To give you the best homeschool conference experience possible on April 1-2, we’ve collected these helpful tips:
1. Come to registration early.
We have an earlybird online registration rate that ends this Friday to help you save money. Note for newcomers: When you register for the conference, you automatically receive a complimentary MPE membership for a year!
(If you’re outside the Kansas City area and don’t wish to receive our newsletter featuring local events and opportunities, you can opt out of receiving it in the form.)
In addition, we highly recommend coming to the KCI Expo Center as soon as you can to avoid the conference registration rush.
2. Get the most from our workshop sessions.
Most of our attendees struggle with the question of which workshop session to attend, because they’re all so good!
If you have a session that you want to attend during the 9-10 a.m. Friday block, for example, there’s a good chance that you will also want another workshop session going on … at exactly the same time.
Well, we’re excited to offer a solution this year. For 2022, we have a special pre-conference discount if you purchase all session recordings ahead of time.
To reserve your copy, please go to the conference recordings page and follow the directions (MPE members at the Family tier and higher will need to log in to receive their discount). To get the pre-conference discount, you must order your copy by 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 30.
3. See whether you can carpool with friends.
Parking space is limited, and every year we fill up the parking lot to the brim! Check out our Facebook event for the conference to see whether you can join any of your friends in driving there.
4. Make childcare arrangements ahead of time.
We have a number of childcare suggestions, based on the ages of your children:
- Nursing babies are welcome. We have a nursing moms’ room available throughout the conference. We may ask parents to leave, however, if their babies begin crying during the workshop sessions and disturbing other people’s concentration.
- For children ages 5-12, we have an MPEKids program. The children’s schedule is designed to fit around our conference schedule so parents won’t have to miss a single session! (Parents must be registered for the conference and are responsible for their children’s meals both days.) If you have a child that is 4 years old and potty trained attending with an older sibling, they are welcome to attend as well.
- Children ages 13 and older and welcome to join as conference volunteers. It’s a great experience to serve the homeschool community and add to their growing resumes!
5. Plan for any accommodations in advance.
Hotels are filling up fast! See available lodging and accommodation rates here. (Scroll down to the “Hotels” section.)
6. Carve out time for fellowship and networking.
The best conference experience always leaves time for rest, relaxation and refreshment!
Meet some of our fantastic mentoring moms in person at the conference, who are all homeschool veterans.
Other moms also recommend planning reunions with other homeschool families who are attending the conference, to make this an outing for the whole family.
If you’re attending the same workshops or browsing for the same types of curriculum, you’ll have additional topics for discussion!
7. Invite anyone who’s interested in homeschooling.
If you have any friends who are thinking about homeschooling in the future, now is the best time for them to come to the conference.
In addition, you’ll have someone to share the experience with and share notes afterward!
8. Plan specific times for the vendor hall.
Many first-time attendees report being overwhelmed at first by the sheer size of our vendor hall – let alone visiting with each booth!
To make it a little less overwhelming, give yourself some time. Plan at least 1-2 passes through the hall, to get the most from your experience. (We’ve published the vendor list ahead of time so you can familiarize yourself with the vendors and plan your shopping.)
Also, take a moment to visit personally with the people at the booth. Many of them are homeschoolers too, and have been in your shoes at some point in their lives!
9. Plan for meals.
It always helps to have a schedule for times and places to eat. The KCI Expo Center does not allow for outside food to be brought inside, but it allows you to purchase food purchased inside from vending machines or the cafeteria off the main Lobby (hours: Friday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.).
10. Take time to unwind.
The conference is one of the highlights of the homeschool year, so make sure to build in time that weekend just to go over everything you’ve learned.
This will also help you implement your new tips and techniques in the remaining months you have before summer!
We have updated this blog post, originally published Jan. 14, 2015, for timeliness and detail.