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 a lot about homeschool conventions. I’ll share much of that wisdom below, but first, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
Why You Need to Go to a Homeschool Convention
There’s no denying it. A homeschool convention is going to cost some money. And whenever something costs money or time, we naturally want to evaluate our motivation for attending. Why bother? Will it be worth the investment? Here are my 3 top reasons I’ve invested in a homeschool convention every year EVEN BEFORE my kids were old enough to homeschool.
A homeschool convention helps you more effectively teach your kids so they can more effectively serve God.
As a former classroom teacher, I can not stress this point enough. We are NEVER done learning. We don’t know all of the best strategies for doing things. Even with a master’s degree in education, I learn so much every single year at convention. All good teachers know they need to sharpen their skills. That’s why we send them to continuing education classes every year.
Think about it. Would you want a brain surgeon to operate on you if he hadn’t kept up with the latest technologies? Absolutely not! Yet every single day in your homeschool you are doing brain surgery! You are teaching and impacting your children for the rest of their lives.
As you invest in your child’s future, how could you not invest in the development of the skills you need to help you teach them?
A homeschool convention is full of practical workshops where veteran homeschoolers will walk alongside you in this journey. You can learn, laugh, and sometimes cry right along with all the other moms and dads as you sharpen the skills you use each day.
A homeschool convention helps you find resources to make the job easier.
Next up is the stuff we use to help our kids learn. If you are new to this adventure, you’ll find the possibilities are endless. Years ago, homeschoolers had to make up curriculum and resources themselves. Today there are literally hundreds of fantastic choices… one for every possible family vision and lifestyle.
I like to say homeschool curriculum is like having a dishwasher or washing machine in your home. Sure, you could live without it, but why would you put yourself through that? Find the right tools to help make your job easier.
Of course, the trouble is, figuring out which tool is best for your family. That’s one of the HUGE advantages of a homeschool conference. You can touch and flip through the options. You can feel it and truly get an idea of whether or not this particular tool is the right one for your family.
A homeschool convention gives you the like-minded encouragement you need to press on.
Although everything I’ve said above is 100% true and valuable, I want you to know that 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 kid’s 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!
Even my kids have made amazing friends they visit with each year at the conference. This picture always makes me smile as some of my teens enjoy visiting with other teens a few years ago in Atlanta.
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!
Check the website for dates and prices! I hope to see you there! And be sure you pick up our Homeschool Conference Made Easy Printable Notebook! It’s free!