I confess...I am addicted to gathering with homeschoolers for encouragement and refreshment. I love filling my summers with homeschool conventions and CC practicums to refocus my mind and heart on the task at hand.
Last year I registered for the THSC Convention in Arlington, but ended up getting sick and not being able to attend. My husband took my mom and kids without me! Since I missed out last year, I'm especially excited that the convention is back this year, and I'm going to get to enjoy the blessings of fellowshipping with other homeschoolers.
Another huge draw for me this year is Andrew Pudewa. We've used his writing curriculum for the past seven years, and even thought I've heard him speak many times, his wisdom from years of teaching, compassion for struggling learners, and generosity with his time keeps me coming back for more.
My top 3 tips for attending a homeschool convention:
1. Go with Friends (or your husband) - If you've never been to a homeschool convention before, make sure you go with friends! You need a sounding board to talk through the ideas you're hearing or the purchases you'd like to make. (Just a fun fact...all the pictures I grabbed off of Sprittbee's website from last year's convention contain my friends...people I know and love in real life!)
2. Make a Spending Plan - Don't plan on going to every single booth, browsing their wares, and listening to their pitch. You will be won over! Everything there is AMAZING!! Or you'll end up feeling like a failure because you're not doing all of the wonderful things available. Look over what you have already at home, and make a plan with what specifically you'll be looking for while shopping. You'll spend less, and enjoy yourself more.
3. Soak in the Speakers - The real beauty of homeschool conventions today is they are targeted at pouring into homeschoolers and not just for the sake of selling their product. The sessions are rich with wisdom, and they are a great way to get inspired and geared up for taking on another year of this hard job called homeschooling!
Bloggers at THSC Convention
This year THSC is also adding a new element of fellowship specifically for homeschool bloggers. I am so excited to get to meet some of my blogger friends that I've only connected with virtually.
I'm a part of a VIP Blogging team that is working to help get the word out about the convention as well as the great services THSC provides throughout the year. I'll be working with some other bloggers to spread the word in addition to hosting a blogger social on Saturday! Crazy right?!
Introducing our little group of Texas homeschool bloggers:
1. Me - the rookie blogger of the group!
2. Esther of Laugh With Us Blog (the girl who got me started in the blogging world)
3. Heather of Sprittibee (the leader of the pack)
4. Lana of I Love My Five Kids (an iHomeschool network buddy)
5. Jasmine of Ponder the Path (a new friend who is graphically talented and designed all of the THSC blogger buttons for your websites)!
In order to encourage and bless bloggers, THSC is showing a little love with the following:
1. 20% off their tickets and ALL EXTRAs including Children’s programs
2. A chance to meet-up with other local bloggers at the Homeschool Blogger Special Fellowship hour from 2:30-3:30 PM Central on Saturday in Arlington (more info on The Woodlands later)
3. A chance to have your blog listed on the Texas (or friends of Texas) homeschool blogroll on their website just for showing up at the Saturday social and coming to the convention.
4. Promotion of your blog posts if you are listed on the blogroll and inclusion on a special THSC Homeschool Blogger facebook page where you can do some online networking with all the ladies you met in real life at THSC this year! That means you’ll have ongoing friendships and promotion of your material long after the conference is over!
Here’s all they ask you to do if you want to get involved:
1. Copy one of the buttons on this page (or go copy the code on their own site – once they have their blogger page up and running!) and place it in your blog’s sidebar until after the conferences are both over for 2016. You can link these buttons to the following website url:
Here are the buttons. To download, just right click and select download image. Then upload it to your own WordPress or blog image hosting service for you to place in your sidebar and blog posts along with the link above.
2. Go register for the conference of your choice (either Arlington or The Woodlands) with the homeschool blogger 20% off code: BLOGGER2016
3. Set the date on your calender with a reminder to be at the Homeschool Blogger Special Fellowship at 2:30-3:30PM Saturday, May 7th (if you are coming to Arlington’s conference… and I’ll update this post later with the exact time for the one for The Woodlands).
4. Fill out this THSC Homeschool Blogger Google form AFTER you register so we can add you to the THSC Facebook blogger group and their Texas (or surrounding state) homeschool blogroll on the THSC website!
5. Use these hashtags (at least one or two per post, alternated) with your social media shares so we can follow you online and share your posts: #THSCConventions, #THSCKnowsTX, #THSC
That’s it. All you have to do after that is show up and bring your business cards and a smile to share with all of us homeschool bloggin’ mamas who want to meet you IRL!
So, will I see you there?
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.