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kristin0713

Am I missing anything at the "big" conventions?

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I really thought that I posted this last week, but I cannot find it anywhere.  

I love going homeschool conventions but have never been to one of the really big ones such as GHC.  I usually go to the PA CHAP convention since it is the only one reasonably drivable for me coming from NJ.  They have about 100 vendors, which includes all of the the well known stuff, lots of colleges, some local sellers and authors, etc.  DD will be starting high school in the fall and DS is a very different kind of learner going into 7th grade and I'd love to find some fresh programs for them.  If I make the hike to a much bigger convention, and I likely to find a lot more options?  I have looked at the lists of vendors and I wonder if the unfamiliar ones will be something "amazing" that I might want to try.  Or can I really just continue to find out options from you awesome homeschoolers here.  What do you think? 

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GHC puts their vendor lists online, so yes go through them. It's a huge hall, but I doubt PH CHAP is small. Where would you be going? The cost would likely = whatever high school course you ended up wanting. If you want to go to that location anyway for a vacation, that's different.

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I go to a GHC about every 3rd year or so. The bigger hall with tons more options and more varied sessions is totally worth the drive and the hotel for me, plus DH is able to get away with me if it's only every few years. My local (IN) convention is ok, but most of the sessions and vendors are about faith-buildings topics and products. While I am a Christian and I appreciate those things, it's not really why I go to a convention, kwim? I wish they'd focus more on the school stuff. But I still go most years because it's run by a state organization I want to support and because of the convenience factor. But ours in IN is relatively small, and GHC is H.U.G.E. in comparison. Not sure what I'd do if ours was more similar in size.

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2 hours ago, kristin0713 said:

I really thought that I posted this last week, but I cannot find it anywhere.  

I love going homeschool conventions but have never been to one of the really big ones such as GHC.  I usually go to the PA CHAP convention since it is the only one reasonably drivable for me coming from NJ.  They have about 100 vendors, which includes all of the the well known stuff, lots of colleges, some local sellers and authors, etc.  DD will be starting high school in the fall and DS is a very different kind of learner going into 7th grade and I'd love to find some fresh programs for them.  If I make the hike to a much bigger convention, and I likely to find a lot more options?  I have looked at the lists of vendors and I wonder if the unfamiliar ones will be something "amazing" that I might want to try.  Or can I really just continue to find out options from you awesome homeschoolers here.  What do you think? 

Go to your local conventions. GHC isn't all that.

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I like GHC for the speakers- they are more my speed than my local conference. However, I agree with PP that it isn't a necessity. The deals at conventions aren't usually worth the expense of the tickets to get in, much less the trip cost- and as mentioned, you can find the vendor list online and simply search yourself and then order. I think online world has made the necessity of conventions less to to a point as far as laying hands on a curriculum. Online samples are usually pretty decent these days. 

Now one exception would be that if you are looking for teaching tips, particularly of a certain curricula, I think there is a lot to be said for getting to hang out in person with a Vendor. When I started with RightStart many years ago, I firmly planted my butt in the RS convention talk, and them afterward pumped the very tolerant speaker for as much info as I could afterward. Now, I stop by and say hi every year even though we have outgrown our use of RS. 

I *love* going to conventions most years. It's my justified get away time with dh- seriously like sacred ground that I can wrangle my mother into coming and watching the kids and animals (we are more complex than your typical "go board a dog and leave out some cat food" family) so dh and I make a mini-vacation out of it- and I will totally take advantage of that since it's offered.  And sure;  it's a nice energizing/why we do this sort of pep rally. I've met some awesome people- I now know a couple of the speakers and they know me and we stop and chat every year. I've gotten to meet Ellie IRL who is awesome too! And yes we go to the talks, but at night we are usually out dining and drinking. We don't do the "special" conference night time gigs. For me, it's as much about hanging out with dh as the conference itself for me. It's nice it tunes him in as well. He's fairly in the loop for me to bring something up- that I want to bring in this element or that curriculum- that's nice too. He might not remember the name, but if I say "remember the guy with the blue suit and bow tie" he'll be "yep!" 

I think if it were just a day trip and not an "out of the norm" sort of thing for me, it wouldn't be such a must. I sneak away with dh every so often to one of his work conferences, but he's gone during those times. As lame as it sounds, GHC is pretty much our only "alone" trips we get to do as a couple at this stage of our lives. Idk, I say if you are curious, I'd go for it if it didn't cost you a major hassle to go. GHC is well run, and it's fun. The vendor hall is massive. I think if you want, it would be a fun experience, but it's not a "must". 

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If you want to get hands-on with a variety of curriculum, or just expose yourself to many different options, a big convention is worthwhile.

If you enjoy live conference sessions and having a concentrated time to just focus on thinking particular topics, a big convention is worthwhile.

Also, agreeing with previous posters, the opportunity to talk with vendors and curriculum authors can be really enlightening.

There's nothing "amazing" at a convention that you can't find online and also get information about here!  But a convention can be good for getting to look at curricula up close and learning about it more in depth.

With all we have online (samples, streaming/downloadable webinars and talks), I don't know that there's a lot at a big convention that you can't find online.  But there is something about the concentrated time focusing on education/homeschool, time away from the normal routine, and seeing so many options and products in a big vendor hall that can be really fun and energizing.  

There are some discounts at vendor halls, but probably not enough to be the sole justification for paying for the convention tickets and travel expenses!

I love GHC and went for 7-8 years in a row when I still had all my kids at home.  It was especially helpful when my oldest was in jr high and starting high school.  It helped me find curriculum that fit for the older years, helped me develop my thinking on where I wanted to go with our homeschool, and gave me a great energy and motivation boost in those often difficult years!  I haven't been for the past several years due to schedules, and while I'd enjoy going, I don't feel the strong need that I did 5-10 years ago.

 

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I live 30 minutes from Cincinnati GHC. I do go when I'm available because I'm fortunate that it's so close. I've never paid to hear the speakers. I do like getting to look at the curriculum I have questions about and trying to make decisions in the vendor hall (cost is $10) There is nothing like acutally getting to see it to get a better feel if it's right for us. Plus, I get to talk to people to help me weed through that also. What do you think you would want out of the convention? How far from you is the nearest drive? 

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I've been to GHC, and it was a lot of fun.  I've also worked at a smaller, local convention and so I've had a chance to see things from the inside. 

The thing about huge conventions is time.  YES, they have loads of vendors, but you won't have time to visit them all, especially if you want to attend any workshops.  When I was at GHC I don't think I made it through the entire hall.  Also, the vendors are a lot busier which is good for them ($$$), but not so much for me if I wanted to really talk about how to make a product work for our situation.   

At a smaller convention the vendors have time for you.  It's a more personal, relational experience.  

Do your research ahead of time and if there are vendors that you're really interested in that will be at the big convention but not the smaller one, you can always ask if they can send a rep to the smaller show.  That way you see the products in person but still get more personal attention.

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3 hours ago, Mom28kds said:

What do you think you would want out of the convention? How far from you is the nearest drive? 


The main thing for me is exposure to curricula that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I know I could look at the list online and look them all up but I do love walking the aisles and looking in person.  

If I went, I would probably fly to Ohio. The closest drive is 5 hours to Rochester NY and that one isn’t until July 30th which is kind of late for me. I like to have things squared away for the next year early in the summer. Although if I find some friends to go with, maybe we could drive to that one. 
 

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20 minutes ago, kristin0713 said:


The main thing for me is exposure to curricula that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I know I could look at the list online and look them all up but I do love walking the aisles and looking in person.  

If I went, I would probably fly to Ohio. The closest drive is 5 hours to Rochester NY and that one isn’t until July 30th which is kind of late for me. I like to have things squared away for the next year early in the summer. Although if I find some friends to go with, maybe we could drive to that one. 
 

I’d make sure the vendors you want to look at will be there before I invest in a flight. Last year a couple of the ones I wanted to look at were not there. I love going and it does give me time to process over things and look at things I didn’t know existed 😊

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If flying, I would go to the one in TX in March.  I've compared them all and that was the one that seemed to have the most vendors, etc.

I've been strongly considering going, but it would be well over $1,000 for travel.  And we are about to start our first round of braces... so I feel it is too extravagent for me to flip through books and chitchat with homeschoolers.  I'll have to rely on youtube talks and website samples :( 

There are some GHC vlogs on youtube that I watched last summer, might give you a good overview.

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I go almost every year to our homeschool convention here in CA . I honestly only go for the vendor hall. BJU always has its distance learning on sale and Veritas press will sometimes have really good deals as well. We found out about our local homeschool music classes by seeing their booth there. You can look through all the books, that you have only seen online. I love it. 

 

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On 1/15/2020 at 6:30 PM, kristin0713 said:

They have about 100 vendors, which includes all of the the well known stuff, lots of colleges, some local sellers and authors, etc.  DD will be starting high school in the fall and DS is a very different kind of learner going into 7th grade and I'd love to find some fresh programs for them.  If I make the hike to a much bigger convention, and I likely to find a lot more options?  I have looked at the lists of vendors and I wonder if the unfamiliar ones will be something "amazing" that I might want to try.   

At a very rough glance, I think you will see about twice as money curriculum/text/product options at the big conventions (excluding all colleges, unrelated vendors, authors, etc), so yes, you will see a lot more options. Will they be amazing? Unsure, says the magic 8 ball. 

Back in the day, I did find plenty of things at conventions that I probably never would have tried otherwise. It's very hard for me to pay for something, especially on the expensive side, without seeing it in person. 

If you can swing flight and hotel, I think it's worth the while to give it a try. If I had to choose between a vacation or a class and the convention, I'd choose the vacation or the class. But if I didn't have to choose, I'd spend the money and see. You might decide it's not worth it to go again, you might decide every 2-3 would be perfect, you might have so much fun you go every year. 

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You will also have a much greater variety of speakers available. While I always spent more time in the vendor hall than in talks, I did always go to some and I can say that a few of them had a lasting effect on my thoughts/methods. 

Michael Clay Thompson is an amazing speaker, both challenging and motivating. While we never went full on with this grammar and language arts, the things we did do were incredibly worth it. Caesar's English was a great approach to vocabulary for us and remains a favorite memory, my kids learned a ton with the poetry books, and the close reading we did with Jefferson's Truths and Lincoln's Ten Sentences was so valuable. We did more but those come to mind. And again, I'll repeat that his talks changed my way of thinking and were very motivating to me. 

Others I remember offhand are Ed Zaccaro (math and statistics) and Jim Weiss for, of course, storytelling. 

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