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Navigating Your First Homeschool Conference: 7 Tips for Newcomers

I remember my first homeschool conference very well. I was scared, didn't know a soul there, and had almost backed out of the whole thing. I was a new homeschooler and had questions. I also needed to talk to others who were homeschoolers, or at least be in their presence, in order to feel ready to take on another challenging year of teaching my kids at home.

I don't remember much about entering the conference, but I do remember being welcomed with a smile, feelings of being part of something larger, and, by the end, walking out with a notebook full of notes and ideas.

To help you prepare, keep these tips in mind as you get ready for this awesome experience!

  1. Register early: You can save money and have a shorter line to wait in.

  2. Take breaks: You'll need frequent breaks to process what you're learning. Feel free to skip one turn of classes in order to gather your thoughts within your notes and to apply what you've learned to your situation. Or, if the next class is slow to begin, that's a great time to do the same thing.

  3. Make time for socialization: You can go with a friend who has attended before. Speakers often enjoy talking with their audience after the class, as well, and having a friend with you makes it easier to go up and ask a follow up question.

  4. Prepare for the workshops: Make a list of what you need and what curriculum you want to see in real life. Set a budget so you don't overspend when you're in the heat of the moment.

  5. Choose your workshops and speakers: Decide which workshops and speakers you'll hear in advance, if possible. That allows you to get good seats and to switch last minute without worrying that you're missing something better.

  6. Dress comfortably: There's nothing worse than trying to listen but being unable to focus because you're hot, your skirt is riding up, or there's an itch you can't scratch.

  7. Walk out of lectures that don't make sense for you: If you aren't sure if a lecture will be for you, don't rush to take the front row seat. I've been stuck in many a class on accident that wasn't for me because I was overeager to be front and center. Show up a few minutes early, peek your head in or shuffle and stand by the back door, look for clues of the theme from the projected slides or titles on the board, and don't worry if you need to cut out a few minutes after it starts to try out a different class. Make your time work for you.

Are you getting excited? You should be! Check out our upcoming conferences pages near you to get inspired!

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