The first year we went to a homeschool convention was when Lynn was going into 1st grade and we were going to start officially homeschooling with both a 1st grader and one in Kindergarten. We did the full experience and stayed at the hotel hosting the convention. Grandma and Grandpa even came along to watch the boys, who were too young for the kid’s program. My husband and I were able to focus on soaking in all we could about this new journey we were beginning, and to learn about all the options available for educating our children ourselves. While my husband was also exclusively homeschooled when he was a kid, many things have changed and we wanted to do our own research. We have attended both our state convention and the Great Homeschool Convention which pops up in different cities around the country.
Getting on the same page
Going as a couple to the convention allowed us to experience the speakers together. We reminded ourselves of our commitment together to educate our children. While I do the majority of the day to day teaching, I wouldn’t be successful without my husband’s support and occasional “substitute teaching”. We were able to discover philosophies together and programs that we both liked that would work for our family. The first year we went to hear about different programs and methodologies to form our vision for our home school. More recently I have found myself attending sessions to learn more about the specific learning disabilities we are discovering and how to address them.
Since that first year I have been to conventions or conferences 4 of our 5 years of homeschooling. The longer I homeschool, I realize it takes the same commitment as a full-time job. I need to invest in it like I would a job, with professional development and continuing education. Attending conventions provides a time to be refueled and learn from others. Each year I find we are encountering new challenges and stages as both educator and parent.
In the vendor hall I find myself switching from visiting every booth to looking for only the subjects that aren’t working well. This year that meant looking for a geography program for next year and other writing options for my dysgraphic writers. Otherwise it was just shopping for the next book in the fiction series that our family is excited to be reading for bedtime stories.
Connecting with Others
After my first year at convention anyone with a booth or microphone appeared important and a unreachable expert. I have built relationships with my favorite presenters and going to convention is a time to connect face to face. I have made many friends online as we work together and bond over our out-of-the-box kids. Convention has been a time to meet them in person and share a meal.
I’ll see you next year at Convention!
After each of the first conventions I went to, I would come and tell my husband how wonderful it was. I would also commit that I wouldn’t need to go the following year since I had learned so much. But the next year I would work to find a way to go again. I suppose I should stop thinking that way and just purpose to go each year. After all, us homeschool moms need career development too!