I’m writing this post on an airplane heading towards on of the many Catholic homeschooling conferences I attend each spring and summer. Attendance at conferences is up this year after a rather flat 2011. That’s great news, especially since the price of gasoline is still pretty high and many families are pinching pennies.
At Catholic homeschool and parent conferences, the benefits of the vendor hall, the speakers, the inspiration and the fellowship far outweigh the cost of travel and a babysitter.
Usually the vendor hall fills up first. Thrifty moms arrive early to get the best buys at the used book sales. Many parents enroll to take advantage of Seton’s conference discount of $30 per child. Others come to check out educational materials or purchase enrichment books and games.
Many vendors offer Catholic products that are hard to find anywhere else – statues of the saints, holy cards, chapel veils, inspirational CD’s and DVD’s, and religious art. Sometimes there are vendors offering Catholic or homeschool friendly apparel. No matter how attractive the vendor hall, however, drag yourself away to listen to the speakers.
Homeschooling conferences offer a terrific opportunity to hear speakers with a solid Catholic point of view offering encouragement and practical advice difficult to find anywhere else. Speakers include authors, personalities from Catholic radio and TV, and moms many with years of homeschooling experience.
Always conference favorites, holy priests present the spiritual benefits of home education or Catholic family life, and offer useful guidance. Other speakers deal with more specific topics like high school or special education. Many conferences now offer talks directed to teens and feature homeschool graduates who talk about their transition to college life.
Many parents report that the best part of an annual conference is the opportunity to meet other homeschoolers or meet up with old buddies.
I often advise attendees to write the town they live in on their nametags. You never know, another homeschooling family may be closer than you know. It’s not too late to find a conference in your area.
Header Image CC trainman74