Convention Season – Should You Go?
When our eldest was just one, we went to our first homeschool convention – in a picnic shelter (really!) in Modesto, California. It was so exciting to talk to homeschoolers and to look through all the books. We knew we wanted to homeschool and this little taste of it just whet our appetites. We’ve only missed going to a homeschool convention once in the twenty-nine years since then!
It’s true the Internet has changed things. It’s easier to get information and easier to “talk” to other homeschoolers than ever before. You can even download workshop sessions from your favorite speakers whenever you like.
And with this year’s drama over the global pandemic, uncertainty about community spread of an infectious virus may have delayed our decision – even as organizers rescheduled springtime events for the warm, sunny days of summer.
So why should you go to a live homeschool convention?
It’s different when you are actually there. As many of us have felt with “Zoom Church” services during the stay-home orders, gathering together is an entirely different experience than simply downloading information. We love the time after our workshops when we get to talk to moms and dads face-to-face and pray with them. You can really get to know the speakers you enjoy – and they can get to know you.
Often the people who wrote the curriculum you are interested in are right there in the book fair. Most of them are careful to have knowledgeable folks running their booth, usually people who’ve used those books themselves. You can talk to other parents there and gain from their experience, and take a look at new things you’ve never even heard of before.
It’s good to be away from home, too. It’s hard to focus on your own learning when the children are running in and out and the laundry is calling. It’s so relaxing to sit back next to your mate, listen and learn, then head to lunch together talking about where the Lord is leading your family. It’s good for you and good for your marriage and children, as well. And aren’t we all ready to get out of the house for a bit?
The best reasons, though, are the divine appointments. Cool things happen when you put hundreds of homeschoolers in a building together. It happens all the time. We see two dads bouncing cranky toddlers in the hall and the one who’s been worried about high school talks about the teens he’s met there. A group of moms chatters up a storm waiting for a session to start, then settles back happy with some new ideas. Teens who’d been restless at home gain a new perspective and a bunch of new friends in the teen sessions. Old friends call delighted greetings over stacks of books. The energy and joy is amazing!
Consider it all as investment. Conferences are nearly guaranteed to give you a boost in your homeschooling journey. The things you learn and the conversations you hear, even if they’re not needed in your home right now, will come back to you as your kids grow into older students, or as you encourage young moms just starting out – who knows, maybe even your own child starting to teach your first grandkid! And let’s not forget that most conferences provide the funding that keeps our homeschool organizations strong, supportive, and watchful of our freedom. If you can’t make it to a conference near you, would you consider making a donation to the group that’s watching your state’s legislature? We don’t think you’ll regret it!
Hal and Melanie
To find out where we’re speaking, visit our Events page at RaisingRealMen.com/calendar
Portions of this article originally appeared in The Homeschool Minute.
[ CLICK HERE for our podcast on why you really ought to go to a convention! ]
[AND HERE for some ideas how to get the most from a convention ]