Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's That Time Again: How To Plan For A Homeschool Conference


It's that time of year again.

School days are getting shorter and shorter because the sunshine calls to the children from the other side of the window. They want to be outside running around instead of indoors doing "school," and so--we let them.


The excitement is building about the annual Home School Conference & Book Fair coming up next month, preparations are in full swing. So what does this look like for our family? What are some ways that we begin preparing for a conference?

Review Your Priorities: This is a biggie for me. I have one month (before the conference) to review my reasons and purpose in this adventure. This is the time that I start reading back through those books that encourage me regarding our philosophy like Educating The Whole Hearted Child, For the Children's Sake and A Charlotte Mason Companion.

Re-Evaluate Your Curriculum Choices: We must go with a plan. If I show up to the book fair without any idea of our new school year, I can easily become overwhelmed at all of the choices. For us, we don't use much curriculum so our "list" of purchases will be slim. This year, I will be looking for reading games and used books that are out of print or not found at the library.

Talk as a couple about a budget. How much money are you planning on bringing for curriculum. We love books, coming with a money plan is a must for us, or it can be easy to spend more than we should. (This year our children are joining us, they have started saving money for their own book spending.)

Plan Your Sessions: Don't show up without a plan. Read over the sessions and speakers so that you have an idea of whose teaching you would like to sit under. There are many great options, and not much time in between to decide so it is best to come with a plan. We usually print of the workshop schedule a few days early and my husband and I highlight the sessions that we plan on attending. Sometimes we may be attending separate workshops if he goes to a daddy session and I, one for mothers.

Have fun picking out a notebook and good pen for taking notes: For those of you that know me in person, you know that I am an avid note taker. I get excited about conferences just so I can sit and take notes on the sessions. You might even find me out shopping, solely for that special inky pen that will be joining me. No kidding, I actually have a pen shopping buddy, we plan dates for that purpose alone. :)

On the day of the event, bring snacks and comfy shoes: We pack our own lunch so that this will not tap into our budgeted money. Snacks, water, you don't want to find yourself exhausted half way through the day so be sure you come with plenty of protein options. If you don't want blisters on your feet, make sure that you have comfy shoes on, you will be spending lots of time standing.

I plan on doing a post about the notes taken at the conference next month so stay tuned for that. The speakers are going to be wonderful!


  1. We are very similar in how we approach our planning and conventions. The 3 books you mentioned are wonderful! I reread the Clarkson every year and am planning on the CM Companion again soon. And I am a total note taker. One of the best things following the convention is always going abck over my notes with Jason and getting excited about the tips and plans I have from them!

  2. We are so alike, right before I start a new semester of school I go shopping for a new notebook and pen. It's my favorite part! Haha :)

  3. Thank you for the advice - we leave tomorrow night for our state conference. This is the first time we'll attend and we're going as a family, mainly because of the great children's program, take part in Greg Harris' sessions, and enjoy coffee breaks with my husband.

    Will you share any food-packing tips you might have, Heather?


  4. Richele, just sent you an email a little bit ago. We do lots of finger foods :)

  5. And WHERE do you think you get that from? Heeehee

  6. Have you read any of Sally's other books? I just found Mission of Motherhood and am excited to start it!

  7. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have two small kids the oldest is 2.5 and we are thinking about homeschooling. I'd love to chat more about it. Do you skype? Where in NC are you? Did you homeschool for preschool? I have so many questions!

  8. Great post Heather. I love all three books you mentioned at the beginning. They are some of my favorites.

    You are right about a planning ahead. Book fairs are dangerous places for me!

    I wasn't going to a homeschool conference this year...but now I want to!

  9. I've read Mission of Motherhood and Ministry of Motherhood...they are both life-changing fabulous. I need to reread them! I want to get Our 24 Family Ways, but haven't yet.

  10. I LOVE the three books you mentioned!! I have yet to venture to a convention... :) I just don't want to get too overwhelmed, if that makes sense. I'm thinking and praying about going this year so we shall see.

    Blessings to you!

  11. OH you should go! The sessions and encouragement are so worth it. My motto is, "if I can only make it to the next conference I will be good to go," it gets me excited about commiting to another year.

  12. Not really, I couldn't live without lists. I would forget my shoes if the aren't written down and checked off. :)

  13. I would LOVE to chat! Feel free to email me and I will send you my phone number. We live in the Raleigh area. Homeschooling since birth so yes that included pre-school. How fun!

  14. What a great approach to the subject, I was looking for. Thanks for these tips


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