Homeschool Conventions – Why Go? What Kinds of Curriculum to Look For?
March 21, 2018
Hey Mama,

Are you drooling over this year’s upcoming homeschool convention yet? Maybe you’re a Mama who highly anticipates attending these shows—or maybe it’s your first time ever going, and you feel just a little overwhelmed (and giddy inside, too) about all you’re about to see and learn.

Either way, there is a world awaiting you of fun, knowledge, and friendship—that you will be much the better for! TOS Magazine highly encourages its readers to attend its LOCAL and STATE conventions first and foremost, over any others.


Well, your local and state groups work the hardest. Diligently, they serve. Your state homeschool organization's board members are the folks who tirelessly answer all the questions from new homeschoolers and help families who run into any challenges. They're the ones parents run calling to when they need help—and they always answer that call, faithfully. THEY are your first loyalty. Your local events are the ones to plug into first. And if you don't already have a membership to your state's homeschool organization, call them today. Show your support and thankfulness for all their hard work in keeping homeschooling safe and legal for you and your friends and neighbors who choose to home educate. Get out to that convention and hug them when you see them! :-)

So jump in, Mama! And if you want to find out what happens at homeschooling conventions, check out these insightful reads from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine:

And remember, Mama . . .

It is so important to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you as you teach your children and raise your family.

“The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” - Matthew 7:25

If we, like the wise man, build our houses on Jesus Christ, our Rock and Foundation, we will be able to stand strong during life's storms.

Give up the idea of a perfect curriculum, and allow the Spirit to lead you. Give up following some pre-created (boxed) schedule if it's a burden, and ask the Lord to direct your day.

God has not given us a spirit of fear; He promises the peaceful guidance of the Holy Spirit in all we do—and that means homeschooling, too, Mama.

Our kids are always learning—but so are we, as moms. It's humbling just how much the Lord will show us when we ask Him for wisdom. When we stay in His Word and apply it, when we keep our eyes on Him even during the storms, He's molding us and changing us. Sometimes the deeper the pain and the more difficult the whirlwinds and downpours (which sometimes seem to come all at once), the more like Him, He makes us . . . which is the desire. That's our highest goal, Mama. 

Lord, make me more like You. Whatever it takes, Lord, make me as close to You as You will have me. My gaze is perfectly fixed on Your face.

Our children are watching. We're not perfect. They see the storms and our reactions. They see you, Mama. Get back up and start again. They see you glorify His name, no matter the problem. Their Mama is no quitter. She loves them, and she loves their Lord.

And do you want to know what the Lord sees that we do not (yet)? He sees the big picture. He sees the reason behind what feels like sheer madness. He sees the reward which comes after the injustices. He sees the growth amidst the pain—and He sees the light around the next corner. Things can change on a dime . . . and often do. You've seen it. You know.

So keep walking, Mama. Model Christ to everyone God has sovereignly placed in your path. This is not a stage or a “theatrical” setting, even though it feels like it; this is just a testing time. It's short. It's a blink, as a friend reminded me today. Just over the horizon is the forever place and forever life. God sees it all from beginning to end. And Mama, your end is GOOD. His hand is on your head today. 

Love, gena
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Sarah Wall
What is a homeschool convention?
It’s convention season! You’ve probably gotten the invitations to register for a convention near you. A homeschool convention lasts 1-3 days, usually over a weekend. They offer guest speakers, workshops, seminars, and discussion groups on a variety of topics related to homeschooling, parenting, and living life as a homeschool family. While most are still presented with a religious worldview, there are a growing number of secular conferences, too. And in addition to the informational sessions, conventions have vendor fairs that showcase curriculum, classes, and products that may be of interest to you. 

Why go to a homeschool convention? 
If you are new to homeschooling, it’s essential you go to a homeschool conference. Besides the great information, just seeing how many other homeschooling families there are out there is a huge confidence boost. And nowhere else will you get to view curriculum, products, and homeschool methods in action! The ability to see and touch homeschool books is invaluable. You’ll be able to ask questions of the vendors, get product reviews from other shoppers, and truly evaluate the variety of choices out there for what’s best for your family. 
If you are a veteran homeschooler, you may be tempted to skip going to convention this year. You already know what curriculum you’ll be using. You’ve heard all the speakers and topics. You’re already connected with your local groups. So why go? Veteran homeschoolers should go for that same confidence boost that new homeschoolers get. There’s no better way to prevent burnout. 

What do you look for? 
A homeschool vendor fair can be overwhelming. It’s best to bring cash, both to help stick to your budget and because not all vendors take credit cards. Bring a rolling suitcase for those heavy books. And don’t forget your list! 

Sarah is a single parent of 6, from infancy to teenager, including two special needs children. She and her princesses live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they enjoy homeschooling, playing, and growing together as a family. She runs, a virtual business support agency from home and helps other women start businesses. Sarah blogs at   and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter @RaisingRoyals , or on Instagram or Pinterest @xerarose. 
If you’ve thought about attending a homeschool convention in the past but never did, 2018 is a great year for you and your family to attend your first one! Conventions exist from coast to coast, so whether it is more convenient for you to attend one close to home or turn a trip to a convention into a family vacation, attending a homeschool convention will be a memorable experience.

Homeschool conventions typically offer sessions where you’ll hear from expert educators and others who have made homeschooling an integral part of their lives. You’ll learn best practices and feel rejuvenated and ready to begin a new homeschooling adventure the moment you return home. Perhaps best of all, you’ll meet other homeschooling families who are experiencing the same joys and challenges you are. Their presence will ensure that you’re not alone on your homeschool journey, and someone you meet at a homeschool convention could turn into a valuable resource after you return home.

In addition to informative sessions and entertaining events for the entire family, many homeschool conventions offer an exhibit hall where you can learn about the latest homeschool curriculum. Many exhibitors will have curriculum samples available, and you and your children can peruse them and find the best curriculum for your family. Remember that no two children are alike, and there is no right or wrong curriculum. It is about finding the right one for your children and your family.

American School, a leader in distance education since 1897, exhibits at many conventions each year. American School offers online and paper-based courses in grades 6-12. Students can enroll in full-year programs that lead to earning an accredited high school diploma, or they can enroll in individual subjects to enrich an existing homeschool program. As a non-profit institution, American School keeps tuition to an absolute minimum, and tuition includes all study materials, grading of exams, and more. Visit to see a full list of conventions at which American School will be exhibiting in 2018!

No matter which convention you choose to attend, you and your family will have a good time in a family-friendly environment, receive a wealth of information, become better educators, and make memories that will last a lifetime. 
Step off the train in Yangcheng China with Gladys Aylward or buckle up with jungle pilot Nate Saint for the life-changing ride of your life!
Staying Relational   
Dear Friends,

A true story:

Two years after I had begun homeschooling, a convention for homeschoolers was held not far from my home. With great expectations, I marched into the exhibit hall, looking for colorful textbooks, hoping to find something a lot more interesting than what we had used in the previous two years.

At one of the exhibit tables was an older woman, whose display of books on the table identified her as the author. Ruth Beechick was an unfamiliar name to me at the time. I had no idea of her background as a master teacher, of her deep insights and strategies to help students love learning, or her strong commitment to helping homeschoolers learn how their children could flourish at home. 

All I was looking for was a better textbook.

When Ruth asked me how she could help me, I asked her if her books gave lists of the best textbooks. She began to explain to me why she didn’t have that list, but I was not interested. Asking the same question with different words, I again sought to know whether she could point me to the textbooks that would be more interesting to my son. And, once again, as she began to describe that what would make things interesting was not found in textbooks, I cut her off—saying, “No, I’m just looking for the right textbooks.”

I didn’t know that learning was much bigger than my textbook model.

It was another year or two before I read Ruth Beechick’s book You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully. By that point, I was ready to listen . . . and learn.

So, if you want to learn from my mistake, walk into a homeschool convention without blinders—without preconceived notions of exactly what you need. Instead, walk in prayerfully, ready to listen, and consider what you see and hear. Ask yourself, “Which of these bring learning to life? What will give my children joy in their studies? How does this approach bring freedom for different kinds of learners?”

Remember, stay relational!

- Diana

P.S. For more information about choosing a curriculum that will work well for YOUR students, read “Choosing the Perfect Curriculum.”
Sherri Seligson
When it comes to homeschool conventions, we all have different reasons to attend. I began going to them when my oldest child was in third grade. I also had a first grader, a preschooler, and a “play-schooler.” I felt like I was always spinning plates, going from one child to the next, and needed to adjust my curriculum to consolidate grade levels. Hopefully, the convention had some answers to my stress of trying to teach each child what I *thought* they needed to make sure they were academically prepared.

Academically prepared—in preschool???

Well, I didn’t want to fall behind and felt that pressure. I attended our local convention looking for the right curriculum-in-a-box and found something better. The first few workshops I went to helped me focus on the big picture—why I was doing what I was doing. That let me step back a bit and re-think why we started this “home-education” thing in the first place.

Of course, I still wanted my children to be academically prepared, but I needed reminding that their little brains were learning when they were playing outside, building LEGOs, and cooking with me in the kitchen. So, I took a few hours to myself (something I rarely got to do back then) and spent time praying for clarity and direction. And I eventually left the convention with a renewed sense of purpose and an excitement for the following school year!

I continued attending conventions, looking for encouragement and refreshment. I would share a room with other moms and we would laugh, cry, and pray together. Truly, it was like a mini-retreat for me. As my children got older, I went for additional reasons. Not only was it a time to regroup and renew, but I also could look through the vendor hall for curricula that would better meet my children’s educational needs. As they became more and more independent, my children CAME WITH ME to give input on their likes and dislikes. They could ask the vendors questions, and they began to own their individual educational paths as they approached high school.

So, although my reasons for attending conventions have changed over the years, they have always been helpful, encouraging, and FUN! As homeschoolers, conventions allow us to reconnect to the larger homeschooling community around us. We can be ministered to and we can also minister and encourage others, too. What a blessing!

Sherri Seligson and her husband David homeschooled their four children for 21 years. Before being promoted to motherhood, Sherri worked as a degreed marine biologist at Walt Disney World’s Living Seas, publishing shark behavior research. She has authored Apologia’s  Exploring Creation with Marine Biology and Internships for High School Credit, instructional DVD courses for Apologia’s science curricula, and companion curricula for feature films including Dolphin Tale and War Horse. Sherri is an international conference and retreat speaker. Using transparency, truth, and humor, she encourages moms on their homeschool journey and teaches families the importance of studying God’s creation.
Teresa’s Beach Homes  is a family owned vacation rental company located at Cape San Blas, Florida. We service the beaches of Cape San Blas, Windmark, and Beacon Hill inside of Gulf County Florida. Bella Vista, as pictured in the video, is a wonderful gulf front home located close to our top rated state park, St Joseph Peninsula State Park.

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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and are going on the road! Will you be at the following conventions? Stop in and see us! 

  • April 26-28: MassHOPE in Worcester, MA
  • June 1-2: CHAP in Lancaster, PA 
  • June 14-16: CHEC Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference in Denver, CO
  • June 28-30: CHEA in Pasadena, CA
  • July 16-20: Creation 2018 Super Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC 

If you haven’t yet joined, come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at We look forward to serving you and your family! 

in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner  
For the month of March
Henry Borenson, Ed.D.

The Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is a mathematics system that teaches students how to do algebraic equations using a simple yet effective method. I teach both of my daughters who are ages 8 and 11. I have learned by observing and engaging with them that they each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses as it relates to mathematics. While one is quick to recognize solutions for word problems, the other has an easier time building her mathematics foundation by learning her facts and tried and true math rules. They each approach math differently.

Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is the first math program which we have been able to use together. Often learners must work at their particular level because of skill requirements. The only requirement for this program is to be proficient in adding and subtracting. Hands-On Equations has three skill levels. All learners should begin at Level 1 to gain understanding of the method. Level 1 consists of seven lessons; therefore, it shouldn’t take a long time to move forward to the next level if the student quickly grasps the concept. Although I am proficient at solving algebraic equations, I found Hands-On Equations enlightening because it caused me to see the solving of algebraic equations differently. Dr. Borenson made it simple; therefore even my 8-year-old daughter who is apprehensive of larger multiplication facts was also able to solve for the unknown. Level 1 teaches the students to see the unknown as the same number throughout the equation. (. . .)

The program includes all three levels instruction guides, a student kit which includes pawns, cubes, and a laminated balance scale, DVD instruction for all three levels, classwork sheets which are reproducible, answer key, and Hands-On Equations Verbal Problems Introductory Workbook.The entire program is completed in 26 lessons which can be completed at the student’s pace. The student kit provides the hands-on aspect to the approach. The pawns and cubes are used to illustrate the equation. (. . .)

Hands-On Equations Deluxe Home Set is a good program to have in your math arsenal particularly for students who need to “see” math. It makes it easier and less threatening, and even I, someone who is proficient and a certified math teacher, enjoy learning this method with my daughters. In my opinion, the DVD instruction is mandatory, especially if you have not attended one of the seminars to understand this method. Dr. Borenson goes through each lesson step by step which helps if you are stuck doing math one way or if you aren’t comfortable teaching math.

YOU can WIN this awesome math set for your homeschool! 

TO ENTER: Click on over to our entry page and follow the instructions! Contest ends at midnight, the last day of the month.
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