What to Expect

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to attend the CHEO Convention and we are so excited to have you join us!

We know that attending the convention for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Being surrounded by so many other homeschoolers, with over tons workshops to choose from and an large exhibit hall filled with vendors selling curriculum, resources, products, and services, there’s sure a lot to see and do!

Newcomers often have a variety of questions … everything from, “Where should I park?” to “How do I find the right curriculum for my family?”

We are here to help! We have put together some tips and hints to help make your experience at the convention enjoyable and not so overwhelming.

Review the convention information we have published on the CHEO website. You’ll find:
Convention FAQ with answers to the most commonly asked questions about the CHEO Convention
Speaker bios, workshop schedule, workshop descriptions
Parking, food/dining, and hotel information
Tips for getting the most out of the convention
A list of participating exhibitors
Exhibitor workshop schedule and descriptions

Review the workshop schedule and highlight any sessions that you most want to hear in person, making note of any that you’d like to purchase recordings of to listen to later. Planning ahead can help you avoid the stress of last-minute decision-making or the disappointment of missing a workshop you really wanted to hear.

Parking is plentiful near the John S. Knight Center. Take a look at the downtown Akron parking map for locations. Parking is FREE in all City of Akron lots & decks on weekdays after 6:00 p.m. & on weekends.

If you are not familiar with the Akron area, be sure to map out directions so you can find parking and the John S. Knight Center easily. Give yourself plenty of time to park and walk over to the Knight Center, too. This will help eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress first thing in the morning.

The John S. Knight Center address is 77 East Mill Street, Akron, Ohio 44308. It is located between Broadway and South High and faces Mill Street.

When you arrive at the Knight Center, enter through the main entrance by the Rotunda. Registration is located right inside the main entrance.

Once you enter the main lobby, where you go first depends on whether you pre-registered or will be registering on-site.

If you pre-registered for the convention proceed to the area marked pre-registration to pick up your name badges, convention notebook, and goody bag. The pre-registration table is divided alphabetically by last name for your convenience.

Registering On-Site
If you did not pre-register, you may register on-site. Pass the preregistration tables on your right and head to the tall counter straight ahead of the entrance. One of our volunteers will assist you, process your registration payment and give you name badges, a goody bag, and convention program.

Everyone must check in to pick up name badges before going to the keynote or other workshop sessions or into the exhibit hall. Your name badge is your admission to all areas of the convention and must be worn at all times.

There are two categories of workshops at the CHEO Convention … general session and exhibitor. You will find workshop schedules and workshop descriptions for both categories in the convention program for each.

General Sessions
Friday and Saturday mornings we kick off the general session workshops with a keynote address in the Ohio Room.

The keynote session begins at 8:30 AM with several special activities including worship, important announcements, a legislative update from CHEO’s legislative liaison one morning, and the keynote address.

We have an excellent general session speaker line-up with workshops covering a variety of topics from encouraging talks sharing the vision for home education to nuts and bolts “how-to” homeschool sessions filled with practical ideas and inspiration. There really is something for everyone, whether you are brand new to homeschooling or have been homeschooling for many years.

General session workshops are selected to offer encouragement, inspiration, ideas, and information without requiring the use of a particular product, service, or curriculum.

All workshops are open seating. It is not necessary to sign up for individual workshops you wish to attend.

Exhibitor Workshops
Exhibitors at the CHEO Convention have the opportunity to present workshops. Most exhibitor workshops focus on demonstrating or elaborating on their product or service. A few exhibitors use this time to encourage parents in the home education journey with a topic that is similar to a general session workshop rather than being focused on product promotion or demonstration.

Exhibitors pay a fee to reserve one of the exhibitor workshop time slots. We encourage you to attend these workshops to learn more about the products and resources these quality exhibitors have to offer.

In our exhibit hall you will find vendors selling curriculum, books, resources, art supplies, science materials, literature guides, microscopes, t-shirts, Christian products, and much more. You will also find exhibitors sharing information about local resources, services, and activities such as homeschool co op classes, speech and debate, museums, colleges, music lessons, choirs, Christian camps, and more.

Tips for Choosing Curriculum
Selecting curriculum is one aspect of homeschooling that can be the most daunting for new homeschoolers. After all, there are so many options to choose from and we all want to make the wisest decisions when purchasing curriculum.

Begin by doing some research before the convention. Read about curriculum approaches if you are unfamiliar with them. Understanding the difference between a textbook/traditional approach and classical education, unit studies, eclectic, or the Charlotte Mason approach will be tremendously helpful in selecting curriculum for your family. It is also beneficial to have a basic understanding of the type of learner your child is … auditory, visual, or kinesthetic (hands-on).

Once you understand the five or six primary curriculum approaches and have an idea of your child’s primary learning style, take a look at books like Cathy Duffy’s Top 101 Picks for Homeschool Curriculum and Carol Barnier’s The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles. Each of these books does an excellent job at giving an overview of some of the most effective, most popular curricular resources available today. Carol’s book helps you match your child’s learning style with curriculum that may be best suited for him/her.

CHEO Table
Stop by the CHEO table and ask questions of the experienced homeschool moms and dads available to assist you.

Shopping in the Exhibit Hall
In order to minimize feeling overwhelmed in the exhibit hall, it can be really helpful to start by walking through the entire hall, aisle by aisle, checking out various booths as you go to get a big picture overview of what’s available.

Attend both general session and exhibitor workshops. Take time to think, pray, and compare. Decide what you really want and then buy.

Budget can play a big role in what you choose to buy. Most of us have limited funds available and we try to make the best decisions possible, saving where we can.

It’s important to note that the exhibitors at our convention invest a great deal of time, energy, and resources to come present their materials and to be an important part of the weekend’s activities. Please be mindful of the sacrifice they make and consider purchasing from them directly instead of buying their products from another exhibitor or an online supplier for a few dollars cheaper. This encourages knowledgeable exhibitors with quality products to return year after year and makes a better experience for all of us.

Curriculum Is a Tool
The most important thing to know is this … curriculum is tool. It isn’t the end-all, be-all of your homeschool journey. It shouldn’t become your master. It is just one of many tools in your tool belt as you nurture, disciple, and educate your child at home.

Do your research, talk to experienced homeschool parents, browse the exhibit hall, talk to the exhibitors, and ask lots of questions. Use the tools wisely and thoughtfully, but don’t let curriculum become a burden to you or your children.

Sometimes, even after doing all of the research possible, you may choose a curriculum or resource that simply does not end up working for your family. When this happens, you might feel obligated to press on and finish the curriculum because you spent good money on it. And yes, sometimes, pressing on and persevering can be rewarding, but sometimes it can be sheer agony for parent and child alike, unraveling the love of learning we are working so hard to build with our children. Be ready to adapt and adjust as needed.

Consider purchasing recordings of general session workshops—either individual copies or the full set MP3 or CDs.

Resounding Voice offers an excellent deal on the full set of recordings if purchased on-site during the convention.

Even if you attended a workshop in person, it can be beneficial to listen to the recording of that session again later. It’s amazing how many nuggets are packed into each hour-long workshop and we can often glean more the second and third times you hear a particular talk.

You’ll find the Resounding Voice booth at the top of the escalators between the Ohio Room and the Exhibit Hall.

Note: Exhibitor workshops are not recorded.

The John S. Knight Center offers a variety of excellent food choices. You can expect to pay what you normally would at a large venue event. Please understand that the John S. Knight Center does not permit you to bring your own food into the venue. Please respect this rule. If you have a medical condition that requires you to bring your own food, please contact the John S. Knight Center directly.

Children are welcome to the CHEO convention! We ask that you step out of workshop sessions if your little one becomes noisy (fussy or crying, chatty, trying out their new and loudest cute screech).

Mothers Room
CHEO offers a lovely, quiet room for moms who need to nurse or care for a baby. This room is equipped with Scriptures, quiet music, changing tables, rockers, and dim lighting. See the map in the convention notebook for the room location.

Convention weekend is jam-packed with workshops to attend and exhibitor booths to browse. There is a lot to see and do and we want you to enjoy the weekend and get the most out of your time with us.

  • Take breaks.
  • Take time to sit, read through the convention program, and chat with your spouse, friends, and fellow attendees.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take time for lunch or snacks.
  • Wear comfortable shoes.
  • Sit back and take it all in.
  • Notice the community of like-minded families surrounding you.
  • Arrive in time to enjoy worship before the keynote address.
  • Come ready to soak it all up.

It is our desire that each person would return home feeling refreshed, energized, inspired, encouraged, and equipped for the homeschool journey.

From past attendees:
• “Thank you so much for this time of encouragement and refreshment…” Corrie from Lisbon, Ohio

• “Wonderful, life-changing experience. I look forward to future conventions.” Kendra from Zanesville, Ohio

• “I LOVE coming to the CHEO conference! I leave feeling so inspired and encouraged! Thank you for all the hard work and sacrifice you put into this each year.” Carissa from Delaware, Ohio

• “Great variety of resources. It’s amazing being with so many other homeschool teachers. Keep it going…” Briggs from Rocky River, Ohio

• “Thank you!! Thank you for the reception for co-op leadership. Wonderful convention. Always encouraging! Sad it is over!” Wendy for Orrville, Ohio

• “You always do a great job of picking a variety of speakers and topics. Great to see such a full vending hall….” Teresa from Mansfield, Ohio