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Why attend a home school convention?

April 21, 2011

Shopping online is great. Easy, fast, fits into my busy home school schedule. “Click click” and the books (and games, and kits and globes and…..) are at my door. But what do I need to order?

Print catalogues have their advantages. Portable – I can peruse it during that 12.5 minutes of dead time between driving my daughter to drama and picking up my son from Rock Climbing – and the reader-friendly, comfortable layout really helps highlight possible curriculum choices. But there are so many choices!

I was overwhelmed when I started home schooling (we have all felt that way), but it seems the more experienced I get, the more choices they throw at me! Do I want to stick with Reason for Science, or do I want to try the Exploring Creation series with their exciting new lapbooks? What is the difference between Life of Fred and Saxon Math, and which one is going to give my daughter the best foundation for highschool? Switched on Schoolhouse would make language arts so easy to teach, but my kids love the projects in the Write Shop elementary program. I wish I knew more about learning styles to help me make my decisions! What are other parents using, and why?

Take a step back from the planning, teaching, and doing that seems to fill every home schooler’s schedule to the brim, often overwhelming us to the point of exhaustion. Take a moment to re-focus, and examine the core of your home school. Better yet, take a weekend. A home school convention can be the perfect opportunity for you to examine why you home school, what your objective is, and learn about different methods & curriculums to get your family to where they want to be. Many speakers are not only informative, but encouraging. Fellow attendees can give you new ideas and insights into what has worked – or not worked – for them. Vendor workshops can give you the down-low on what’s-new. And of course, there is the exhibit hall, full to the brim with real books. Not just a write-up in a catalogue, or a picture on a website. Physical copies of books to flip through, browse, peruse, explore, examine, discover!

Now, it may be that you are the perfect home school parent, who already has the next school year planned out, week by week, in your Well Guided Homeschooler daily planner. You have had the opportunity to visit CHER’s showroom, so you’ve already browsed & examined and chosen all the curriculum and resources you need. You have everything pre-ordered to ensure they are all in-stock and on your shelves before the summer hits, so you can whisk your family away on an extended & educational cruise over the summer, knowing your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted, and you are ready to hit the books the minute you return. So why should you attend a home school convention?

There is more to learn at a convention than just curriculum. Speakers & topics at various conventions range from learning styles and teaching styles, to addressing gifted students or special needs. From encouragment to fundamentals. From academics to the arts, and from future building to family building. A convention is the perfect opportunity to take your spouse and spark discussion on what your mutual goals are for your family. Or take your home schooling girlfriends and turn it into an encouragement retreat. (Even the experienced & organised home school parents can use encouragement). If you don’t have close home school friends to go with, a convention is the perfect place to find some! If you feel you don’t need to attend because you’ve already settled into a comfortable routine – there’s nothing like another point of view to help you examine where you are at, challenge your thinking, or affirm your views. After all, we teach our children to “never stop learning”. Should we not lead by example, and look for learning opportunities of our own?

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