Keys to a Successful Homeschool Convention Experience (Part 1)

Homeschool conventions are exhilarating, informative, interesting and exhausting! I vividly recall my first homeschool convention, even though it was nearly 25 years ago. There was so much to see and learn! I loved being around so many like-minded people who, like me, actually spent their days with their children.

Today, there are far more vendors, workshop presenters and homeschoolers than there were when I began attending conventions. These events can be quite overwhelming, particularly for prospective and new homeschoolers.

The best convention experience is one for which you’ve prepared yourself. Here are a few keys to success as a convention attendee:

  • Study your convention brochure closely ahead of time, so you can choose which sessions you especially want to attend. Highlight them so you can easily refer to them on the day of the convention.
  • Be sure to read the speaker biographies. By learning about each speaker, you’ll have a better idea of where they’re coming from in terms of experience.
  • If your husband cannot attend the convention with you, try to arrange carpooling with one or more homeschooling friends. It makes the travel time pass faster, plus you’ll be able to compare notes about speakers and sessions on your way home.
  • Many homeschool convention organizers don’t allow children to attend; they see the event as an educational opportunity for parents. If that’s the case at the convention you’re attending, be sure to make childcare arrangements far enough ahead of time so that you’re all set for the big day.
  • If you’re a nursing mom, you’ll likely be allowed to bring the baby. Be sure you also bring everything your baby needs for a full day of comfort, including extra clothes and diapers, a pacifier to prevent crying during sessions, and an extra blanket in case of excessive air conditioning.
  • Pack a cooler with plenty of bottled water, snacks, and your lunch.
  • Wear comfy shoes and clothes; you’ll be on your feet a lot in the vendor hall.
  • Bring a sturdy tote bag (for purchases), a notebook and several pens. (Some people like to bring a wheeled tote or box to drag around, but it’s a real nuisance in a crowded vendor hall.)
  • Make sure you have cash and/or checks on you; some smaller vendors don’t accept credit cards.

Don’t forget your convention brochure and the passes or name tags that were sent to you! If you didn’t register ahead of time, be sure to arrive early so you have time to register on-site without missing the first session.

(Excerpted from The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling. Order direct from Cardamom Publishers and get a 111-page eBook free with your purchase.)

Entire series: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

I’m delighted to announce that the second eBook in our Stages of Homeschooling series has just been published at Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey has over 200 pages of encouragement and  information for the homeschooling parent with a few years of experience under her (or his) belt. And it’s a bargain at just $4.99! (I think eBooks should cost less than print books, don’t you?)

Here’s what you’ll find in Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey:

Have you got a few years of homeschooling under your belt, and you’re looking for practical information and encouragement from someone who’s lived the homeschooling life?

If your answer is “yes,” then this is the book for you.

Barbara Frank just wrapped up 25 years of homeschooling four children, including one with special needs, and wants to share her experiences with those currently on the homeschool journey.  So she’s combined new material with some of her articles and blog posts into a series of four books called Stages of Homeschooling. Enjoying the Journey is the second book of the series.

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey is divided into eight sections:

“Working with Your Children” (Curriculum and its place in your homeschool, specific ideas for working with your children, and tactics for avoiding homeschool burnout)

“Raising Children You Can Live With 24/7” (An especially important consideration for homeschooling parents)

“Self-Care for the Homeschooling Parent” (How to keep yourself strong for the important job of homeschooling)

“Homeschool Challenges and Issues” (Handling difficulties that might crop up for you personally or for the homeschool community at large)

“Books and Resources I Have Known and Loved (and How to Find Them)”

“Homeschooling and Holidays” (A look at holidays from the vantage point of a homeschooling parent)

“For Girls Only” (A few thoughts for those of you raising daughters)

“Teaching Practical Skills” (Ideas for including this increasingly important topic in your homeschooling plans)

This book will encourage and enlighten you as you homeschool your children. It’s the second book in the Stages of Homeschooling series:

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings (Book 1)

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3)–COMING SOON!

Stages of Homeschooling: The Empty Nest (Book 4)–DUE LATER IN 2012

Learn more about this new title HERE. Don’t have an Amazon Kindle? No worries; just download one of their free apps, found HERE.

When Grandparents Don’t Understand

You’re all pumped up about homeschooling, you love seeing your kids learn new things, and you love having the time to learn together. Yet there’s a fly in your ointment—your parents or your in-laws are opposed to what you’re doing.

This hurts. You want them to be happy for your family, to appreciate what you’re doing, and you certainly don’t want them to make trouble for you. Maybe it would help to look at the situation from their point of view.

I’m not saying they’re right…I’m just suggesting you put yourself in their place for a few minutes. Chances are good they’re in their 50s or 60s. That means they started going to school in the 1950s or 1960s. Their memories of school took place in a much different era. Teachers’ biggest concerns back then were kids chewing gum in class and running in the hallways, not bringing guns to class and ducking gang members in the hallways. Many of today’s grandparents picture school as the experience they remember, not the one that exists now.

Your parents or in-laws may also view your choice to homeschool your kids as a criticism of the way you or your spouse were educated. They probably chose to live in an area where there was a decent school, and they believe you got a good education. But to them, your choice of homeschooling may feel like a rejection of your education, and they’re taking it personally.

 Another possibility is that they truly believe the only place a child can learn to read, write and do math is in school. They became parents during an era when so-called experts, like Dr. Benjamin Spock, were almost worshipped as parenting gods. What people like Dr. Spock said was practically gospel to some people back then. Your parents or in-laws may view teachers as experts, but they still see you as their child (or the person their child married). They may like you, but that doesn’t mean they think you have the expertise to teach your kids.

There may be other, more personal, reasons your parents or in-laws would object to you homeschooling your kids; only you would know if that’s the case. But the fact remains that it hurts if they don’t support your decision. That discord may simmer under the surface, or it could result in outright hostility.

In most cases, the solution to this problem is time. As your children grow up to become happy, independent and smart young people, their grandparents will see that they’re doing fine. You can help this along by inviting them to your support group’s Project Night or science fair, sharing your children’s test scores with them, and involving them in field trips as well as projects you work on at home. Remove the mystery of homeschooling so they can see that it really is just a loving and involved family life. People fear what they don’t know; help your parents or in-laws to understand homeschooling, and show them the fruit it bears in your children’s lives so they can understand exactly why you would make such a choice.

(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings, my new eBook available only at for the Kindle. Learn how to use the free Kindle app on your pc HERE.)

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings

Hot off the press, it’s Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings, almost  200-pages’ worth of my best homeschooling articles and essays collected especially for new homeschoolers as well as those who are thinking about joining the rapidly growing ranks of homeschooling parents.

This is the first of four eBooks in the Stages of Homeschooling series. The rest are:

Stages of Homeschooling: Enjoying the Journey (Book 2)

Stages of Homeschooling: Letting Go (Book 3)

Stages of Homeschooling: The Empty Nest (Book 4)

Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings is available only through Amazon as a Kindle book. It’s $4.99, or free if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

Don’t have a Kindle? No worries: just download “Kindle for Your PC” (it’s free; step-by-step instructions are right here.)

Want more info? Here you go:

Are you thinking about homeschooling your child, or have you just recently begun homeschooling?

Are you looking for practical information from someone who’s lived the homeschooling life?

Do you need evidence (for yourself or for relatives and friends) of why you shouldn’t send your child to public school?

Are you looking for homeschool encouragement?

If you answered “yes” to even one of those questions, then Stages of Homeschooling: Beginnings is for you. Having spent 25 years homeschooling her four children (including one with special needs), writer Barbara Frank wants to encourage and inform those who are just beginning the homeschool journey.

This book is divided into seven sections:

  •  “Why Choose Homeschooling?” (Great reasons to homeschool your children)
  • “What’s Wrong with Public Schools?” (Why today’s public schools make homeschooling more attractive than ever)
  • “Advice for New Homeschoolers” (Homeschool how-to’s and suggestions)
  • “Surviving the Early Years” (Teaching your preschoolers)
  •  “Becoming a Homeschooling Parent” (Taking on your new role)
  • “Handling Doubts, Fears and Hurdles” (Because the prospect of homeschooling can be daunting, especially at the beginning)
  • “Nobody Told Me” (Barbara shares some unexpected benefits of homeschooling)

This book will show you that homeschooling is a great choice for your family.

“Check Out” My Book on Amazon for Free

Would you like to read my new book for free? You can, and it’s all because of my husband.

You see, “we” bought an Amazon Kindle quite a while back but he became so attached to it that it’s now his Kindle (he denies this, but he’s always using it!) There are many things he loves about the Kindle, but recently he found out that he can check out a book for free on his Kindle and keep it checked out as long as he wants, and he really liked that idea  🙂

So we’ve decided to allow my newest book, Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children for the New Economic Reality, to be checked out for free on Amazon because the economy isn’t getting any better and we want people to learn how they can prepare their kids to thrive in challenging times (hint: homeschooling is definitely a part of the process!)

Of course, you can read free excerpts of the book here, but if you want to read the whole book, learn how you can borrow it for free here.