Home School Conference: Ways to save, things I learned, & what I would do differently

home school3Just about a week ago, I went on my first homeschooling conference.  I’ve been meaning to go many different times but each year there were different circumstances that didn’t allow me to attend.

Well this year….it all worked out and I was able to go!  Yay!

I’m going to share with you my thoughts on going to a home-school conference, how to save money while attending one, things I learned, and things I would do differently next time.

First let me tackle how to save money while attending a home-school conference:

  1.  Look for hidden fees.  For this conference there weren’t fees that were hiding but there were parking fees I must of overlooked.  Each day to park at this convention center was $8!  WOW!  That adds up and were weren’t really expecting that kind of fee.  (Some conferences are at a Hotel or other arena, but still double check to know)
  2. Pack Food.  This is something I’m SO HAPPY I did!  For one, they didn’t all you to bring in a lunch per say, but I put a few snacks in my purse like nuts, pretzels, & rice cakes.  We also packed a cooler that we left in the car and during a break we went out side, made sandwiches with chips and a drink.  (It was healthier too)  The food vendors inside were charging $2.25 for a cup of just hot tea, so you can imagine what a sandwich would of been.  WOW!
  3. Don’t buy the first day.  This advice was given to me before I went and thankfully I heeded that bit of advice.  I took my time looking at the vast array of books, curriculum  and other items pulling for my attention, I made note of their costs and prayerfully considered what I needed.  There is SO much there that can suck you and before you realize it…you’ve over spent and probably bought too many things you won’t even use!
  4. Volunteer.  Now you many ask what is that?  If you’ve been to a conference before I believe most of them have this option of volunteering to get some money off of your price to get in, this conference I went to had this option.  I would say though….going for my first time, I wouldn’t recommend volunteering since it’s ALL new and you want to soak up as much as you can!
  5. Check out the used section.  Like I said before, I’m new at this conference thing but I’m sure they all have some kind of “used book” sale you can rummage through.  It would probably be in your best interest to check out some of their discount deals and buy used!

    used book sale

    used book sale

Next I’ll tackle things I would do differently:

  1. Take a tote bag or back pack.   I only carried my purse, but it would of been nice to have something slightly larger to carry all the brochures  pamphlets  snacks, and purchases I made.
  2. Take a binder or folder.   At this conference there were many handouts and of course visiting vendors you pick up brochures and other papers you won’t want to lose.  This would of been nice to keep stuff organized and handy.
  3. Wore better walking shoes.   I just had normal flat sandals on but considering all the walking from the car to the convention center, to walking around the vendors and workshops …it turned out to be a lot of walking.  So pack comfortable shoes!
  4. Locate a closer hotel.  Now this one is ALWAYS feasible since the price of hotels could be higher and not offer as much as other hotels.  But in this case staying at the hotel closer would of saved us $8 a day in parking, plus we would of had a little exercise added in our day!

Next is things I’ve learned:  (after sitting through several workshops)

  1. Keep planting seeds.  If we keep planting good seeds with our children, we will eventually get good fruit.  What an encouraging thought for parents.  Some days that go by seem like it’s not making a  difference but when we sow good seeds….we’ll eventually get good crops!   So keep pressing on!
  2. Listen to God’s teaching.    If you have a difficult child (which most families have at least one)  remember that God is trying to teach you something.  That is so key to remember when the battle comes with your little blessing!  : )
  3. Look.   Look at discipline as an opportunity rather than a hassle.   Boy that was eye opening to me!  Something I’m going to remember!
  4. Homeschooling=discipleship.   This actually was a quote from Pastor Voddie Baucham.   For anyone who homeschools, this a great focus to have.  Not only teaching your children math, science, & language but know we are to be discipling them everyday.   What a opportunity we have!

    Pastor Voddie Baucham with my husband Troy

    Pastor Voddie Baucham with my husband Troy

All in all….it was a great time well spent.  I’m also grateful that I was able to go with my husband. I know that doesn’t always pan out for everyone, but it does help to attend together so both of you get charged, motivated, and encouraged about the direction you are taking your family.   Home Schooling isn’t easy!!!  (Amen?)  But it makes a world of a difference to set aside some time (and money) and attend a conference from time to time.

There is so much that goes into schooling your children, taking a couple of days to learn new ideas, find new books or videos, and meet wonderful people who are also on the same journey as your family is a priceless thing!

 Does your family home school?   Have you ever attended a conference?   What things did you like?  Take a moment and share your thoughts!!!

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9 Responses to Home School Conference: Ways to save, things I learned, & what I would do differently

  1. Melinda says:

    Those are great tips . . . and they come just at the right time too. My husband and I are planning to attend a homeschooling conference at the end of the month. Fortunately we live close enough to where it will be held that we won’t have to stay at a hotel. I’m glad you mentioned your tips about bringing food . . . I hadn’t even thought about it.

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  2. momstheword says:

    I homeschooled for 16 years but then my youngest had the nerve to graduate from high school, lol!

    I remember the first h.s. conference I attended I was so overwhelmed I burst into tears! But then I went into the bathroom, prayed and calmed down and walked around and looked at everything. The Lord just really led me to the perfect curriculum for us (and also a rather inexpensive one).

    I just like seeing everything that was out there and getting ideas, etc. I think it’s a good idea to take a baby stroller to the conference. That way you can put your books in the stroller. Of course, that means you have to be bothered with pushing and keeping an eye on the stroller, but at least you don’t have to carry any purchases!

    Thanks so much for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party today! 🙂

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    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, it is pretty overwhelming. Luckily I didn’t have to buy all my curriculum there. Just shopped for science! Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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  3. Lori says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    Your post brought back memories of the MANY homeschool conventions I’ve attended. You’ve shared some great tips for maximizing time, energy, and money — great job. I’d love to encourage you with a free ebook copy of my homeschool mom’s devotional, Joy in the Journey. No strings attached, just a Titus 2 blessing. If you’ll send me your email addy through my blog (Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time), I’ll be happy to send one your way as you prepare for your new school year and wrap up the old one. blessings,
    Lori

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  4. Kasey says:

    I’ve still never been to a convention but with all the talk if them lately, I feel like I need to make it a priority to get to one. Thank you for sharing your tips and experience! Thank you also for linking up last week at Walking Redeemed!

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    • Jennifer says:

      Yes it was worth it. I know there are so many to choose from…but it was a neat experience. Thanks for hosting your link up party!

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