I walked the aisles of the vendor hall conversing with business owners and curriculum creators for hours. And I loved every second of it! Touching the books and learning the heart behind them was fascinating. Looking at their design and set-up made this teacher-nerd giddy. I couldn’t get enough.
Later that night, I had to laugh at myself because I flat out lied to the many people I talked to. They always asked how old my children were and I found the truth met with furrowed eyebrows and confused looks. So, I started telling them my kids were 9, 7 and 5. (The exact ages of my friend’s children.)
As for my kids? I wasn’t even pregnant yet. (Funny, huh?)
You might be wondering what on earth I was doing at a homeschool convention when I didn’t even have my own children. Well, it wasn’t quite as strange as it sounds. I was there helping my friends select curriculum. I actually had no intentions of even homeschooling myself, but I did want to help my friends make wise choices that would educate their families with ease and they trusted my experience and education to do just that.
As far as I was concerned, my plans to send my (future) kids to public school hadn’t changed. But God had a different idea. I fell in love with the homeschool world and my eyes were opened to the vast array of resources and help available to those who choose that route.
Not even 6 months after that convention, my sister had to pull her son from the public school and God put my experience to work. I was now pregnant and did not return for another year as a 1st grade teacher, so I took on the task of homeschooling my nephew… And I never looked back.
12 years later, I haven’t missed a single year of attending a homeschool convention. Actually, many years I’ve even gone to multiple conventions. I guess you could say I’m a convention junkie.
I’ve tried the biggest, the most well-known. I’ve tried those with big name speakers. I’ve tried small conventions, those in huge cities with lots of restaurants, and those in slightly sketchy cities with less than desired hotel options.
Through all of that trying, I’ve learned that not all homeschool conventions are created equal. (Shocking, huh?) In fact, I’d argue that some are a complete waste of your time and money.
A homeschool convention is about much more than thumbing through the latest version of a popular homeschool curriculum. It’s about rubbing shoulders with like-minded people who are out there just like you living the real homeschool life and depending on God for the grace to do it.
That’s why I love to support Teach Them Diligently Convention. Their mission is to provide that exact atmosphere. True, they have a vendor hall full of amazing curriculum and people who have businesses I want to support. But I can’t deny that the real beauty of this conference is knowing you’re not alone in the journey. It’s in having someone to sit with you, pray with you, and walk alongside you as you navigate the waters of homeschooling.
Each year when I attend TTD, it’s like a giant family reunion. I feel connected to people I’ve never even met before, simply because their goals are aligned so closely with mine. And of course, I see old friends over and over again. I’ll be honest, I can’t get enough of that!
My kids have always enjoyed their amazing kids program, as well as meeting the vendors and authors of their favorite books/curriculum. Last year, my oldest daughter attended the teen program and was deeply blessed by the teaching as it challenged her to really think about her faith. (She still talks about the jokes and games, too!)
Over the past few years, I’ve moved from attendee to speaker and it has been such a privilege and blessing to chat with so many wonderful homeschool families both in my sessions and my booth. It’s absolutely my favorite thing to do!
Which reminds me, have we met at a conference?
If so, I do hope you’ll stop by again this year and say hi. As always, I offer free hugs and chocolate. (How can you pass that up?!) And if you haven’t had the chance to try TTD, would you consider joining me this year? I would so love to meet you!
I’m excited that TTD has added a new location this year: Rogers, Arkansas. Of course, they will be in Nashville, Sandusky, and Atlanta again, too. Trust me when I say- you NEED a convention this year. So don’t wait. Go sign up right now.
Registration is now open and the price will only go up from here, so register your family today!