You know you are at a homeschool convention or conference when you pull into the hotel parking lot and the lot is filled with 12 & 15 passenger vans along with vehicles pulling trailers! Yes, there are a lot of homeschoolers who drive cars, trucks, and SUV’s (We do!) but at a homeschool convention/conference you just see a ton of 12 & 15 passenger vans. That was the first thing I noticed when my husband and I pulled onto the hotel property Friday night. We attended the FPEA Special Needs Conference for Gifted and Struggling Learners, in Orlando, FL this weekend. This is a fairly new conference. The FPEA has been holding the Special Needs and Gifted Conference for just a few years.
I enjoy homeschool workshops and when the FPEA released the speaker information I knew that I wanted to go! Hal & Melanie Young would be there. I met them at the convention in 2014 and listen to a lot of their podcasts throughout the year. If you haven’t listened to them before I highly encourage you to go check them out! They can be found on the podcasts app under ‘Making Biblical Family Life Practical’ and they have some of their workshops in their store at http://www.raisingrealmen.com. Then Andrew Pudewa from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) was there along with Heather Laurie (I have just started listening to her in the past few months and she was also the Keynote speaker), Jan Bedell, Faith Berens, Felice Gerwitz, Holly Giles, TJ Schmidt, and Cheryl Swope. All great speakers!!! I will listen to the audio files of all of the workshops that I didn’t make it to.
If you would like to listen to any of the workshops here is a link to purchase audio recordings from the conference. I don’t know if the awesome conference price ($30) is still available for those who attended the conference so you should check that out. Also, FPEA members receive a 10% discount off of the full price of the audio recordings. So it made the cost of the audio files $25!
The conference is set up very similar to the annual convention in May. There is a key note speaker and the exhibit hall is open for a few hours on Friday. On Saturday the exhibit hall is open all day and there are 6 workshop sessions with a few choices for every session. There was a break for lunch!! I loved that they gave a break for lunch, unlike at the convention where all of the workshops are back to back all day long.
I was a tad (just for a few quick moments) disappointed on the number of vendors in the exhibit hall. There were around 40 vendors. I am used to the big convention in May and with it being the biggest homeschool convention in the US we are a bit spoiled with the large exhibit hall and lots of vendors. 6 times the number of vendors plus some of the vendors have huge booths. 🙂 I know as the Special Needs & Gifted Conference grows so should the size of the exhibit hall.
Here are some of the goodies that I bought at the convention.
- Water Beads Holiday Set – The Homegrown Preschooler – Currently she does not have the set on her website. Here are some other water beads that she carries.
- ‘A Stand at Sinai’ – This is the sequel to ‘A Cry from Egypt’ by Hope Auer. We read the first book in the series together as a family a couple of months ago and the newest book was released recently. When I saw it in Hal & Melanie’s booth I knew that the book would be going home with us!
- Pollyanna & Pollyanna Grows Up – They are both audiobooks that I purchased based on Hal & Melanie’s recommendation during one of their workshops.
- Raising Real Men Mom & Dad Special – It is the Raising Real Men Book and Audio Book set by Hal & Melanie Young. Another book that I have been wanting to read. I bought the audio book as well so I can listen to it throughout the day. I like having podcasts playing while I am doing things like laundry and dishes.
I will say it was hard not to buy more audio books!! Hal & Melanie had a large selection along with another vendor that was there.
One final thought, if you go to any homeschool conferences or conventions please stop by the speaker’s table in the exhibit hall or catch them after their workshop(s) and give words of encouragement. They spend a lot of time on the road, away from home, and a lot time away from the their families and need encouragement themselves!
Here is the information for the 2016 FPEA Homeschool Convention, which is held at the end of May. Registration opens sometime in early January.
Have a blessed week!
*****None of the links in this post are affiliate links. I am sharing the links with you so you can have information about what I am writing about.*****