It’s that time of year again…
Some of us get excited. Some of us get giddy. And yes, some of us get overwhelmed. It’s homeschool convention time!
Many of us attend homeschooling conferences to get inspired, learn something new, find some new ideas, buy assorted curriculum, games, hands-on materials – and yes, some of us attend to be reminded that we are not alone on this homeschooling journey.
Homeschooling mothers crave inspiration – especially after a long winter. We are tired. We are running out of energy. And yes, the year is not over. Homeschooling conventions are often what we need to get rejuvenated.
When I was homeschooling Shayna (please remember, she is now twenty-two years old, at some point, they do go off into the real world), I was a convention junkie. Personally, I loved wandering the vendor hall. Oddly enough, I rarely bought “boxed” curriculum there. Instead, I purchased books to read, games to play, manipulatives, art supplies, and yes, more books! I remember it was extremely difficult for me to stick to my budget. In fact, honestly, I had three budgets:
- My “official” budget
- My “stash of extra money that I saved up during the year” budget
- My “I teach homeschoolers and tutor, so I am sure I will use this for work” budget
Overwhelmed? Join the club (and it’s OK to admit it)
Attending your first convention can be a bit daunting. The vendor hall can be curriculum and information overload! Listening to lectures can make you feel weak in the knees sometimes to the point of doubting your curriculum/online class choices. However, at the end of the day you must believe in yourself and your choices.
Conventions are great for getting your questions answered. Whether you are new to homeschooling or have been at it for a while, we always end up wondering if there is some other way we can tweak things within our homeschool. This is the place where we can get new ideas and additional inspiration. Many conferences have a “New to Homeschooling” workshop. If you are going into your first year or you just completed your first year, this is a great workshop to begin with .
Many of us do not feel particular confident in a certain subject. It might be something we don’t like or aren’t particularly strong in. Conventions are great at helping us find tools and the tips we need. Conventions are great for helping us find new online programs (not a hint here – not a hint at all). Sometimes it’s great just to get advice on how to handle homeschooling with preschoolers or how to keep records (if your state requires it).
Almost every state has a homeschooling convention. Some conventions are religious. Some all all-inclusive welcoming. Some are secular. Some are large. Some are small. Check to see what is in your area.
Where we’ll be this summer – and other convention options
Open Tent Academy will be at two different conventions this year. Memorial Day Weekend, we will be at FPEA (website, Facebook) in Orlando, Florida. FPEA is quite large; however, WONDERFUL. It is held at the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center. If you want a great conference, this is a fabulous weekend in Orlando’s playground for you and your family to attend. Come by our booth (#100) and meet Eva & Jonathan Meola as well as Selena Robinson! In July, Open Tent Academy will be at SEA (website, Facebook) in Atlanta, Georgia. SEA is a more intimate convention. It has amazing speakers and wonderful vendors. Jessica Elkins will be representing OTA at SEA.
If you would like us to look into speaking or attending as a vendor (or both) your homeschooling convention in 2019, please contact us with the name of the conference and we will do our best to be there!
There are other secular conferences or all-inclusive conferences in the United States such as:
- Hawaii Island Homeschool Network Conference, April 29
- Inspired Home Educators, Colorado Springs, CO, May 4 and 5
- Low Country Homeschooling Convention, North Charleston, SC, May 31 – June 1
- LIFE is Good Conference, Tigard, OR, May 24 – 27
- SEA Homeschoolers Conference, Atlanta, GA, July 23 – 15
- REACH Homeschooling Expo, Columbia, SC, June 16
- HSC Conference, San Jose, CA, August 9 – 12
- California Homeschool Network Family Expo, Garden Grove, CA, September 6 – 9
For information on other secular homeschooling conferences in the United States, please visit http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/1606-2018-secular-inclusive-homeschool-conferences/
Eva Goldstein-Meola, is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium. In addition to teaching, Eva enjoys cooking, baking, playing Settlers of Catan, traveling with her husband Jonathan, Broadway Musicals and reading. Eva teaches a variety of literature and IEW writing courses for Open Tent Academy.
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