Convention - How beneficial is it to a current MFW user?

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Convention - How beneficial is it to a current MFW user?

Unread post by kellybell » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:14 am

AES wrote:I've never been to a homeschool convention and from my limited knowledge, it seems there are numerous curriculum vendors. If I know I want to use MFW, would the purpose for going to one of the conventions be to see MFW products up close and possibly hear a workshop? Do you actually buy things at a convention or place an order? Also, with other vendors there, wouldn't it be tempting to use something other than MFW?
Amy E.
Hi there Amy,

Our state convention has over 200 vendors. Wow, wow, wow. Here's what I get from convention:

1. Getting to attend sessions and actually ask the speakers questions (sometimes you can ask at the end of the speech if there is time, often times the speaker will run out of time and say, "I'm in booth 310 if you have more questions.").

2. Looking at curriculum. Our first year, we went to decide between Weaver and Sonlight and ended up coming home empty-handed and praying. We then started with MFW.

3. Looking at local extras. Even if you've totally decided on MFW, you can find booths on local camps, dance classes, clubs, etc. there.

4. Looking for homeschooling extras such as games, puzzles, nice colored pencils, books about Egypt, placemats with maps on them, etc.

5. Looking at family resources. Several booths will have things that support the family without being totally "homeschooling." For example, Vision Forum sets up a booth at our state conference. They have "family" material.

6. Our state conference has a teen vendor area where teens sell the crafts they made (marshmallow shooters, hair scrunchies, frames).

7. You can always arrange to meet your MFW buddies and eat chili dogs.

8. Last year was the first time that all my kids came to the Saturday shopping day. We allowed them each to choose a small "goodie" to come home with, such as a coloring book, a puzzle, etc. It does encourage them to see that other families do this silly homeschooling thing too.

9. I try to browse the MFW booth and see what else is there. Last year, I picked up some extra books (we've never done Adventures but I've picked up a few neat looking resources) and introduced a friend to MFW (she ended up purchasing ECC).

10. I always look forward to it as the speakers encourage me. But, you can also buy the conference speeches as downloads and listen as you drive or exercise.

11. Oh, and it's fun to bump into someone you haven't seen in a while there.

12. And, where else can you wear a denim jumper and be surrounded by 200 ladies that dressed just like you that day! : )

About seeing other vendors, once we settled on MFW, seeing other programs at convention doesn't really tempt me to use them. I actually do spend some time (if the vendor isn't too pushy) browsing other programs. Instead of the other programs tempting me, they usually leave me thankful that I'm using MFW. Some other programs look cumbersome. Other programs seem too simplistic.

You have to weigh what you'd get out of it with the cost of admission (and these days, gasoline) and the time you'd be away from the family (at our conference, kids can't attend until Saturday).

I guess I'd recommend anyone that's never been to one to, if possible, go once and see what all the hubbub is about.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

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Unread post by ChristyH » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:26 am

I haven't been to a conference since 2000 even though I can go so to speak. Sometimes I wish we would go but mostly I am glad we don't because I don't want to get tempted by a pretty, glossy curriculum. MFW has been the best and most effective I have ever used, so being tempted isn't a good thing. I can be weak sometimes. It can also be very overwhelming.

If you are set on MFW get some of the CD's. I told my husband if we weren't going then I wanted to get some CD's and have a mini conference here at home that strengthens my commitment to homeschooling and is in line with priorities.
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Unread post by MJP » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:55 am

We take our oldest two to encourage them that there really are all those other people that homeschool too. I like them to hear speakers that are on board with creation, family-based faith, courtship, etc. The teaching I receive at conference bolsters me for the year. I do like to look at books too, but I am not tempted to switch curriculum. I will find a fun extra or game though. However, could I homeschool effectively and productively without going? You bet! MFW provides everything you need.
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
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Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:36 am

Like Melissa, I love just being reminded that there are thousands of homeschoolers out there just like me :o) No one in my family or my church homeschools. So it's nice feling like I'm not an oddball once a year!

I like Kelly's list of reasons. I definitely look for a fun game every year and an interesting art supply, and best of all those other MFW families. Here are a few more I can think of:

1. Talks and booths on non-curriculum topics such as creation science, purity, and HSLDA.

2. Inspiration and understanding -- Last year I attended a touching convention talk called, "But we had hoped..." by the Stobaughs. The year before, I think, it was the fireball SM Davis. Of course, then I go back to MFW & David's talks to see how I can really accomplish these things in my real world, now that I'm all fired up!

3. We have a big used sale, and I like to find old convention tapes to listen to in the car, as well as fill my next book basket.

4. I've been able to look more closely at the curriculum that I *do* use with MFW, such as YWAM, Singapore, and talking with the woman from Writing Strands. I tell them I am already purchasing from MFW, but sometimes I find an extra go-along to try or just find out more stuff I didn't know.

5. I'm the type who just enjoys the environment of conventions, also. I'm always up for a meeting or a class that looks worthwhile. But some really don't like that type of environment.

6. I need grown-up time, teacher refreshment time, or something like that. Kids aren't at my convention until they're teens.

7. I love to get my MFW manual the first day and go over the book basket list for looking around the convention hall on the second day.

So as others have mentioned, all this has to be weighed with cost & temptation on the other side. Those are very real things, especially in our consumer world. I've already tried a lot of other things, so it doesn't weigh on me too heavily.

If you aren't able to do all these things at a convention, it can happen in other ways. A homeschool support group, a co-op, or even meeting another MFW family randomly like I did at work last night can revive your teaching spiriit :o)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:48 am

I like going for the extra ideas. I usually have picked my curriculum by the time I go to our convention. But, you may find a book you want to read (imagine that!), or coloring books, workbooks (they're not ALL bad), or something your child(ren) needs a little extra supplementation in.

I also like going for the speakers. Our conference is huge. You get great inspiration. Last year, or the year before, they had the people from the Institute of Biblical Parenting (I think that's it), and they had a bunch of talks on parenting that were just very helpful at that time in our lives.

It is also nice to chat with people who are committed to homeschooling their kids (and seeing their kids aren't really abnormal).

And, I don't have any denim jumpers to wear, so I'll be in capris or slacks and a nice shirt ;)

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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Unread post by LSH in MS » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:28 pm

I go to be inspired and encouraged and to get motivated for the next year. David Hazell is a featured speaker at our convention as well as Jeannie Fulbright so I am excited.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
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Unread post by professormommy » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:41 pm

I am excitedly awaiting the convention at the end of this month that I attend.

Personally, I try to have everything picked out before I go to convention and I purchase those items first. For me, it saves a bundle paying sales tax as opposed to shipping charges.

Then, I look for other things that will be "nice" to have for whatever reason.

I really get a boost for continuing to homeschool. I like being reminded that I am not alone and that everyone else struggles at times also.

I get inspiration and a renewed vision each year that I get to go to convention.

I don't find myself swayed, because I have done my research ahead of the convention and know the bulk of what I want.

I like taking my teens along sometimes, as it's fun for them too.

I do find little items that I didn't know were out there and would be nice to add.

I like talking with the vendors too!

Also, with some vendors, there are "convention only" small discounts. If I was going to get it anyway, I might as well get the discount. Rosetta Stone offers a discount at some conventions.

It is NOT an inexpensive thing to attend a convention. For me, I travel to another state nearby, since my state's convention is so small, and doesn't have MFW. But, it is SOOO worth it to me.

Another thing, in traditional school settings, most teachers are required to keep up with "continuing education" credits. With all of the wisdom, ideas, and encouragement I glean at convention, I consider convention time my continuing education as a teacher. I get to look at things to research for upcoming years of hs. And I try not to feel guilty over the $$ I spend getting there--it's my one time yearly that I see other HSers face to face and get my vision renewed!

I have had several years when I couldn't attend--husband depoloyed overseas, out to sea, etc. And, when I missed the convention, I really missed it, but yes, I could still homeschool.

Probably more than anyone wanted to read, but I wanted to encourage you that you don't have to be swayed just because you see other things at convention. It is an uplifting time for me each year that I get to attend.


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Unread post by donutmom » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:45 pm

The past 2 years at our state convention I've actually done some Christmas shopping. Yep, that's right. Shopping without kids--who doesn't like that!! I like going to places like Tobin's Lab, Vision Forum, etc. and finding fun things that don't flash or talk or require batteries--just good old fashioned fun and imagination! Things you don't find at local stores. (And don't tell my children, but there usually is some learning that goes on while they play with those things!! Except maybe those ping-pong ball shooters from Vision Forum. . . :-)

Last year's convention was my 2nd year with MFW, and I knew before going that was what I was going to use. I really wasn't tempted to look at much other curriculum, except for a few odds and ends and extras--but not for the main curriculum. (that's a biggie, since I often second guess any decision that involves spending money). So I could spend more time "Christmas shopping", which was more fun that any temptation of other curriculum. And I had time to sit and listen to the speakers, without thinking of what vendor I needed to get to next. Thus, it was quite a refreshing weekend.


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Unread post by AES » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:35 pm

Wow! I wasn't expecting such detailed replies! Yesterday evening, I actually printed them (all 6 pages!). We are actually blessed in that the two cities in which conventions are typically held in our state are both about 1hr 15 min. away.

It's quite helpful to know that there are other resources available than just trying to get curriculum. I could definitely use a workshop or two, maybe some Krispy Kreme donuts or a brownie or chocolate chip cookie...

I really love MFW, I just need some additional 'helps' to properly teach my girls, given their very different learning styles. Note to self: steer clear of those pushy salespeople, and glossy curriculum... :)

Amy E.



Unread post by cbollin » Mon Dec 20, 2010 6:50 pm

MuzzaBunny wrote:I'm still pretty much a newbie, so I am cluless about conventions. What are the main reasons for going to one (other than picking up your box in person) if you already know what curriculum you want? What other fun stuff is at conventions? I don't wanna miss out. :)
It depends. Reasons to go:
*see that you're not the only weirdo who homeschools and that everyone is normal too. the rumor that we all wear jumpers is out the door at most conventions. ;)
*some speakers and workshops are general encouragement, or might be meeting a general need (like encouragement for special learners, or very active learners), or
some speakers talk about big stuff
*some exhibitors will discuss their curriculum and take Q &A time,or like with MFW workshops, you get a big picture view of what MFW is about in terms of mission and scope/sequence and educational philosophy.
*picking up cute/fun stuff that is separate from curriculum
*a feel like you're more of a professional in this homeschooling career
*the chance to see cool people like Lucy (our board moderator). She's really tall. Or even David, or Bret. Nice mfw people :) all tall! well, ok.. .everyone is tall compared to me!
*the chance to thank an author in person.

all of these conferences have a slightly different flavor to them. so mileage might vary.

I've had some years where I had my list in hand, walked into the exhibitor hall (over 200 vendors and each one just right for your family! please buy now!), ignored the booths and ran for cover to the MFW booth and just said "here's the list just load me up and get me out of here!!!!! I'm overwhelmed and MFW is my curriculum savior" (that was 2004 and 2005 before I started posting here. They had no clue who that weird short lady was......) But I've heard a rumor they remembered I brought a list. :~

Reasons to stay home:
blah - hate crowds and no one likes me anyway!
too tempted to overspend or doubt your decision
can't stand any of the speakers
the curriculum you want isn't going there?
no child care options

remember: comfy shoes and water. Smile at the exhibitors, They are human and tired too.


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Re: Convention?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:14 pm

MuzzaBunny wrote:I'm still pretty much a newbie, so I am cluless about conventions. What are the main reasons for going to one (other than picking up your box in person) if you already know what curriculum you want? What other fun stuff is at conventions? I don't wanna miss out. :)
For me:
* 2 day break from the kids :) (thanks to my wonderful husband!)
* encouragement from the speakers
* shopping (without kids!) - really, I go with my list in hand, spend 15 minutes buying what I know I want, and then spend the rest of the time browsing and looking for special books or other presents for my kids, or maybe supplemental things like math wrap-ups to practice math facts.
* God usually works it out that there is at least one topic that I need for myself or my homeschool, or something that I'm really interested in. For example, one year they had a bunch of parenting seminars put on by the Institute for Biblical Parenting, and it was just what I needed with my dd. Another year there were a lot of talks on learning "issues/disabilities" just when I realized my dd is probably dyslexic. Last year I got to hear lots of talks about the Biblical foundations of this country and our laws, and I was just really interested in it. So, it just depends.
* running into all my friends that I haven't seen in a while. (Our convention isn't until the middle of June, so it's usually been a couple of months.)
* Our convention has a youth entrepreneur area - homeschooled kids make stuff to sell. If I know any of the kids selling something, I try to buy at least one thing from them to encourage them.

I usually come away from convention refreshed and encouraged. That first year it can be a little overwhelming, but after you know the ropes, I find it a wonderful experience.

Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
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Julie in MN
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Re: Convention?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:49 pm

I'll just second or third the idea that I really value the refreshment from convention. Plus I bring my next manual and look for book basket books (or recommended high school reading) and music or other go-alongs, oh and educational gifts for my grandkids :)

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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new to MFW

Unread post by Busymom » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:13 pm

davimee wrote:I wish I could see different programs laid out in front of me, and decide which to use that way. We do have a homeschooling convention in June, but I don't know if we have the finances for the conference, as well as lodging and food. I've never been to a home school convention, so I don't know if I'd need to go to the lectures, or just pay the $10 each to see the curriculum fair. I suppose just seeing the curriculum would be the best financially, as we wouldn't have to worry about the lodging, and could just make it a day trip.
Hi! I go to the Portland Convention, and I LOVE it. It always inspires me to keep on keeping on. :) If you go to and click on "calendar of events," you'll find a link to the conference. All the info probably isn't up yet, but eventually they'll have all the seminars and speakers listed. That will help you to decide if you want to go to that part of it. However, if you just can't do it, I would definitely get the Exhibit Hall Only Pass and go for the day. It's a little overwhelming the first time because there are so many vendors/so much to look at, but it really is great to see things hands-on.

The My Father's World booth is awesome because they have everything on display to look through. They even have samples of completed notebooks, so you can get an idea of what the student pages look like. And the staff are users themselves, so they are very knowledgeable and helpful. If MFW is the only booth you check out, I think it would be worth your trip. It could really help you cement your decision. I hope this helps to encourage you to go. :)
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Re: new to MFW

Unread post by cefcdana » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:32 pm

If you are part of a homeschool group, you could always try asking if anyone else has the curriculum you want to look at. Our local group has an email list and it's very easy to post a request to look at a particular curriculum.

Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: new to MFW - questions about LA & Math

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Fri Apr 15, 2011 1:33 pm

I really reccommend going to the convention and putting your hands on the curriculum. It will answer so many of your questions. Besides, my wonderful dear sweet friend Lainie is usually in the booth at that convention and talking to her will make you feel better no matter what you choose! She has kids about your kids' ages. I wouldn't let the chance to hear Voddie Baucham pass by, either. And I cannot reccommend enough that you attend the "Combining Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Studies with a Christian Perspective" session by MFW. It explains everything behind MFW's style. At least order a cd of it. But if it's in your budget -- go! That's my very biased opinion.
davimee wrote:Hi Cyndi,
Is there a way to find out when the MFW session will be? My husband isn't able to get time off work that weekend and we only have one car, so my only option for going will be Friday morning (he works afternoon and evenings). There's a possibility we could go up Saturday instead, but we'd have less time since it starts later on Saturday, and he still needs to get back to be at work on time. I'm not going to register for the whole conference, since I'll only be able to go up for a few hours on one day, but we're really going to try to at least see the curriculum. Thanks. :)
All that will be on the convention website "soon" -- looks like registration opens 4/26/11. They'll post the schedule by then. I know MFW will be presenting the "Combining" workshop because it is listed on the MFW website. That was a fantastic workshop for my husband and me to attend together - it "sealed the deal" so to speak for us to commit (together!) to MFW for the rest of our dd's schooling.
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: new to MFW - questions about LA & Math

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Tue May 03, 2011 11:15 am

Hi davimee - something reminded me about you this morning. :) I hope all is well. The info for the OCEAN homeschool conference is all on the website now. MFW is doing 4 great workshops! The one I was so excited about before is on Saturday at 3:15. HTH (and you don't think I'm some crazy person . . . )
davimee wrote:Thanks for the note! :) I've been keeping an eye on the OCEANetwork website and saw that session you've mentioned. I'd really like to go, but I don't know if financially we'll be able to go to the sessions. I'm still thinking and praying about it, though! Maybe next year we'll be able to go to the entire conference. And hopefully I'll at least be able to get a recording of the session.

Anyway, thanks for thinking of me! It made me smile. :)
Sounds like a good plan! I wish I would have gotten some cd's from our convention last year -- but most places let you order them for awhile . . . keep that in mind, too. The exhibit hall can be overwhelming, but it's fun. You can't miss the big MFW booth, and they bring so much to look at!
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convention purchases

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:06 am

annaz wrote:Can you buy and take home individual items at the convention or do you still have to place an order and have them shipped?
Last year we started shipping all orders placed at conventions for free and will continue to do so this year. You will receive your order within 7-10 business days after the convention.


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Re: convention purchases

Unread post by Kelly1730 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:48 pm

Every year I purchased the entire curriculum at the convention (CHAP) and then had to haul it for what seemed like forever back to my van :~ Last year I got smart and ordered it ahead of time and then just window shopped at the convention. It did make it easier for me.
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Re: convention purchases

Unread post by julsie » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:50 am

I'm leaning toward MFW for next year, but I really wanted to wait until the convention and get my hands on the materials before I purchase. But I was hoping I'd be able to buy and take the teacher's manual with me the first day, so I could shop the used curriculum sale for all the recommended reading and book basket materials. Is there another way to get a list of those recommendations?


Re: convention purchases

Unread post by MFW-Lucy » Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:30 pm

Hi julise,

The book list is only available with the purchase of a Teacher's Manual. One option would be to take a look at the Teacher's Manual while you are at the convention. These lists included 300-400 books. Books that are highly recommended will have an asterisks by them so these may be the ones you want to purchase if you decide to purchase a few.


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