In today’s post, we have 4 ways to get ready for homeschool convention season by doing some prep ahead of time.

If you’ve never gone to a homeschool convention, sometimes also called a homeschool bookfair, you may be wondering what you need to do other than buy a ticket and go to the convention. Homeschool conventions can be overwhelming. Doing your research and preparing before arriving will help you to keep your focus and find the resources you need for yourself and your students.

Before going to the convention, knowing your students’ learning styles, your homeschooling style or methodology, the curricula that supports those learning and homeschooling styles, and finding a suitable homeschool convention will give you a more satisfying convention experience.

Learning Styles

In the excitement of a homeschool convention, it’s easy to buy a curriculum because it looks great or the price fits our budget, only to get it home and discover it doesn’t work for our students or for us. Understanding our children’s learning styles and our own teaching styles will help us to choose the most suitable curriculum.

As a mom of multiple children, I couldn’t afford to get a separate curriculum for each child’s learning style, so instead I chose materials that were multi-sensory and could meet the needs of most of my children. An example of this would be choosing a math curriculum that offers manipulatives and videos to go along with the worksheets rather than just a plain workbook.

Homeschooling Styles/Teaching Approaches/Methodology

Knowing your homeschooling style (also called a teaching approach or methodology) will help you to evaluate materials and curriculum so you don’t waste your precious homeschooling funds on the wrong items. If you don’t currently have a preferred teaching approach, you will likely gravitate to one as you continue your homeschooling journey.

Some common teaching approaches are: textbook/traditional, classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Montessori, unschooling, worldschooling, and unit studies. The Happy Homeschooler Podcast has covered all of these Homeschooling Styles if you want to learn more about each one.

I began using a textbook approach, gravitated towards unit studies, and finally landed on the Charlotte Mason Method. When I attend a homeschool convention or go to a book sale, I know immediately which materials will support my teaching approach. It’s easy to bypass booths and books that focus on another teaching approach.

Curriculum Considerations

What if you’re an electic homeschooler who doesn’t use any one particular teaching method? Or a busy work-from-home parent who doesn’t have time to put into a lot of prep, but you want to implement a certain homeschooling style or teaching methodology. How do you decide on a suitable curriculum? There are SO many out there now and who has time to research all of them on their own? Enter Cathy Duffy, who has been reviewing homeschool curriculum since 1984! Her website is very comprehensive and allows you to search for a curriculum by subject, name or teaching approach.

The Homeschool Mom also has curriculum reviews on her website. These are from the viewpoint of people who have used the particular curriculum they are reviewing. I find these types of reviews very helpful.

Once you’ve researched curriculum and decided what you want, make a list that has prices and shipping fees included so you can decide if you will buy onsite or order online. Many vendors have conference specials and offer free shipping, so buying at the venue can give you a really great bang for your buck!

What Convention Should You Attend?

Once you know the teaching and learning styles you want to accommodate and have a list of curriculum or resources you want, how do you know what convention to attend? There are religious and secular homeschool conventions, conferences that cater to particular teaching methodologies, conferences that offer something for each member of the family and are basically mini-vacations, and even online homeschooling conventions so you can attend from the comfort of your own home. How to decide?

Searching for conferences can take up a lot of time, but fortunately That Homeschool Family has compiled a list by state to help homeschooling families to locate a homeschool convention with the click of a mouse.

Budget, time, and accommodations are major considerations. The good news is that many homeschool conventions offer free or reduced admission if you volunteer. Other conferences offer a shopping pass at a lower cost than the full entry fee if you’re only interested in purchasing curriculum. If your time is limited, a single day conference is going to be better for you than a multi-day conference. Is the conference set up to accommodate the whole family? Does it offer workshops or activities for children so they are occupied while you attend a lecture or presentation? Are you allowed to bring a double-stroller or wheeled cart? Do they allow you to bring in your own food and drinks?

Once you find the homeschool convention that ticks all of your boxes, all that is left to do is to put it on the calendar, pack your supplies (tablet, notebook, phone charger, etc.) for the conference., and get going!

Attending the right homeschool conference can be a great way to refresh and reinvigorate you for the next school year. There’s nothing like being in the company of other home educators to give you encouragement and inspiration. Happy homeschool convention season!