Bullet Journal: Homeschool Planning Tip #1

BuJo HPT 1

You know you need to plan out what you want to accomplish in the next year for homeschooling your children. But where do you start?

In the last post, I wrote that I would be sharing my year planning tips in short and sweet chunks, and the best place to start is by emphasizing the importance of using a Bullet Journal.

There are so many moving pieces with lining up a homeschool plan, that every mom I know has struggled to keep it all together. From not being able to see the big picture, or not being able to figure out the small details, it can all feel overwhelming.

And most people don’t feel the urge to pull it all together until August anyway. When August rolls around they are shocked, overwhelmed, and irrational (usually this stays on the inside but it has a way of leaking into “jokes” and crazy eyes). Suddenly, there’s so much to figure out, and most moms complain that they feel so far behind.

So, why stay on that crazy cycle?

Let me encourage you that you can avoid all of that by taking the time to implement my bite sized planning tips now in the late spring and early summer. By the time August rolls around for you, it will be possible for you to feel at peace with your next homeschool year’s plan and have the confidence to begin.

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How to begin:

You need to have ONE place where you write everything down. You need a method of recording all the things in your life. This is why I strongly encourage you to use the Bullet Journal system. It’s simple, streamlined, and customizable to your specific preferences.

All you need is a journal and pen.

{I wrote all about how to set up a Bullet Journal for homeschooling last year. If you have never heard of this system before, go to this post and check it out. Then come back here to finish this post.}

Now that you’re ready to write, clear out a couple evenings or a Saturday afternoon to start brain dumping all your thoughts about your home, your kids, and your philosophy of education. This will be an ongoing part of your planning, but it is also extremely important that you honor this part of the planning process by putting it first.

WARNING: Do not purchase any books, resources, tools, etc. until you have completed this step.

It’s important to know how you feel about homeschooling. It’s valuable to write down where you are now emotionally, where your family is at in terms of functioning in the home, and where the next year could potentially take you.

Take the time to note all the major milestones that are expected to come within the next year. Can you imagine how these changes will influence how you feel about being a home educator?

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The goal in writing all these things down is to settle your mind and heart, to center your focus on the present and the foreseeable future, to detail the specific challenges you face, and to prioritize just a few educational goals. The whole point in all this is to turn away from the temptation to buy the prepackaged curricula that feels promising: Homeschooling made easy! Or the temptation to blame the challenges of the past year on the resources that you chose: Well, we completely failed to finish our science curriculum because the instructor’s guide was just too hard to use.

Both of these temptations appeal to my desire to have a sure thing. I want to be successful at this lifestyle of home education. I want to prove that I’m capable.

But when I write out that my child struggles with mood swings and impulsive behavior then it doesn’t really matter if I pick a perfect “school in a box,” it’s likely that this child will not want to do anything I propose in our homeschool year.

And if I’m not growing like I should in the discipline of ordering our routine to be consistent, trustworthy, and beneficial to all in the family then it doesn’t matter if I find the best science program with an instructor’s guide that I can understand – because chances are I won’t be disciplined enough to use it.

So, this is why the first step in planning for your next year needs to happen now. You must give yourself time to honestly reflect on the strengths and weaknesses that you have within your home.

Whether you like it or not, in the next homeschool year you will not be able to accomplish everything you feel like you “should” do. That’s why it’s important to make the time to really prioritize your goals.

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In summary, to begin your homeschool planning:

  • Set up a Bullet Journal
  • Write out the highs and lows from this past year
  • Note your child(ren)’s strength and weaknesses and just a few simple goals for their personal growth (I wrote out a page of prayer requests for my kids to help me remember the most important things)
  • Articulate your educational philosophy
  • Write down any anticipated milestones coming in the next year
  • Chart what a potential week in your life will look like – include outside commitments, routine goals, and rest.

Sit with this journal and continue to write until you feel settled. Don’t move on from this step until you feel confident that you can make wise decisions regarding how you will spend your time and money on the next homeschool year.

One game-changer resource that has helped me in this part of the planning process has been Sarah McKenzie’s book: Teaching From Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace (affiliate link). You should get this book, read a few pages a day (there are only 81 pages – but each page is a gold mine of truth), and record all your thoughts in your Bullet Journal. I promise you will treasure what you write. 

Next in this series, I’ll be sharing how I find closure for the year that we just finished. This can be a tricky thing because we don’t always “complete” a subject, but keeping it on the shelf when I don’t we won’t use it anymore isn’t helpful. The next post will help you move on, let go, and clean the slate.

Are you feeling motivated to plan? Or is it draining just to think about it? Maybe you're like me and you waffle back and forth between these two. Wherever you're at in this learning journey, I'd love to help you take the next step. That's why I've created an Accountability/Encouragement group. I send out 2 emails per week to inspire and challenge you - and these are applicable to anyone at any stage of personal discipline. Want to join us? Click here to sign up.

The Freedom to Compare: Part 2

Shauna Niequist Quote Comparison

 

 

In 2012, I deactivated my Facebook account. I went off the social media grid for almost a year. It wasn’t because of wrong use or conviction that it’s all evil; my reason was to heal from information overload.

I simply couldn’t keep up with all the friends, new babies, prayer requests for family members, event invitations, etc. etc. I didn’t know how to order my life off-line and my online life was moving too fast. I couldn’t keep up.

When I (very cautiously) came back online, I had a clear sense of the purpose for why I was engaging with the online community. I wanted to be inspired and to share encouragement. My soul tank had been filled while off-line and I finally felt ready to share my life again with others.

I’ll never forget the first time I read a blog post after such a long break, and the old feelings of wow, they sure have it all together, or I wish I could be like them were gone! In its place was a sense of connection and celebration. I was inspired without feeling like I had just lost a competition.

Because that’s how I used to feel after every single time I would compare myself to someone else. I don’t have a strong competitive drive, but that doesn’t mean that I like feeling like a loser.

When I came back online and started feeling more and more inspired by the good things other people were sharing, I realized that the problem with comparison was a really a miss directed problem with affirmation.

I wanted to be affirmed by comparing myself to someone else, and even though affirmation isn’t a bad thing either, entering into competition with the hopes of being the “winner” isn’t the right type of affirmation.

So here’s the deal: I don’t believe you can live life without comparison. I think it’s the motive and action that surround comparison that will make your heart healthy or unhealthy while comparing.

Crystal Paine Quote Comparison

I think it is possible to selectively compare with freedom. But it takes time away from comparisons to understand yourself and to learn to celebrate and connect with others.

Here are the mental hoops I jump through when comparing myself to other homeschool moms:

Listen first. There are a lot of things that homeschool moms share with each other. Curriculum choices, learning styles, routines, schedules, extra curricular activities, etc. It is too easy to line myself up with their list before I’ve fully heard them out. If I begin to compare myself to them without listening to understand them then I have not only disrespected them by turning them into a competitor and not a friend, but I also have missed an opportunity to encourage them. Everyone needs to be listened to by someone who will support and encourage them.

Prize their uniqueness. After hearing them out, there will be things that I think I could never do – but they can do well! This is cause for celebration. It is their unique life that allows them this freedom to do different things than I can do. While there are many things I may be able to learn from them and try to do myself, I will never be able to live life just like they can. Prize them for that.

Ponder their creativity. I’m not very creative. So, I enjoy hearing about how others think outside the box. I’ve tried (and failed) in the past to copy and paste their creative things, and what a disappointment that has been. I now realize that comparing myself to the creative thing they do takes a lot of thought and adaptation. Sometimes it works to try someone else’s creative idea. If it works, celebrate them. Give them credit. It doesn’t make me less affirmed to make much of someone else.

Ask questions to further understand areas that may be replicated in my home. Like I said, no one can truly copy and paste. I have to know my own routine and nature well enough to adapt ideas to best fit my home. I had to learn to humble myself to ask the “dumb questions” in order to better determine if I could make their idea work for me.

Always remember that no one has the perfect life. When another mom, curriculum, child, or schedule sounds wonderful and I’m tempted to wish I could trade places, I have to remember that they have struggles and trials that I’ve never had to face before. I am not equipped to take on another person’s life. To want only the good and ignore the difficult only brings hurt and discouragement.

The freedom to compare is recognizing that I have a lot to learn from other people through connection with them, not competition.

Want to learn more? I’ll be sharing the final installment to this series on Monday when I share my “Day in the Homeschool Life” post (this post will be linked with SimpleHomeschool.net). Click here to read part 1: The Burden of Comparison.

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The Burden of Comparison: Part 1

Even if you’ve never wanted to homeschool, you’ve probably heard or asked these questions:

What do you teach?

When do you do it all?

How does that work?

Homeschooling can seem like this nebulous thing that only a few seemly, well-put-together families have figured out while the rest of us have to bust our rears on a daily basis just to make sure each child has clean underwear.

This is why I’m writing this mini-series on comparison. Good can come from comparison if it means that you learn more about yourself and if that knowledge helps you move forward. Comparison isn’t about discovering what is illusive about someone else, but it’s useful for learning what you don’t know about yourself.

Thomas a Kempis quote for comparison

At the beginning of my homeschool-motherhood, I was constantly hungry with questions for any other homeschool mom. I wanted to know what they had tried, what they had researched, and how they structured their day.

I didn’t do a lot of comparing because I had only just begun, and I hadn’t done enough to weigh myself to their standard. So while comparison can hide discontent in its wake, I was met with a different setback.

I took it all on.

If one program worked for this family, and another for that, then I should try both! My hunger for understanding the inner workings of homeschooling in each family, quickly became a hunger to do-it-all.

Thankfully, I have since dealt with this in my own life, and as a positive side effect, this hunger led me to write the Educational Theories Defined series because I wanted to know more about the camps that the curricula I was hearing so much about were coming from. Knowing the theory behind the resource helped me to quickly judge if it was worth my consideration or not.

As you can imagine, taking it all on led me to great failures. Here are some but not all:

Financial stress. I bought way more than we needed or could even use.

Physical stress. I have now moved whole boxes of unused curricula 7 times. (Let’s chat about my need for Marie Kondo some other time.)

Personal stress. Buying something and not using it is poor stewardship. Taking on more than I am able to bear is burdensome. These may seem like no-brainers, but I didn’t just fall into these poor choices – I ran head long into them – and it hurt.

Relational stress. I subconsciously held my kids and husband to blame. (Sin nature is so gross sometimes.) I wanted to do this “good thing” for them by leading my family on the educational path, but as I cluttered the path with so many resources and choices, we all stumbled and felt confused.

All this stress took its toll on me, and I slumped into homeschool-mom-failure-mode. I thought (wrongly) that I would never measure up, that I wasn’t disciplined enough for this lifestyle, and that I was ruining my children. Stress has a way of preying on weakness (and having a weakness isn’t a bad thing).

Through this process of coming to terms with my weaknesses and trying my best to forge on, I learned from other more wise homeschool moms that I needed to separate my times of planning into seasons, and that the bulk of my efforts on a daily basis should be put into just doing the next thing.

What I lacked most was experience, and I couldn’t get that experience by avoiding the daily work. In effect, I was hiding from the doing by staying in planning mode. My fear of failure tricked me into thinking that I was engaged in a good thing, when really I was avoiding the best thing.

Want to know what I learned next about homeschool mom comparison? You’ll have to come back later this week. For part two: The Freedom to Compare.

Did you see the discussion going on about accountability on my personal Facebook page? Click over and read it all, then let me know what you think.

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#Back2School in #31Days: Day 11 – Planning: Curricula

Have you ever spent a lot of time with someone but looking back on that time it feels like you were with them but not engaged with them?

There’s a big difference.

That’s how I felt about being with my children this past year.

In some ways we had an average year with learning. We finished some of our subjects and totally changed course with others.

We clocked a lot of learning time in our calendars.

But in other ways, our year was unique and came with different challenges.

Before beginning anything new, I like to take a full-stop and think everything through, which is why we are committed to attending the Great Homeschool Convention every year. (This is an affiliate link, but I promise with how much I recommend them – they are not sponsoring me. I’m just eager for free.)

Each year, I’m corrected in my thinking as a woman, wife, parent, teacher, writer, friend – all of it. The sessions always seem to untangle the connections and allows me to understand where each of my roles fit.

I’m coming to anticipate a major shift in my thinking and researching of resources and curricula. It’s stretching for me to trust that God will guide us to the right sessions, booths, and materials for teaching and training our children.

It’s been a huge blessing to trust and commit to the way He shows us. We have made the decision for what we will learn in the fall by April – 3 years in a row now. I have really loved being able to go over the materials during the summer at my leisure – then by August each year I feel not only decided but prepared.

Back2School Logo

So far in the #Back2School journey, we’ve covered the why, envisioning the flow, using Pinterest with caution, creating a book nook, staying in the present while preparing for the future, decluttering before you begin, defining a family culture, and discerning the big picture.

Now for a little more nitty gritty on what we’ve decided to try this year.

I wrote about what I thought we were going to use in the takeaway post from the convention, but we (my husband and I) ended up feeling deeply drawn to reading together as a family. At one point in the exhibit hall, my husband said “I just feel like we need to just read lots and lots of good books together.”

Yes. That.

Let’s read lots and lots of books together.

All you need for a good education is a comfortable couch and a library card. – Steve Lambert of Five in a Row

I wasn’t sure about Steve Lambert’s session – Become Your Child’s Favorite Teacher – for the first 15 minutes. I mean, he was interesting and very funny – his jokes made me laugh out loud and when I repeated one to my husband later, I laughed until I cried.  But I was looking for an “aha!” moment and it never came.

What I did walk away with was a conviction. He emphasized again and again the importance of reading aloud to your children. For me, reading aloud is the easiest thing to put off for later. It’s easier to say, “Go work on a page in your math book” than it is to stop what I’m doing to sit and read together.

By the end of the convention, I knew Steve Lambert had been the most inspiring and helpful speaker for me – and before the convention Five in a Row wasn’t even on my list of curricula to look at.

B2S Day 11 Planning Curricula 3

Long story short, we went with Five in a Row Volume 4 for ages 7-8, which isn’t a well known volume. It comes with the Five in a Row Christian Character and Bible Study content, cookbook, and laminated story disks for a map.

We are really excited to see how unit studies will enhance our home, especially in the 4-corners of our home school puzzle.

The books in the unit study are primarily picture books and at first my 8-year old was apprehensive – and I was too to be perfectly honest. I have leaned on the side of hurrying my eldest to strive for the next levels, the harder challenges, and the deeper materials. So to see “easy” content feels beneath her. But as I was taught in the session “You CAN do unit studies” by Steve Lambert, anyone at any age can do a unit study at their level from great children’s literature. (I wrote an example of how he applied Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel for 4 different age levels in this post.)

Five in a Row unit studies cover all the major subjects: social studies, geography, language arts, art, math, and science – plus Bible and home economics!

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We are really looking forward to the relationship building on the foundation of books, the reading – all of us will take turns reading through these stories, the real discussions that will take place as we dig into these rich stories, and the rest from the busyness of trying to build an education from textbooks and worksheets.

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In addition to the unit studies, we chose to add a separate history curriculum. Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books was also speaking at the convention and I was able to attend two of her sessions. My husband is deeply interested in history and the books included in this Early American History: A Literature Approach for Primary Grades are excellent. For us, it wasn’t a decision from wanting to do more packaged curricula but rather a decision to surround our children with more quality books to choose from in our library.

Many of the books in this package are hard to find on their own. We felt like it was a worthy investment.

B2S Day 11 Planning Curricula 1

We plan to try using lapbooks to enhance the units of Five in a Row. We bought Heidi St. John’s eBook Lapbooking Made Simple to help encourage the set up and follow through of this method of learning.

What is a lapbook?

It isn’t a curriculum. It is a method. It’s like taking a large Science Fair poster board and shrinking it to fit in the child’s lap. You use manila file folders – open it flat, then fold both sides to the middle spine – and that’s it. You now have your lapbook ready for pasting any number of things into the folder on the topic of choice.

So that’s it. This next year is going to be another adventure for all of us in learning together. I plan on sprinkling posts about how things are going with these resources this year – more for accountability on my part to keep going than for your benefit – but I do hope seeing a snapshot of our planning helps inspire you to engage in your learning journey along with us. Let me know if you would like that in the comments or ask anything you’d like about what I’ve shared in this post!

This is part 3 in the Curricula: What We Use series. Click the link to read Part 1: Preschool and Kindergarten or Part 2: 1st and 2nd grades.

And it is also Day 11 in the #31Days to #Back2School series; check out Day 1 and the Index by clicking here.

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Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, bookmark or share it for future reference. There are affiliate links in this post, because that's just good business - they are all marked by underlining. If you want to know more about affiliate links read my disclosure. As always, be sure to subscribe for more free content and to download your free guide to writing your own Parenting Purpose Statement.

Curricula: What We Use, Part 1: Preschool and Kindergarten

Curricula What We Use PreS and K Part 1There are times when I am overwhelmed by fear because of the pressure I put on myself to make sure that our lifestyle choice – to homeschool – is always successful. I try to hyper manage all the details of our outward expression of home to comfort myself that my children are learning, thriving, and growing in the right direction.

Until I try something for myself or see it in person, I think I have a fear of failure that I won’t be doing the best or the most I can for my children. I know that’s an elephant I bring into the room when I ask what someone else is using with their kids.

One huge point of growth for me each year is in the process of choosing a curriculum. It takes so much faith to put off the desire to have something “packaged and perfect” that guarantees my child’s success in order to put on prayer and faith that God will lead me every single day in teaching and training the persons He’s gifted to me for this season of motherhood.

So I grow in baby steps.

This year I wanted to know more about educational theories and the “why” behind the “what.” There are so many philosophies out there that it can feel burdensome to try to find the best one for your family.

Curricula What We Use PreS and K Part 1 3

Let me be quick to say 2 things before I even share what resources we used for preschool and kindergarten:

First, even if you never purchase an official curriculum – God will provide all you need to teach your children at every age.

Second, if a curriculum feels too expensive or too strict – then it probably is. Don’t get caught in the trap that you need to have an impressive curriculum to prove you’re doing the right thing for your family.

And I want to be clear that I’m not sharing what we’ve done as a prescription, but rather for review and as a history of our family’s growth in owning this homeschool lifestyle. I started out wanted all the impressive packages and gold-stars; I didn’t even know I was operating from the Traditional theory. I’ve had to change a lot of my behavior to align with our philosophy and I hope you will too.

Curricula we used for preschool and kindergarten:

  • Ages: 2-5 – We did the PreS and the PreK of Sonlight, a literature-based curriculum that is known for having some of the best reading lists.
    • For the PreS I just bought the Instructor’s Guide (IG) and picked up the rest of the books as we went along. We bought some and we borrowed some. The Harper Collin’s Treasure of Picture Book Classics was our family’s favorite.
      Since we knew early on that we were going to homeschool, this curriculum was a great way to build our children’s literature library. On my own, I didn’t know the best books to read at these ages. I really enjoyed the IG for the PreS package because it was filled with fun, easy activities to do with young children.
    • For the PreK we purchased the whole package new. We didn’t like the schedule for the reading portions in the IG (really choppy and too many books going on at once). So around October I scrapped the IG and just read through the books on our own. The down side of that was that we didn’t get through all of the books because we lost interest or just forgot. Also, we missed out on the overlapping effect of having the subjects line up across multiple categories of stories. Overall, we had polar feeling about this package – some books were amazing (Robert Wells books, all the History & Geography books, and Uncle Wiggily’s Story book) and some were duds (A Treasury of Mother Goose Rhymes, The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book, and Stories from Around the World). For us, we felt like the dud books taught a underlining principle that we didn’t agree with. Curricula What We Use PreS and K Part 1 2
  • Supplements: because I struggled to feel like I was “doing enough” just reading to my children I spent a lot of time and money on printing and following 1+1+1=1 resources. We purchased the PowerPoint and set up the whole system for the Raising Rock Stars Preschool – complete with poster board for changing weekly units. (Side note: I now see that my feeling like a constant failure was due to simply trying to do all the “good” things and not being content to just stick to the best. Burden lifted.)
  • Ages: 4-6 – We moved over to My Father’s World for Kindergarten.
    • My oldest thought this curriculum was boring and monotonous, but that’s mainly because at this point she was completely sick of worksheets (again, here’s where I saw I was operating out of the Traditional theory). The style of this package is unit studies that focus on an animal or something in creation (sun, moon, water) and a character quality that can be seen in that animal or created thing that points to God. The student worksheets in this package are good and it is not meant to be a worksheet driven curriculum. They are included in order to round out the materials and to create a notebook for memory.  My daughter (at age 6) reproduced the whole sequence of units just for fun, drawing the picture and writing the character sentence. I think she did enjoy it. My son (5yrs at the time) loved the worksheets and looked forward to each day’s work. Curricula What We Use PreS and K Part 1 4

In the spring of 2014, I was really thinking we were going to do Sonlight’s Core B for “1st grade” for both kids and supplement material for my daughter (7yrs) to be classified as “2nd grade.”

But while we (my husband and I) were at The Great Homeschool Convention we didn’t like the Sonlight science when we saw it in person. They use mainly “Usborne” books – which are beautiful and informational – and we own many books by Usborne already, but they do not hold to a “young earth” philosophy. And we felt like that was a deal breaker for us. I didn’t want to have to “unteach” what the book said about dinosaurs living billions of years ago.

SO we prayed a lot and trusted God’s leading – and He was so good to us! We are loving this year’s resources – and we had to piece it together ourselves (something I thought I would never be able to do)…To Be Continued

Further reading and resources:

2016-HOMESCHOOL-CONVENTION-DATES

 

Thank you for reading this post. If you've found it helpful, bookmark or share it for future reference. There are affiliate links in this post, because that's just good business - they are all marked by underlining. If you want to know more about affiliate links read my disclosure. As always, be sure to subscribe for more free content and to download your free guide to writing your own Parenting Purpose Statement.

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How to Prepare for a Homeschool Convention

This will be the 3rd consecutive year I’m attending the Great Homeschool Convention, and I thought I’d share what I’ve learned on preparing for such a convention.

The first year, the only thing I did to prepare was print out the schedule. The day I was to leave: I packed my bags, happened to grab a blank notebook and pen, and the schedule. I actually brought multiple books with me – I thought I would have time to read!

I did have one preparation in mind for my choice in sessions – to go to as many parenting tracks as I could. And these sessions proved to be very beneficial to me and met my needs as a mom and teacher at this stage in my growth.

The second year, I followed most of the guidelines below, and for this year (my 3rd) I’ve included a few more points in order to streamline my efforts and get the most out of this experience as possible – without being paralyzed by feeling overwhelmed at the amount of options.

Months in advance:

  • Set aside time to make a list of your goals and priorities for your time, marriage, children, and home – research experts, curricula, learning styles, and lifestyle advice that encourages those goals and priorities.
  • Doing this step first will save you from wasting time and money on advice and products that aren’t suited to help you accomplish the work you’ve set out to do.
  • Make a list of all the learning resources that you’re curious about and measure the worth of spending your time finding out more about those versus investing your time growing deeper roots in the philosophies and methods you already use.

Weeks in advance:

How to prepare for a homeschool conference highlight

  1. Start highlighting of all the sessions that are interesting to you, don’t worry about picking 2 or more sessions that are in the same time slot, just make a note of all interesting people, topics, or curricula that you are already interested in.
  2. After highlighting the sessions of most interest to you, take note of the person or company leading the session and ask these questions:
    • Is this session selling a product? If yes, is this a product I’m interested in investing in?
    • What teaching philosophy does this session promote?
    • What are the qualifications of the person leading the session? What is their experience and expertise?
  3. Now go back to each time frame, find any sessions that conflict, and prioritize based on the answers to the questions above along with the information you recorded from the month in advance.
    • Some conventions record the sessions and provide order forms for purchasing the sessions on CD, but this is usually an in person only opportunity. If you miss a session that you know you will want to hear then don’t put off purchasing the CD.
    • If you’re attending the convention as a group or with a friend, be willing to swap notes on the sessions.

Days in advance:

  • Make your final decisions for each time frame – taking into account how many times the presenters you’re interested speak.
  • For example, last year I had a presenter that I definitely wanted to hear, but I felt like all of their topics were interesting. So when a session included that presenter but they were in conflict with another presenter I made the decision based on whether I could go to the same session again at another time slot.
  • Pack an empty book bag to be able to collect interesting information from presenters and/or vendors.
  • Pack a notebook and pen of choice.

Know limits and physical needs:

  • The convention I will be attending has 3 levels with stairs, elevators, and escalators. It’s important to know that this facility is large and difficult to navigate.
  • There is only 30 minutes between session times. Packing my own snacks and having a water bottle is important for my blood sugar needs. There are places within the facility to purchase food and drinks, but the time required to make such a detour is more than 30 minutes.
  • Pack good walking shoes.

Map out the exhibit hall:

How to prepare for a homeschool convention choose

  • Included with registration there should be a map of the exhibit hall, or you may need to go directly to the facility’s site and take a look at the overview there.
  • When planning to learn more about specific companies or resources, it’s important to enter such a large arena with a plan. It’s easy to get distracted by the hundreds of “good” things while on your way to find the best for you.
  • Use the booth numbers in the registration pack to highlight the map and plan to visit in a logical order.

My first year, I tried to go up and down all the aisles – knowing that eventually if I stayed on this course I would see all the booths and have experienced a little bit of everything! But sadly, it took too much time, I got distracted by littler booths that had nothing to do with my overall goal, and I spent more money than I had planned.

How to prepare for a homeschool convention map

To avoid overspending and over-thinking session choices please take my advice and decide in advance what the purpose for the convention is for you. Will you spend time getting hands-on experience with different curriculum choices? Research new teaching methods? Gain tools and insights for parenting? Get educated on the legal side of homeschooling? Decide on a record keeping system that’s right for you?

Answer one or all of these questions before looking at the schedule of sessions and speakers to choice from. Then based on what you most want to gain from the investment of your time, energy, and money – make a schedule that best suites you.

You may leave the convention hearing from friends or strangers that they saw “So-and-So” and it may cause a tinge of regret, but I promise that if you go into the convention knowing what answers you are there to find you’ll be better off than if you spent all your time tracking down the big name “So-and-So.”

Here is a list of upcoming homeschool conventions in 2015:

The Great Homeschool Convention

Teach Them Diligently

INCH (Information Network for Christian Homes)

Do you have anything to add to this list? I would love to hear it.