Is it really a good idea to go to a homeschool convention? Is it worth it to drive multiple hours if necessary to get to the closest Great Homeschool Convention?
Short answer: YOU BET.
The rest of this blog post will be the long answer, LOL. If you're not in the habit of going to a homeschool convention and need some convincing, then read on! :-)
I was at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati last year (2019) and was blown away by everything they had available there. I want to tell you all about it, plus highlight some of the resources that will be available this year in 2020.
Hopefully you'll decide to check it out for yourself!
Things you expect to find at a homeschool convention—that GHC does better imho:
curriculum that you can get your hands on, rather than looking at pictures online.
I heard about one mom that travelled three hours to go to the WriteShop table to see their high school writing
At a homeschool conference, you can stop at multiple booths and compare/contrast all the curricula you've been thinking about. You can also make your purchase and take it home with you, rather than waiting for it to be shipped. Or if they don't have it there, usually shipping is free at a homeschool conference. So that often covers your cost to attend in the first place!
GHC has ALL the companies, y'all. They have a large exhibit hall at each location, and you can find all the ones you're looking for plus many that you can learn about for the first time.
2) Speakers about all the things you're struggling with.
Gifted learners? Go see Colleen Kessler. She has four of them and also the educational background to know what she's talking about. Even with all my years of experience, I am always blown away by what she has to share. You can ALWAYS learn new things, y'all.
Just want to set your eyes on Sarah Mackenzie? Cuz she's so stinkin' amazing and you don't think you can get close to her? Well, You can see AND meet her AND talk to her at GHC!
Andrew Pudewa, the wise patriarch of the IEW community
Dr. Jay Wile, the guy who wrote all the Apologia
And about a gazillion more… see the whole list of Great Homeschool Convention speakers HERE
AND ME. Did I mention ME??
I'm going to be speaking at ALL SEVEN Great Homeschool Conferences in 2021! I am SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED and can't wait to meet you and hug you and encourage you and share with you!
(Have you registered yet? You can do so HERE.)
Things I didn't realize would be at GHC but which are super helpful and/or fun:
1) Nearby colleges who are recruiting homeschoolers.
How cool is that?? They are at a homeschool convention, so that means they like homeschoolers. And you can get literature and ask your admissions questions and discuss majors and even bring your teen over to do some of the talking for themselves. No worries about being compared to the public school kids here. It's almost as good as a visit to the campus, really.
2) Other merchandise that isn't necessarily homeschool related but appeals to a lot of us.
Cuz shopping, ya'll. :-)
When I was at the Missouri convention in 2018, I bought myself a supply of Norwex cloths. I love 'em!
Last year, at Cincinnati, there was a booth of homesteading supplies where I found a butter keeper for a super reasonable price. I've been looking for one of those forever! And I bought it and brought it home and now my butter is spreadable but not too firm nor too melty. Happiness!
Each convention will have a different selection of sellers that bring products for the homeschool demographic. Where else will you find that?
3) Booths with activities that you can participate in, not just watch.
Ongoing chess games, round-table discussions about history, musical instruments to play, Legos to build with… so many things to DO.
4) An entire 3-day track JUST FOR TEENS.
In other words, you can drop your teen off and get their ears filled with someone else's wisdom besides your own. And they might actually listen to it this time! LOL.
The teen track for 2020 is called Real Faith for the Real World and includes workshops on such topics as “Movies, Music, and Screens: Entertainment and Christians,” “Identifying and Cultivating Leadership Potential,” and “Separation of Church and State: Government vs. God.” WOW. These will make for great discussions on that drive back home, am I right?
Do you need further convincing? LOL
Listen, I know that if a convention involves a stay in a hotel, this can get a little pricey. I do get that. But I think it's worth it, in the end. MOM NEEDS SOME TIME AWAY, Y'ALL.
And if not time by yourself—if you HAVE to bring the kids—at least it's time surrounding yourself with people who are doing what you do and get what you're living through and struggling with. I can't tell you how invigorating and comforting it is to turn to the person behind you in a session and be able to chat as if you're old friends, because you already have so much in common.
I've written about GHC before (and I will probably do so again, LOL). Read these for more information about the GHC experience:
So will you come see me? You have SEVEN opportunities to do so:
Greenville, SC: March 18-20, 2021
St. Charles, MO: – my home state! – March 25-27, 2021
Ontario, CA: June 17-19, 2021
Round Rock, TX: July 8-10, 2021
Jacksonville, FL: July 22-24, 2021
Rochester, NY: August 5-7, 2021
Cincinnati, OH: August 12-14, 2021
I want to give you not just virtual hugs but real, live, honest-to-goodness hugs!
For more information or to register, click here: Great Homeschool Conventions