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March 19, 2014 Edition 

        How do I Navigate My Homeschool Convention?               

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Mercy Every Minute   

The Wuehler Family

It's beginning to look like my favorite time of year: convention season! Not only will I be attending my local convention, I will be speaking at the Great Homeschool Convention in California in June, and the Valley Home Educators Convention

in July. So much fun and inspiration all in one place!  

 

Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote with Amelia Harper, The Value of Homeschool Conventions:

 

Perhaps you have heard of homeschool conventions for years, but have never bothered to attend one. So, you may be wondering why you should go to all the time, trouble, and expense of attending a convention. Here are a few reasons:

 

The Encouragement Factor

Fearful new homeschoolers as well as veterans near the end of their journey are both in desperate need of encouragement. A homeschool convention with powerful and motivating speakers provides enough encouragement for both. New homeschoolers come away feeling like they can actually accomplish what they are setting out to do and veterans are given the precious fuel they need to continue on the journey.

 

The Camaraderie Factor

No one among us likes the feeling of being alone in our convictions. The homeschool convention provides an atmosphere of camaraderie by sharing with large numbers of families the strong conviction to provide for our own children's educational needs. It is revitalizing when we realize that we are not in this journey alone.

 

The Convenience Factor

So many product catalogs come in the mail, and you have so little time to read them! At a convention, large numbers of homeschool vendors are represented and the opportunity to actually see their wares is a great advantage to merely reading about them. Vendor workshops are often provided adding the "how to use the product" effectively in your own homeschool.

 

The Economic Factor

Though there are costs associated with attending a convention, there are pay-offs as well. You will have the ability to compare products and prices. You can ask others for recommendations and advice that may help you avoid costly mistakes. In addition, some vendors offer special discounts at conventions.

           

The Spiritual Factor

Often times our hearts are convicted of a certain road to travel with our families but our minds are not totally convinced. Conventions can bring the confirmation needed that you are definitely on the right road and that you really did hear God's voice in your decisions.

 

The Connection Factor

Conventions are a perfect environment for renewing old connections or for connecting with groups or organizations that will help us on our journey. Memberships to national organizations as well as local organizations are made available. You can ask the questions that have been burning in your mind all year.

 

The Thinking Factor

Many homeschooling moms rarely get some time off to really think through what they would like to see happen in their homeschool. Time spent at a convention allows them the freedom and time they so desperately need to process through all of their plans and ideas. A convention offers nearly the entire local homeschooling community available in one location to answer any questions that arise as they go through this thinking process.

 

The Fun Factor

Many conventions offer planned activities for the children and workshops for teens. Some also offer family nights where everyone is invited for an entertaining evening. Speakers and workshop leaders know first-hand the many tears and trials we go through and therefore, they are down to earth and funny and can actually relate to what it takes to travel this road. They bring laughter among the tears and touch our hearts in a way no one else can.

 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel and the homeschool convention could just be the source of inspiration and encouragement that you need.

 

~Deborah

 dwuehler@theoldschoolhouse.com

 

 I hope you all can make it to a convention this year!

 

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Whether you are navigating your way through a convention center or homeschooling itself, we hope you'll let SchoolhouseTeachers.com help. Be sure to stop by and visit us at the Great Homeschool Convention this week in Greenville, South Carolina! We'll also be at the Cincinnati GHC April 24-26 and Ontario, Calif., GHC June 12-14. Come visit our booths!

 

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The Familyman 
 
I love homeschool conventions. I know some people have been there, done that, and don't think they need them anymore. I even met a homeschooler who had homeschooled for over 15 years and never knew there were any conventions. My advice is if you homeschool, you should go to an annual homeschool convention.

There's just so much to see and hear, including fellow moms you meet while perusing a booth who need encouragement or can encourage you in your homeschooling journey.

 

At the same time, I know that homeschooling conventions can be overwhelming. So here is my advice for navigating and enjoying your homeschool convention: remember that God made you smart enough to homeschool your children.  

 

Go ahead and attend the workshops, listen to the vendors' sales pitch and friends' suggestions, but if it sounds too hard, too overwhelming, or too ... UGH, then don't do it and don't feel guilty about not doing it. God made you smart enough to figure it all out on your own.

 

Pick out the stuff you like and leave the stuff you don't like behind.

 

Take deep breaths occasionally and introduce yourself to the person next to you who looks just as confused as you feel. Who knows what might become of a "chance" meeting.

 

Be real ... and maybe I'll see you at the Great Homeschool Convention in Greenville, S.C., this weekend. In fact, the first person to stop by and say, "Yee Haw" (that's S.C. for welcome) gets a free audio CD of your choice!

Todd

 
Raising Real Men    
 
A conference is like a really good buffet. You can get a serving of five or ten totally different things for the sheer fun of it. You can try out something unfamiliar without making a commitment to it. You can also look for the one thing you most want and focus on that one thing, and let others take what they want.
 

But one of the best things about a conference is the opportunity to seek out experts and leaders in the area where you have the most questions. How often do you have to chance to bring your personal questions to your favorite authors and speakers, and get personal advice? How many people do you know who have the breadth of knowledge and experience to advise you on curriculum, learning disabilities, or special interests, as your typical homeschool vendor?  

 

So make the most of the opportunity!

 

Bring your most pressing questions to the conference. Think ahead of time what advice you really need: curriculum, raising boys, homeschooling high school, or whatever you need.

 

Look over the list of speakers and workshops and mark the most interesting ones.A big conference can be overwhelming once you arrive, and you don't want to miss a special session in the busyness of the day.  

 

Don't be shy! Most speakers are delighted to answer questions. Your concerns are important to them, and helping people like you is the main reason they come. The kind of questions we hear helps us decide what workshops to plan for the future, too.

 

Choose the best time. Speakers are usually free to talk immediately after a workshop or when they're in their booth. If you see them in the hallway between  sessions, though, please understand if they can't stop to talk right then--many speakers give five or six presentations in a two-day event, and they are likely on their way to one when you see them in the crowd. A smile and a thank you are always welcome, but ask if it's a good time before launching a question.

 

Do support vendors and speakers at the event. Everyone knows you may not be ready to buy that book or program at the event, and if you need more time to think about it, no one minds. But do keep in mind that if you have made the decision, your choice to save $1.50 by ordering from an online bookstore may actually be a $10 difference to the writer or publisher standing in front of you. Most are working hard to support their families and your purchases keep them coming back to conventions!

 

We're already on the road traveling to this season's conventions. Please come up and introduce yourself if you see us at one. We love to meet our readers! See you there ...

 

Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie

 

So many of you have asked us to put together a downloadable version of our Mom & Dad Special (a Raising Real Men book for Mom and an audiobook for Dad) that we have finally got it done! Head over here to download it now!

 

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Contest Corner 

For the month of March, 2014  

 

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In this week's issue:


Great Homeschool Conventions

Molly Green

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