View Full Version : What qualities/offerings influence your decision to attend hs conferences/expos?

07-28-2012, 11:13 AM
1. Location
2. Price
3. Topics
4. Speakers
5. Setting (Secular or Christian-based)

Please feel free to add comments/additional info. I am seriously leaning towards creating a conference for next year. Gotta do some research first!



07-28-2012, 12:45 PM
I first look at the vendor list, hoping to find a good bit of the curriculum I've heard mentioned here. I haven't yet found a conference exhibit hall that has a lot of curriculum I want to see. Frustrating. If I found it I would travel.

07-28-2012, 01:36 PM
If I may ask: What curriculum are you seeking? Where do you go for recommendations?

07-28-2012, 01:46 PM
really they all matter - well, except I was thinking if I moved and they didnt have a secular conference, i might come back for the one in VA, probably depending on the speakers that year. i dont go for curriculum cuz its too small to really have any.

07-28-2012, 02:02 PM
We have a fairly large homeschool conference in my city, and I live about fifteen minutes from the convention center where it is held. Their main speaker last year was Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis) and this year, their theme was something about raising Generation Joshua. In my mind, it has nothing to do with homeschooling, and I won't go. If there was a secular convention around here (even if I had to drive), I would go.

07-28-2012, 03:29 PM
Setting and location. I wouldn't travel very far for one (no plane rides) but I wouldn't bother at all if it wasn't secular.

08-01-2012, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the input ladies! It definitely helps. I have some planning to do and I am brainstorming topics. It may not be very large at first, but the plan is to make it grow over the years. I definitely would like to have some great speakers lined-up, with workshops facilitated by homeschooling parents. And of course, if I could get some businesses to sponsor so that it's free for parents that would be even better! :_applaud:

Thanks again for your input!


08-01-2012, 02:04 PM
It's a balance. I'd probably go to a free or cheap conference that was really close by, even if it wasn't totally secular, as long as there appeared to be something of interest. If it was further away and/or cost more, it would have to have some really big draw topic-wise. I don't think I'd go to a strongly Christian conference (like the ones that kicked out Susan Wise Bauer for being too secular), even if it was free and close by, because, if SWB is too secular, it's very unlikely to have anything of any relevance to me whatsoever.

08-01-2012, 09:34 PM
I think different models of conferences can work and be useful - I don't think there's one perfect conference for everyone or even most everyone.

I do know that vendors that are mostly Christian is worthless for me and a small vendor selection isn't much of a draw. A large used book sale could make up for it though. In general though, I wouldn't expect to be able to make a conference with a ton of vendors the first year out. If you had a used sale and an Usborne dealer, that might be it. I think conferences build the other way around - bring in the people, and the vendors will come.

Also, I know that a conference that's all "How to get started" stuff and "From one homeschool mom to another" stuff is also not going to draw me. I know some of that stuff is a draw for some people, but I prefer to see people with some expertise in something, preferably something specific. Obviously, someone who is a "name" is a draw - an author of a book or curriculum - but it could just be someone local with expertise. If the presentation is good and has good ideas and information, then a local science educator from a nature center or museum talking about how to do nature studies or a local storyteller talking about how to teach kids to make and tell stories is going to be more useful and interesting. Anything hands on or participatory is good. For example, if I was just starting out with young kids, I would find a session showing a dozen math manipulatives and letting everyone play with them and showing how to use them for forty-five minutes would be a great session - and much more useful than a lot of these intro sessions that throw a million scattered ideas out.

Some conferences make themselves family affairs with lots of things for kids to show things off - I think for a small conference that's really catering to a community that that's a great idea and also brings people in - a lot of families are always looking for a way to help their kids feel like they've shown off their science project/special artwork/musical talents and having those elements fosters community and stimulates ideas for teaching as well.

08-01-2012, 10:08 PM
For me, they are all pretty important, however I feel like location would be the deciding factor for me. If It is more than a few hours away (if we have to make hotel reservations) I wouldn't go.

Big reason why we don't go to the Woodlands Tx one is because it is so far away. The price is a big one too. I figured out the cost and with the cost of gas out there and back, hotel, food and tickets to the convention it just wasn't worth it. (and would have blown my yearly homeschooling budget out of the water)

Good luck with organizing yours! Hope it works out!