Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool?

Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

  • the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
  • current happenings in education-land,
  • and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Yes, I want Thrive Together!

* indicates required



Recent Posts

Some links on this site are affiliate links. A percentage of qualifying purchases support this site. 

HFC is powered by SiteGround.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Get the news right in your inbox!

Privacy Policy

How To Get the Best out of a Homeschool Convention

How To Get the Best out of a Homeschool Convention

Homeschool Convention Season: A time for parents to network, learn, and generally descend into neurotic behavior.

Here’s what usually happens:

You register early, pay your $30 to get in. You’ve got your notebook so you can sit through your six workshops per day like a good student and learn as much as humanly possible in two days. Your hand aches, but your heart is beating with excitement at all the new ideas you could implement in your homeschool.

Between sessions, you roam the aisles of tables overloaded with books, games, supplies, and teeming with publishers happy to explain why their curriculum is right for your family.

By Sunday night when you finally finish hauling all the new books and workbooks wrapped in shrink-wrap in from the car, you’re ready to get down to work.

The next few days are consumed with planning. Dishes don’t get done, diapers go too long before getting changed. You’re on a roll and can’t stop obsessively planning the right book list, the science experiments, the history projects. You think to yourself, “We should be to Lesson 62 in the math text by Thanksgiving break. That’ll give me just enough time to take a day off to plan the meals, grocery shop, and deep-clean the house before family begins arriving.”

You’re planning down to the hour things that are months away.

Homeschooling is high stakes

If you don’t do it right, your kids will be screwed up for life, they’ll never get into college or get a decent job. Worst of all, they could resent you forever for bringing them home for school.

It all starts with the convention, the right curricula, and the right plan of action (to which you and your kids will adhere for the next 13 years).

Um, no.

These are the deluded, grandiose plans of the new-to-homeschooling mom. I’m not judging, I’ve been that mom! Most of us have. And we slip back into this way of thinking easily. I’ve long believed that homeschooling parents, like military spouses (I happen to be one, so I can say this), have a neurological disorder called Chronic I-Can-Do-It-ALL-By-Myself Syndrome.  I’m seeking treatment.

Here are Three Don’ts that help me

1. Don’t get distracted by the shiny things.  

If you decide to attend a homeschooling convention, have clear goals in mind. Look up the list of publishers and vendors who will be at the convention and write down a list of curricula you’d like to get your hands on. Sometimes flipping through the books really is the best way to decide if something is right for your family, and conventions are great ways to get your hands on lots of options.

Wander other tables, sure, just maintain self-control and refer to your list. Having a budget helps here, too, especially if you only bring cash–that way you’re limited on what you can spend on shiny new books.

2. Don’t believe you’ll actually follow the plan.

Life happens. Family comes to visit unexpectedly, cars break down, kids get sick, moms get sick, or, shockingly, kids sometimes don’t want to do the lesson. Bottom line: they are little, but remember you’re dealing with people.

People need flexibility.

People are not machines who can motor through the whole year’s curriculum, at the pace of exactly one worksheet per day. So set goals for your kids, both long-term and short-term, but think of them more like guidelines than hard-and-fast schedules.

3. Don’t let the convention change everything.

If you’re new to homeschooling this is an especially important point. You’ll come home from the convention wanting to implement an 8-hour school day with your three-year-old. Don’t.

Your kid is not excited about what you learned at the convention.

He wants to play with bugs in the backyard. He doesn’t need to learn to read this year. But maybe sitting with you for 10 minutes per day while you read aloud is something he can do (and will really enjoy). Kids need gradual change, just like we adults do. So, add in something small, and do it slowly. You’ll be chomping at the bit, but your kiddo will be grateful.

Homeschool conventions really are a great time to regroup, learn some new stuff, and check out new materials. They’re especially helpful if you can keep these tips in mind and stave off the neuroticism a tad longer. Your homeschool will be more peaceful and relaxed, which will help you and your kids get more done in the end.


Image Credit: Flickr

Rhiannon Kutzer

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

Subscribe & Follow

Popular Links

Let’s Thrive Together!

Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

--the best of the homeschool blogosphere,
--current homeschool news,
--and great quotes that will refresh your homeschool mama mind.

Latest Posts

Instagram

  • Maybe you’ve never had a loved one on a ventilator, so you don’t know. I have. You don’t know the fear in your gut as you await the next minutes and hours until the doctors bring you updates and treatment plans.
.
You don’t know the darkness and silence next to the bed of your (beautiful, vulnerable) person, kept alive by a machine. The respiratory therapists making adjustments to help your loved one’s brain get enough oxygen so she can make it to tomorrow.
.
You don’t know the holiness of that bedside, where Christ meets you with His peace when everything is out of your hands. That bedside, where literally all you can do is read scripture and pray.
.
I am telling you, that is a bedside you do NOT want to be at.
.
I have been there and I never want to go back. God and an army of prayer warriors got us through that. Our person is still vulnerable. There are people in your life who are vulnerable.
.
We were at that bedside with decades of collective medical experience on our side to develop best practices and treatment plans, and learn from mistakes made on other patients.
.
Our loved ones who end up fighting COVID-19 with the help of a humming ventilator will not have that benefit. This disease is just too new.
.
If you’re a leader of people, your job right now is to take care of your people. Be honest. Take this seriously. (We can do that without letting fear take control.)
.
If you’re an employee, protect yourself, so you can protect your family. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, eat your vegetables, exercise, get good sleep, take some vitamin C.
.
Above all #STAYHOME to #flattenthecurve so that you don’t end up by that bedside with not enough resources. Stay home, so that when the vulnerable person in your life needs it, they’ll have access to the ventilators and care they need.
  • FYI, your #Navy #submarineforce is still operating...even in the Arctic. My guy is finally out from under the ice! And I finally get pictures of his #ICEX2020 adventures. Unbelievably good to talk to him, even if we don’t get be with him in person #thanksCOVID #staythefhome #beagoodcitizen #submarinerscantsocialdistance
  • Blue Wyoming skies and wind blowing in the curls. Magical.
  • PSA: Don’t let curriculum publishers and internet ads scare you into thinking you NEED to buy their products to get your kids a solid education. #askamom #momsmentoringmoms
  • #Homeschooling when you didn’t choose it:
.
I would feel totally overwhelmed and underprepared if I were in your shoes. Homeschooling is hard even when you did choose it. We’ve changed a little, too. Every meal is a reading meal these days if the kids want that. (They do🤓.)
.
So, please ask me all your questions. I and other HSing mamas in your community have YEARS of experience with this atypical version of education. How can we help you and your specific kids in your specific situation? We have learned a lot of things the hard way and we are happy to help make this time smoother for you.
.
What I desperately hope: those of you stuck in a situation you didn’t want AT ALL, might come to see education a little differently. It can be flexible. It can happen over the course of a whole day, with snacks, outside time, screen time, and play interspersed between lessons.
.
This type of education is more about LIFE and HOME than you might think. While your students may be doing the same work assigned by the school, the setting change from school to home will change almost everything else about their educational experience this semester.
.
Here are my two favorite tips to get you started:
1. Use short lessons. 
2. Alternate between types of work.
.
The younger the kids, the shorter the lessons. Ballpark: elementary should be 15-30min/subject max. Middle school 30-45min/subject max.
.
How does this look? Have your student read for 15 min, then do something physical for 15, then do handwriting for 15. That kind of a thing. “A change is as good as a rest."
.
Don’t expect elementary kids to complete the whole assignment in such a short lesson. Just expect focused attention for that time, no matter how far he gets in the work. That builds the habit of, “when we sit to do school, we focus on school.” If you have to do 5 or 10 minute lessons because that’s all he had the attention for, that’s totally normal. Build up to longer periods, but it’s not really reasonable developmentally to expect hour-long math sessions for very young students. Those lead to tears. Ask me how I know.
  • Some days are just “pull your big girl panties on and handle your business like a grownup” days. Cheers to all of you who handled your business today. #navywifelife #adulting

Follow @rhikutzer

Twitter

Find me elsewhere:

×