This past weekend, I attended the NCHE Homeschool Conference and Book Fair in Winston Salem, NC. Many of my Instagram followers expressed an interest in the conference and in homeschooling in general so I thought I’d share a bit about the weekend. I had a GREAT time and am already looking to buy my ticket/lodging for next year’s conference!
(Disclaimer: I’ll be talking about homeschooling during this post (the title should have been a dead giveaway). I won’t be discussing the WHY’S of our choice to venture into home learning today – that’s a post for another day. If homeschooling isn’t your thing, skip this post and come back tomorrow.)
Probably a year ago, my mother-in-law put a bug in my ear about attending this conference. As a first time attendee and a homeschooling mother of a child under 5, I was able to attend free of charge. The conference ran from Thursday night through Saturday afternoon, which was the perfect amount of time to be away from home IMO (thanks to Travis for watching the kids!).
Catherine and I left Franklin around 2pm and arrived in Winston Salem right around 5pm. After a minor snag with our hotel reservation (turns out we actually had a reservation with the Marriott instead of the Embassy – whoops), we made our way to the Book Fair. Note: Our hotel joined the Winston Salem Convention Center via covered walkway so we never left the building (aside from lunch one day)! The Book Fair was….overwhelming. With probably 200+ vendors all selling curriculum that I wanted to see and touch, I kind of just stood in the doorway for a second and focused on breathing. Luckily Catherine has 35 years of homeschooling experience and has been to the convention many times – she knew exactly what to do.
That first day, we scoped about half of the room out and just browsed quickly. I made notes of the booths I wanted to come back to and before I knew it, the Book Fair closed. We headed up to the hotel room and did what moms do best when they’re away from their children – we read books and played around on Facebook. In bed by 10pm.
Around 7am, I got a good cardio session in at the hotel gym, showered and we ate breakfast at the Embassy’s made-to-order omelet station. Fancy. Then I spent the day listening to speakers (click to see the full schedule) – circled below are the ones I attended. It was hard picking just one for each timeslot.
My favorite one of the day: Methods that Win and Methods that Wipe Out. The speaker, Jeannie Fulbright gave me so much inspiration about homeschooling in general. More than anything, I wanted to be emboldened on this unique journey. My very first talk of the weekend did just that!
The remainder of the day was spent either in sessions, perusing the Book Fair (I probably went in there 20 different times when I had extra minutes), eating at Camino Bakery and filling up my water bottle at the hotel gym.
And again, we were in our pajamas, reading by 7:30pm. Dinner under the covers (cereal and milk). Perfection!
Saturday was the last day – there were only three sessions and we stayed for the first one: How To Teach Your Child To Think! Another great one! After the session, it was time to BUY CURRICULUM before heading home. Some of the ones that caught my eye throughout the weekend were:
In the end, I decided to do a mish mash of various ones and make up my own curriculum. As Henry gets older, this method might be harder to do but for now, he’s four years old and in between Kindergarten and 1st grade. Mish mash fits us. I spent around $100 when it was all said and done.
QUESTION: Ever been to a convention or conference that helped you define your vision? Ever homeschooled or thought about it? Homeschoolers – what curriculum did you use?