them pay the bills so they write the next book or curriculum you’re looking forward to!

And don’t forget the people who put on the convention. Most conventions are organized by volunteers, and the proceeds support the year-round services they provide – monitoring the legislature, training support group leaders, answering questions from new homeschoolers, and talking with skeptical reporters. They’re working to promote and defend your freedom to homeschool. Let’s pitch in and support them, too!

(This article first appeared in The Homeschool Minute, a publication of The Old Schoolhouse magazine)

UPCOMING EVENTS

We’ll be speaking at four major conferences in the coming weeks:

Be sure to stop by our booth and say hi!

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