This past June, I was able to attend my very first homeschool convention. Some of you might remember when I shared about my plans to attend in “Should I attend a Homeschool Convention?”.
It was definitely a new experience for me, and I quite enjoyed myself. My loving husband, being the good sport he is, drived us there. As soon as we entered the church (quite a big one), I felt the excitement in all the activities going on: registration, happy parents and representatives in the vendor booths, lively homeschooling conversations… I experienced a delightful first impression. We checked in, and we were given totes containing our program guides with a map, a vast amount of informational resources, educational coupons, catalogs, door prize tickets, and even a free homeschool planner (and yes, the dads also received totes and they actually got in free…that was very kind).
The program’s content was quite detailed, beginning with news and sponsors and a very inspiring welcome note. The following pages included a colorful map of the building, well labeled and with numbered locations for all vendors, and its side page with the corresponding vendor list. Also included in the program was the workshop schedule with a description of each of the workshops. The workshop schedule with their times and locations was very easy to follow, and I have to admire the punctuality of each speaker. All the workshops I participated in began “on the clock”, and each presenter (which most of them were veteran moms) was very well prepared and successfully provided informational resources for their corresponding topic. At the end there was some time left in which they graciously responded to all questions from the audience.
Inside the tote were several things, as I mentioned before, but among them a Homeschool Planner from the Old School House Family Magazine!!
This is a very nice planner which includes monthly motivational notes for mom, monthly calendars, pages for notes, fill-in weekly calendars, and charts and educational resources for academics, planning, and record keeping. Simple to use and quite a thoughtful gift for all registered attendees.
After going over our totes, I then set to find Talia, LADHSA’s Director. We were introduced by a mutual friend through Facebook, and became “FB friends”. As soon as we saw each other, we excitedly greeted and met for the first time:
Vendor booths were neatly organized on the hallways surrounding the main sanctuary. Many veteran moms were at some of the booths with plenty of vendor resources, in which with great detail and patience, they explained how the curriculums and resources worked, how they could be modified at home, and they also shared their own personal experiences with them. I felt right in my “hub”.
First vendor I actually encountered, was the Classical Conversations booth!! Representatives from my area and campus were there supporting the new campus director for that city. It was lovely to also see Ms. Beth (the very sweet CC bookstore lady, that I told you about in the last post about CC’s Parent Practicum). Not everyone was in the picture, but here we are:
I attended workshops for all the available times, and I honestly learned quite a bit from all of them. There were intermissions in between workshops, and that is when I visited booths, took in information about curriculum and resources, and “socialized” (wink, wink).
It was thoughtful that subway style lunches were offered, and that the money for the meal purchases was being donated to help build a local playground (talk about kind-hearted people!) Another nice perk: complimentary coffee was available throughout the day (yay!).
Tickets for hundreds of door prizes were offered. What made it even more appealing was that you could choose in which drawings you wanted your tickets to participate (five tickets were given to everyone!). There was also the option of purchasing more tickets to increase your chances of winning. The door prizes were must-have resources: from well known homeschooling guides and books, to entries to win educational products, restaurant gift cards, wildlife and nature center entrance vouchers, curricula resources, etc.
At the end of the day, I received a blogger’s “golden ticket”: I stopped by HEDUA’s booth and the representative gave me a blogger planner for free!! (Thank you Michelle Rebstock!)
This is actually a newly released planner by HEDUA (Home Educating Family Association) from the creator of the Well Planned Day planner. If you are a homeschool blogger you can actually get it as a bundle, or take advantage of their promotion going on in which you buy either a homeschool planner or the blogger planner and you can get their wall calendar for $0.99 (normally $9.95):
So, what did I learned from the workshops? I learned that I need to write down my home education vision, so that I can keep my focus and priorities on check. I learned that while I’m in the early years with my children, I need to give myself grace and to “play the learning way”. I also learned some “stress free” techniques for teaching multiple children and very importantly, I learned how to homeschool the legal way. One thing I took away from this convention was that I need to have conviction anchored in truth, and to seek truth. My home education needs to be reinforced constantly in God, because it is a personal matter between God, my husband, myself, and my children.
LADHSA set the bar high with their first homeschool convention by creating more learning and community opportunities here in Louisiana. With the tremendous organizational skills and the God loving hearts of their directing committee, they will continue delivering amazing services to the homeschool community of our area by equipping parents to intentionally teach their children with love and passion to learn, by encouraging them to believe in themselves, and by empowering them with the determination to successfully home educate their children.
I would definitely encourage other homeschooling parents to attend next year’s convention. I will definitely do my best to do so myself.
*This post contains some affiliated links*