I remember the first time my husband and I went to our local homeschool convention. Our oldest was 2 (I’m not joking – the HSLDA guy laughed good-naturedly when we told him that) and we just wanted to dip our little toe into the waters of homeschooling and find out more. What we got was instead a firehose of information — but in a good way.
It was SO good. And every year we keep coming back. We wandered around picking up parenting tools, learning about homeschooling, and marveling at the diversity of the group. The things we learned at the homeschool conference literally changed our lives — our vision for homeschooling, family discipleship, marriage… all of it!
Our oldest is now 11 and we’ve got some homeschooling time under our belts. Every year, we encourage homeschoolers to GO TO THEIR local state convention. I’m going to share with your our top reasons why you should go, along with an option to consider if you CAN’T make it this year.
We absolutely love our state homeschool organization, the Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network (OCEANetwork). We fell in love with it that first year and I think we’ve only missed one year since then.
The mission and vision of OCEANetwork have not only been a huge blessing to our own family, but we’ve become so passionate about their work that we’ve become a part of their team! Not only do they equip and encourage homeschoolers, but they work year round to protect and expand our homeschool freedoms. The yearly homeschool convention is where we find a shot of energy and refreshment for the coming year, too.
Here are the reasons why we recommend YOU go to your local state homeschool conference!
Why Attend Your Homeschool Convention
1. Fellowship & Connection
We get to know other Christian homeschoolers, appreciating our common goal to raise children for the glory of God and provide a great home education. The experience of that unity AND the diversity is unique and we love it!
2. Encouragement & Practical Help
As homeschoolers, we would serve ourselves and our children well to seek out great encouragement. Whether we need parenting tips, help with a struggling reader, an overview of homeschooling methods, etc., we’re sure to find it at the homeschool convention!
3. Lending Our Support
We love to be able to give back to our state homeschool conference, and the fact that it is local and run by volunteers makes it personal. We can talk to the organizers and board members, hear about immediate needs and pitch in, become supporting members, and so on. We get to be a part of something important in the homeschool community (and YOU CAN TOO).
4. Vendors & Curriculum
We GLADLY spend our homeschool dollars at the conference. Why?
- We’re supporting the conference.
- We’re supporting the work the state organization does year round to equip us and protect our freedoms.
- We’re supporting the homeschool vendors that work so hard to be there to serve homeschooling families.
We also really appreciate being able to talk with vendors, ask questions, compare, and actually handle the curriculum in person! So many purchasing mistakes can be avoided that way.
Not to mention the used curriculum exchange! Woot! Can you just see me with my roll cart luggage, scooping up great curriculum deals, games, science materials, and readers? It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂
5. Wisdom & Experience
As we attend each year, become more involved, and participate in the various activities, we grow in wisdom and experience. This is mostly because we are around others with vastly greater wisdom and experience than our own and we get to LEARN from them! We have come to know some truly amazing people, and even find some invaluable mentors, in this way.
6. Vision & Refreshment
Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in the homeschooling weeds. The details and daily rhythm cause us to loose sight of the vision and beauty of homeschooling. Recapturing that vision – finding that wonderful refreshment – is critical in helping us avoid burnout. Each year, the conference speakers that come to the conference encourage and inspire us in a fresh way. We can ask them questions and spend the weekend soaking in the tips and encouragement we need for the coming year!
7. Weekend Away
My husband and I were blessed to be able to make a weekend away out of our conference for the first several years. As we got ready for the conference, we planned on a fancier-than-usual hotel, some meals out, and enjoying slowing down just a bit between conference days to catch up and process what we’ve learned. If you can swing that, I highly recommend it! But if you can’t, the commuting time can still be surprisingly helpful to catch those moments of reflection.
Nowadays we bring our older kids and make it more of a family experience or service opportunity, still coming away with encouragement and vision for our homeschool!
8. Year-Round Support & Encouragement
OCEANetwork and other state homeschool organizations work YEAR ROUND to provide support, encouragement, and practical helps to us homeschoolers. They are there to point us to support groups, get us the information we need about requirements, and they go to bat for us to keep homeschooling free and unrestricted. It’s a HUGE deal and worth our support!
9. Local Focus
Yes, there are bigger and fancier conferences out there than your state conference, most likely. But I hope you’re now as convinced as we are that attending your state conference is a superior choice. They know the resources, the people, and the local state concerns better. Will you be going this year?
Can’t Go to the Homeschool Conference?
I know that sometimes it’s not possible to make your state conference for the year.Many times you can get access for a day or just to the vendor hall if you want. Or get the conference recordings for all-year encouragement!
|Conference Recordings – Be sure to purchase conference recordings. I’m sure your organization provides them as OCEANetwork does. We have purchased those nearly every year as well, even though we attended. SO many hours of encouragement and tips we can learn from during the rest of the year!|
Homeschooling in Oregon?
Be sure to join me at the 2019 Oregon Christian Home Education Conference in Albany, OR June 28-29! My husband and I will be joining as speakers along with Andrew Pudewa of IEW, Israel and Brooke Wayne of Family Renewal, Lee Binz of The HomeScholar, and more!