Homeschool Conference Vendor Booths: Tips and Tricks for Saving $$$

It’s the equivalent of giving a 6-year-old a shopping cart at Toys R Us.  It’s exciting, exhilarating, overwhelming, and can be budget busting.  It’s the NCHE Thrive! 2016 homeschool conference and if your frugal homeschooling family has never been, you are in for a treat.  If you are a seasoned attendee, read on for some money saving tips.

NCHE 2016 Conference How to Save Money at Vendor Hall Frugal Homeschool Family Tips and Tricks (more…)

Q&A: Do Homeschoolers in North Carolina Have to Register by Kindergarten?

“My oldest child is starting Kindergarten at home next year. Must I register our homeschool with the state of North Carolina yet? I’ve heard that I must register her school with the Department of Nonpublic Education right away.” ~Amy

No, Amy, that’s false information. The truth is that if you live in NC, and your child has never been enrolled in public school, you do not have to register your homeschool until they are 7 years old, no matter what his/her grade level. Just because he/she is entering Kindergarten doesn’t mean you are required to register your homeschool just yet.

However, if your child has ever been enrolled in public school, then even if they are not yet 7, you must withdraw them from public school, and register your homeschool with the state. This exception may be why you’ve heard the recommendation to register your school in Kindergarten.

For More Information:see General Statutes of North Carolina 115C-378

If you don’t live in North Carolina, but would like to know more about your state’s homeschooling laws, check out HSLDA’s legal analyses.

Do YOU have a question you’d like me to answer? Message me on Facebook or Twitter!  I’m not an expert by any means, but I’ll give it a shot.

Fun at the Thrive! NCHE Homeschool Conference 2015

Last week I got to attend the annual homeschool conference held by North Carolinians for Home Education, Thrive!, where thousands of attendees were encouraged and inspired on their homeschooling journey.

Here are some of my favorite moments from the conference while I was on the official blogger team.  What fun!
A photo posted by tfhsm (@tfhsm09) on May 22, 2015 at 8:05am PDT
A photo posted by tfhsm (@tfhsm09) on May 22, 2015 at 11:19am PDT
Here I am in my very first podcast interview, EVER!
(I’m a little embarrassed, but this was a fun experience!)

Homeschool Conference Checklist and To Do List WITH Note-Taking Pages: FREE Printable!

I’m getting excited for our state’s homeschool conference, NCHE Conference 2015: Thrive!  This year, I am thrilled to be on the official blogging team for it.  In preparation for the conference, I needed to make myself a checklist and to-do list so I would remember what to bring, and as I did it, I made one for you too!  Here it is!  (And a handy FREE printable so you can print these ideas out easily)


Hey visitors!!!  Guess what – I’ve made a new, updated version of this checklist!  Here it is, just click:

The Frugal Homeschooling Mom Free Homeschool Conference planning checklist note taking sheets and to do list b


Homeschool Conference Checklist:

The Thrive! Conference will be held in Winston Salem, NC May 21st-23rd
Scroll down to download your free printables!

Things to take with you when you go to a homeschool conference!

1. A Bag

  • Not just any bag, but a huge one.  A duffle bag or even a drag-behind luggage case or pull-along file cart will do.  It needs to have plenty of room in it for carrying not only the stuff you’ll bring with you, but the TONS of stuff you’ll pick up during the conference.  You’ll need something easy to carry all that stuff along with you throughout the day.
2. Electronic Devices
  • Bring your smartphone, tablet, or even your laptop computer if you want to.  You’ll want to snap photos, take notes, share things on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (For NCHE conference-goers, use hashtag #NCHE2015).  I’ll be bringing my laptop since I’m a blogger, but I’ll also have my handy tablet as well for social media and sharing my conference fun with others (follow me!).  Also, don’t forget a backup battery!
3. Old Fashioned Notebook and Pen
  • I will have these things as well, for jotting down notes and encouragement for future reference.  If you take nothing else – these are definitely a MUST.  For each speaker you sit in on, you are guaranteed to want to write something down, and you’ll hate it if you don’t have pen and paper.  Trust me.  My first year I attended, I was jotting notes in my conference program book.  There wasn’t enough space!
4.  That reminds me, you’ll definitely need a Conference Program Book.
  • For the NCHE Conference, you can find it already published here.
5.  Take your business cards if you have them.
  • They are so handy for when you meet new business contacts, or when you make a new friend.  You’re sure to meet all kinds of people, and you never know when you’ll need to quickly give them your contact information.  Plus, sometimes the vendor booths have contests for chances to win their products, and all you have to do is drop your business card in a bucket.
6.  Snacks/Gum/Mints/Water/Drinks (& Possibly even lunch)
  • For the NCHE Conference, there are lots of nearby restaurants and even some onsite concessions, but if you’re looking to attend the conference frugally (like me) pack a little cooler with plenty to keep you satisfied throughout the day.  You’ll be walking ALOT and will need food and drinks.  In between sessions, you’ll only get a 30-minute break, which is often the perfect time to run to a vendor booth to check out curriculum, and waiting in line for snacks might be a waste of time or may cause you to be late for the next session.  If your children are in the Children’s Conference program, you will only have an hour and 20 minutes to pick them up, eat lunch with them, and return them (and it’s during session times that you may not want to miss, so the kids may have to attend the sessions with you during that time).  So, you may want to pack lunch, too!
7. Comfort Items
  • Things like lip gloss, hand lotion, hand sanitizer (you will run into new and old friends, and shaking hands, holding handrails, touching elevator buttons, etc.), and facial tissues (for those especially inspiring speakers who make you cry!).  If you’re going to the NCHE Conference, take a sweater – it’s always so cold in the convention center for some reason!
8.  A Camera
  • If you don’t have a smartphone or tablet that takes pictures, you may want to take a camera.  You will make lots of good memories, meet lots of new friends, hear from wise and experienced speakers, and you’ll want to remember the inspiration and encouragement that you received at the conference.  Make sure you have your memory card and backup battery too!

Click the link below the image to download the printable version of this list plus all the extras included (scroll down):


  • The checklist for preparation
  • A Daily To-Do List (you write in your goals for the day)
  • Note-taking pages (3 styles: with or without graphics, lined or unlined)
By clicking the link below you’ll immediately be taken to the printable to download it.

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Download the FREE Printable Conference Checklist and To Do List

Is there anything I missed?  What would YOU bring to a homeschool conference?


Helping Homeschool Families in NC and Across the Country

If you haven’t heard about it yet, I’d like to introduce you to a nonprofit homeschool organization in the Triad (Winston Salem, Greensboro, High Point area), North Carolina, Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping, which was founded about 6 1/2 months ago.

Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping attempts to make it possible for homeschool families in need to receive curriculum, books, and even non-curriculum items from other homeschool families willing to share them for only the cost of shipping.  It’s a fun organization, and one that’s making a big impact to over 9,000 families already!  Members are mostly from the U.S., but there are some from other countries as well.  The organization is based out of North Carolina, but consists of a leadership team of 10 volunteer homeschooling moms spread from Washington to Florida.

Check it out, and see if you have some old books that you aren’t using that you might like to give to others. It’s incredibly FAST and EASY and doesn’t cost you a penny to donate (unless you are just extremely generous and decide to pay the shipping cost yourself – but that’s never expected).

Cash donations are accepted as well.  They go towards purchasing BRAND NEW curriculum (or anything you personally would like to sponsor) for homeschool families in need.  The organization is almost entirely expense-free and is 100% debt-free, and is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, so your money goes directly to where you specify.