Complete Review: Teach Them Diligently Convention (Nashville)

Individual daily recaps can be found here, which detail which sessions I attended and the wealth of information I learned.

I had an amazing time at the Teach Them Diligently Convention here in Nashville. This is a complete overview of my experience at the 3-day event. 
Registration and Costs
I was thankful that this conference was held at Opryland just a few minutes from my home. That helped to keep expenses low for this first timer. I also registered back in December when they were offering the early bird rate and used a discount code. I loved that my $35 fee included registration for the whole family including grandparents. What a deal!
Sessions and Speakers
I had quite a time trying to decide which sessions to go to but every single speaker had great information to share. I wish I could have heard them all. They do have all of the sessions recorded and available for purchase but I’m a visual learner who tunes out with audio only. Here are a few awards for my favorite sessions. 
Sharon HoferMost delightful speaker. Then again, every artist I have ever met is always delightful. She was just so passionate about what she helps children acheive. 
Joyce HerzogSpunkiest speaker. After 60 years in education, I suppose you can afford to be spunky. She certainly has the knowledge to back it up. 
Carol BarnierFunniest speaker. She says she put ‘snark’ in homeschooling. I believe it. With a book title like “How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On to Learning” I’m sure you can imagine how entertaining she is. 
Rhea PerryMost excited speaker. This lady talked a mile a minute, which was awesome because we received 2 hours worth of education into one. After it was all said and done, she may have convinced me to finally write the ebook I’ve been thinking about. 
New to homeschooling? Definitely check out the Five Flavors of Homeschool by Sonya Shafer. It was a fantastic overview. 
Want some practical tips? You need to sit in on a session with Becky Spence from This Reading Mama. I came away with more ideas from her class than any other. 
Children’s Program
For only $40 I was able to include my kid in Mission: Incredible, an onsite children’s program, that took place all day Saturday and Sunday. I was extremely thankful that I had somewhere for her to go so that I could attend sessions alone and soak it all in without distraction. They had 700 children in the program so it was a bit chaotic at times but I never felt that my 7-year-old was unsafe and she had a great time. I will definitely utilize this resource again next year. 
Vendor Hall
This was the most intimidating part of the whole conference. First of all, it was huge! There were a TON of exhibitors. It was also very busy! I wandered around aimlessly more than once. I did stop by a few booths and the representatives were extremely nice and never pushy. It was a great way to gain information on individual curriculum choices. At this point in time, I still feel like I need to do more research before I purchase anything. I’m also an Internet research junkie by nature. I don’t make on-the-spot purchases. I do the research at home and show up knowing exactly what I want. I will say that they had some great deals at the event and I definitely want to be more prepared next year to take advantage of that. 
Overall Thoughts
The conference was everything I hoped it would be and more. It was refreshing to be around other parents who have chosen home education for their children. I don’t have any stereotypical ideas about how homeschool families look and act but I know some people do. Lots of moms looked just like me and in the “distractible child” session I learned that many of them have kids who act just like mine. LOL! 
I came away encouraged to not be so uptight about curriculum and focus more on my child and her needs. It’s still hard to get out of the public school mindset and worry about when my kid should be doing multiplication and long division to keep up with her peers. Those type of comparisons are just an extension of the mommy wars in my mind and I’m not gonna do it. I think somewhere along the line I’ve become afraid that my “advanced” child will fall behind the curve and become an “average” child. I was reminded and encouraged to homeschool for the reasons I started. For me, it has less to do with academics and more to do with life skills. Although, it’s very possible that she will turn out just fine in the academics department too but it’s not my main goal. 
While this conference is labeled as a ‘homeschool’ event, I truly believe that any parent could attend and walk away with knowledge that they could put into practice outside of a home education environment. Because I learned so many valuable lessons about development and parenting, be warned, I’m going to try to convince all of my friends to go next year. I PROMISE, you will walk away feeling just as encouraged and empowered as I did! You might as well just go ahead and sign up.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *