A World of Difference

Mar 29, 2017 | Posted by Jennifer


I love spring! It evokes so many memories for me. The trickle of the snow melting off the roof, the poke of a tiny green crocus shoot, and the excitement of the homeschool vendor hall all bring to mind my associations of spring.

Yes, spring is the beginning of the homeschool convention season. In all of my many years of homeschooling, I have only missed attending a homeschool convention one time: my oldest child’s kindergarten year. Why? Because at that point, I had no idea homeschool conventions even existed! Sometime in the middle of his first grade year, I became friends with another homeschool mom who asked me if I wanted to go to the CHEO convention in Columbus, Ohio. I considered for a moment and agreed, intrigued about what I might learn.

That first year opened my eyes to new and exciting possibilities. For the first time in my young homeschooling career, I felt like I was among family. Homeschoolers were everywhere! I realized I had found my people. I attended motivational seminars, learned about new curriculums, and spoke with some wonderful individuals. I came home from that first convention exhausted yet energized, encouraged to embark upon a new year of learning with my children.

You may be wondering why in this digital age you would want to attend a homeschool convention. After all, with the world wide web at your fingertips, homeschool products and demonstrations are only a few keystrokes away. This is what I have found:

1. Conventions bring people together.

Attending a convention—whether the first or the fifteenth— is always eye-opening. All of the people gathering together who share a common conviction is so energizing to me. It reminds me that I am not on the journey alone, but that I have a community at large sharing and working to realize a common vision. It is a very empowering thing.

2. Conventions allow you to look at curriculums up close.

Are you wondering if your family should choose Math Company A or Math Company B? Come to the convention and actually hold the textbooks in your hand. Ask their representatives questions about their curriculum. Talk to parents who are using the materials. You will find them at the convention!

3. Conventions offer encouragement for the road you are on.

Homeschooling isn’t an easy path all the time. Do you have a special needs child? Come to the convention for encouragement and help. Is there a child who seems to push boundaries all the time? Be encouraged! There is a talk that will help you. Do you have a rising high school student and are nervous about college? The homeschool convention will help you sort out those exciting four years and make sense of it all.

4. IEW comes to conventions!

We love to talk to homeschoolers and answer your questions. Come to our booth and check out our products. Many of us homeschool as well, and we are very happy to share our personal experiences with using IEW products. Also, by coming to the convention, you are able to take advantage of free shipping and receive a valuable gift with your purchase. Check out where we will be this convention season. We’d love to meet you!

5. Conventions are fun for the whole family!

At many conventions there are programs for kids of all ages. Your children can come to the convention and meet other kids there who are traveling the same road. They can join in a kickball tournament, go on a scavenger hunt, or watch a fun movie with their new friends. Spouses can partner together to make decisions for their family for the upcoming year. Grandparents can learn more about homeschooling, and at the end of the day, the whole family can enjoy a meal together and share their experiences.

I am so thankful that I’ve been able to attend my local homeschool convention every year. My youngest child is now in high school, and my homeschooling time is nearing its end. I’m thankful for those memories of the conventions I have attended. They are a little like “measuring stick” moments. I can look back to them and see how far our family has come on our homeschool journey. The remembrances are precious. My homeschool convention memories started with penmanship and successful reading strategies and have carried me through dyslexia and ADHD diagnoses to preparing my children to fledge. I am so glad I made the decision to attend that first year. It has made a world of difference, both to my family and to me.


Jennifer Mauser has always loved reading and writing and received a B.A. in English from the University of Kansas in 1991. Once she and her husband had children, they decided to homeschool, and she put all her training to use in the home. In addition to homeschooling her children, Jennifer teaches IEW classes out of her home, coaches budding writers via email, and tutors students who struggle with dyslexia.

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