THE 2018 FLORIDA PARENT EDUCATION ASSOCIATION
NO MATTER WHERE OUR RV TAKES US, WE ARE ABLE TO BRING EDUCATION ALONG FOR THE RIDE.
Many families, like ours, have discovered RV travel is the only way to really see this country. If you have two or more children, it just makes financial sense to make the most of your vacation time and money by hitting the road in an RV. Countless families have also made the difficult yet rewarding decision to homeschool or even road school their little Einstein’s. We have found that blending RV travel with homeschooling is the perfect recipe for a well-rounded education and an abundant life.
Yes, over three years ago we decided that we loved hitting the road so much so, that we did not want the school calendar to dictate when or how far we could travel at any given time. Needless to say, once we made that decision to home educate our three lively little boys, reality hit me that I was in charge of determining our children’s curriculum and ultimately their educational destiny.
THE FPEA PROMISED AN AWESOME CONVENTION AND THEY DELIVERED!
When I was introduced to the world of homeschool conventions, it became a resource I would continue to tap into every year. This year I was lured to beautiful Orlando, Florida to explore the Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) 2018 Homeschool Conference.
Who could turn down a trip to Florida, right?
These homeschool conferences can be huge and somewhat daunting to many families, but I want to share some tips that will allow you to consume this large educational meal in small digestible bites. These four tips will get you started on successfully completing your first homeschool conference.
- Pre-register for the event and print out the vendor list and speakers schedule. This way you are able to highlight the vendor booths you are interested in getting more information from and which speakers you feel have information you need to be successful in your homeschooling journey. These conventions usually have a broad spectrum of topics for families, no matter if you are thinking about beginning homeschool in the near future, you’re a newbie to homeschooling or even if you have been homeschooling for years.
- Wear your most comfortable shoes because you will be doing a ton of walking. The larger homeschool conventions will have several breakout sessions that you have to navigate through as well as a large curriculum fair, where you can browse through hundreds of curricula books and other related homeschool wares and services. All this amounts to a lot of time on your feet.
- Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water, snacks and a brown bag lunch. The convention halls are notorious for expensive food. (I usually bring my boys with me to the curriculum fair so that they can have some input in what we choose for the upcoming year.) If your kids are anything like mine they will want to snack frequently.
THE SNACKS AT THE CONVENTION ARE USUALLY SOLD THROUGH THE VENUE’S VENDORS AND CAN BE PRICEY.
- I usually bring a rolling cart to carry away my curriculum finds. Who wants to be stuck carrying around heavy books and what not? Mine also doubles as a handy-dandy seat to take a load off my feet when a chair is nowhere in sight.
Personally, I really enjoy attending the homeschool conferences every year. Why? Mostly, I believe the speakers usually provide topics that speak to my needs and give me that extra motivation I need to tackle another school year. Homeschool is not easy, but it is probably the most important job I have ever had. Just like public school teachers, home educators also need to have classes that are able to uplift, inspire, and offer them with new strategies.
The speakers this year spoke on topics such as How to Choose and Adopt Curriculum, Homeschool 101, How to Teach Multiple Levels, Teaching, Critical Thinking, and Creating a Roadmap for High School. This is a very small sampling of the topics that were addressed in the workshops. As you can see there was something for the newbies to homeschooling, as well as for the seasoned homeschooler. It didn’t matter if you were educating your preschooler or your high school student that is juggling dual-enrollment courses; there was a workshop to meet your needs. This is one reason why I continue to go to the homeschool conferences every year. I always learn something new that nourishes my soul and equips my toolbox so that I can soldier on.
If you are worried that these events are dry and boring, let me assure you that they are not. This year’s FPEA homeschool conference offered the parents some fun activities to participate in such as the Mom Strong Pajama Party and the Guys Night Out. Kids of all ages were able to participate in the conference by attending the FPEA Teen Town Hall and having special workshops designed for teens. The younger kids were invited to register for a special children’s program where parents were able to drop them off in a supervised environment for loads of games and activities.
THIS IS ONE OF MY BOYS’ TOPS PICKS FOR SCIENCE CURRICULUM THIS NEXT YEAR.
I had a chance to chat with new vendors and others that were more established. Why is this important? Well, like many other homeschoolers, I too have researched curriculum online and thought it would be a perfect fit for my family. However, once I received it I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would be. That is the beauty of the Vendor Hall! In the hall you are presented with hundreds of vendors who are eager for you to browse through their curriculum and ask the questions that you need answered. Oh, and did I mention the discounts? The majority of the vendors offer conference discounts and/or sample curriculum so you can be sure this is indeed right for your family. My boys enjoyed the vendor hall as much as I did. I really love bringing them in so that they are able to sample the material. They are really good at offering their impressions of the curriculum. Lately, I have found that when they are able to weigh in on what curriculum that we use they are more likely to be invested in their work.
SPEAKING TO VENDORS IS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE VENDOR HALL AND LEARN ABOUT CURRICULUM.
All in all, I found the 2018 FPEA Conference to be one of the best homeschool events that I have attended. We are one step closer to making some curriculum changes for next school year due in large to the generous variety of vendors and workshops that were available at the conference. Having had the opportunity to physically view and in some cases, allow my kids to sample a couple of our curriculum picks was worth the price of admission to the conference.