Another year is here, and with that comes a homeschooler’s dream: homeschool convention season! Well, that might not quite be your dream, but for many parents, it’s a place where they go to learn about trends and changes in education. Things like how to best teach their kids, get info on new tools available to homeschooling families, and find encouragement from other homeschoolers. And for some lucky parents, it’s a couple of nights without the kiddos! But with so many conventions and workshops available, how do you get mentally prepared to get the most out of it? We’ve come up with our “must-dos” to help you prepare for homeschool convention season. Check out these tips.
- Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. For each family, this might look a bit different. Maybe only one of you attends. Others take the whole family. It could mean that while you are at the convention, you divide and conquer when it comes to workshops. This can be especially helpful if you have multiple kids with different learning needs. Or maybe you are new to homeschooling and need to be together during the workshops and events. No matter what, make sure to talk things through with your spouse to make sure your expectations are well-managed.
- Know the basics you want to accomplish and how you’re going to spend your time. Ask yourself these critical questions that will help you prepare for homeschool convention:
- What workshops are a MUST SEE?
- What is my budget for curriculum?
- What vendors do I have to visit before leaving the convention?
- What are the 2 main areas I want to grow in this year (knowledge, teaching writing, understanding state laws, etc.)?
- Know that you cannot learn EVERYTHING while you are there. Homeschool conventions give parents such a variety and range of experts that you cannot learn it all! From beginners tips on homeschooling and how to teach math and science, to understanding learning styles and learning how to teach your kids through high school, I can’t even begin to type all the topics that are shared during conventions. The best thing to do is set up realistic expectations and know that you cannot see and do it all while you are there. Choose the top workshops that you must see for the weekend, then look into getting copies of the other workshops you could not attend.
- Take advantage of the experts. Homeschool conventions have dozens of experts waiting and wanting to talk with you. So when you have a question or want to learn more about something, ask an expert! Many of the workshop speakers go back to their booth after speaking, so make sure you pick their brain and find out as much as you can from their expertise in education. Those moments are invaluable. They often give away freebies, too!
- Bring a journal and take time to think. The best way to prepare for a homeschool convention is to understand that your brain cannot fully comprehend everything that is said during the event. Once you have gone to workshops, talked with the experts, and seen the curriculum and homeschooling options, take some time to breathe! Write down what you’ve experienced, new ideas, curriculum you loved but didn’t purchase, etc. You’ll have plenty of time to digest later, and most publishers extend discounts past the convention.
Getting ready for a homeschool convention can be exciting, but also daunting. That’s why you want to have a clear understanding of why you’re going and how to make the most of your time. Take it from us — when it comes to preparing for homeschool conventions, a failure to plan … means you’ll be completely overwhelmed!
How do you get mentally prepared for a homeschool convention? Are you going this year?