Conference Survey Suggestions: We’ve Got Answers!

conference survey suggestions

Your conference survey suggestions always help us improve for next year!

Over time, we’ve noticed frequently asked questions and themes that we want to address now (to save you from asking them again!):

Can the conference continue more than two days (Friday and Saturday)?

Unfortunately, no. We strive to keep costs low, and two days allow us to cover all facilities, hotel rooms and staffing needs.

If we extended the homeschool conference another day, that would require a lot more manpower and expenses, which may mean higher attendance pricing (which we know all of you don’t want!).

Can conference attendance be any cheaper?

MPE youth volunteersWe think you’ll find our attendance rates the most affordable nationwide! Many homeschool conferences and conventions charge hundreds of dollars for attendance, and that’s the earlybird special.

(Check out this blog post if you want some tips on cutting costs at the conference.)

I’m too far away! Can you hold the conference at a different venue?

We’ve experimented with a number of conference locations, including the Overland Park Convention Center. However, the KCI Expo Center has usually met our needs best.

Here are some reasons why:

  • More affordable rental costs.
  • Adequate vendor hall space.
  • Midway point between Kansas and Missouri. Our members live in both states, so we like to find a place that accommodates as many of them as possible.

As for the complaint that we sometimes hear – that the KCI Expo Center is too far away for some families – many conference goers come from other states, such as Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska.

As a result, we respectfully suggest that “distance” can be a matter of perspective!

Why aren’t there more new / popular / nationally recognized speakers?

conference workshop sessionsWe do our best to bring high-quality speakers each year.

Through the years, we’ve featured Mike Farris, Israel Wayne, Eric and Leslie Ludy, Heidi St. John, Todd Wilson, Andrew Pudewa of IEW, Voddie Baucham, Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason, and many more.

We also treasure the local speakers from our own community. They are longtime veterans with a range of experience and expertise, including high school homeschooling, special needs education, small business entrepreneurship, and more.

Many people also don’t realize the high cost associated with bringing in national speakers. We need to add travel expenses, hotel and lodging, speaker fees, and other things.

Our goal is to keep conference expenses as low as possible, so we can keep attendance rates affordable for the vast majority of families.

Can’t we have more curriculum vendors, not vendors selling goods and services?

conference vendorsEach year we try to have as many curriculum-based vendors as possible.

One way we achieve the best possible vendor hall is checking other conferences to see if they have vendors that currently are not attending our conference. We have most, if not all, of the top vendors that travel the homeschool circuit.

Some vendors that we would like to have are not doing homeschool conferences at this time.

If you have a vendor that you would like to see at our conference, please let our vendor coordinator, Marty, Isabell, know. His email address is exhibitors@midwesthomeschoolers.org.

It should be noted that one of our vendors, Simply Charlotte Mason, came because one of our members had invited them.

We also try to invite vendors that we believe would be of particular interest to our homeschool families: colleges, museums, field trip opportunities, etc.

Each vendor plays an important part in filling out the vendor hall and making our conference possible and successful.

Can we change ______ about the MPEKids program?

We love the MPEKids program! After years of trying to find the happy middle between quality childcare and affordable pricing, we found the solution.

homeschool conference youth volunteerHomeschool alumni from MPE put together their own, homegrown “children’s conference” that now is MPEKids (MPEK for short).

Each year, we usually receive comments about the following:

  • Cost? We try to keep registration costs as low as possible. For a healthy perspective, check out some comparable homeschool conference childcare programs. Many of them charge $80 each day or more, for each child! Or think about the number of hours you’d pay a babysitter – at least $10 per hour, for a whole day. In that light, our children’s program is a great bargain for most families!
  • Registration deadlines? We now close online registration 2-3 weeks before the conference. This gives us enough time to plan staffing rosters, print name badges, and much more. Before we had this deadline, the last-minute sign ups put too much of a strain on our volunteer staff.

That said, we always get a lot of positive responses from conference survey suggestions about MPEKids, which make our day. Keep them coming!

Does anyone read these conference surveys?

By now we hope you already know the answer! Yes. In fact, the conference committee sets aside a whole meeting after each conference just to review the surveys and suggestions.

We sometimes get complaints with a request for feedback on the survey.  We try to address each serious concern, but if you don’t provide contact info, we can’t respond.

Some of the surveys make us smile and laugh. (Others make us sigh.) Overall, though, we appreciate each one in our ongoing effort to make our conference the best it can be!

We originally published this blog post in May 2017. We have updated it for timeliness and detail.

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