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Do you go?

 

Pam

Edited by wehave8

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I go every year and absolutely love them. I learn so much. I attend as many workshops as look interesting and learn something from almost everyone, even if it's just encouragement. I have discovered so many services or curriculum that have changed our homeschooling lives that I wouldn't have known about if I hadn't attended. 

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I went in my first two years of homeschooling. It was pretty awesome to see the what, hundreds? of curriculum providers out there.  I listened to a few speakers, but I don’t remember getting a whole lot out of the speakers, but my son was only in K and 1st then, so that might have changed as the years went by.

I stopped going to the convention because of time/money/distance, and also because there was a closer curriculum fair.  The fair also has a couple hundred curriculum vendors over a 2-day period which is so invaluable when choosing new curriculum.  The fair doesn’t offer speakers though.  

If you’ve never been to one, I think it’s worthwhile to go at least once and check it out.  

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Yes, not regularly, but I enjoy them. My BFF and I would go together and kind of make it a girls weekend. We’d go up Friday morning (we always attended the Valley Home Educators Convention in Modesto, CA) and enjoy the day, taking in seminars, some together, some separately. We’d meet up to peruse the Vendor Hall, eat out that night at some fun bistro or something, then spend the night at the Doubletree Hotel and binge watch Hawaii 5-0 and talk about the seminars and look at all the junk we collected in the vendor hall. The next day we’d do more seminars and then go home late afternoon. It was an awesome weekend. We didn’t do it every year, but we tried to do it every other year. We haven’t gone for a couple years because our schedules are kind of wonky lately.

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I have not been to one but I would love to go, mostly to see the curriculum hall.  They are too far away so unless one coincides with my travels, I'll have to forgo.

I saw a YouTube vid of a family attending one.  I can't find the video now.  I wonder if it was in FL?  It was a really fun resort-y hotel with waterpark and their whole family attended.  I would love to take our whole family.  It would be great for my husband to give an opinion on materials, and it would be wonderful for my children to see the larger homeschooling community. 

Edited by parent

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Haha, the question is not do we go but how much do we spend, lol.

No seriously, I went for years and years, very faithfully. It was like this whole pep rally for me. Now I don't bother, because almost nothing in the hall fits ds with his mix of abilities/dis-abilities. 

I think if you want to go, go! It's way more fun than you can imagine. It's probably an introvert nightmare, lol. You can stay at a hotel, meet-up with boardies...

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I haven't "needed" one in a long time, but I still go because it's a chance to get away with girlfriends, eat out, look at curricula, sit in on a couple talks (though I've heard most of them by now, lol).  It's a vacation.  I've gone every year for the last 19 or so years.  And it's closer than the beach.  😂

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Which ones do you attend?  GHC seem to be the largest?  If I want to go in the future, what convention is best?

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5 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Haha, the question is not do we go but how much do we spend, lol.

No seriously, I went for years and years, very faithfully. It was like this whole pep rally for me. Now I don't bother, because almost nothing in the hall fits ds with his mix of abilities/dis-abilities. 

I think if you want to go, go! It's way more fun than you can imagine. It's probably an introvert nightmare, lol. You can stay at a hotel, meet-up with boardies...

It’s ok if you’re an introvert! Conventions are usually so busy that if you want to get lost in the crowd, you can.  

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I go!  I was just curious if others did.  🙂

I have gone to our CHAP Convention (Harrisburg, now in Lancaster) in PA for about 7 years.  Before that, I went to a few in OH.  I love the 'vacation'! 🙂  I love looking IN all the books.  There is always something new.  I go now as a vendor for our local homeschool diploma association.  This year my older dd is going with me to look for curriculum for her 4 dc.  I can't wait to share the weekend with her doing something we both love.

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I go every year, sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends, sisters-in-law, or my sister. I think this is the 9th year I’ve gone. This year my DH is coming with me for the first time. I love hearing the speakers and browsing the vendor hall. I stay overnight at a hotel within walking distance of the Convention Center. It’s like a mini vacation. Ours is this coming weekend. It’s pretty small but only an hour away. One of these years I’d like to go to HEAV in VA or GHC in OH. They’re MUCH bigger and I have family nearby that I could stay with and maybe convince to attend with me. 

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I've gone to a few just for the vendor halls. I think if I had another homeschooling mom/friend to go with I would be more interested in the workshops and listening to the speakers. Also we are a secular homeschooling family so not all of the workshops are of interest in the conventions nearby. 

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I've gone for over 30 years! This will be the first time I haven't, as I'm headed to Philmont Scout Ranch. It's a weird feeling. 

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1 hour ago, Margaret in CO said:

It's a weird feeling. 

I know, lol. The life beyond homeschooling thing. 

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8 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

I know, lol. The life beyond homeschooling thing. 

I've been tempted by the Teach Them Diligently thing, but it looks like we'll be having a litter or puppies in there!

What I WANT to do is make one of the GHC things, but my sil, Kathy Kuhl, isn't speaking this year. 

Edited by Margaret in CO
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I'm going tomorrow to the vendor hall in Cincinnati. I live 30 minutes from there and starting HS so I want to look in some books. I've only ever done the vendor hall so I can't give any feedback on speakers etc. I do enjoy my day away. I'm an introvert so I go by myself and get lost in my thoughts and decisions haha.

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(My kids have all graduated now but...)  I did go to our state convention during my first year of homeschooling.  When the keynote speaker began with "It's so great to be in a whole auditorium filled with Republicans," I left and never went back.  Why did they have to immediately make it political?  

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46 minutes ago, J-rap said:

(My kids have all graduated now but...)  I did go to our state convention during my first year of homeschooling.  When the keynote speaker began with "It's so great to be in a whole auditorium filled with Republicans," I left and never went back.  Why did they have to immediately make it political?  

 

Did they, the organization, make it political?  It sounds like it was the invited speaker who made it political.

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It's true and that's a good point!  But the organizers of the event were on the stage too and they were applauding as loudly as everyone else.  It just felt very uncomfortable, more like a political convention.

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Nope.
I think the current set up is a waste of time, money, and energy when it comes to homeschooling.   I want annual events that are focused on equipping teachers,  not ones that are farting around with parenting, "christianity", encouragement, and skimming the surface on actual teaching.  I'm not paying for any of that.  I'm not going to drive an hour to go to just a vendor hall, either.  Either make it worth my while and TEACH something, or don't be surprised when people start looking more critically and going elsewhere.  Conventions are starting to die and I'd really like to see them thrive in a way that helps people.

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I go to our state organization's convention. Yes, times are changing.  The face of homeschooling has changed from mostly conservative Christians looking for like minded people and with the newer ways people get curriculum and even the availability of online workshops and conventions people are attending less. I think it is a shame. But I also think convention committees will change with the times and find ways to make things that are relevant now available, at least some of them anyway. Some will go away. I always find ours is, even though it does contain Christianity and parenting stuff as well, very useful. I usually just choose the academic workshops and there were always plenty. I have attended the most amazing preschool workshops ala Charlotte Mason that really explore the development of young children and then explain how to complement that and why their model and curriculum supports that. As my kids over the years have each had some learning differences I started attending their special needs workshops and have learned so much about what is available for dyslexia, ADHD, and other things. I have been led to what is available in our community and different thoughts on causes, treatments, and teaching methods,  Yes, they are trying to sell their materials. Sometimes I find that I do want to purchase something they have laid out. Other times I find enough info and learn enough to research further on my own on a rabbit trail from something I have heard. I have learned so much and been given so much to think about from convention workshops academically, even from our little state convention. Luckily I live close enough that I don't have travel costs in there. That could have made a difference for me as to how often I attended. But I have definitely missed the couple of years I couldn't attend. I am even sad this year because one of my kids has a pretty big event the 2nd day, so I only get to go one day. 🙂

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5 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Nope.
I think the current set up is a waste of time, money, and energy when it comes to homeschooling.   I want annual events that are focused on equipping teachers,  not ones that are farting around with parenting, "christianity", encouragement, and skimming the surface on actual teaching.  I'm not paying for any of that.  I'm not going to drive an hour to go to just a vendor hall, either.  Either make it worth my while and TEACH something, or don't be surprised when people start looking more critically and going elsewhere.  Conventions are starting to die and I'd really like to see them thrive in a way that helps people.

We used to have this fantastic state non-sectarian convention that was all about homeschooling.  Most of the workshops were taught by parents in the state who were in the trenches ... not big name gurus who had something to sell.  We did get some big name people come and do some workshops, too.  They also had workshops for kids and teens so it was a family affair.  It was never as big as the Christian state convention, and I liked that.  It was awesome to see the mix of people who came.  We had unschoolers and classical homeschoolers. I loved going to this every year.  

When the recession hit, vendors cut back on the number of conventions they went to and smaller events like ours often didn't make the cut.  Which was the death knell for this convention ... not enough vendors meant fewer attendees.  It seemed that anything after that became even more conservative and more about Christian lifestyle and less about homeschooling.  I was sad to see it go.  

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This is the first year I didn't go the GHC in Cincinnati (I live 20 minutes away from the Convention Center) and I usually buy all my curriculum then. I love to browse through all the books and games, find things that I never considered to bring home with my girls, and get some roasted almonds! But being on bed rest with this pregnancy I couldn't go to take advantage of 20% off sales or free shipping. I'm pretty sad about it, as usually it's a great time for me to refuel the tank with fresh ideas. I don't listen to any of the speakers, I ask homeschool parents all around me. Though last time I went I got to meet with Jay Wile at the "Science in the ..." booth and it was awesome. He was patient with my daughter's excitement in telling him about some the experiments she did and her thanking him for memories. 

My husband has a love/hate relationship with going. He likes to go and see new stuff, but he hates the bombardment of Selling Christianity. We are Christians here, but it's like folks are trying to make money out of the religion instead of living it. He also loves roasted almonds. 😉 

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I was at GHC Cincinnati (we live in the north burbs of the city). I usually work in a booth so I get paid and free admission so that makes it worthwhile for me. I have been every year for the past eight years and it is finally getting to the point where I have heard most of the talks I want to hear. Sometimes I do a little bit of shopping based on our needs. I don't like browsing, but I have friends that love to walk the whole exhibit hall and see what is new. 

GHC seemed less busy this year. Someone said that it might be because there is a convention in Nashville now? 

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2 hours ago, cintinative said:

GHC seemed less busy this year. Someone said that it might be because there is a convention in Nashville now? 

We went this weekend to the full convention for the first time in a couple of years (we used to attend every year, but we did the vendor hall only for the last couple of years). I think it's less crowded, but I think the crowd is more evened out across the weekend due to having different options for passes. I am not sure how to judge absolute numbers with the spread. It seems like there are fewer local people I know who go for the whole weekend--they have older kids now, and it's harder to get the whole family settled and taken care of to run to convention. Most of my local acquaintances who would go for the whole weekend would share hotel rooms with friends and make it a fun weekend.

I noticed a lot more teens this year (many of them are local) coming and going to sessions/vendor hall with friends. Most had parents there too, but the kids were having their own meetups.

I enjoyed some (new to me) speakers. Most of the sessions were about teaching, though a few were more of the encouragement variety (but also practical). One newer speaker is local and all about teaching the teacher, so I think that there is still "something for everyone." 

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I try to go every year .... To hear speakers, to connect with friends and this year, to work in a vendor booth. I had a blast. 😍

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