Should You Go to a Homeschool Convention?

By Melissa Batai

Just as different fields of academia and business have annual conventions, so, too, do homeschoolers. There are national conventions such as Great Homeschool Conventions and Teach Them Diligently, but many states have their own individual homeschool conventions such as the Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE) conference every summer and the Minnesota Association of Home Educators (MACHE), just to name a few. While there are several to choose from, should you go to a homeschool convention?

Should You Go to a Homeschool Convention?

The answer is, it depends. Probably the most important consideration is finances. While homeschool conventions can be fun to attend, they aren’t essential to your ability to homeschool. Before deciding, consider some logistics:

How Close Is It?

Not every state has a homeschool convention. If you want to attend a national one, how far away is it? Can you easily make the trip in a day, or will you need to drive several hours or fly? Will you require accommodations or not?

If you can’t attend a national convention, is there a state or regional one nearby that you can attend more easily?

How Much Will It Cost?

The distance of the conference will help you decide if you can afford it. Some families simply can’t afford paying gas to drive for hours and also paying lodging and food for the duration of the conference.

Our family has always lived on a tight budget. When we first started homeschooling, I really wanted to attend a conference. Luckily for our family, the Great Homeschool Conventions was in Cincinnati, Ohio where my cousin lived. She invited us to stay at her home so we could save on the cost of lodging. That was the only way we were able to attend a national convention; we haven’t done so since because the cost is just too prohibitive for our family.

Some families do turn attending a convention into a family vacation and save for it all year long. That’s another option if the convention will be far away.

Benefits of Attending a Homeschool Convention

While attending a homeschool convention isn’t necessary, it definitely has advantages.

Can Look at the Curriculum

One of my favorite reasons to attend a convention is that I can browse the curriculum. When you’re trying to decide on new curriculum, there’s only so much you can glean from online shopping and reading online reviews. Sometimes, seeing the curriculum in person and looking through it can help you decide if it’s a good fit for your children.

In addition, if you decide to buy your curriculum at the conference, most vendors will give you a discount. This can help you stretch your homeschool budget further.

Learn Teaching Skills & Techniques

Attending homeschool convention sessions can help you learn how to better teach your child. For instance, if you’re currently teaching a middle schooler, you can attend sessions that will help you prepare for teaching a high schooler and keeping transcripts and detailed class notes should your child want to apply for college.

When I found out our daughters had dyslexia , I appreciated learning new strategies thanks to the state homeschool convention I attended that year.

Get Inspiration

Homeschool conventions can also be a place where you can get inspiration. If you homeschool for a number of years or through a challenging year, you may feel burned out. Attending a convention and being around people who are excited about teaching and learning may reinspire you and bring back your passion for homeschooling.

Final Thoughts

You certainly don’t have to attend a homeschool convention to be a good homeschooler. However, if you can afford to attend one, I’d recommend going once or twice, especially if you’re just in the beginning of your homeschooling journey. Nothing takes the place of seeing curriculum in person and getting inspiration from other homeschoolers.