It’s that time of year again — homeschool convention season! Many of you make it a point to attend these fun, action-packed, information-filled homeschooling events every year. Yet for others, lack of conventions in your area, budget, or personal choice means skipping out and staying home. But just because you can’t make it to the conventions doesn’t mean you can’t reap the benefits. So whether you’re packing your bags or staying home, we have you covered with a few tips that will help you make the most of this year’s homeschool conventions — in person or from afar.
- If you know families who will be attending a homeschool convention, ask them to bring back a few brochures from vendors or speakers you are interested in learning more about. Once the convention is over, host a get together to gain insight into what your friends learned. Have them discuss their top three takeaways from the event, and share any literature they picked up.
- Tap into social media — whichever outlet you prefer, and follow along for up to the minute information during the convention. Try using the following hashtags: #homeschoolconvention, #hsconvention, #homeschool, #homeschooling, #FPEA.
- Check post-event blogs for information and highlights from those who were there. Sometimes the convention itself will have someone who is blogging throughout the event, so be sure to check the website. You can also check your favorite homeschool websites and forums for convention information.
Hitting the road?
- Before you head out, check the convention website so you can plan ahead. You’ll be able to see who the keynote speakers are, what workshops are taking place, and which vendors will be in the exhibit hall. This will be a huge help once you arrive, since you’ll have a schedule laid out for yourself and you won’t waste any time.
- If you’re in the market for a new curriculum or other homeschool product, don’t make any rash decisions while you’re there. It may be tempting to buy a product that seems like a perfect fit for your family, but hold off on making any knee-jerk purchases. Don’t forget to ask about money-back guarantees and free trials. You don’t want to commit to anything that you may regret several hundred dollars later.
- Get your kids involved. Most of the bigger conventions have children’s programs available for an additional fee. These are great, especially if you want some time alone to focus and really take in the convention. So if your budget allows, check out what’s available and register your children early as the events tend to fill up quickly. Plus, your kids will be glad to have something fun to do instead of having to take another tour around the exhibit hall floor.
- While you’re on the road, throw in a few educational field trips that can be a great addition to your homeschool lesson plan. Most major cities have science and art museums, zoos, historical sites, and local/state parks. Each of these are full of learning opportunities that your children will be excited to be a part of.
If you’re able to make it, you’ll find that there is a ton of things to do, see, and learn at homeschool conventions and in the local area. But, even if you don’t make it out to one this year, social media outlets, blogs, and homeschool websites make it possible to be a part of the action from the comforts of home.