Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention

     I just got back from attending my second Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention, and I want to spend a few moments putting some thoughts to print in hopes of encouraging others who are considering going or have never heard of it.

     Last year was our first “official” year of homeschooling. A mom from my co-op asked if I was attending Teach Them Diligently. I had no clue what she was talking about, so I went home and researched it and was immediately intrigued. They had a location convenient to me, it was at a hotel/convention center I LOVED, and several of the “talks” listed sounded like they were speaking to my heart… SIGN ME UP!

     That first Teach Them Diligently (TTD) convention was so encouraging. Being surrounded by such a large number of families walking a similar road to the one we are on was just what I needed. I was able to talk to experts in the field and ask questions over some things we were struggling with. I attended sessions that gave me fresh new ideas. When I walked into my first session, I was burnt out and counting down the days until summer break. I left rejuvenated and ready to implement our new ideas. The only thing I would go back and change would be to have gone to TTD prior to our first year of homeschooling, because I learned so much! I signed up for the 2018 convention before leaving in 2017!

     This year’s convention did not disappoint. I was blessed to attend alongside several homeschool friends from our co-op, and the moments in between sessions spent chatting were just as beneficial to me as the sessions themselves. Again, I left recharged and ready to finish our school year on the right foot!

In closing, I would like to add my top 5 tips for attending a homeschool convention!

5. Pray over the schedule, but be open to the Holy Spirit guiding your weekend!
My first year, I made a detailed plan for the weekend. I went into my first session, which was super crowded and not pulling at my heart strings. On the way to my next class, I passed a room where Sonya Schafer of Simply Charlotte Mason was about to speak, and I just felt compelled to go in. This changed our homeschooling! I fell in love with the Charlotte Mason style and the rest of the weekend I spent finding sessions to learn more about it.

4. Have a plan for the exhibit hall.
In the weeks leading up to convention, look at your plans for the coming school year and compare that with the vendor list. Make a plan for what booths you want to stop at. Walking into the vendor hall my first year was SO overwhelming because I had no clue what to look at! Have a game plan and don’t buy anything the first day! Your plans might change halfway through convention.

3. Stay on site if you can afford it.
I love the convenience of staying on site even though we only live about an hour away from the convention site. Being able to spend that extra time thinking over what I have learned that day and preparing for the next, instead of sitting in traffic, is worth it for our family. Plus, my kids LOVE the hotel!

2. Buy some sessions and give yourself more down time.
It is super tempting to want to attend every session you can, but for me that equals a burnout. I can only sit through so many speakers in a row before my eyes start to glaze over and I get distracted. Plan to buy some sessions to listen to when you get back home to give yourself some time to decompress and absorb all your new knowledge.

1. Go with friends!
Going with a group of friends is a great bonding experience. This past year I was blessed to have several friends to bump in to, chat, eat lunch, and wander the exhibit hall with. We spent time sharing what jumped out at us from our sessions and what we were excited to go hear next. It doesn’t stop at convention, though; now I have a group of ladies I can turn to and ask how it’s going for “Reaching Their Child’s Heart” from the Ginger Hubbard session. Friendships are definitely strengthened at TTD!

That’s all for now. I hope to see you there next year!

– Valerie

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