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The Teaching Home
Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement


Number 33                                        April 7, 2003
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, editors

You are welcome to forward this newsletter in its entirety.

Getting the Most Out of Home-School
Conventions, Conferences, and Book Fairs

  • Benefits of Attending
  • Who Should Go with You
  • Registration
  • Preparation
  • The Day Before
  • Convention Manners
  • At the Convention
  • Exhibit Hall
  • Networking
  • Follow-Up
  • Copyright-Free Notice
    Recommended Resources
  • Mathematics Enrichment Program Online
  • The Patterns of English Spelling
  • Homeschool Bookworm
  • Unless The Lord . . . Magazine
    Sunny Side Up: Humorous Anecdote


         Unique benefits await you at your local, regional, or state home-school convention, conference, or book fair. We urge you to attend!
         And be sure to get the most our of any home-school event with the practical check-list in this issue.
         May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

    Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
    The Teaching Home is a 22-year-old, home-school family business.

         Mathematics Enrichment Program Online
              SchoolPlus Math Enrichment Distance Program covers
         all topics of a standard mathematics curriculum for
         grades 2-7. We expose kids to non-routine, challenging
         math problems to encourage creative thinking in
         mathematics. See free sample lessons online.

    Getting the Most Out of Home-School
    Conventions, Conferences, and Book Fairs

         Find out when your state convention is at

    Benefits of Attending
         The opportunities brought together in this once-a-year event can renew and expand your vision for teaching and training your children. Be encouraged, rejuvenated, inspired, motivated, and better equipped to home school.

    __ Speakers can broaden your horizons as they expose you to new ideas, methods, materials, and approaches as well as remind you of the basics.

    __ Workshops give you practical training in various and specific topics to make your teaching more efficient.

    __ Exhibit Halls enable you to examine, compare, and purchase a great variety of the latest and best of home education materials, technologies, and products from hundreds of selections in one place. Discuss products and speak to authors or knowledgeable representatives to learn more and to get your questions answered. You can also usually save on shipping.

    __ Networking with other like-minded home schoolers can offer valuable friendship and support.

    __ Extras. Check to see if any of the following are offered:
         * Used Curriculum Sale.
         * Teens' or Children's Programs.
         * Tapes of General Sessions and Workshops.
         * Luncheon or Meeting for Support Group Leaders.
         * Graduation Ceremony.
         * Boxed Lunch or Snack Bar.
         * Special Hotel Room Rates.

         Buy Teaching Home Back Issues Online

  • Find Information, Inspiration & Encouragement
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  • Each Issue Is Pictured and All Articles Are Listed
  • Practical How-Tos & Teaching Tips

    Visit The Teaching Home Website for:
    Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Home Schooling.
    Articles on Home-School Basics.

    Who Should Go with You

    __ Spouse. It is ideal for a husband and wife to go together in order to share perspectives and to keep focused on family goals and budget.

    __ Friend. If it is not possible for your spouse to attend, a friend can help you in much the same way.

    __ Hotel Room. If you need to travel far, you may want to take a room overnight in which you can also stow purchases or take a brief rest.

    __ Nursing Babies, of course, stay with Mom.

    __ Young Children. Children may not be allowed and will be a distraction; either you will not be able to get all you can out of the convention, or you will not be able to give adequate care to your children.

    __ Teens and Older Children. If your convention offers special programs for teens and older children you may want to consider this option.

         Check out these cost-cutting options:

    __ Preregister Early. This can save you money that you can spend on buying materials.

    __ Volunteer To Work. A few hours or more can be a real help to the organization sponsoring the event, and you may be rewarded by a reduced entrance fee and/or other benefits. You will also get to know some great home schoolers while working with them.

    __ Join Organization. By joining, you help support home-school efforts in your area, plus you may receive discounts on your convention fee and on membership in Home School Legal Defense Association.

    __ Special Rates for couples, grandparents, teens, children, pastors, and other full-time ministers.

         The Patterns of English Spelling
              The only reference tool of its kind. Use its
         general index to look up a spelling word such as
         "delicious" and find the page (p. 885) where all
         43 "cious" words can be found -- from "vicious" to
         "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." See:

         The vast array of workshops and exhibit booths, combined with a limited time to take it all in, can be overwhelming when you walk into a convention unprepared.
         On the other hand, if you go with a plan and focus on your purpose and priorities, you can spend your time more wisely and get the most out of the convention.

    __ Your Spouse. This is an ideal time to discuss with your spouse your overall and yearly home-school goals and plans. First, accept our gracious Lord's offer of wisdom and direction to those who ask in faith. Then pray about who should attend the convention and what your purposes are in attending.

    __ Gather Information. Obtain a convention schedule, list of exhibitors, exhibit hall floor plan.

    __ Make Selections. Choose speakers' sessions and workshops you want to attend. Prioritize and mark as "must attend" or "would like to attend if possible," and select sessions of which you would like to buy tapes.

    __ Compare your agenda with that of your spouse or friend attending with you and see if you can each cover several different sessions separately and then share their content with each other.

    __ Research. Check out publishers' and suppliers' catalogs (in print or online) to plan exactly which materials you would like to examine and consider. The more you know beforehand, the more you will profit from the opportunity of hands-on comparison shopping. You can link to 123 home-school suppliers at

    __ Shopping List. You probably would not go to the grocery store without a list. Make a list of specific materials or the types of materials you will be looking for to meet the instructional needs of each of your children according to the goals you and your husband have discussed.

    __ Identify four or five "must see" exhibitors, then prioritize the rest. Mark your program or exhibit hall floor plan, or make a list.

    __ Questions. Make a list of questions to ask exhibitors, speakers, and/or other attendees.

    __ Budget. Determine your budget with your husband. Along with your shopping list and goals, this will help you make purchasing decisions.

         Your Source for New & Used Curriculum on the Web!
              Quality educational materials from publishers you
         know and trust -- at family-friendly prices.
              Click on "Specials" on green menu bar at top of
         our home page for reduced prices on "Childhood of
         Famous Americans" series.

    The Day Before
         Make these last minute preparations.

    __ Family Needs. Spend some special time with your children and husband. Prepare meals and make provision to meet other needs while you are at the convention. Confirm child care arrangements.

    __ Directions. Make sure you know exactly how to get to the convention facility and what parking is available so that you do not lose valuable time and emotional energy just getting there.

    __ Schedule. Plan to leave in time to be early or on time. Otherwise, at the end of the day, you will wish you had another hour or two.

    __ Pack items you will take with you. You do not want to be laden down with too much stuff, but here are some essentials.
         * Directions and/or map.
         * Cash, checks, or debit card.
         * Highlighter to mark your program.
         * Canvas tote(s) for handouts and purchases.
         * Steno pad and pens to take lots of notes.
         * Return address mailing labels to use in filling out forms.
         * Watch to keep track of time so you won't miss sessions.
         * Comfortable walking shoes.
         * Water, snack, and lunch, unless you have other plans.

    __ Sleep and Eat. Get a good night's sleep and a good breakfast.

    Convention Manners
         Observe these guidelines to show consideration to everyone involved at the convention.

    __ Convention Rules. Follow the rules set out for the convention regarding food and beverage in exhibit hall (check if bottled water is OK), children, strollers, etc.

    __ Exhibitors. Support the ones who help you. Do not take up an exhibitor's time in counseling and explaining his products and then go buy the same product from another exhibitor or from or a discount supplier. Exhibitors help make the convention possible.

    __ Babies and Children. Immediately remove a crying or disrupting child from a workshop or meeting. Ask your child to give his chair to an adult if there is not enough seating.

         Unless The Lord . . . Magazine
              Encouraging and practical articles, testimonies,
         and articles on some of the more "difficult" issues.
         Topics include home schooling, child raising, marriage,
         courtship/betrothal, health, childbirth/home births,
         country living, home business, homemaking and crafts.

    At the Convention
         Once at the convention, follow your plan.

    __ Schedule. If you have not already obtained and marked a schedule and exhibit hall floor plan, do this first.

    __ Breaks. Take breaks to rest your feet, reassess your progress, and write notes while your impressions are fresh.

    __ Speakers. Don't expect to agree with everything a speaker says. Compare everything to God's Word; accept and use what you can and let the rest go.

    __ The Unexpected. Allow some free time to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.

    Exhibit Hall

    __ Work Your Plan. Use your prioritized plan of booth visits and your shopping list to do your "must see" visits first, then go through the exhibit hall finding and learning more new things.

    __ Talk to vendors about their products' methods, goals, and philosophy, and how to use them. Use your list of questions.

    __ Purchases. Use the parcel check if available, or take your purchases to your room or car rather than tire yourself carrying them around.

    __ Busy. If the sales representatives are busy at a "must see" booth, go on and return later, or ask to be included in the discussion by saying, "I'm interested in this product too. May I listen in?"

    __ Sleep on It. If you are attending two days, gather information the first day, and then think and pray overnight about the purchases you are contemplating before making the actual purchases.

    __ Also visit nonprofit and service organizations' booths to find out what they can offer you (e.g., your state organization, Home School Legal Defense Association, and National Home Education Research Institute).
    __ Give Feedback. When appropriate, tell a vendor about your needs, opinions, and experiences so that your input can help them produce products and services that better meet the needs of home schoolers. Try to give a brief, succinct, one or two sentence statement that it is clear, focused, and does not take up too much time.

         Please Thank & Support Sponsoring Advertisers!
              These free newsletters are made possible financially
         by the fine suppliers who advertise in them.
              Please remember those that have advertised in our
         last issue (below) as well as the ones in this issue.

         The Bible in Living Sound.
         Hands-On Bible Curriculum.
         Timberdoodle Co., a Mailorder Homeschool Resource.
         Henty Books and The Captain magazine.


    __ Meet and talk to other attendees; greet old friends and make new ones.

    __ Ask advice. Get feedback on ideas and products and share opinions and experiences. You may get your most valuable information and encouragement from another home-school mom.

    __ Offer to help someone. Hold a baby and give a mother's arms a rest; find a new home schooler (it will be obvious) and give a word or more of encouragement; find someone alone who needs you to just listen for awhile; offer to help a speaker or exhibitor. Smile at everyone.


    __ Debriefing. Have a debriefing discussion with your spouse or friend. Talking over the ideas and products you encountered at the convention will help you sort through things, keeping some and discarding others, focusing on how to get the most out of your experience.

    __ Just Do It. Return home with at least one new idea that will make a difference in your home school to put into practice. Look over all your notes while they are fresh, and narrow down all the wonderful things you would like to do to no more than six. Then prioritize your list and start on the first one the following week.

    __ Be Accountable. Ask your husband or a friend to pray for you and keep you accountable to work on your goal. It is good to have ongoing accountability to share ideas and objectives and require updates from each other on a regular basis. The results may surprise and encourage you.

    __ Share the information you have gathered with your support group or someone who was not able to attend. Let them know if you would recommend that they plan to attend next year.

    __ Clean Up. Sort literature you received into four categories: 1) take action 2) save for future reference or reading, 3) pass on to someone else, 4) toss.

    __ Thank Yous! Write a thank you note to those who put so much effort into planning and putting on the convention, a speaker that ministered to you, or an exhibitor that took time to help you.

    Copyright-Free Notice
         This article, "Getting the Most Out of Home-School Conventions, Conferences, and Book Fairs," is offered for you to use free of copyright. You may adapt it to your particular event and print it or post it on your website.
         See policies at the end of this newsletter for reprinting other articles.

    Sunny Side Up
         After a spelling test, I was checking for mistakes when our 4-year-old daughter gave me her paper. She had written "NDN," her version of "Indian."
         Sent by Donna S., North Las Vegas, Nevada
         You are also invited to submit your humorous anecdote.

    God Loves You.
         Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ died in our place, then rose to life again. If we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
         "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8, 9).

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