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6 Things I LOVE About Homeschool Conventions!

Added by Heather Idoni

Monday, May 12, 2014
Vol. 15 No. 7, May 12, 2014, ISSN: 1536-2035
(c) 2014, Mary Beth Akers and Heather Idoni

Welcome to The Homeschooler's Notebook!

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From a Boy to a Godly Man: A Boy's Bible Study of David is a refreshing Bible Study that reflects on the life of David, and then applies God's Word into the reader's life.

Originally written for the authors' 11-year-old son, readers are challenged to DO God's Word, not just hear it.

Applicable for ages 10 - 15.

216 pages. Softcover.

Available at amazon.com or www.digginwithkaty.com.

We pray it blesses you & the young man in your life!


Notes from Mary Beth
-- Homeschool Conferences
Winning Website
-- HomeschoolConventions.com
Helpful Tips
-- Convention Tips!
This Issue's Question
-- Rosetta Stone: What version?
Additional Notes
-- Newsletter Archives
-- Sponsorship Information
-- Reprint Information
-- Subscriber Information

Notes from Mary Beth

Thoughts on Attending a Homeschool Convention

I have a phobia of city driving. Most of the time I will avoid traffic and multi-lane highways no matter what it takes. Yet, every year, I drive 4 hours to get to the city and then through congested traffic (one of the things I fear most!) so that I can attend the homeschool conference. I now attend only as a volunteer each year, but I still wouldn't want to miss it!

Looking back on the 16 years that I've attended, I can fully justify all the expense, the time, the anxiety of driving, and the hassles of preparing to go.

The benefits:

1) I did a better job teaching my children because of the great tips I gleaned from the workshops.

2) Relationships in our family are healthier because so many convention speakers effectively emphasized the importance of family relationships and provided exhortation and resources which helped us achieve it.

3) I am able to take a stand for my convictions; attendance at a homeschool convention adds political clout to the homeschool movement.

4) It is rewarding to support those who work all year to enhance your experience as a home educator.

5) I come away every year with renewed convictions, confidence and passion, and a new friend or two.

6) The huge crowd has always helped me to realize that I was not alone.

-- Mary Beth



Helpful Tips

Successful Conference Going!

I'd like to offer you a few pointers on navigating a homeschool conference.

Most conferences have two main features -- the workshops and the exhibits. Some also offer a used curriculum sale.

Don't pass up the opportunity to hear the outstanding speakers! You will be blessed by reassurance, motivation and encouragement boosters that will energize you throughout the year. You will be entertained; you will be enlightened; and you will be reminded of why you are doing this. The workshops provide a sense of camaraderie which reminds you that you are a part of a very significant ministry carried out by people who are seeking to serve God and honor His will. It's inspiring to be there.

If possible, study the workshop schedule before you leave home, and choose which sessions you will attend. Read the descriptions of the workshops, not just the titles. Some speakers create catchy titles for their messages which might give you a misleading idea of the content.

If you are a note taker, you will need a loose leaf binder or a spiral notebook. Not all speakers provide handouts, and some handouts don't have much space for notes. A clipboard will provide you with a solid writing surface, and secure loose papers. A pocket file is another option.

A tote bag or back pack will make it easier to carry your things. A backpack frees your hands and keeps your arms from becoming so tired. Some conferences allow rolling carts.

Don't forget to take water and perhaps snacks. Policies vary in convention centers regarding food and drink brought in. Be sure you know those policies before you go. Taking your own food can save you a lot of money.

Take a sweater; the temperature usually varies from one room to another.

If you will be attending a homeschool conference for the first time, be prepared to be overwhelmed when you enter the vendor hall. These are some pointers I would offer:

1. Before you go, make a list of things you definitely intend to buy, and a list of things you'd like to learn more about. Prioritize the list. Be sure to allow some margin in your budget in case you discover some materials you hadn't considered. Some of my most beneficial purchases at conferences have been books recommended by speakers. Some vendors offer convention specials that are worth taking advantage of, too. I know of one family who never buys at conferences; they go there to 'window shop', and then go home and order the items they selected. The advantage to them is that they don't make impulse purchases, and they don't have to carry around a load of curriculum. There is something to be said for that, but I think I have saved enough on shipping to justify the pack mule syndrome. And impulse purchases? Well, yes, I have to admit to a couple of those.

2. If your conference offers a used curriculum sale, go there first. It might be the only place where you will find bargains.

3. Be aware that the atmosphere in the Exhibit Hall is very positive. Everyone is happy to be there, and there is an electricity in the air that is very exciting. This is a good thing, but if you are susceptible to buying fever, plan ahead for how you will deal with it. If your spouse is going to the convention with you, agree that you won't make unplanned purchases without first getting the opinion of the other. If not, make a list of the things that interest you and the prices. Outside the Exhibit Hall, identify the expected benefits of those materials. Total the cost of all the items. Try to weigh the benefits against the cost. Do not feel obligated to purchase something only because the representative spent time with you. Most of the vendors have high integrity and would not advise you to spend money on something you won't use.

4. Go to the Exhibit Hall the first time without your purse, wallet, credit card, checkbook, firstborn, or anything else you can use to make purchases. Just walk through and see what's there. You may pick up catalogues. Then leave.

5. Drink some water. Review your list. You might want to revise it.

6. Go directly to two or three of the booths that have your top priority items, and make those purchases. Visit a few booths where you just want to check things out or ask questions. Then leave.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6.

8. Wear comfortable shoes. If you have two pairs of comfortable shoes, take both, and alternate them.

9. Some vendors have mailing lists. A sheet of address labels will save you a lot of time. Business cards are handy for exchanging contact information with new friends.

A big part of shopping at a homeschool conference has to do with curriculum selection. We will address that in the next issue!

-- Mary Beth

Winning Website


To find a homeschool event near you, visit HomeschoolConventions.com! Also, Home-school.com has a pretty comprehensive listing of support groups of all sizes here: www.home-school.com/groups/. Contact local groups and ASK!! Sometimes there are little jewels of conferences and/or used curriculum sales, etc. that you just won't find in the listings of larger conventions.

Last Issue's Question...

"Is anyone using Rosetta Stone for foreign language instruction? If so, do you use the personal edition, or the homeschool edition? Which do you think is better?" -- Mindy

Our Readers' Answers...

"As an adult using it, I would say personal; but for a child, do the homeschool version. Here is the info from their site... hope it helps! :-)

'What is the difference between Rosetta Stone Homeschool and Rosetta Stone Personal Edition? Rosetta Stone Homeschool is the best choice for homeschoolers. The methodology for Homeschool and Personal Edition is exactly the same - both products use the Dynamic Immersion technique to teach a language naturally without translation. The difference is that the Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition includes Parent Administrative Tools which let parents monitor and manage student's progress without having to know the language being learned. The Parent Administrative Edition includes: Parent's Guide including a full-year curriculum lesson plan and cultural activities ideas. Progress Reporting Tools Extra predefined curriculum paths Supplemental Education Materials (available for specific languages). The Personal Edition program also comes with an online portion which is not intended for children under the age of 13 at this time. Note that the Personal Edition is sometimes referred to as the Consumer Edition, too.' " -- Kay T.

New Reader Question...

What advice do you have for attendees of a homeschool conference?

-- Mary Beth

Please share your thoughts! :-)

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