i was recently asked to be a Partner Blogger with AHEAD, American Home Education and Discipleship. In exchange for my blog posts, i am now listed as a Partner Blogger on the AHEAD blog, and i received a complimentary admission to the AHEAD conference of my choice. :) There are thirty-nine AHEAD conferences in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Here’s a link to a map of AHEAD conferences http://americanhomeeducation.org/map.cfm
AHEAD is affiliated with The National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leaders. www.achel.org
Last weekend, i attended an AHEAD conference. It was wonderful! i didn't get to go to many of the workshops as i was working a booth. That being said, i had a lot of opportunities to explore and shop. Which i did! i got all the remaining things that i need for the coming year. :)
Don't think you need to attend a convention or conference this year? Here is a great article about many reasons that you should consider it. It was written by Mbuyi and Mong-Tham Khuzadi.
Why Go to Convention
"I think each of us can come up with not just a few reasons to skip this year’s homeschool convention. In fact, some of you may already have your list in your head. Before succumbing to the “why nots,” consider some of the “whys.”
Renew your vision
Maybe you don't want to go to convention because you are burned out. What better way to get recharged than to renew your vision? Just being in the same building with hundreds other people who think the way you do is uplifting.
Hearing once again the encouraging words of a familiar speaker will remind you why you are teaching at home in the first place. The words of a speaker you've not heard before just may be the boost you need.
Make connections with others in your boat
If you are attending a workshop on a specific topic, say special needs, the other parents in that room have similar concerns. These are the very people who are going to understand your situation as well as your heart. This is the place to make those connections.
The workshop speakers aren't the only authority on the subject. The person next to you or in back of you may have just the answer or word of encouragement you need. Your seat neighbor may be shy about approaching the speaker after the session, but you have the same experiences to offer love and support as well.
Take some personal cards with your name and contact information so you can share with others and find someone to mentor you.
One year I as I was wandering through the exhibit hall, a mom stopped me in the middle of the aisle. She told that me that since I was wearing a badge from the Leadership Conference I could answer her question. We stood there and talked for the entire next workshop session. We both went away encouraged.
You never know whom God is going to send your way. Be available to His work. It's possible that you can answer a curriculum question for a new mom while the exhibitor is busy. That just might be an appointment from God.
Go to a convention ready to give as well as receive.
Weekend get away
Two friends of mine consider the convention their much deserved get-away weekend. They save all year, book a suite, order room service, spend time in the spa, and, if available, get a massage. Oh yes, they do attend some workshop sessions but they don't spend much time in the exhibit all. They find it too hectic for their relaxation.
Whether it is with other moms or with your husband, just the weekend away and pampering yourself, can do more to encourage than a dozen workshop sessions. You don't have to buy your entire curriculum during that one weekend. Maybe sleeping in an extra hour and having one breakfast served to your room is just the luxury you need to be refreshed for the upcoming year.
I'm through home schooling. I don't need the convention.
Maybe you don't think that you need a convention because you are nearing the end of your homeschool season. The convention needs you. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for a smooth running convention. Veterans who may not need to attend every workshop session or spend time in the exhibit hall are needed to fill one of the many volunteer slots. Not only does this serve your state organization and the convention, but also provides a valuable service to younger homeschool parents.
Not Just Any Convention
Don’t just attend just any convention; attend one sponsored by your state organization. State homeschool organizations plan their conventions based on the needs of homeschoolers in their area. These events are “local” rather than regional, you can often attend one day without incurring hotel expenses, and have lower travel expenses.
Your state organization will be around mid-school year when you need help. Your convention attendance helps support the work these groups do on your behalf twelve months out of the year.
With thirty-nine events in thirty-two states, provinces, and nations, you’re sure to find one close by. Don’t miss the chance to be encouraged and be an encourager."
Mbuyi and Mong-Tham founded Exploring HomeschoolingTM to help other Christian parents discover the joy of homeschooling their children in the admonition of the Lord. They want to encourage parents to continue in their journey of raising up wonderful, loving, and God-fearing children. They are currently homeschooling their four children.
So, there you have it! Great reasons to attend a wonderful, and enriching homeschool conference this year. If you haven't given it much thought yet, i hope i helped you to decide to attend!