There is nothing like the hustle and bustle of a homeschool convention. Apart from being a treasure trove of information, there is so much to fill your family’s time: the exhibit hall with dozens of vendors, workshops and seminars with homeschooling experts, and exciting children’s activities. No matter where in the country you homeschool, chances are, there is a convention going on in your state at some point during the year.

But we know it’s not always feasible to attend a homeschool convention, whether it’s finances, distance, illness, or any other hindrance. That’s why we’ve put together this list to help you take advantage of all that conventions have to offer even if you can’t physically be there.

Virtual conventions – More and more organizers are turning to technology to reach homeschooling families. Virtual conventions feature vendor halls, speaking sessions, and even Q and A sessions—just like traditional homeschool conventions. These are perfect for families who are unable to travel for whatever reason. Like traditional conventions, most virtual conventions charge a registration fee.

Curriculum fairs – Many homeschool groups, co-ops, and charter schools hold smaller curriculum fairs on a yearly basis. Although some of these are only available to members, it’s definitely an incentive to join a local homeschool group or co-op. Some of these events also allow you to sell your used curriculum. Families can also purchase curricula, meet with vendors, and sit it on speaking sessions and workshops.

Homeschool groups and co-ops – If you’re a member of a local homeschool group or co-op, why not consider starting your own curriculum fair or mini-convention? Other families will probably be more than happy to donate their time and talent by helping contact potential vendors, coordinate dates/times, find a location, etc.

Podcasts/Videos – Learn about all things homeschooling, or any other topic that you’re interested in, with these insightful digital series that you can download or stream. These are especially appealing to busy families since you can listen or watch from any desktop or laptop device. Check out our own video on what to do if you can’t attend a homeschool convention!

Seminar/workshop recordings – Some convention organizers may allow you to purchase recording of the seminars/workshops. It’s important to note that many organizers only allow attendees to purchase these recordings on-site during each specific convention, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to reach out and ask. You may also want to reach out to individual speakers to inquire about purchasing a copy of their session. (Sample emails below).

TED Talks – These online videos are available in a number of different topics, including homeschooling. In addition to being free of charge, you can access them anytime in a number of languages.

Online forums – While attending a homeschool convention provides you with the opportunity to meet with other like-minded families in person, there are communities online where you can just as easily chat with other homeschoolers, ask questions, receive advice, and more. You can start with the Time4Learning Parent Community and Forum or A2Z Homeschooling.

Free trials/demos – One of the many perks about attending a homeschool convention is that you get to demo different curricula on the spot. However, many online programs offer potential members free trials so you can determine if it’s a good fit. During this trial period, you also have access to customer support so you can ask any questions just like you would at a convention, but from the comfort of your home.

If cost is a reason that’s keeping you from attending, below are a few ideas that can help.

Volunteer – The majority of conventions welcome volunteers with open arms. This will allow you and your family to attend for free in exchange for several hours of your time. This is especially beneficial for families who are close enough to a convention that they can simply make the drive each day without having to spend money on hotel accommodations.

Discounted hotel rates – The larger conventions usually secure group rates at area hotels. This can sometimes help save your family hundreds of dollars, while staying at quality hotels, some of which include free breakfast. Many of these hotels are usually within walking distance to the convention center, while others offer the convenience of free shuttle service.

If there comes a time that you have the opportunity to attend a homeschool convention, be sure to check out this handy convention prep list that helps guide you as you make your plans.

How have you reaped the benefits of a homeschool convention in the past without actually attending? Let us know in the comments and share your tips.

For speakers/presenters

Dear ___________,

My name is _______________ and I am a homeschooling parent to ______children.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the __________ Convention in __________, but I’m very interested in your workshop titled ____________. Do you have a recorded copy available for purchase?

Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
________________

For convention organizers

Dear ___________,

My name is _______________ and I am a homeschooling parent to ______children.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the __________ Convention in __________, but I’m very interested in ____________’s workshop titled ____________. Do you have a recorded copy available for purchase?

Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
_______________

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