I first attended a homeschool convention in the summer following our first year at home.
I went, knowing all the things that were not working for us. I went, expecting to find some help, some answers, some other moms/experts who might know what to do next.
Unfortunately, as I walked from speaker to speaker and booth to booth, I found myself getting more and more discouraged. I left thinking to myself –
“What’s wrong with me, that I can’t homeschool like these other women?”
“Why do their children love to sit and do read alouds all day?”
“Am I even cut out for this homeschooling thing?”
It was a very lonely day.
Ten years later, I still remember that feeling.
I was surrounded by people passionate about something I was passionate about and yet, it felt like we had absolutely nothing in common.
Thankfully, it wasn’t long after that first convention that we learned my boys’ diagnoses. I now knew there was something else going on, something that meant we would not necessarily learn like other families.
The following year I attended my first Great Homeschool Convention, expecting to battle feelings of insecurity all weekend long, but at least hoping to get some ideas for curriculum.
Instead, I found exactly what I had been hoping for all along – encouragement, support and a commitment to seeing the individual needs of each child.
I have been back every year since.
In two weeks, I am headed to the Texas Great Homeschool Convention. This time, I will not only be a mom looking to connect with other moms and find cool curriculum ideas.
This time, I have the privilege of attending as a Featured Speaker.
I can’t wait, mostly because I remember what it was like to be the mom, looking for answers and desperate to figure this homeschool thing out for my boys.
I know that mom will be there in Texas, and so many more like her in Missouri, Ohio, California, Florida and New York.
One of the reasons why I’ve loved Great Homeschool Conventions for so long is that they have options for all of us. They see the need for supporting families of children with learning differences.
In fact, they now have an entire special needs speaking track, catering specifically to attendees looking for ways to help their children with learning differences. I am honored to be speaking alongside some of the absolute best including Kristen Eckenwiler, Cheryl Swope, and of course, Colleen Kessler.
All weekend long, I will be sharing as much as I possibly can about this life we lead.
My workshops include information about working with doctors, managing sensory issues, hands-on and movement oriented learning and of course, taking a strength based approach when helping our kiddos with differences.
Attending A Homeschool Convention When Your Child Has Learning Differences
If you are able to attend one of the conventions, please come see me. I’d love to meet you and thank you for being here online with me.
Contrary to my first convention experience, I’ve now know that part of attending a homeschool convention when your child has learning differences is realizing that you are not alone and your child is not the only one.
It’s a gift to be a part of it.
For more ideas, encouragement and support…
My Favorite Resource For Homeschooling A Child With Special Needs
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.