The Tale of Two Homeschool Conventions

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Monday May 6, 2013 Under Carmen's Favorite Things, Homeschool

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.


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HSLDA Conference – 2012

Posted by Carmen Ledford on Sunday Sep 30, 2012 Under Homeschool, Travel

I was so blessed to have received  a scholarship provided by Classical Conversation to attend the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s  Leadership Conference. This year it was held in Orlando, Fl. The conference was so different from other homeschool conferences that I have attended.  It focuses on helping leaders develop skills to more effectively run statewide associations.

I have always known about HSLDA but never been a member.  After this conference I will never NOT be a member. I saw the dedication, commitment and heart they have for the  homeschool community. They impressed me with all they have done for the homeschool community and their future plan. I tell everyone now that they should be a member of this organization not because you may need them one day but because we ALL need them.

At every conference, I fall in love with a speaker and want to soak up everything they have to teach me. This time it was Heidi St John with First Class Homeschool Ministries.  She spoke at the Woman’s Tea and she truly spoke to my heart. One of the things she said that I have not forgotten was “We need to put down the banner of homeschooling and wave the banner of Jesus Christ.” I think that is so true and I am guilty of waving the homeschool banner. And the other cool thing was I ended up sitting with her at dinner and I did not even have to stalk her.

Another speaker that I really enjoyed was Ken Sande, who founded Peacemakers Ministries and now has started Relational Wisdom 360. He does an amazing job of approaching relationships with a Biblical foundation in mind. I look forward to seeing the materials he is developing that will teach about relationships using movies.

Another highlight of the weekend was a movie screening of Hero by Advent Film Group. It is a wonderful story about striving to restore  a broken relationship between a father and  a son. The movie even used homeschool kids from the Winston-Salem area. It is a great story with great actors and professional done. Everyone who had or has been a father should go see this movie when it comes out.

I am so thankful for Melanie Young with Raising Real Men for encouraging me to make this happen, HSLDA for putting it on and for Classical Conversations for paving the way. I was so blessed by attending and will use many things that I learned from the conference. I believe I am a better homeschool leader because of this conference.

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