Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Joy of THE Homeschool Convention

For us veteran and even newbie homeschool moms convention season is upon us!  This is one of the most encouraging events that I attend each year.  The Florida Parent-Educators Association holds the best Homeschool Convention in the States.  Now, I am biased because, well, this is MY convention.  Sure, I have travelled to and attended many conferences and conventions as a vendor and speaker, but THIS convention is the granddaddy of them all!  You can check it out here: FPEA Convention.

If this is your first year to attend the FPEA Convention, or any homeschool convention for that matter, I thought I would set you up with the Convention Survival Guide!

1. Make your reservations early!  If your convention is being held in a hotel and you need to spend the night, stay in the convention hotel.  This helps the organization tremendously. Sometimes there is a contract for a specific amount of rooms to be sold.  By staying onsite you help your organization cover the costs of this event.  Trust me, once you attend your state convention, you always want to go back!

2. Get your convention guide and see what workshops you want to attend.  This year it took me two days to run through all the workshops for the FPEA Convention!  With a 120 workshops to choose from, I needed to read each and every description to make sure I wasn't missing something!

Here are the workshops on my "Don't Miss List":
  1. The Apprentice:Getting High School Credit for Internships
  2. Margins for Moms, Limits that Liberate
  3. The Five Finger Paragraph
  4. Asking the Right Questions: Teaching Literature with Socratic Discussion
Of course there are other workshops on my list, but these are the ones I don't want to miss.

3. Plan your time wisely!  Keep your watch and your convention guide handy.  Here are some don't miss opportunities that are on my "Don't Forget List"
  1. Leaders Forum on Thursday
  2. FPEA Annual Business Meeting - I want to stay connected to my state organization.  They work so hard for me all year, I want to be informed and support my district!
  3. Musical Theater Production: The Shopping Cart
  4. Keynote Address!!!!!
  5. Graduation
4. I am a list maker and a planner at heart. Some years I attend with friends, sometimes I attend with the family.  Some years, I do both!  So do all your planning before you arrive!  This way you won't miss a thing!

5. Pack good shoes, a jacket and some dollar bills....Shoes because you will be walking all day! A Jacket well, because sometimes that air conditioning is cranked! Dollar bills for the tipping the gentlemen that help with the luggage and for buying your bottled water!  Gotta stay hydrated!

6. Bring your shopping list/browsing list and stick to it!  Staying on budget will make attending next year all the more easier.

7. Take the opportunity to look over all your choices that you have researched before buying.  If you have the opportunity to speak to the author of a particular book then purchase from him or her!  They have invested in you and answered all your questions so purchase from them.  Taking their time up and then walking to another booth to purchase just to save a few bucks is simply disrespectful.  So do the right thing!

8.  Enjoy and soak in all the encouragement you can get!  Keep a notebook.  Write down your thoughts and then read it again after you have returned home.  Missed a workshop?  You can order the CD!  Just visit FPEA's website at and order.  Or better yet, you can order before you even leave the convention.

9. And for those of us who have been numerous times to our state homeschool convention, we have a motto: "What happens at convention, stays at convention."  Look for an update and more photos after the FPEA Graduation!

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