When I was growing up, I only knew a handful of other homeschoolers. But one year when I was in my early teens, my mom and I drove with another family to a city a couple of hours away to attend a homeschool convention. I had never been to a homeschool convention before, and I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer number of homeschoolers that I met that day. I didn’t know so many homeschoolers even existed! Suddenly homeschooling didn’t seem so weird. And I didn’t feel so isolated. Even as a young teenager, I found it easy to get caught up in the excitement of the homeschool movement when I attended the homeschool conventions near me.
Fast forward a few years. Now I’m the homeschool mom of four wonderful daughters. But I don’t always feel excited about homeschooling. Some days I dread it. Some days I cry in frustration because I don’t know how to help one of my children. I still go to homeschool conventions because I’ve found that they are really helpful. They give me a chance to recharge, to renew my vision for homeschooling, and to get help from more experienced homeschool moms.
If you have never been to a homeschool convention, I hope that you will be able to visit one soon. Below is some information about popular homeschool conventions near you as well as some tips to make the most of your time.
What are homeschool conventions?
Homeschool conventions (sometimes referred to as homeschool conferences) are large, multi-day events where homeschool families, homeschool curriculum providers (like BJU Press), and inspirational and informative speakers gather to talk about the joys and challenges of homeschooling.
3 Reasons to Go to Homeschool Conventions Near You
No matter how long your family has been homeschooling, you can benefit from attending a homeschool convention. Here’s why.
1. Homeschool conventions can help you find the support you need to homeschool with confidence.
I attended a homeschool convention shortly before I started homeschooling my oldest daughter. Even though I was a homeschool graduate, I entered that convention venue with a bit of fear and trembling. I was committed to homeschooling, but I had no idea how to begin. It was such a comfort to interact with hundreds of homeschooling families who were in various stages of their own homeschool journeys. I attended several helpful workshops and asked a lot of questions. I left that convention feeling empowered. I had gained a lot of knowledge, but I had also gained a pocketful of contacts that I could reach out to if I needed help.
2. Homeschool conventions can help you get through tough times of homeschooling.
Every homeschool mom has probably been tempted to give up at some point in her homeschool journey. I know I have. A few years after I began homeschooling, I was deeply discouraged about one of my daughter’s academic struggles. During a homeschool convention, I attended a workshop on struggling learners and spent quite a bit of time talking to the speaker about some of the specific behaviors that I had been observing. She knew just how to help me, and our homeschool is better because of her advice.
3. Homeschool conventions provide an opportunity to investigate different homeschool curriculum options.
The vendor hall is always a popular spot in every homeschool convention. Here, you can find dozens of homeschool curriculum publishers (including BJU Press), independent authors, resource suppliers, and more. Spending a few hours in the vendor hall is always worth your time, even if you don’t actually purchase anything. In the vendor hall, you can examine products in depth—something that you can’t do when you shop online. You can also ask questions to see if a specific product would be a good fit for your family. Best of all, if you are ready to make a purchase, you can usually get some really good discounts.
Great Homeschool Conventions (GHC)
Great Homeschool Conventions (also known as GHC) will host five regional homeschool conferences for Christian homeschoolers in 2023—in California, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, and South Carolina. Each conference spans three days and usually includes a few different tracks tailored to your preferred style of homeschooling. They even have a worldview track for teens. You can check out the conference dates, specific locations, as well as view a list of frequent speakers on the Great Homeschool Conventions website. If you register Before Dec. 31, you can save $10 off an individual or family registration.
Teach Them Diligently (TTD)
Teach Them Diligently (also known as TTD) will host two homeschool conventions for Christian homeschoolers in 2023. These conferences will be in Round Rock, TX, March 23-25 and in Pigeon Forge, TN, May 4-6. Teach Them Diligently homeschool conventions focus on family discipleship topics, so it’s a great convention to bring the entire family to. You can check out the Teach Them Diligently website to find more information about pricing, speakers, accommodations, and add-on programs such as a children’s program, a teen program, a men’s fellowship time, and more.
You might not be able to travel far to attend a homeschool convention, but you may not have to. There are many state-specific events across the nation that you can attend that will allow you to renew your homeschooling vision, make connections with other homeschooling families, and shop for homeschool curriculum and resources. The following is not an exhaustive list of state conventions, but hopefully it will help you find a conference near you.
The Arizona Home Education Convention, sponsored by AFHE (Arizona Families for Home Education), will take place July 14-15 in Phoenix, AZ.
The LEAP conference will take place February 17-18 in San Diego.
The Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference will take place June 15-17 in Denver.
The Florida Parent Educator’s Association will hold its conference May 25-28 in Orlando.
Illinois Christian Home Educators will hold their family conference on May 18 in Bourbonnaise, IL.
The Nebraska Christian Home Educator’s Association (NCHEA)’s conference will be March 10 and 11 in Lincoln.
Christian Association of Parent Educators—New Mexico (CAPE-NM) will hold their conference June 23-24 in Albuquerque.
North Carolinians for Home Education (NCHE) will hold their annual Thrive conference May 25-27.
The Oregon Christian Home Education Conference will take place June 16-17 in Albany.
The Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) will hold its annual conference May 12-13 at the York Expo Center.
Christian Homeschoolers of South Dakota’s convention will take place May 12-13 in Sioux Falls.
The Texas Homeschool Coalition will hold two Called to Teach conventions in 2023—one in Allen, TX (April 27-29), and one in The Woodlands (June 1-13).
The HEAV (Home Educators of Virginia) conference will take place June 8-10 in Richmond, VA.
The Wisconsin Homeschool Parents Association (WHPA) will hold its annual conference May 5-6 in Steven’s Point.
Other Ways to find a Homeschool Convention
Internet search engines such as Google or Bing can help you find information about homeschool conventions in your area. Try searches like “Homeschool conventions in [your state]” or ‘Homeschool conventions near me.”
If you are involved in a homeschool co-op, you can ask other parents about homeschool conventions that they attend. Some co-ops may even include a list of homeschool conferences on their website.
Friends and Relatives
Friends and relatives who are homeschooling are also great sources for information about homeschool conventions. Ask them which conferences they have attended and what they liked or didn’t like about them. You may even want to make plans to attend a convention together.
Plan a Trip
Here are a few tips to help you as you plan your trip to a homeschool convention:
Choose the ticket that meets your needs.
Homeschool conventions sometimes offer different price packages depending on how long you stay and whether you want to attend workshops or just visit the vendor hall. There are a lot of benefits to attending the workshops. But, even if you can’t spare the time or the expense to attend the workshops and keynote sessions, the day-long shopping pass option is usually worth the admission cost because of the discounts the vendors often offer. Some conventions even offer free shopping passes for one evening during the conference. If you choose to go to the vendor hall during the free shopping period, be prepared to deal with crowds. And do some curriculum research beforehand because the time goes by quickly!
Schedule your time.
If you do decide to attend workshops, check the convention website a few days before you go to view the workshop schedule and speaker information. Make note of the workshops that interest you and be sure to set aside some “free time” for shopping.
Plan your budget.
Conventions provide wonderful opportunities to shop for homeschool curriculum and supplies—you can often get better deals at a convention than you can through a company’s website. Before you go, make a list of what you need for the upcoming school year and decide on your budget.
Whether you are a veteran homeschool mom or an absolute newbie, I hope that you will be able to attend a homeschool convention this year. Make some new friends. Renew your commitment to educating your children at home. And be sure to stop by the BJU Press booth to meet some of our HomeWorks consultants. They would love to help support you on your homeschool journey!