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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.