Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Virtual Homeschool Convention

Want to avoid the cost, tired feet, and crowds of a homeschool convention this Spring?  How about attending a virtual convention?

I am actually pretty impressed with the virtual convention at HomeschoolConvention.com.  Its presented by Home Educating Family Association.  It includes talks and interviews, answers to basic homeschooling questions, chat rooms, an area to explore curriculum, and an interactive exhibit hall.  This completely FREE site will ask you to register to sign in and then you can begin to browse and explore to your heart's content.

Fair warning: this site is brand-spankin' new - it just went live this month.  As a result, some of the kinks are still being worked out and some areas on the site are still under construction.  But, keep going back as I suspect that as the site builds, it will become a great resource.  Also, I have a pretty quick Internet connection and had no problem navigating the site.  I suspect slower connections may have problems, though.

I had a great time going through the booths in the exhibit hall.  You simply "walk" through.  If a booth catches your interest, click on it.  This will get you a closer look at the curriculum and books that are offered.  Be sure to take a close look at the side menus as I found several coupon codes and even some freebies at the booths (Knowledge Quest has a great one offered right now!).  Also, if you have a question about the curriculum, you can ask!  Either you can e-mail a question to a representative right from the booth site, or many of the booths have hours that a live consultant will be able to chat with you.  Don't let the appearance of empty shelves in the exhibit hall fool you, they may appear that way but a closer look (clicking on the booth) will reveal that there are products and information to browse.

But, what about all the great talks you can hear at a live convention?  You can find some of those too.  For example, I went to the IEW booth (Institute for Excellence in Writing) and clicked on the side menu for Demos/ Workshops and was able to find some videos to view of Mr. Pudwea on topics of writing and his product.  I was also able to find some product workshops (but had trouble finding exactly where they were again).  More videos of interviews with people well known to homeschooling can be found in the "Family TV Media" room.

Yet another area to investigate, the  "Explore Curriculum" tab shows different products and also include product reviews - very helpful.  Though, again, keep in mind that the site is relatively new and most products, if they have a review, only have one or two reviews/comments.

So, be sure to check out the virtual homeschool convention.  I really think its a great resource!

-A

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