Should I Attend a Homeschool Convention?

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

ShouldIAttendAHomeschoolConferenceNo, not unless you can answer these questions.

1. I like teaching using _______________ method. (Textbook/ Workbook; Living Books; Unit Studies; Classical; Charlotte Mason, Unschooling; etc.)

2. My goals for my family are as follows ____________________. (Character; Academic; Spiritual; Work; etc.)

3. I know the subjects I will teach next year for each child. List these by child, or if you are teaching with a unit studies approach – topics.

4. I am interested in listening to ___________________ (list speaker’s or topics from the convention schedule usually on the convention website).

More questions to ask are:

Are you looking into homeschooling for the future?

Are you a first time homeschooler?

Are you going to look at three specific math books to decide which one will work the best for your family?

Are you going for encouragement?

My answers would be –Yes. Maybe. Yes. Yes.

A great reason for attending to a convention is for to see the curriculum. It is an amazing place of like-minded people who love their kids, and who consider homeschooling a viable option. And, the homeschool author and vendors are excited about the prospect of helping you! If you are attending to gather ideas or are uncertain about whether or not a specific curriculum will work for your family, then it can become overwhelming because the choices are mind boggling.

If you are a new homeschooler my best recommendation is to begin with a very small local homeschool fair. Look for a homeschool conference that has a few speakers, some curriculum providers, workshops and someone who can take the time to talk to you about your needs at length. I speak at a conference – Finish Well – in Orlando Florida each year. It is just the right size for someone seeking homeschool help and information. There are even sessions just for the moms that have a panel of speaker there to answer your questions.

We all need to make our own decisions, however we should never fear someone suggesting a better or easier way to homeschool our kids. In addition, whether we realize it or not we are swayed in our decision making every day. This is why it is important to fine tune our goals and objectives and know exactly what we want our homeschool to look like. 

Conventions take quite a bit of money to attend and I know many who use the money it would take to go to a convention and instead purchase curriculum. Another family used their “convention money” and turned it into a mini-vacation, staying at the convention center at a greatly reduced rate once it ended to enjoy a few days of R & R. Whatever you decide make the most of this time.

Don’t attend the larger convention if you have not done your research, are not decisive, are not planning to purchase anything or easily overwhelmed by many choices.

Do attend if you have done your research, are ready to purchase, or are interested in learning how to deal with a difficult child, a child with a specific learning challenge, or gifted child.

I attended conferences for many years and while I host an online expo with hundreds of audios there is nothing like actually seeing the curriculum, talking to the vendors or authors and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people that understand.

Here’s to homeschool conferences – please let me know your experiences and enjoy your time!