Being a home school parent is not easy. I know, since we decided to bring my oldest home for school at least temporarily to give him more one-on-one instruction and hands-on learning experiences. Overwhelmed with the decisions and responsibility involved, I decided last spring to attend Great Homeschool Conventions’ (GHC) regional convention in Greenville, SC.
I was undecided on curriculum, philosophy, and more going into GHC. Due to our particular circumstances, we were sure that homeschooling was the best choice for our child but we also knew that we needed help getting started. The SouthEast Homeschool Convention ended up being the perfect place to get that help!
2015 SOUTHEAST Homeschool Convention
March 12-14, 2015 at the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC
The Great Homeschool Conventions is a large Christian conference that is offered in four cities, which luckily for us includes Greenville. The conference is large with hundreds of workshops on both parenting and homeschool topics. They have a HUGE exhibit hall with two hundred plus exhibitors for a hands-on look at a large variety of curriculum.
The GHC does not require an agreement of their statement of faith in order to participate in the conference. As a result, the vendor hall and speakers included some secular options such as online charter schools in addition to Christian publishing houses. I personally liked the opportunity to interact with more options in the vendor hall.
My husband and I found the workshops insightful and thought-provoking. The topics ranged from help with teaching specific subjects to parenting topics. The schedule was full and offered many excellent choices, so many that we had trouble deciding which sessions to attend. Fortunately, most sessions are recorded and available for purchase at the event only to those who attended.
Find this year’s schedule here!
The Greenville 2015 Great Homeschool Convention highlights include:
- Outstanding Speakers
- 100s of Information-Packed Workshops, including Homeschooling 101, Special Needs and Gifted, Parenting, and Classical Education specialty tracks
- HUGE Homeschool Curriculum Exhibit Hall
- REAL FAITH for the REAL WORLD Teen Track
- High-energy Children’s Conference, hosted by Giant Cow Ministries
- Special session Thursday evening with Holocaust Survivors, Inge Auerbacher, sponsored by Samaritan Ministries
- Special session Thursday evening with attorney, former homeschooling mom, and pro-life advocate, Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived out of brutal rape, sponsored by Personhood Ohio
- Mom’s Night Out PJ Party with Heidi St. John, sponsored by Mardel
- Family Comedy Night with Bob Smiley, sponsored by Sonlight
- An Evening with Benjamin Franklin, sponsored by WORLD News Group
- Plus much, much more!
Price of Conference
This year’s conference is affordable at just $45/individual or $60/family. (Pricing will increase as the event gets closer). This price includes admission for the entire event and parking is free.
In addition, families can add-on the special night sessions and a children’s program is also available for a fee.
Register here to get this price before it goes up!
What We Learned from GHC
At last year’s conference, my husband and I came into the conference overwhelmed but left with information that helped us get a good start in our first year.
- We attended several excellent sessions by a reading specialist that gave us tools and ideas for engaging our struggling new reader.
- One math session that I attended provided me with a stack of books that taught math concepts and games to practice math facts.
- We learned that South Carolina has several free online charter schools as part of the public school system, a choice that we did not choose to pursue this year but are considering for the future.
- In the vendor hall we had the opportunity to read and look through the curriculum we were considering, allowing us to choose more effectively.
- We met other families that homeschool in our area.
Tips for Attending GHC
If this is your first year attending the Southeast Homeschool Conference, you may want to consider the following to make your time easier:
- Get a babysitter for small kids. Even though kids are welcome at the conference, there is really very little for babies or small children to do. My husband and I were really thankful that a friend offered to watch ours so that we could attend without the distraction of children. Children 6-12 can be enrolled in an affordable children’s program (sign up early to ensure a spot).
- Bring a rolling crate. If you plan on buying curriculum, be sure to bring something to make toting it easier.
- Study the schedule ahead of time. The GHC offers a LOT of workshops, so it helps to have a plan of what you want to attend ahead of time. Write down what your biggest questions are and schedule sessions that answer those questions first. A preliminary schedule is now posted on the GHC site for their SouthEast event. The final schedule will be marked “final” and will be posted right before the convention. A more detailed descriptions document of the sessions will be posted so you can read the bio of each speaker and the title and description of each session the speaker will be presenting.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. You will do a lot of walking and the exhibit hall is concrete.
- Layer! Last year the TD Convention Center was sweltering hot in some rooms and freezing in others.
Have you been to the Southeast Homeschool Convention before? What did you think?