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
We eat a lot when we get together, too!
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
Have you ever attended a homeschool conference? What was your takeaway?
Stef @ The HSV
I’m coming off the FPEA this weekend – and just feel so refreshed to tackle another year. More so than learning something “new” – but to be recharged is a huge blessing! I have 3 girlfriends who make it a point to spend the night and use the get away time to reflect and pray for the year ahead with each other.
(I also love being able to flip thru curriculum and check it out for myself – than read reviews).
Stef @ The HSV’s latest post: The Homeschool Village Team
It is always enjoyable! I love it when they are close by, but we live in one of the biggest states and they are usually very far away!
Martha Artyomenko’s latest post: Some recipes I would love to try!!
I went to my first one this year and had an absolute fantastic time. I loved all the speakers I went to, got many, many questions answered, had a blast looking at all the curriculum and supplies, and enjoyed the time away with my husband on the second day, to talk things over and have lunch and dinner together. Totally worth the money!!!! I was so inspired and at peace for another year of home-schooling, and it made me eager to do it all over again next year!
Sarah M’s latest post: Visual Monday- Sewing
I’d love to be able to go sometime but the many hours of travel there and many hours back it would take is not for this life stage for me. I’d love to see the books first hand rather than just online or in a catalogue.
We’ll be starting our homeschool journey in the fall with our 5 year old daughter and just returned from our first convention. We learned so much in the workshops, got a better handle on the curriculum we are considering, and just came away with a sense of ‘we can do this!’ The confidence boost alone was worth it!
I almost opted not to go to one this year, but I am glad I did. While there, I ran into several old school mates! I was so pleasantly surprised at how many of my former schoolmates are choosing to home educate. I am not sure what that says for my former school system, as our reasons are as varied as any random group of homeschoolers, but going this year expanded my homeschooling community and was so much fun!
Jennifer’s latest post: Outsourcing
Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith
I was planning on attending, however the conference was cancelled. I would have liked to go, because I really do not know many people in our local area that homeschool.
Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith’s latest post: No Greater Love
Thank you again for all the helpful homeschool information in the last few weeks. Our family will embark on this journey in the Fall. I’m hoping to attend my first conference here in Virginia next month.
Sara S’s latest post: Trial and error with chocolate
A great list, and I’d say #5 is so important. Always remember that you are not alone in your homeschool journey.