We are soon to finish our tenth year of homeschooling, and I just returned from my fourth homeschool convention. I went to my first one alone, not knowing what to expect. I was blown away by the unexpected benefits! I want to share them with you as well as a few takeaways from the 2017 Teach Them Diligently Convention. I don’t work for them or receive any compensation for promoting them. They are just such a blessing that I want to tell you all about it.
Reason #1 – Quality Time with My Family
It’s officially a tradition because we’ve done it 2 years in a row. My teenage daughter and I get up early the morning of convention and eat breakfast out while the sun is coming up. We get to the convention in time to register and get to the first session. Depending on their schedule, my parents join us sometime that day, since grandparents get to attend for free. We all choose our favorite sessions and meet up in between. We eat lunch together during first break and get coffee during the second and stroll through the vendor hall the other times. When all the sessions are over, we eat dinner and go to our hotel room to crash. The next morning, we wake up and do it all again. It’s a blast! We get to have long conversations and laugh over silly stuff and just be together. Treasured moments.
Reason #2 – The Other Families
While my husband and sons are not ecstatic about sitting in 6 sessions a day or roaming vendor halls, some families do attend with every single child in tow. I love to sit down and observe them. There is no stereotype here. There are families whose women wear coverings and families whose teens sport pink hair. Some families have 1 child, others have 10. A few families eat peanut butter and jelly in the lobby while others grab lunch at the snack bar. Some of them wear polos and khakis while others wear flipflops and a T-shirt from the latest Christian music festival. Different races, ethnicities and backgrounds are represented. I love to see the diversity yet know that all of us have a similar vision for educating our children at home.
Reason #3 – The Focus
Our predecessors that pioneered homeschooling in the 1980s had a lot to prove academically. And sometimes, I still feel pressure to make sure my kids are all 5.0 GPA students when they graduate from my home school. However, the focus of the convention is so much more about the reasons behind homeschooling for the Christian parent. When I leave the TTD convention, I always feel a renewed vision to draw closer to the Lord in my personal life and in our homeschool. That is what really matters most!
Reason #4 – The Leaders
David and Leslie Nunnery are the masterminds behind the Teach Them Diligently conventions. They are also the leaders of Worldwide Tentmakers, an organization I’m learning more about by attending the conventions. I will probably write more later about the new things I’m learning about vocation and God’s calling in the business world. However, the Nunnerys are great people with a sweet, accessible attitude even though they are super busy throughout the convention.
Reason #5 – The Vendors
While some people come to homeschool convention to choose curriculum, I know that would not be a good idea for me. I decide on what I want ahead of time. If I didn’t, I would see so much I wanted….it’s all so good! But, I still spend a good bit of time in the vendor hall. I like to meet the business owners, look at what they have to offer, get ideas for things I may use in the future and just talk. This year in the vendor hall I talked to a representative for our math curriculum who helped me set up a plan to get my daughter caught up from our tumultuous year. I got my picture with a favorite blogger. I talked to someone who may be able to help with some things we need for our family business. Someone else gave me some great information about helping other homeschoolers around the world. And that’s all before the freebies they offer at each booth!
Reason #6 – The Speakers
I love the line up of speakers that come to TTD. They are my favorite bloggers, authors and business owners. This year, I leaned over to my daughter before the speaker began and whispered, “She’s the one who wrote your science book.” She was a little more responsive when I pointed out another one who had published 68 novels. There are veteran homeschoolers with so much wisdom and ministry leaders with much to share.
Reason #7 – The Sessions
And share they do. This year alone, I took 31 pages of notes! I went over them when I got home and condensed the main takeaways into 2 pages. I’ll condense it a bit more for you to see examples of the range of ideas from practical to spiritual that I want to apply to our homeschool in the coming year:
–Make my health a priority for my family’s sake by eating well, drinking more water and moving more because “being a wife and a mom is my mission field”.
–Incorporate more Life Skills Days into our homeschool and have each child do his laundry and sheets on one day of the week.
Tami Fox, TamiFox.net
–-Let kids practice note-taking beginning in junior high using sermons and Ted Talks.
–Information on credits, transcripts and how to make the arts more educational to count for credit.
Sherri Seligson, Apologia.com
–Never answer your own question when having a discussion with your kids.
–Ideas for learning games to make difficult subjects easier.
Kerry Beck, HowToHomeschoolYourChild.com
–Resource ideas for high school health and a list of new books to read.
–New insights from the book of Daniel for our homeschool and how to “give our kids a taste of revival”.
Zan Tyler, Apologia.com
–How to use the little moments of our day to strengthen our relationships.
Greg Smalley, FocusOnTheFamily.com
–Lots of tips on writing and publishing and how to homeschool in only 2 hours of hands-on time a day to make way for your other calling as a family.
Tricia Goyer, TriciaGoyer.com
If you are on the fence about going to a homeschool convention, feel free to email me any questions you have. I’d love to share more about my experience and maybe meet up with you at next year’s convention!