This spring I decided to attend both the Great Homeschool Convention and Teach Them Diligently. I wanted to attend both back-to-back to see which one I liked better, so that I could choose one in upcoming years. We had four women go to the Great Homeschool Convention and twelve to Teach Them Diligently.
We started off by going to the Great Homeschool Convention that was held in Greenville, SC in March. The first advantage of this conference is the timing. In March, you really don’t know if you are going to make it to the end of the year and a homeschool conference is a great way to get some inspiration to persevere. The second advantage of this conference is the venue. I used to complain about the venue because it was not close to a decent hotel to stay at. I like when the hotel is attached or close to the conference center so you can go back to the room if needed. I also like when I don’t have to drive for the entire weekend. However, compared to the Teach Me Diligently conference, the venue is much better. They have bigger rooms that were not as crowded. At Teach Me Diligently, I found myself standing or sitting on the floor more than once. Also, they have nicer chairs at the Great Homeschool Convention which matters after three days of sitting. Oh, and the venue has a bigger area for vendors, which means more vendors, which means more shopping. Okay – that can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. The third advantage was that the teen track seemed much better at the Great Homeschool Convention. I don’t know anyone who has done the teen tracts so this is simply from looking at what each one offered. The speakers at the Great Homeschool Convention were fantastic. Some of my favorites were: Adam Andrews on literature, John Stonestreet on worldview, Tedd Tripp on parenting, and Woody Robertson and Dr. Duke Pesta on the evils of college.
This past weekend 12 women from our group went to Teach Me Diligently in Spartanburg, SC. One of the advantages of this conference was a variety of places to eat at the convention venue, although I did not eat there. They had several different places bring in food. The other advantage, which is a big one, is that it was a very spiritual convention. I can’t explain it, but God was clearly at work during this conference. God spoke to several people in our group, including myself. God speaking to us may trump everything else – but he could have spoken without me having to sit on the floor. And He may have spoken even clearer if I had not been distracted by the crying babies and misbehaving children. I never noticed this problem at the Great Homeschool Convention, but it was a issue at this one. I know people who left sessions because of this. Despite that, I was so blessed to hear from Israel Wayne, Mark Hanby, Heidi St. John, Norm Wakefield and Todd Friel. I believe that this convention will change and grow me but I think some seeds were planted at Great Homeschool Conference.
So the answer to which homeschool conference is better is – I can’t decide. They were each so valuable in different ways that I have decided that the years I can, I will go to both. Next year, I will probably take the kids to one and go with my girlfriends to one. If the teen tracks stay the same then I will take the kids to Great Homeschool and then I will go to Teach Me Diligently in Spartanburg or the new location of Washington DC. I am really excited about Great Homeschool having Dr. Ben Carson and I know Teach Me Diligently will also have some great speakers. So sorry guys, I can’t be more helpful, but I think all homeschool moms deserve to get to go to both.