After a pandemic-induced hiatus, homeschool conventions are back in full force. Many were up and running in 2021 and 2022, but not in all parts of the United States. In 2023, you have your pick of homeschool conventions to attend in just about every state in the Union. Homeschool conventions are equal parts teacher training, social event, and a shop-til-you-drop bonanza. If you have never attended a homeschool convention or you haven’t attended one in a long time, I’m going to give you some solid reasons why you should go this year and ways to get the most out of a homeschool convention.

Who has time for a homeschool convention?

I get it- you’re busy from the minute you open your eyes until you close them each night and you think you don’t have any time for a homeschool convention. You don’t have any child care during the day and wonder if it’s going to be a hassle to take your kids.

I’m here to tell you that taking a day or two off from your regular routine to listen to encouraging speakers can be the shot in the arm you need to have the energy for the next school year. Think of a homeschool convention as continuing education for the home educator.

Conventions allow us to reap the benefit of other people’s experience and expertise, gleaning valuable insights into ways we can improve our homeschooling. The speakers at these conventions range from fellow home educators to experts in all sorts of fields. Not only that, but many conventions have separate tracks and activities for our kids. And where else can you get your hands on so much homeschooling curriculum in one place? So, to answer the question, “Who has time for a homeschool convention?” You do!

Who has the money for a homeschool convention?

You might feel that you can’t afford to go to a convention this year because your budget has taken a hit from inflation, however, you get a lot of bang for your buck at a homeschool convention. There are various price points for most conferences (family admission, one person admission, curriculum hall only admission) that make attending accessible for most people. Many conferences offer free admission if you work as a volunteer for a portion of the conference. Additionally, some conferences offer discounted admission if you pay early (Great Homeschool Conferences is one) or can be as low a $5.00 per person if you pay online such as in the case of the Texas Homeschool Expo.

Can’t I just do my research online or watch speaker videos when the kids are in bed instead?

Sure, you certainly can, but it’s nothing like the camaraderie and encouragement of being with other homeschoolers, or being able to meet a homeschooling hero in person. When I was a fairly new homeschooling mom, I went to a Sally Clarkson WholeHeart Ministries conference and was an overjoyed fan girl when I met Sally. I’ve met other giants in the homeschooling world and it’s always been a thrill. You can’t get the same effect watching a video online. In a similar way, being with other homeschoolers is both invigorating and inspiring. I belong to many homeschooling groups on social media and enjoy the support and interaction of those groups, but it still pales in comparison to meeting with some of those folks in person. Interacting with other homeschoolers at a conference is very rewarding in a way that interacting online can never be.

Aren’t all homeschool conventions religious?

Just as there are many types of homeschoolers- religious, non-religious, conservative, liberal, classical, unschooling, etc., there are just about as many types of homeschooling conventions. A quick search online will turn up more homeschooling conventions than you can imagine. If you’re pressed for time, you can go to The Homeschool Mom website and check out their extensive listing of homeschool conventions in just about every state to find one that suits you.

How to get the most of a convention

Now that I’ve convinced you to go to a convention this year, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of a convention.

Look at the rules and regulations pertaining to the convention before you arrive. Some convention halls do not allow you to bring wagons or wheeled luggage in the curriculum hall. Some conventions do not allow you to bring food from home into the convention. Knowing what to expect before you arrive will make your convention experience a pleasant one.

Use the convention guide to plan which speakers to hear, know where they will be speaking, and what the curriculum hall hours are.

Research curriculum prices and make a list of what you are interested in purchasing to take with you to the convention. I’ve gotten so excited at a convention that I accidentally bought the same item twice or spent more than I had planned!

Bring a sweater or jacket, chargers for your devices, some cash, a notebook and pens, and bags or a folding cart with you. You don’t want to lose precious time running back and forth to your car during the convention.

Why wait any longer? Get out there and experience a homeschool convention for yourself this year!