The 5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions

I love homeschool conventions. We are entering the season when there will probably be several conventions in your area. I’ve written previously about all of the reasons I think all homeschoolers should attend the conventions in their area. I believe there are LOTS of positive reasons for attending.

Because I’ve already written about all of the wonderful and amazing benefits of attending homeschooling conventions, I won’t go into all of that in this post. Suffice it to say that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE attending them and that our family makes a point of attending several local conventions every year.

5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions

Having said that, however, there are some homeschoolers who avoid going to conventions because there are some negative aspects to attending as well. I feel that the pros outweigh the cons but there are some dangers associated with attending which you should be aware of before you go.

Here are 5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions:

1. Feeling Overwhelmed

Homeschool conventions can be very large and chaotic. If you’re new to homeschooling or are attending your first convention, I recommend you look for one which is on the smaller side. The large state-wide conventions are packed with attendees, vendors, and workshops. This can be a blessing and a curse. While you’re there, don’t feel like you need to do it all! That’s not even possible. Relax and enjoy the experience.

Time Capsule Medieval England

2. Distraction

The vendor halls will be filled with all sorts of deals of which you can and should take advantage. They are also filled with lots of colorful, shiny looking books which can be a huge distraction. Don’t feel that you need to rethink your entire plan every year. If your math curriculum is working for your family, simply get the next book in the series. If your kids are benefiting from reading real books versus using a textbook for history, stick with your plan.

Don’t allow yourself to be enticed by the beautiful book covers! Go with a list in hand of items you need and try to stick to looking for those items. Even if you do have something new catch your eye that you’d like to consider, don’t fall into the trap of trying to change everything at once. Small, incremental changes are best.

5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions

3. Comparison

There is no one right way to homeschool. Workshop speakers are there to HELP you… not to make you feel that your homeschooling style is inferior to theirs. Listen for tips which can be beneficial and let the rest go. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. Don’t do it! God has all of our kids on earth for different reasons. He has given your children to you to parent. Trust that He will guide you in your journey and don’t be tempted to compare your weaknesses (or your child’s weaknesses) with other people’s strengths.

4. Pride

You might also be tempted to fall into the opposite trap of feeling prideful of the way you homeschool your kids versus how a workshop speaker, or vendor, or fellow attendee does. Pride is a sin you want to guard against and is just as destructive, if not more so than is being overly harsh with yourself. Let’s give each other the grace to walk our own paths without feeling that we need to stand in judgment of each other.

5. Confusion

Most conventions have a large variety of workshops available that you can attend. These workshops will feature speakers with differing opinions on many topics. Take advantage of the workshops you feel will benefit your family and discard the rest. Sometimes you will hear information which is extremely helpful. Sometimes you will hear information which isn’t pertinent to your situation or which will bog your family down if you attempt to follow it.

Pray about any changes you are considering before you make them so that you can be sure these changes are right for you. Don’t feel that you need to implement everything you learn. Just because you hear it doesn’t mean you need to do it!

5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions

There are lots of benefits to attending homeschool conventions however, there are some pitfalls as well. Armed with the above information, I would highly recommend that you and your family attend a convention in your area. They are filled with a wealth of information and the camaraderie you can find there with the other homeschoolers is invaluable.

Question – Does your family attend homeschool conventions? Has your experience been good or bad? Please leave a comment below.

5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions

21 thoughts on “The 5 Dangers of Attending Homeschool Conventions”

  1. Thanks, Michelle. This is our 8th of homeschooling and I have never been to a homeschool convention. I think my kids are fine and have not suffered any for it.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      They aren’t required for a successful homeschool experience, that’s for sure. My family has enjoyed attending them, however. My favorite part for myself is being able to ask questions of other homeschoolers who have gone before me.

      My favorite part for my boys is pretty similar – it’s the interaction they get to have with other homeschooled kids. This is just one way that they get to meet other kids throughout the year. Oh, and we all like the chance to eat several meals in a row at restaurants. That isn’t something we do super often. 🙂

  2. Although I haven’t been every year, I’ve been to a few. I always come away with some inspirational and practical ideas.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      That’s great, Anna. As long as you go with the right perspective, they can be a great encouragement!

  3. Thank you, Michelle, for the reminder about comparisons. I needed that! Our first convention (a smaller, local one) is this weekend. I usually attend this one by myself, then my husband and I go together to the larger, statewide convention. We leave the children with my folks and spend those few days discussing our goals, (homeschooling and just in general), and spending time learning together. I love homeschool conventions for a lot of the same reasons you mentioned, but mostly I just get encouraged! My joy gets rebooted, and I feel excited about homeschooling all over again!

    1. Michelle Caskey

      That’s wonderful, Dana. I feel the same way. Very encouraging to me as well. Hope you have a great time this weekend! 🙂

  4. I love the freedom to home-school, and the opportunity to protect my children from a lot of trash that would be forced upon them as defenseless youngsters in a public school setting. The author of this article mentions the danger of pride; and the home-school conference we attended last year was oozing with pride, and the curriculum vendors may have some similar characteristics to those that Jesus drove out of the temple. This article is aimed at correcting wrong attitudes in the attendees, but I believe the entire enterprise needs to reflect on Jesus exhortation that the love of money is the root of all evil, and that many lusting after it have injured themselves with many pains. I hope we use the freedom we have left wisely, and not us it as a covering for sin.

  5. Love. love, love homeschool convention! The vendor hall can be overwhelming, but the encouragement and inspiration from the speakers trumps it all. Its like a breath of fresh air that I am in desperate need of to get me siked for the next year.

  6. Excited/nervous to attend my first state convention after 2 years of homeschooling. I definitely get overwhelmed and swayed.

    1. Michelle Caskey

      I hope you love it, TJ. Homeschool conventions are awesome! Just go armed with the info in this post and you’ll come away from the experience feeling encouraged and ready to tackle another homeschooling year with gusto! 🙂

  7. I love attending conferences and workshops in homeschooling. I always find myself exhausted or sometimes, down, towards the end of the school year or in the middle of it and these conferences are refreshers for me and my husband.

    But I love this article, and I totally agree. We need to have the right mindset, too, when we attend these things. Otherwise we miss the point. Thanks for this!

    1. Same here. I don’t know if you caught that I also wrote a post about how much I think homeschoolers SHOULD go to conferences? But yes, there are definitely things to watch out for while we’re there. I hope you and your husband enjoy going this year! 🙂

  8. Shirley Willhite

    I have gone a number of times. Majority of the time The Lord has something for us there. But I have had to learn it is ok to disregard what does not apply to me or my family.

  9. Paul and Janna Pyle

    Great advise in this column. We’ve attended every one of our state homeschool conventions since our 8 yr old was a baby (fortunately it’s held in our town). Every year we’re able to gain some great insight into one or more areas of our homeschooling. Just when we think that a description of a workshop doesn’t sound promising, it turns out that’s the one from which we benefited the most. God has always worked it out that way 🙂 They have separate programs for the kids so we’re free to attend the morning and afternoon sessions, then meet up with our boy for lunch.
    As far as the vendors go, there is a danger there, so we always try to plan exactly what we need to get from vendors we already use (because of on-site discounts).
    All in all a great experience if you keep in mind the cautions listed in this article.

    1. I agree! I’ve had wonderful experiences at the conventions I’ve attended as well. And my boys have loved the kid’s programs. So much we can learn from those who have gone before us!

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