I am so excited! I just booked the hotel for our first-ever family road trip to a homeschool convention! I tried to talk Brian into going to the Midwest Homeschool Convention last year, but he wasn’t entirely convinced that a homeschool convention was what he had in mind for a romantic weekend getaway. Men!
I started early this year, though, and convinced him that a spring road trip to the slightly closer Southeast Homeschool Convention would be fun. Maybe it’s just because I’m a mom, but beds I don’t have to make and meals I don’t have to cook always sound fun to me.
Because Great Homeschool Conventions has activities for the whole family, I asked the kids (the two who are still homeschooling and not working full-time) if they wanted to go. Megan, who is always up for a road trip, immediately agreed.
Josh thought it sounded like more fun to stay home and have the house to himself (and his two buddies) until I told him Bob Smiley would be there. Bob Smiley was the opening act for a Tim Hawkins show we saw, so Josh knows how funny he is. The chance to see him perform, coupled with an indoor pool and workout facility at the hotel were enough to tip the scales.
We’re going on a road trip, y’all!
And you can join us! I’m giving away a family registration* and up to four special event tickets to each special event offered at the convention of your choice!
You don’t want to miss the 2017 Great Homeschool Conventions. It’s the Homeschool Event of the Year. Plus, you know, if you go to the one in Greenville, South Carolina, you can hang out with us.
2017 Great Homeschool Conventions Locations
TEXAS Homeschool Convention, Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, TX – February 23-25, 2017
SOUTHEAST Homeschool Convention, TD Convention Center, Greenville, SC, March 16-18, 2017
MIDWEST Homeschool Convention, Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH, April 20 – 22, 2017
CALIFORNIA Homeschool Convention, Ontario Convention Center, Ontario, CA, June 15 – 17, 2017
This year, there will be more than 230 speaking sessions, led by world-class speakers and including loads of highly-focused special tracks.
I may have to bounce around a bit, being the eclectic homeschool mom that I am. My choices – and, you know, yours – include:
Parenting Track featuring Cynthia Tobias, a regular contributor and radio broadcaster for Focus on the Family, Norm Wakefield, Drive Thru History’s Dave Stotts (The kids love him!), Dr. Thomas White, Pastor Randy Frazee, and more.
Real Faith for the Real World Teen Track. I’m wondering if I can sneak in for this one because, y’all, one of the speakers is J. Warner Wallace, atheist-turned-Christian author and homicide detective. Um, hello? It’d be like meeting Castle! (We can still be friends if you don’t know who Castle is. Maybe.)
Homeschool 101 Track. I know I’m not a newbie, but I’d love to hear Janice Campbell, who will be sharing her wisdom and years of experience as a seasoned homeschooler in the track structured to guide beginning homeschooling families and those just considering homeschooling.
College Track. This one is sponsored by Cedarville University and will address theme Life Beyond High School: How to pay for and go through the process of choosing the right college.
Special Needs and Gifted Children track. In this track, led by Colleen Kessler, Dr. Peg Dawson, and Kathy Kuhl, parents will be encouraged in home-educating children who struggle to overcome learning disabilities and will learn how to continually engage a child who may be learning at a higher level.
Workshop Sessions and Exhibit Hall
In addition to the focused tracks, there will be dozens of other speaking sessions offering how-to’s, teaching tips, and encouragement for homeschool parents. You can check out the workshop preview to get an idea of what you can expect.
Plus, kids will get to enjoy a conference of their own! Hosted by Giant Cow Ministries, kids will have a blast at this high-energy, Biblical-based children’s conference.
I am excited about all the different tracks and special speakers, but I may be even more excited about the huge exhibit hall because, y’all, books! The exhibit hall will allow homeschool parents to explore, up close and personal, all the best curriculum and homeschooling resources available under one roof.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend some time wandering around. Many of the curriculum authors will be there to answer your questions and help you decide which curriculum best fits your child’s learning style.
I love having access to such a huge variety of curriculum options in one spot so that I can physically look through my top choices. I’m particularly excited about it this year because my teens will be there and can help choose their own resources.
After all the shopping, presentations, and workshops, each day will end with an evening of special events.
Holocaust Survivor Dr. Inge Auerbacher – Coming to Texas! (I’m so disappointed that she’ll only be at the Texas event. Megan is studying the Holocaust this year. I’d love to be able to see Dr. Auerbacher.)
Holocaust survivor Dr. Inge Auerbacher will give an account of her time spent in a concentration camp beginning as a 7-year-old child. She spent the worst years of her life surviving as best she could with her family in the cruelest of conditions. Dr. Auerbacher is living history that you and your children may never have the opportunity to witness again.
Andrew Peterson – Coming to all four 2017 GHC events!
Christian homeschooling dad and musician Andrew Peterson will perform on Thursday evening and lead a very special workshop session on Friday morning! As a musician in Nashville, he has “been about the business of quietly changing lives in four-minute increments.” You can enjoy an evening of Andrew’s music, as well as his special Friday morning session!
Nick Vujicic – Coming to Texas and California events!
Great Homeschool Conventions is very honored to also welcome Nick Vujicic! Born without arms or legs, Nick has chosen to be “better instead of bitter.” He will deliver an inspirational and compelling testimony about his determination to enjoy the life and purpose God has given him.
Michael Franzese – Coming to all four 2017 events!
Michael Franzese, former mobster with the feared Colombo crime family, will give his testimony as a born-again Christian. This session is described by past listeners as “…open and honest…fresh and unique. Audiences are captivated by stories of his personal experiences in organized crime and genuinely affected by his powerful anti-crime messages and eye-opening revelations.”
Mike Berenstain – Coming to the MidWest event!
Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962. Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually, he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005, and Jan in 2012, Mike continues to create the delightful Bear adventures from his studio in Pennsylvania, in an area that looks much like the sunny dirt road deep in Bear Country.
Bob Smiley – Coming to the SouthEast, MidWest, and California events! (Woo hoo!)
Many moons ago—before the invention of Ritalin or the Internet—a young, broke college student named Roberto Antonio Smiley (Bob) signed up for a stand-up competition at his Student Union Building. The prize money was $500, which was nearly 5 months rent for the “efficiency” closet Smiley was living in at the time. Though he had never stepped on a stage, and the only prior laughs he had gotten were due to his colossal leprechaun ears, he went for the gold. When he arrived, his only competition was a grown man wearing an oversized sombrero with no act…so…he won the money and the tender hearts of his fellow students. The rest is history.
John Crist – Coming to the MidWest event!
John Crist continues to gain momentum as one of America’s young rising stars of comedy. Crist’s style of edgy but clean comedy keeps him on the road for a whirlwind schedule of over 250 live shows per year.
When asked how he finds the inspiration to write jokes, Crist says, “Shoot, I grew up in the south. My dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight homeschooled children. Coming from a background like that, how do you not write jokes?!”
FREE Gifts to all Who Register
I feel like a TV announcer, “But, wait. There’s more!” Because, if all the events, workshops, and speakers aren’t enough, as an added bonus, everyone who registers for the convention will receive the following:
- A free Andrew Peterson album download (8 songs, a $7.99 value!)
- Free streaming access ($59 value) to all twelve episodes of “Ancient History” as well as “The Gospels” (episode 1) from the folks at DriveThru History. (Don’t wait, though—the free access to these awesome history episodes is available only until October 1, 2017.)
- A free download of The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers e-book by Mike Berenstain (a $1.99 value). E-book offer is from the publisher, Zondervan.
When you register, don’t forget to book your accommodations! Partnering hotels offer great rates to convention attendees, but the reserved blocks of hotel rooms sell out quickly, so be sure to book early. I don’t know if it was a mistake, but one of my top two choices for hotels already said there were no rooms available.
You can find a hotel here. (If you’re headed to Greeneville, you can hang out with us at Embassy Suites – just don’t cut line in front of us for the made-to-order breakfasts. Yum!)
The folks at Great Homeschool Conventions say,
“As you can see, this coming year is going to be better than ever. We strive to educate by presenting speakers who are professionals in their field and who can better prepare you for the journey, aspire to encourage you as you connect with like-minded, grace-filled families, and endeavor to equip you with comprehensive curriculum choices in the largest homeschool curriculum halls in the country.
Our mission is to help you and your children’s homeschooling journey so that it may be more successful and less stressful in your God-given right to home-educate your children.”
So, invite your friends and family to a homeschooling event like none other!! Early-bird discounts are on-sale now.
Here’s what others are saying:
“I was so overwhelmed as this is my first year homeschooling. I walked away with a greater sense of confidence and direction.” —Michele
“My husband got the encouragement he needed to be a part of our homeschool experience.” —Nicole
“The quality and variety of speakers is what sets this convention apart from others.” —Coreline
“Definitely the place to go to get answers to any questions you may have about curriculum.” —Nikki G
“Go! It’s worth every minute and every penny!” —Melissa T
Great Homeschool Conventions would like to thank their sponsors, World News Group, National Center for Life and Liberty, and Cedarville University.
The folks at Great Homeschool Conventions are giving away a family registration* and up to four special event tickets to each special event offered at the convention of your choice! Follow the directions on the RaffleCopter widget below to enter.
Rules: This giveaway is open to United States residents, ages 18 years and older only. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (ET) on Wednesday, October 26, 2016. The winner will be selected at random using Random.org via RaffleCopter.
The winner will be notified via email and given 72 hours to respond. You must enter a valid email address to win. In the event that the winner cannot be contacted by email or does not respond within 72 hours, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner selected.
Click to read the complete rules. By entering this giveaway, you indicate that you have read and agreed to abide by these rules.
*A family registration covers you, your spouse, children/teens, and their grandparents to hear the workshops and shop the exhibit hall for all three days of the convention.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.