Homeschool Conference Planning

Friday, March 31, 2023 by Catherine Gilliland | Homeschool Planning

The season has arrived for long-awaited refreshment, learning, and encouragement for homeschool parents. How can you maximize your homeschool conference experiences? Make a personal itinerary ahead of time! 

If you have already created a 5-year, 1-2 year, or even 12-month plan, you possess a powerful guide when planning your conference attendance. If not, plan for your best experience by taking a careful inventory of various facets of learning in your home. Follow this up with some thoughtful planning for the upcoming year including internet or catalog research to help you to reap the greatest benefits from your conference attendance. By knowing the future needs of your students, you can make educated decisions regarding the different main or breakout session topics of the most benefit to you. If your homeschool fair includes vendors, your prep work can also be a guide to those vendors you want to meet and/or from whom you desire to make purchases. Often purchases made at a conference can be secured for a reduced price.

Some questions to ask yourself when planning your homeschool conference itinerary:

  1. What have been areas of struggle this year for which I need answers or encouragement? Are there main sessions or workshops that may provide this information?

  2. What other sessions or workshops am I interested in learning from? Create a workshop plan for yourself.

  3. What are the appropriate basic academic requirements for each of my children?

  4. What is my budget? Do I know the correct forms of payments accepted at this conference?

  5. What previous curriculum experiences have you had? If a curriculum is working, consider continuing with it. If not, try to determine why and investigate viable alternatives.

  1. Do you know your child's best learning style? Try to match any curriculum you purchase with this learning style. Don't expect that the learning books that were perfect for an older child will automatically work for their younger siblings.

  2. Could I enhance my children's experiences by grouping learning lessons together? Often this method works well for science, social studies, and literature when you have children who are close in age or who naturally challenge each other (friendly challenge) to perform their best. 

  3. What are the special interests that my child has expressed? Can I create some mini units to fuel his/her natural interests? Can I select learning games/kits to purchase for upcoming gift-giving occasions?

  4. Will the vendors from whom I wish to make purchases be attending this conference? Conferences will publish their vendor list ahead of time, sometimes including a map. 

  5. Will vendors for whom I have questions be in attendance at this conference? If so, write down the questions you wish to ask them. Is this vendor presenting a workshop about this topic? 

  6. Is there a way for me to attend the conference child-free? If not, make sure you plan ahead to anticipate children's needs. Conferences are exhausting for any age child and certainly their mommies and daddies. Preparing a crock pot dinner or picking up a dinner to take home may help prevent nerves from fraying due to hunger and exhaustion.

As you attend homeschool conferences, fairs, and practicums this spring and summer, may your purpose be refreshed, your vision refocused, your skills strengthened, and may your excitement for future learning experiences grow.