Finding Inspiration to Refresh and Renew Your Homeschool:
The Family Guide to Homeschool Conventions
Homeschool convention season is in full swing. Conventions are a wonderful way to connect with other local homeschooling families, discover new curriculum, hear expert talks, and find refreshment. Often by this time of the year, we’re in the winter doldrums and may be beginning to feel burnt out on homeschooling. Perhaps we’re using a curriculum that’s not working well for our children, perhaps we’re struggling to find time management to get it all done or feeling pressure from family members about our homeschool choices. Find yourself a great convention to renew and find inspiration for the rest of our school year and the year to come.
However, they can also be incredibly overwhelming. With of people, tables, information overload. We hope to help you navigate homeschool conventions and get the most out of your experiences.
· Don't feel like you have to pick just one. Deciding between your state convention or a destination event? Each event has its own flavor. Going to more than one homeschool conference does NOT mean redundancy. Plus, road trips offer tons of learning opportunites for the whole family.
· Use the buddy system. If you have another homeschooling friend, go together! Especially if one of you has been to this conference before.
· Connect in-person. Homeschool conventions are a fantastic way to meet people you know from online groups. Make sure to exchange numbers or pick a time & place for the members of your group to meet. Beautiful friendships can form from meeting your digital friends at conventions!
· Get help with the kids. Many homeschool conventions offer a kid’s program. If not, consider getting a sitter or attending with your spouse, mom, mother-in-law, etc. Having another set of hands to help with kids ensures you can get all the information you want, ask lots of questions to vendors, and have a well-deserved break.
· Make a schedule. Your convention will provide a master schedule of events. There will most likely be more to do than you’re able to do in your time there. Make your own schedule so you can get everything in that you’re hoping for. Make sure to think about what you’re hoping to accomplish most. If you’re most in need of curriculum, budget more time for looking through the tables. If you’re most going for the social time, budget that in. Allow some wiggle room too.
· Check the rules. Yes, homeschool conventions have rules. Some have rules regarding what you can and cannot bring, as well as helpful suggestions on what to wear.
· Familiarize yourself with the area. Do you need to bring your own food? If you have food allergies, make sure there is a restaurant nearby that you can safely eat at or see if there is a cafeteria or tables at the convention for you to eat a sack lunch. Scope out a park for the kids to burn off some energy at, and check out local attractions If you can tack on some extra time.
· Budget your money and bring cash. It can be tempting to splurge on the sales you’ll find. Before you know it, you’ve spent an entire paycheck! Make sure to budget BEFORE you go. And bring cash, oftentimes at the end of conventions, vendors will have deep discounts on the materials left on-hand for cash payments only.
· Look over the vendor list first. Your convention materials will provide a vendor list. Scope out their website, blog, and social media outlets before the conference. Make a list of questions you want to ask any vendors and know who your “must see" and “would like to see" vendors are. Stay open to new possibilities.
· Know what you need and want. Before you go, make sure to make a list of your top priorities for what to buy, who to meet, and what to learn.
· Scope out the venue. If you can, scope it out BEFORE the event & you create your schedule. This will help you get an idea for how big the event is. Sometimes larger conventions will even have a map on their website beforehand. When you arrive at the convention, do a quick walk through of the venue. Don’t stop, don’t talk to anyone yet. Just get a feel for it and scope out where your “must see” tables are.
· Bring a rolling suitcase or comfortable bag. If you’re planning to buy a lot, bring a rolling suitcase or small cart for all of your purchases. This will help you avoid having to haul heavy books through the exhibition hall. ShillerLearning offers free shipping at conventions (on top of fabulous deals), so you don't have to lug around large heavy boxes, but still don't have to pay shipping. It's a win win!
· Keep an extra bag on hand (or 2). Having an extra small-bag for flyers is always a clever idea. Then you can quickly sort out the flyers you’re interested in and what need to go in the recycling bin. A second bag for freebies is a good idea too.
· Bring address labels. These conventions have giveaways galore- you could spend the entire time filling out entry forms, or bring sticky labels to plop on and go! Make sure they include address, number, and email address.
· Hydrate, eat, and be comfortable. Those cute shoes you have that are super uncomfortable? Don’t even think about them. Wear comfortable shoes, your feet will thank you. Drink plenty of water & make sure to keep a snack in your bag for each member of your family. It’s easy to lose track of time in great convention halls that have no windows!
· Don’t forget a notebook. You’re going to want to take a lot of notes. Bring a notebook and a couple pens.
· Take some time to reflect afterwards. Give yourself time to discuss what you learned with family and friends, to incorporate any changes you learned, and to journal. Perhaps you can get together with friends from the convention and talk about what you all learned together.
· Enjoy!!! Homeschool conventions can feel like summer camp for grownups 😊 Enjoy, ride the post-convention joy for a while and find refreshment & renewal from your convention experience.
Come visit ShillerLearning at the following conventions:
Jamestown Civic Center
212 3rd Ave NE
Jamestown, ND 58401
February 28 -March 2, 2019
- GHC 2019 Great Homeschool Conventions' Southeast Homeschool Convention
TD Convention Center
March 21 - 23, 2019
- GHC 2019 Great Homeschool Conventions' Texas Homeschool Convention
Fort Worth Convention Center
1201 Houston St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
March 7-9, 2019
- California Charter Schools Conference
Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J St
Sacramento, CA 95814
March 12-13, 2019
- TTD Teach Them Diligently Rogers Homeschool Convention
3303 S Pinnacle Hills Pkwy
Rogers, AR 72758
March 21 - 23, 2019
- IAHE Home Educators' Convention
Indiana State Fairgrounds
1202 E 38th St,
Indianapolis, IN 46205
March 22 - 23, 2019
- TTD Teach Them Diligently Nashville Homeschool Convention
Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center
2800 Opryland Dr
Nashville, TN 37214
March 28 - 30, 2019
- GHC Great Homeschool Conventions' Missouri Homeschool Convention
St. Charles Convention Center
1 Convention Center Plaza
St. Charles, MO 63303
March 28 - 30, 2019
- MPE Midwest Parent Educators Homeschool Conference
KCI Expo Center
11730 N Ambassador Dr
Kansas City, MO 64153
April 4 - 6, 2019
- MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) Homeschool Convention
Saint Paul River Centre
175 W Kellogg Blvd
St Paul, MN 55102
April 11 - 13, 2019
- TTD 2019 Teach Them Diligently Waco Homeschool Convention
Waco Convention Center
100 Washington Ave
Waco, TX 76701
April 11 -13, 2019
- TPA (Teaching Parents Association) Homeschool Convention
Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center
225 W Douglas Ave
Wichita, KS 67202
April 12 - 13, 2019
- GHC 2019 Great Homeschool Conventions' Midwest Homeschool Convention
Duke Energy Convention Center
525 Elm St.,
Cincinnati, OH 45202
April 25 - 27, 2019
- MassHOPE Homeschool Convention
50 Foster St
Worcester, MA 01608
April 25 - 27, 2019
- Birmingham Homeschool Fair and Convention
1000 Galleria Cir
Birmingham, AL 35244
April 26 - 27, 2019
- OCHEC 2019 Oklahoma Home Educator Convention
Cox Convention Center
1 Myriad Gardens
Oklahoma City, OK
May 2 - 4, 2019
- THSC 2019 Texas Homeschool Convention DFW
Sheraton Dallas Convention Center
400 N Olive St,
Dallas, TX 75201,
May 9 - 11, 2019
- TTD 2019 Teach Them Diligently Mobile Homeschool Convention
Mobile Convention Center
1 S Water St
Mobile, AL 36602
May 9 - 11, 2019
- TTD 2019 Teach Them Diligently Denver Homeschool Convention
Gaylord Rockies and Convention Center
6700 North Gaylord Rockies Boulevard
Aurora, CO 80019
May 23 - 25, 2019
- FPEA 2019 Florida Parent Educators Association Homeschool Convention
Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
9939 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
May 23 - 25, 2019
- Home Educators of America - Reimagine Education Conference
McLean Bible Church
8925 Leesburg Pike,
May 30 - 31, 2019
- Illinois Christian Home Educators Conference
Olivet Nazarene University
1 University Ave
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
May 30 - June 1, 2019
- 2019 CHEA Conference
Pasadena Convention Center
Pasadena, CA 91101
July 11-13, 2019
GHC 2019 Great Homeschool Conventions' Florida Homeschool Convention
Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center
11000 Water St.,
Jacksonville, FL 32204
August 8 -10, 2019
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Amanda is a former Montessori teacher, now homeschooling her dear son - an only child. Her family resides in an Airstream parked in Washington State and loves Washington's outdoor opportunities. When not homeschooling, Amanda blogs, loves reading, and creates hand-lettering pieces.