Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
Warmer weather brings with it conference season. I always look forward to getting away for a couple of days, recharging my batteries, and gathering inspiration for our homeschooling journey.
2011 marked the 5th homeschool conference I’ve attended.
Here are the reasons I make sure to book this into my schedule each year.
1. To get information
At the very first conference I attended, information was extremely valuable. I knew little about homeschooling, so I hung on to each word from every speaker. I especially wanted to find out the information for homeschooling legally in my state.
Now that I’m a little more experienced as a homeschooler, I still find I usually have one a-ha moment or big takeaway from each conference weekend. This year it came during a session by Dianne Craft.
There has never been a single conference I attended where I left thinking it had been a waste of time or money.
2. To look through curricula and resources
Seeing curriculum options firsthand can be really helpful, particularly if there is a subject in which you need an idea or new resource. Sometimes it’s nice to talk to someone face-to-face, instead of just trying to make decisions online.
On the other hand, the conference I’ve attended for the past three years has such a large exhibitor hall that it can feel completely overwhelming! I usually visit a few booths and skip the rest.
3. Because I see myself as a professional
The tagline of my blog Steady Mom is “on the journey toward intentional, professional motherhood.” I’m passionate in my attempt to approach homeschooling life, and every facet of life, as a professional.
Mainstream educators stay current with developments in their field, often attending conferences for this purpose. Why wouldn’t I do the same? I also think my attendance serves as a lifelong learning model for my kids; they know I go to learn how to be a more effective teacher.
4. To have a retreat and time with a friend
My lovely friend Jill and I have attended conferences together for several years now, and I always look forward to the time to catch up. We talk, we laugh, we cry sometimes. This year we watched the royal wedding at 5 am. You know, deep stuff like that.
Many conferences allow you to bring your entire family, offering programs for the kids to attend during adult sessions. I haven’t done this yet, preferring to think of it as a retreat and time to regroup for the next stage of our homeschooling journey. I tend to come back refreshed and excited.
5. To gain inspiration and a sense of community
I always find myself feeling more connected with the greater homeschool community at-large after a conference.
It is amazingly encouraging to be surrounded by others who have chosen this educational path for their children. Our reasons for homeschooling and approaches may vary drastically, yet we inevitably have a bond to share as well.
Links to Help Find a Conference Near You:
- Great American Homeschool Conferences
- Great Homeschool Conventions
- Homeschooling Conventions by State @ Successful Homeschooling
Can’t make it this year? No worries – check out these virtual options:
- The Old Schoolhouse Expo (This year’s conference is over, but you can still download the sessions!)
- The Global Waldorf Expo – June 11 & 12
- Heart of the Matter Conference – August 8-12 (Thrilled to be one of the speakers here this year!)
Have you ever attended a homeschool conference? What was your takeaway?