For those thinking about homeschooling or looking for education supplements for their children or classrooms, the annual Homeschool Expo at Camp Jordan in East Ridge is a go-to place. The expo takes place this year on July 19 and 20.
The expo, which drew over 1,000 families last year, will feature 60-plus vendors displaying and selling everything from complete curricula to individual subject curricula and supplements. The expo also features workshops throughout each of the two days it runs.
Jeannette Tulis, promotions director for the expo and secretary of Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association, the sponsor of the event, says she’s pleased that this year there will be a special focus on encouraging young parents who are just starting to homeschool.
“We have a lot of workshops planned that will be good for moms of pre-K and kindergarten children,” says Tulis, “and for explorers — those starting to think about homeschooling.”
The many vendors that will be at the expo this year include some of the stalwarts of full education programs in homeschooling circles — Abeka, BJU Press, Alpha Omega, and Rod & Staff, as well as companies like Math U See and Essentials in Writing that specialize in particular subjects.
Tulis says that the companies that specialize in full programs also sell by the individual subject.
But curriculum is just the tip of the iceberg at the expo, says Tulis. There are music, art and foreign language programs, maps of the U.S. and the world, historic maps, geography games, puzzles, wall charts of everything from presidents to explorers to inventors, timelines, board games, flash cards and card games, workbooks of all manner, art supplies, science kits and more.
Several vendors sell used books, including classics and biographies written for young adults, says Tulis.
“It’s really overwhelming,” Tulis says. “I often recommend that people come and look and take notes the first day then go home and think things over and come back to buy the next.”
In addition to vendors selling learning materials, there are many set up to share information about local activities and opportunities. Chattanooga Junior Rowing, Chattanooga School of Language, Chattanooga Sea Cadets, Chattanooga Zoo and Reflection Riding are a few.
Parents and their children can also learn about local homeschool activities their children can get involved in, ranging from sports to band, choir, drama and the homeschool yearbook and prom committees.
Five colleges will be at the expo, working to recruit students. There will also be tutoring services and homeschool co-ops set up at the expo.
Forty-eight workshops over the course of two days cover everything from getting started in homeschooling, teaching reading and math, and teaching children to love history to preparing for college and making college more affordable.
“One of the big advantages of attending the expo,” says Tulis, “is getting to look materials over in person. You get a much better idea of what’s a good fit for your children than you would looking at materials online. There’s also plenty of opportunity to talk with veteran homeschool parents and get some good advice.”