2013 Convention Review
by Nancy Manos, AFHE Convention Director
Enjoy the pictures and comments (pdf) from the Fall 2013 issue of the Arizona Home Education Journal, AFHE's quarterly magazine.
The 30th Annual Arizona Home Education Convention and Curriculum Fair, held June 14-15 at the Phoenix Convention Center, was a delightful weekend full of great workshops, time with friends—old and new—shopping in the exhibit hall, and so much more!
We had many first-time attendees and those new to homeschooling join us this year. It is very exciting to see a new generation of parents catching the vision for teaching their children at home.
It was a treat to have Jessica Hulcy as one of our keynote speakers. She was scheduled to speak at our convention in 2009, but had a near-fatal car accident that left her with many physical injuries, including a traumatic brain injury. We were blessed to have Jessica with us this year and to see her doing so well after her long journey of recovery from the accident. She sure hasn’t lost her sense of humor or her passion for encouraging parents in the home education adventure!
Michael Farris blessed us with a keynote address he prepared especially for our theme, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.” We are thankful for the tireless work Mike does to preserve freedom in our nation and around the world. He and HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association) are an invaluable resource and we are thankful for their efforts and ministry on our behalf.
Each year our committee works hard to choose and invite speakers who have a message of hope and inspiration.
We are thankful for each of the men and women who came this year to encourage, equip, instruct, and edify us as we teach our children at home. It is our prayer that you were able to draw from what they shared and take away some golden nuggets that will help make your homeschool experience even more rich and rewarding throughout the year ahead.
The teen program was very well attended and the teens had a great time on Friday learning about Christian worldview and apologetics from Bill Jack. On Saturday, they enjoyed an interactive day of learning about living pure lives from Julie Hiramine and the Generations of Virtue team.
Workshops in both the Struggling Learners and Homeschooling through High School tracks were well received, often with standing-room-only crowds. As hard as we try to assign the right size room for a speaker or topic, we can’t always predict how many people will be interested, which is always a fascinating challenge.
Friday Night Family Entertainment was a wonderful evening of music in an intimate setting with Christian singer-songwriter Bebo Norman.
The Mentoring Moms were kept busy answering questions and offering encouragement and helpful hints throughout the weekend. We are grateful for these veteran homeschool moms who volunteer to be a resource for our attendees.
The iPad giveaway with the newly added bonus prize drawing was a huge hit this year. A list of exhibitors and businesses that donated a prize for the bonus prize drawing has been posted on the AFHE website.
With over 5,200 people at this year’s convention, we once again had record-breaking attendance, which really affirms the value and meaningfulness of coming together as a community.
We think you’ll agree that the annual convention is so much more than just listening to a speaker or shopping for that perfect curriculum. Sharing the experience together, in person, is dynamic and powerful. It is meaningful because of the person you sit next to in a workshop and the conversations you have while waiting for the next session to begin or while waiting in line to pay at an exhibitor booth. Ministry happens at the convention. You get encouraged and you have opportunities to encourage others.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the many volunteers who worked hard to make this event possible. The entire convention is run by volunteers, from the director to the registration staff. What a beautiful community of caring, thoughtful, hard-working folks! We are grateful for your service and your participation.
CONVENTION WORKSHOP RECORDINGS
Recordings of this year's convention workshops can be purchased online from Resounding Voice.
WHAT OUR ATTENDEES HAD TO SAY
Enjoy some of the comments shared by this year's attendees!
"The convention keeps me going for the whole year."
"Two of my girls participated in the young entrepreneurs and I’m very thankful for the learning experience this afforded them."
"Loved the parking discount this year!"
"I worked at an exhibitor’s booth this year and he praised the crowd at our convention, saying it is one of the friendliest conventions he goes to."
"The high school track was especially helpful - very well organized and thorough."
"Thank you so very much! I need this every year!"
"Fantastic as usual! Friday entertainment was especially awesome!"
"We live in a small town and are relatively isolated as homeschoolers. We especially appreciate being surrounded by like-minded Christians and the encouragement that provides."
"I feel so encouraged and learn so much each year I come."
"The Thursday mini-conference Struggling Learners track was definitely a Godsend for our family due to a recent diagnosis of Asperger’s and SPD for our son. We are now confident that homeschooling provides the best environment to meet his needs."
"God has called us to homeschool and AFHE provides so much edification and encouragement on this mission."
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am a first-time attendee and new homeschooling mom. I have learned a great deal from speakers, exhibitors, and other homeschooling families."
"I got so much more out of the convention than I ever could have dreamed!"
"The first-time attendee discount was very helpful to me. I don’t think I would have attended without this discount."
"Volunteering was an awesome experience!
If I don’t come, my motivation and enthusiasm for homeschooling diminishes. This keeps me going."
"The conference is something I look forward to every year - for 25 years now. It never disappoints!"
"Love it! Can’t wait till next year!"
"All of the speakers I went to were so real and humble! I am so encouraged every year. This feeds my soul in ways nothing else can."
"I really loved the convention this year. It was like seeing an old friend … perfectly delightful and wonderful!"
"This is one highlight of my year. I am always sad to leave."
"What a fantastic experience this has been! We have been encouraged and blessed beyond words."
"We enjoyed it and got more out of it than we expected."
"Always a pleasure and highlight of our year! So much to learn! Great atmosphere!"
"So thankful for the time and planning put into each workshop. I’m so blessed as a mom considering homeschooling to have heard the wisdom and encouragement shared. I feel so much more confident in this new adventure!"
"We loved the worship!"
"I love the fact that my teen girls are so excited to come every year. They love the teen program!"
"This was my first time attending the convention as a parent and found it to be completely motivating, encouraging, and equipping. Thank you to the many hard-working volunteers and board members who continue to work hard and put on this event. I will look forward to next year!"
"This was our first time attending and my husband and I were inspired, refreshed, and simply had a good time. My teenage boy learned a lot and benefitted from the teen program."