10 Tips (plus 1) to Prepare for the Conference

Tips to Prepare for the Conference

To get the most out of the conference, you'll want to spend some time in preparation. (In fact, you may be as busy this week as we are getting ready for the conference.)

couple enjoying Oregon Christian homeschool conference1. If at all possible, come as a couple (Your spouse is free. You can add your spouse when you arrive at the conference.) You can make it a special "get away" weekend without the children so you can spend some time talking over what you are learning.

Or you can bring your children and make it a family event. We have Parent/Child workshops focused on stories of pioneer days in Oregon that will hold their attention. (A parent must accompany them to the classes.) Or they can attend workshops with you. They will hear many great speakers and  catch a vision for family discipleship and homeschooling. Just remember to keep your children with you at all times. This is a public venue.

couple looking at schedule of Oregon Christian homeschool conference2. Get ready for the workshops. Look over the Conference Schedule-at-a-Glance. Print it out. Decide which workshops interest you. Circle them on the schedule. We've color coded "tracks" for different interests, but you are free to attend any sessions you wish.

If you are bringing your children, they can attend any sessions with you as long as you leave the room if they become disruptive. We've also included a Parent/Child track focusing on Oregon history and designed with the children in mind. Children attending those sessions must be accompanied by at least one parent. Thank you.

3. Read the workshop descriptions to help you make the final decision. If you have more than one workshop you want to attend during a session, pick the one that you think you'll get more out of face-to-face and get the recording of the others.

4. Plan on skipping at least one workshop session. We have scheduled the workshop sessions pretty close to each other. You'll need to plan on skipping at least one so you have extended time to shop in the exhibit hall. And you will want to have time to think through some of the things you have heard. You can always pick up recordings of sessions you miss.

5. Get ready for the exhibit hall. Think about your approach to education and learning. (What some think of when they say "education" isn't always synonymous with learning, but that's a topic for another day.) What approach to teaching and learning do you favor? If you are not sure what the different approaches to homeschooling are, spend some time reading through Choosing Curriculum on the OCEANetwork website. It helps you get an idea of the different curriculums and materials available to you. You might also like to read "The Five Flavors of Homeschooling." These are notes from a workshop of the same title presented by Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason.

6. Look over the list of exhibitors and decide which ones are "must see" and circle those on the floor plan. Visit those first. Then, if you have time, you can comfortably wander the exhibit hall.

Oregon homeschool conference exhibitor etiquetteRemember Exhibit Hall Ettiquite. The companies that are displaying their materials in the exhibit hall have made a huge effort in time and expense to be here for you. Many of them are homeschool families for whom the income from the sale of their materials is their only income. They are experts in their areas and often the authors of the curriculum or materials they sell. If you spend time with them asking questions and learning from them, make sure you honor their effort by purchasing from them. Don't try to save a few cents by going to a discount store or online. Honor those who help you by purchasing from them. (Besides, you probably won't have to wait for it to come in the mail if you purchase it at the conference.)

Make a list of those items you KNOW you will want to buy at the conference - especially if you are going to shop at the Used Curriculum Sale.

Used Curriculum Exchange Oregon homeschool conference7. Prepare the books and materials you are no longer using for theUsed Curriculum Exchange. Deadline is June 21 at 7 p.m. It's a blessing to others to have that material available and a blessing to you to help you afford materials for next year.

8. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a light sweater. You'll be doing a lot of walking and the air conditioning can be chilly.

9. Plan your lunch and dinner options. You will find food options at the Convention Center, nearby restaurants, bring your own.

The Convention Center has asked us to remind you that no outside food or beverage is allowed in the building. There's a lovely park across the street from the Convention Center where you can picnic if you bring your own food.

10. You'll want to take home recordings of the conference to provide encouragement throughout the year. Plan on ordering and paying for CD recordings early in the conference. Pick them up about 1/2 hour after they are completed. Don't wait until the last minute as there is usually a long line at the end of the conference.

MP3 Oregon homeschool conference recordingsOr you can order the recordings in MP3 format online. Once they are spoken and uploaded to our Alliance Recordings server, they will be delivered to your email box.


11. An most importantly, cover the conference in prayer. Thank God that He has prepared just the right messages for you (as He always does). Pray that He will lead you in the right direction for your family. Ask Him to protect and preserve those preparing to minister to you at the conference - the speakers, the exhibitors, the OCEANetwork board, and the volunteers. It is our prayer that He be glorified in everything we say and do.

Have fun getting ready for the conference. And share some of your suggestions to help others get ready, too.

Your turn: What advice would you give someone who is attending the conference for the first time?

Enter to win a couple's pass to the conference, and a copy of "The Busy Mom's Guide to Romance" by OCEANetwork conference speaker Heidi St. John. Just leave a comment below and we will randomly pick a winner.

Posted by Dorothy Karman on Jun 6, 2014 at 7:14 PM | Categories: Conference - Give-away -


Dana Toma

Dana Toma wrote on 06/06/14 9:55 PM

Look over all of the exhibit hall before buying...there might be something really great down the next aisle.
Heather S

Heather S wrote on 06/07/14 6:37 PM

Bring along a tote bag. It comes in handy to carry around all the catalogs/brochures/handouts/etc. collected in the exhibit hall.
Celeste H

Celeste H wrote on 06/08/14 8:19 PM

Prepare for receiving a lot of information! Give yourself permission to digest it before making a big purchase decision. Saving on shipping is tempting, but there are many great products and curricula out there and you may need to do some additional research. Use this as a way to get a good overview of what's available, compare products you've considered side-by-side, or as a unique opportunity to ask vendors your questions directly.

jayne wrote on 06/18/14 12:58 PM

Definitely bring a backpack or something to carry all the stuff you take home in. Talk to random people and ask them what they have found to be a success for them, but also consider their personality and children may make results different for you.

Marla wrote on 06/18/14 5:49 PM

Bring a notepad & 2 pens and plan to use them - a lot. Those notes can come in handy 2 mos. into the following year.
Bring a sheet of pre-typed address labels (much faster than having to hand-enter info. on vendor mailing lists or contest entry cards).
Unplug from society's electronics, turn the phone off during conference hours - remember, if an emergency comes up there ARE other ways to locate people.
Stop & have purposeful God-directed fellowship with others.
Bring a pocket-sized small collapsible cup (sold at drug stores/WM) to stay hydrated - & really helps little ones get a 'good drink' from a water fountain.
Bring a rolling foldable box if purchasing curriculum (or you're likely to end up with most of your family members' stuff by the end of day).
Be considerate of others during sessions and quietly listen.

Be prepared to have fun, be blessed, and bless others.
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