Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker will usually speak about issues related to homeschooling and will probably be a great source of encouragement to all those who attend the convention. I love the renewed vision and the feeling of excitement that I have each year after listening to the keynote speaker’s address. Whether you are a brand-new or veteran homeschooling family, encouragement and renewed vision are things you will definitely need “boosted” from year to year! Don’t miss out on your chance to receive that encouragement!

Workshops and Classes

Most conventions offer a wide variety of helpful classes for homeschooling moms and dads. Some also offer classes or activities for students. Check well in advance to see if the convention you are planning to attend has activities planned for children and teens. If not, you may want to consider having your children stay with a relative or friend while you and your spouse attend the convention. Not only is this actually a nice time for Mom and Dad to get away and spend some time together, but it also is a chance for both of you to learn together how you can support each other in your homeschooling efforts, whether you are the teaching parent or whether you provide support for the teaching parent.

The classes that are offered usually cover various topics of interest to homeschooling families. Sometimes they focus on how to teach particular subjects, such as writing, math, or science. Other classes might provide information on topics like how to keep toddlers busy while schooling older children or teaching special needs kids. Some classes may simply offer general encouragement for homeschooling parents. I usually don’t have a problem finding classes that interest me; it is just the opposite. I have a hard time trying to narrow down the list to only one possibility for each time period! If at all possible, it is a good idea to look over the classes that will be offered ahead of time. You don’t want to spend so much time deciding which classes to attend that you miss part of the class.

Sometimes my husband (or my sister or a friend) and I will choose to attend different classes. We all take notes and exchange information with each other later. We also sometimes choose to buy recordings of particularly helpful classes before we leave the convention. These recordings are normally fairly inexpensive, and they can be quite helpful when it comes to learning new information and retaining it so you can put it to good use later.

Vendor Workshops

You may also want to plan to attend a vendor workshop or two while you have the chance. If there is a particular resource that you are interested in using, it can be extremely helpful to attend a vendor workshop on that resource if one is offered. Be sure to ask questions and try to get an idea of how the materials might work for your family. Don’t be so enthralled with the presentation, however, that you don’t make a well-thought-out decision. Be sure to give yourself a little time to digest the information before making a decision about any new-to-you resource purchases.

Support Your State Convention

Whether you are looking forward to attending your very first homeschool convention or if you’ve been attending for many years, be sure to support your state’s homeschool convention. In order to attract well-known speakers, quality vendors, and presenters who will teach great classes, your state needs your help. I like to try to attend my state’s convention and possibly a larger convention (aimed at several states) in another state as well.

With a little early planning, attending a convention may be just the thing you need to help you prepare for the next school year. Not only will you have a fantastic time at your convention, but your next school year will be off to a wonderful start, as you will be equipped and prepared well in advance.

Copyright, 2011. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in Winter 2010-11 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com  or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Wendy has been married to Scott, her high school sweetheart, for twenty-one years. She has homeschooled their three children for twelve years and has at least nine more to go. She works from home for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine as Assistant to the Publishers/Conventions Coordinator. She also serves on the Homeschool Crew. Wendy blogs at Wendy-HomeschoolingBlessings.Blogspot.com and would love for you to stop by and leave a comment.  

Publication date: January 18, 2013