Thursday, May 9, 2013

Homeschool Conferences: What's in it for You?

Are you are pumped over the early arrival of next year’s curriculum? Maybe you are wondering if you’ll finish this year’s work in time to start again next fall.

Homeschool conventions are an invaluable resource for both the confident and struggling homeschool family. The return on investment of time, energy, and cost to attend a conference is exponential.

Wondering what a conference has to offer?

1) Conventions are like huge family reunions. Whether your family is large with lots of littles or small with only a couple of teens, you will know you’ve found your tribe. Everyone gets you. There is nothing to explain. It’s fun to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.

2) Vendor halls provide direct communication with curriculum experts. There’s nothing like a face-to-face conversation with curriculum providers while you peruse their products. You’ll have the chance to talk to other families who’ve used what you’re salivating over. Between the two, you will feel empowered to make better curriculum decisions for the year ahead.

3) Workshops offer a variety of topics meaning you will be encouraged and reassured in a variety of ways. Conferences release schedules ahead of time. Take the time to look them over, and define the types of workshops offered. Map out a preliminary plan of the ones that seem to resonate with you. Be flexible as sessions sometimes fill up, or speaker line ups change at the last minute.

4) Sessions topics vary widely but typically include information about the following subjects: vendor product lines, parenting/marriage enrichment, special needs concerns, practical ‘how to’ ideas, entrepreneurial opportunities, budgeting/financial support, time management, transcript prep, College Board testing, and tracks specifically for teens and children.

In addition to mapping out your session interest list, there are other things you can do to prepare for a successful conference.

1) Expect to be overwhelmed if it is your first conference. Plan    crockpot or make ahead casserole meals for your return home.    Make two days before and after the conference teacher work    days. Use the ones before to get your house in order. Use the    ones after to rest up, refocus, regroup and, of course, do    laundry.

2) Invite a few friends to go along. We always feel less    overwhelmed if we know there will be a friendly face in the    crowd. 

3) Check the website for food/snack policies and providers before you go. Some conferences are more flexible than others about   bringing outside food in to the venue. Knowing the policies and  vendors represented, you can make a plan that works for your  family.

4) Check the website vendor list and research curriculum you    want to see when you arrive. Have your list of questions ready   because reps will be eager to answer them. 

5) Don’t be shy. Speak to strangers. The mom next to you at the vendor booth may have the information you need. The mom seated next to you may live in your community and have children the same ages as yours. Can you say, “Park day!”

6) It’s o.k. to take a breather when information overload hits.   Most conferences record sessions and offer copies for a minimal fee.

7) If you travel, plan your packing to include room for purchases   made while at the convention.  Plan your budget before you   arrive lest you get carried away and overspend. After all, homeschoolers never meet a book they didn’t love, right?

8) Expect to return home energized and equipped for new challenges ahead. Don’t forget to share your new found enthusiasm with friends who didn’t get to attend.

9) Consult your state’s homeschool organization for a list of conferences in your area. Most states have multiple listings of local and state wide conferences and book sales, and many will take place in the next couple of months.

If you are looking for a great regional conference, consider Teach
Source: Kathy Ulrich Balman
Them Diligently. In addition to conferences in Nashville and Omaha, TTD is hosting a variety of upcoming ‘marketplace’ place events. There is sure to be one near you. 

To check out TTD’s upcoming conferences, click the link below. 

To check out the TTD market place events, click the following link:

To find TTD on Facebook, click here:


  1. Fellowship, equipment and discipleship - that's exactly what I experienced!

    1. It was a great atmosphere. Nourishing in every way. I sure did come home tired tho! I needed those post-conference teacher work days!

  2. Go with a friend: I had the pleasure of spending time with you and really appreciate you introducing me to so many wonderful ladies!

    Don't think your teen isn't listening: My teen daughter and I had a two hour long conversation prompted partially by something Deb Bell said in one of her sessions. Because my daughter had her headphones on to listen to music, I assumed she wasn't paying attention to the speakers. I was wrong! I am very thankful for the Teach Them Diligently convention ministering to both me and my daughter.

    1. Oh, I just loved introducing you! That's one of my favorite things in life - helping folks network! I did know your sweet girls was more engaged than she let on. I caught her laughing at the 2 of us goofing off when she couldn't help herself anymore. She's really cute! Just love her.