Homeschool conventions, conferences, and seminars are a great way to expand both your knowledge of homeschooling and your personal homeschool network. These activities generally offer some or all of the following benefits:
- Seminars on specific topics, such as teaching certain subjects or how to teach high school at home. These seminars provide very targeted information and allow you to hear from experts in various areas. Authors and publishers of homeschool resources, such as textbooks, are frequent speakers at such seminars. This can be a good way to identify resources you might want to use in your homeschool.
- Vendor displays. Most of these gatherings include vendor areas in which homeschool resource vendors, such as book publishers or retailers, display their offerings. This enables you to research resources "hands on" and it is a good way to compare similar resources from different sources. You can usually purchase items at these displays, typically at reduced prices (no shipping costs either!).
- Homeschool group displays. Often, homeschool groups will provide displays at which you can learn more about those groups.
- Homeschool activity information. There is usually information about homeschool activities at these gatherings, such as sports leagues, orchestras, and so on.
- Networking opportunities. Because these events include many homeschoolers in one place, they are a great way to build your homeschool network as you interact with exhibitors, lecturers, and attendees.
Just a word of warning about attending a homeschool convention for the first time. You are likely to be overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information and activities available, especially if you are just getting started with homeschooling. If this happens to you, don't worry about it. Just try to get an overview of what goes on during such events and attempt to answer a specific question or two. It usually takes one or two of these events before you feel comfortable and learn how to get what you need from them. If possible, I recommend that you attend your first one with a more experienced homeschooler who will be able to "show you the ropes."