I haven't had the pleasure of attending a homeschool convention. The closest big one is down in Portland, OR - four hours away, and the timing has never been convenient. It always conflicts with my husband's teaching schedule during the summer. I'm hoping to get away for it this year though - maybe, maybe...
If you live in the Portland area, or within a couple hours distance, and you haven't attended the conference before, I thought you might like to know what to expect and if it would be worth it to attend. I have a friend down in Portland who has attended The Oregon Christian Home Education Conference a couple times, and she loves its. I asked her to write a review to give an insight into what people can expect if they go to this convention.
Jennifer B. writes:
The Oregon Christian Home Education Conference was developed by home school parents who wanted to encourage and support other home school parents! They provide a wide range of seminars, from those just starting out to those with high school graduates. They even have a graduation ceremony at the conference!There are so many things I look forward to at the conference! First I’m greeted by such friendly people who help with the name tags and answer your questions. Next I open up my workshop guide (40 minutes each) and circle the talks I want to attend. By choosing my workshops, I can now see which times I have available to walk through the extensively large exhibit hall. The exhibit hall has everything from full year curriculum, to videos, art supplies, games, and services available (such as testing for learning issues, photography classes offered, etc…) Best of all, the exhibit hall is full of energy; full of happy people who believe you're doing a wonderful thing for your child and have products to support you in making the next year of learning fun! I always leave the hall invigorated and pumped up ready to start a new school year!Another feature many people love about the conference is the used book sale!! When you register, you receive a slip of paper with a time on it. You will be allowed into the used book room at this time. In this room, tables are set up by grades and then subject matters; science, cookbooks, art, etc… On Friday you can bring your used books to sell. You indicate the price and if you want to pick up the item on Saturday afternoon if it doesn’t sell. If you don’t want the item anymore, than it will be sold for $1.00 and the proceeds will go to the OCEANetwork.For single parents, you are invited to bring your lunch on Friday and eat with other single parents and a leader from the OCEANetwork. As a single parent myself, I thought it was great having a time to ask questions, get support, and by hearing others with similar struggles, it gave me a sense of energy to keep going, knowing that I could make it through the tough times; as a mom and as a home educator. (If you are a single parent raising your family alone and you are homeschooling or want to look into homeschooling, contact Joyce Padilla at firstname.lastname@example.org.)The perks don’t end there though! Just for registering you will receive $200+ of free curriculum, coupons and homeschool helps on a CD!!Parents with preschool children can attend their first home school conference for free. Grandparents have a discounted entrance fee as well. Not interested in all the workshops, but you do want to see the exhibit hall? You can register for a hall pass.There are also times, aside from the workshops, when everyone is invited to the main speaking hall and the main speaker talks.OCEANetwork also has a legal team that keeps up to date on what laws are going through Salem and will fight for our home school rights. They welcome your involvement and, if you enroll in the email list, will let you know what the laws are and if it would be helpful for you to contact your congressmen.It’s so much fun learning about new products, getting encouragement from the speakers, and running into old friends!Check out the calendar of home school events on OCEANetwork’s home page!!Registration starts on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 8 a.m. The only benefit for registering early is appointments to the used curriculum/book sale are assigned according to when you register. The earlier the time slot you get, the sooner you can get in and the more books available to look at! (Although... if anyone wants to volunteer.. the volunteers get first chance at the used books!)(Sidenote: Registration fee is $50 until June 15 - then the price goes up to $60 - another benefit for registering early! If you don't know you can attend until that weekend though, you can register at the door.)There's so much to this conference! It's huge! We take up a "wing" of the convention center!
Thank you, Jennifer B., for this great information!
So... there's a bit about the Oregon Homeschool Conference for you. If you have any questions about it, ask them below in the comments, and I'll be glad to refer them to Jennifer for answers.