Our schedule for the homeschool conference workshops is online!
To help you get the most out of these workshops, we’ve compiled this list of helpful tips from veteran homeschool families:
Take advantage of our pre-conference workshop recording offer.
Even if you managed to attend a workshop at every available time slot, you’re only one person! You will always be missing the other workshops that are going on at exactly the same time.
This year, MPE members at the Family tier or higher can get MP3 files of all recorded workshop sessions for just $60! The only condition is that you pre-purchase these recordings before 6 p.m. Thursday, April 2.
Find the conference workshops that speak to your unique style (and season).
If you’re a first-timer to our conference, we have special “Getting Started” and “How To Teach” tracks for you! These tracks, which are available in our conference workshop schedule, indicate the workshops we recommend for those considering (or starting) their homeschool journey.
As one mom writes, “Go to seminars that help you discover what style of homeschooling fits your family.”
But don’t just stop there! It’s important to look ahead to the future, when your children won’t be so little anymore. She continues, “Go to seminars for parents of older kids so you can see that this really does work out long term. Talk to people, take notes, and don’t be afraid to cry a little.”
Support those who make our conference possible.
We host a number of vendor workshops every year, and the reason is quite simple: vendors support the conference with their fees. Without them, we couldn’t afford to keep hosting these conferences that draw more than 1,000 families each year!
Many of the homeschool vendors are experts in their field and can explain their products and services for you in great depth. They have made a sacrificial effort to be at our conference, and we encourage you to take advantage of this timely opportunity to talk.
When a vendor takes the time and effort to offer advice or explain a product that you decide to purchase, buy it from the person who took the time with you. It is unfair to take advantage of a small vendor’s knowledge and then purchase the product for a few cents less from a competitor.
One KC homeschool mom explained it this way: “If no one buys from the vendor hall, vendors aren’t going to see the conference as a profitable use of time and we will ALL lose out on the opportunity to touch/look/feel at curriculum and speak with vendor representatives. My suggestion is to talk to the vendors and get all of your questions answered and make a point of making at least a small purchase from the ones who give you the most help.”
Try one or two workshops out of your “expectations zone.”
Sure, you may be all about getting your child to appreciate math more. But how about getting them to garden, practice everyday etiquette, or even run their own business? There’s a workshop for all of those, and more!
One mom wrote that she loved one workshop about homeschool laws in Missouri, but she also appreciated “sessions that were just fun like the hobby farm session.”
Another homeschooler wrote: “I love the encouragement in each session at the conference. You never know which one is going to speak the most to you – it may not be what you expect! Last year a session on manners moved me to tears and was an answer to prayer about how to get through to my strong-willed child.”
Put personal comfort first!
What does this have to do with workshops? Well, a lot – since it’s going to be an action-packed weekend!
As one homeschooler writes, “Drink lots of water! Wear COMFY shoes and bring a sweater. I always get cold at some point.”
Plan for breaks in-between conference workshops.
Don’t feel like you need to cram in every workshop session at every place – you’ll just wear yourself out!
We like this bit of wisdom from a homeschool veteran: “I like to look over the schedule of speakers, and decide on which of those I want to go to, and sprinkle in looking at curriculum in between. It helps break things up a bit!”
Consider a special notebook.
While you’ll get a free copy of our conference program upon entrance, some attendees have found it helpful to bring their own note-taking supplies as well, especially for the workshop sessions.
A homeschool mom writes, “One thing that was helpful to me…a conference notebook. I used a 1″ view binder. I put a copy of the schedule in the front cover, having highlighted the things I was interested in attending. … Inside were blank pages for notes, page protectors to store handouts, vendor flyers, etc.”
Ask questions before, during and after the conference workshops.
Our conference program features bios of each workshop speaker, so you can get a feel for who’s speaking and where they’re coming from.
Think of questions you’d like answered before the workshops, then make a point of approaching the speakers afterward in case they didn’t already answer your questions.
(Many sessions will feature Q-and-A time, too, so be prepared to talk during the session itself.)
Some of the workshop speakers will also be in the vendor hall, so feel free to stop by during your vendor hall journey and say hello!
Allow processing time afterward.
Conference newcomers often forget to schedule time to process all they’ve learned! Make sure you plan a spot in your busy schedule just to go over your notes, follow up on action items, and think about implementing your new ideas and strategies for the next school year.
As one homeschool mom wrote (and wisely, too!): “Just know it takes everyone days and weeks to process after the conference!”
We have updated this blog post, originally published in March 2018, for timeliness and detail.