The Five Ws for Attending a Homeschool Convention

This post is written in partnership with HEAV. I wasn't compensated monetarily for this post, but I did receive a free family registration to the conference.
Spring and summer are checkered with many homeschool conventions like the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) annual convention in Richmond, VA.  It is one of the largest state homeschooling state conventions.  With so many speakers, events, and add-ons to choose from, I've learned that it is important to have a plan before jumping into a homeschooling convention.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Attending a Homeschool Convention

homeschool convention questions

Where will your children be during the convention?

Our children are the reason that we homeschool.  Homeschooling conventions take place to help us be better homeschooling parents, but not all conventions make room for children.  When deciding which convention you will attend, think about where your children will be while you get the information you need. The HEAV convention has a children's program for children five and older that include games and crafts.  There are also additional programs for older children like the dissection lab, chess championship, and photography team.  When I've attended conferences in the past, my husband would take off to stay at home with our daughters while I attend alone, and we've also attended conferences together and took advantage of the children programming. 

Why are you attending?

It is important to know the reason for your attendance to the upcoming conference.  Are you going to check out the vendor hall?  Are you looking for encouragement about a specific area of homeschooling like time management or teaching using methods that aren't natural to you? Whatever your reason for attending a homeschool convention, make sure you know it before going because knowing your reason will keep you focused.  The first time I attended a homeschool conference, I went because I was curious.  I wasn't expecting much because I knew that I was attending out of curiosity. 

What do you want to learn at a homeschool conference?

questions for homeschool conferences

Homeschooling parents know that learning takes place everywhere.  When you attend a conference, I suggest you write a list of things that you want to learn or questions that you want answered.  When I attended a homeschool conference after moving to Tennessee,  I had one question that I wanted answered before I left the conference.  Which umbrella school to enroll under?  It was important for me to find an answer to this question because homeschooling in Tennessee was new for us, and I wanted to make sure that we weren't breaking any rules.  After you figure out your why, you should make a note of specific things that you really want to know more about while you have a chance to get those questions answered.  The question about which umbrella school to use wasn't answered initially in the vendors hall, but by another mom who I was sitting next to in a workshop.  She made a suggestion, and the school she suggested just so happened to be a vendor at the conference.  You really can get your questions answered at a homeschool convention.

Who do want to hear speak?

Homeschool conventions have many speakers for a variety of topics.  Before I attend a homeschool convention, I print off the itinerary to highlight the speakers I want to hear speak about the topics I am interested in learning more about.  Having a plan of the workshops you want to attend, will help you manage your schedule.  There are so many speakers to choose from so take a look of the list of speakers before attending, and make a note of those that you want to hear.  HEAV has over 30 speakers at their annual conference.  Many of the speakers are writers for their own sites like Connie Albers and Kim Hyland while other speakers have written curriculum for the homeschooling community like Dr. Lainna Callentine and Katherine Loop.

When is a good time to attend a homeschool convention for your family?

Convention season runs from mid-March to September.  When considering a convention think about the time frame that best fits your family needs.  Is an early convention better so that you can get the boost to make it through the rest of the school year?  Is a summer convention like HEAV, which is held in June, better so you and your family can use it as a mini-vacation?  Is a late summer/fall convention better so it can lead you into an awesome and new school year?  Each family's when is different so be honest with yourself when choosing the right time to attend a homeschool conference.

 What do you want to learn from attending a homeschool convention?