Home School In-Service

It’s the end of July, and THSC staff and the Lamberts are getting ready to head to the annual THSC Southwest Convention & Family Conference in The Woodlands. For years we have promoted this conference as a great family vacation for home schoolers—and it is! We have a great children’s program, teen program, inspirational workshops for mom and dad, and critical workshops on the “how tos” of home schooling—not to mention the “add-ons” for things to do with the family in the Houston area.

I recently read an article that said that fewer than 10% of home schoolers had ever been to a home school conference. I don’t doubt those numbers. I think many fail to understand the need and benefits of such conferences and why they are important to home school families—especially moms. Let me explain.

Every year before school starts, public school teachers do “in-service” training as they plan and prepare for the new year. They review curricula to be used, learn new teaching techniques, and generally get pumped up for the new year.

In many ways that is what home school conferences do for home school teachers, i.e., moms. Let’s face it. While home schooling is tremendously beneficial to children and families, it is sometimes a real challenge. Lyndsay, my wife and the home school teacher of our family for more than 16 years, says that home schooling was the most difficult thing she ever volunteered to do. (She didn’t volunteer to have twins.) I bought in to the academic, spiritual, and relational benefits of home schooling early on, and it was my job to encourage, strengthen, and protect my wife to enable her to continue this arduous task for the benefit of our family.

Home school conferences are like those “in-service” times. They are times to learn about and purchase new curricula for the year and to gain more information about how to teach our children and maintain healthy families in the process. They are inspirational times as we are challenged and encouraged by great speakers and they are kind of like reunions where we connect with longtime friends and make new ones who are all on the same arduous path together. The THSC Convention adds these same great things for our children and young people and also offers vacation-type events for the whole family.

Sometimes we dads fail to appreciate that we need to invest in our home schooling experience for our wives and children just as we invest in the tools in our workshops or garages to do the tasks we have to do around the house. With grown children and now grandchildren, I can assure you that the investment is certainly worth the cost. Hope to see you in The Woodlands this weekend!


  1. S.E. Hall says

    Tim, I feel that most homeschool families would love to attend a homeschool convention. The problem is not thinking they do not need it, but knowing they can’t afford it. The pricetag to attend the convention at the Woodlands is staggering. The meals, the hotel, the travel time, the time off from work are more than most families can afford. When we were just starting out homeschooling, we added up what it would cost as we felt we really needed to attend a conference like this. We realized that the pricetag exceeded an entire month’s salary, not to mention the money we would loose from time taken off work. I think THSC should think smaller and closer to home so the majority of homeschoolers could attend.

    • Tim Lambert says


      There are many challenges in hosting a conference. In the early years we lost money trying to provide this service and experience has taught us that smaller events in local areas almost always cost more than is brought in to cover the expenses. Two long-time conferences last year ceased after twenty years of hosting for this very reason. Although we spend tens of thousands of dollars to host this event, we work as hard as possible to make it affordable for families. THSC members get free adult admission which is a savings of $35 at the door. Children under four are free with their parents and we offer free admission for those who can volunteer for us for a few hours. Some families bring food with them and eat at breaks together in their car.

      I know that it is expensive to travel but we have lots of moms who come together as a group to have a “mom’s weekend” at the conference. Other families save and use the conference as their vacation and some stay at less expensive venues or with family or friends. When we were just beginning to home school I sent my wife with some friends to the Arlington Book Fair and stayed home with our children to make it possible for her to go.

      We know that not every family can afford to do the whole program but we try to give options so people can find a way to make it work for their families. So lots of folks find a way to do the part they can afford and some come every other year or just occasionally. We are constantly trying to find more ways to make it affordable so that more families can enjoy the inspiration and encouragement of the weekend.