HSC CONFERENCE F.A.Q. 

Is the HSC Conference right for you?

  • Are you new to homeschooling?  Do you want to learn more about getting started, legal options, and homeschooling methods and styles?  You will find speakers, discussions, extensive information and lots of opportunities to get all of your questions answered.

 

  • Do you have young children?  The conference has many ongoing activities and workshops for families with young children to enjoy.  We even offer a FREE Grandparent Pass so that a parent can attend adult sessions while another adult has fun with the kids.  You'll be especially interested in activities like the Craft Zone, Art Studio and the Little Kids' Playroom.  Of course, there is swimming and dancing and all kinds of family fun.

 

  • Are you a continuing homeschooler?  If you've been homeschooling a while and you are looking for ways to enhance your homeschooling experience, you'll find all kinds of information and inspiration at the conference.  With over 125 workshops and speakers, you will especially enjoy the specialized speakers, in-depth discussions, and Exhibit Hall.

 

  • Do you want to enjoy a fantastic family vacation?  The conference is one of the few whole-family activities available that will really satisfy family members of all ages.  Attendees range from little babies to grandparents!  There are special funshops designed for younger and older children, teens, and adults, and many activities for families to enjoy together.

 

  • Are you looking for networking, support, and community?  Join over a thousand children, teens, and adults as we learn, play, and dance together.  You will love being surrounded by close-knit happy families and will have plenty of opportunities to connect with others.

 

  • Are you a teen looking for peers who are interesting, creative, and a whole lot of fun?   The conference teen program is planned by and for teens, themselves, and is legendary throughout the homeschooling community.  There are workshops, games, discussions, dances, and so much more.  Many teens come back year after year and look forward to it as one of the highlights of their year.

When does the 2019 Conference start and end?

  • You can check-in and pick up conference packets beginning Thursday at 5 PM, August 6th.  The Conference concludes on Sunday evening, August 9th, after our Closing Slideshow held at 5 pm.

 

How do I register to attend?

  • Registration opens on Black Friday. You may pre-register online to take advantage of early-bird discounts or pay at the door.  All the details are on the registration page.

What about grandparents?

  • Grandparents are always free.  Grandparent badges are available onsite at the conference with a confirmed registered family.

 

Volunteers, speakers, and presenters, please read:

  • Are you planning on speaking, leading a workshop, volunteering, or doing Work Exchange at HSC Conference 2019?  Awesome!  Please REGISTER before you apply to speak or volunteer at the conference, as refunds associated with leading a workshop & work exchange are distributed via Paypal AFTER conference concludes.  The best way to minimize your registration cost is to purchase your tickets early, Black Friday if possible. 

Are there one-day Registrations?

  • Online registration is for the full conference only.  One-day Saturday registrations will be available on-site at the conference if space is available.

Who's a Teen at the Conference? The Teen Program: Questions & Answers

The teen program is geared towards kids 13 and up, but, as homeschoolers, we know that age is just a number.  As many of you know, we have changed our program to one that is not restricted by age.  Here’s what we’ve told others who have asked in the past. We hope it helps!

 

Q:  Does "age is just a number" mean that all ages will be able to attend the teen program that has been planned by the teens?

A:  No.  The teen program is still intended for those who comport themselves as teens.

 

Q:  Do you mean to say there will still be certain workshops and events that will only be open to teens?

A:  Yes. Some workshops and events will be open only to those comporting themselves as teens.

 

Q:  Can you explain what you mean by "comporting themselves as teens?" 

A:  "Comporting themselves as teens" refers more to behavior than physical maturity.  For example, at the teen dances, an 11-year-old who is comfortable participating in the usual teen dance activities (dancing, talking, hanging out) is welcome; a 12-year-old who spends their time disrupting the dance attendees (pestering, running around or popping balloons for example) is not. 

 

Also, teens at teen events are not expected to moderate their behavior or language to the comfort levels of younger kids who have decided to attend.  The content and subject matter of teen workshops and events may not be appropriate for younger kids (or even parents!)  Be sure to discuss as a family whether you are comfortable with your Tween participating in or being surrounded by Teen activity.

 

Remember that teens enjoy being teens in the company of other teens.  Conference guests of other ages are encouraged to ask themselves when attending teen workshops and events if their participation may distract or detract from the purpose of these events or enjoyment of those for whom they are intended.

 

We recommend that families discuss and decide with their children what activities they think will be appropriate for them to attend, especially with regard to whether they are ready or interested in participating in the teen program.  Please read the teen workshop and events descriptions carefully.  

 

By offering the teen program, we are making an effort to provide a wide range of experiences and activities to all conference participants, as well as allow everyone to feel comfortable attending sessions that satisfy their skill and interest levels.  Again, please read all of the descriptions thoroughly.

What about Young Adults?

  • Young Adult registration is NOT available online, but Young Adults may register onsite for free when they are a member of HSC! 

  • Young Adults are defined as individuals who fall between the ages of 18-25 DURING CONFERENCE.  A person who turns 18 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday of the conference may register as a Young Adult. 

  • Young Adults MUST show proof of membership and age at the time of registration in order to register at this free rate!  Proof of age can be a state-issued ID, driver's license, passport, or birth certificate.

Onsite registration at the Doubletree: 

  • Your onsite registration packet will be processed in the order we receive them and will be available for pick up at the Registration Desk, in the Bayshore Foyer during registration hours.  Please be patient with our staff and know we will process your onsite registrations as quickly as possible.  Please check the whiteboard for registrations ready to be picked up.

  • Onsite Registration Hours are:

    • Thursday, August 6, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    • Friday, August 7, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

    • Saturday, August 8, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

    • Sunday, August 9, 8:00 am - 10:00 am

When can I get my badge and do I have to wear it?

  • All attendees must check-in at the Registration Desk to pick up their conference badges. We recommend that you plan extra time for this before the conference begins. Registration will be open:

    •      Thursday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

    •      Friday  8:00 am to 4:00 pm

    •      Saturday 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

    • ​​     Sunday 8:00 am to 10:00 am​​

  • Attendees must display badges in plain sight to attend conference functions. You must wear your badge in order to take part in any of the conference activities.  If you do not have your badge, you will be asked to retrieve it.

  • Replacements can be purchased for $20.

 

Can I a refund or transfer my registration to another person?

  • All registrations are non-refundable. There is a $20 fee per person (not per family) to transfer registrations. Please request a transfer by completing the transfer form.

 

Do I need to be a member of HSC to attend the Conference?

  • You need to be a member of HSC to attend the conference.  For info on being a member, please go to www.hsc.org.

 

Is this Conference for a particular type of homeschooler?

  • No, this is a fully inclusive homeschool conference with something for all folks within the glorious spectrum of diversity of the homeschooling community.  All homeschoolers and those interested in homeschooling are welcome!

 

Will anyone else be there?

  • Yes! Hundreds and hundreds of folks will attend the conference!  It's a blast!  Be there!

 

Help! There're too many great things going on at once, I don't know what to do?

  • It is common for both new and veteran conference attendees to be momentarily stunned by the sheer quantity and quality of options available to them during the conference.  Conference volunteers sweep the premises in search of homeschoolers frozen by the sheer awesomeness of the HSC conference.  They are trained to combat overwhelm through guiding attendees to take a few deep breaths, consider all of their family needs, choose something, and go enjoy it by focusing on what they are doing instead of what they might be missing.  So, just breathe deep and know you will be okay.  Also, remember there is always next year!

 

Do I have to wear shoes at the hotel?

  • YES! It's the hotel's policy, so we've got to keep our shoes on!

 

What should I bring to the Conference (other than shoes)?

  • Snacks for the little ones and maybe even some to share.

  • A family emergency plan -- how and when to find each other in case of an emergency.

  • Sweaters for you and the kids for the evening and the powerful air conditioning

  • Musical instruments

  • Props for your performance in the Talent Show

  • Empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls - drop them off at the Construction Zone in the Epic Playspace

  • A camera - or your smartphone

  • Cell phones or 2-way radios to keep in touch with family members

  • A great attitude and willingness to try new things and have FUN!

 

Should I bring the whole family?

  • The HSC Conference is uniquely designed for all ages -- from babies to grandparents.  In fact, grandparents attend for free!  There are complete conference programs designed for all those two years and above, and the littlest ones are welcome by your side.  Be sure to bring the whole family!

Is there childcare provided at the conference?

  • We do not offer childcare, and it is important that all children under 14 have an adult nearby throughout the weekend.

  • Families are welcome to use cooperative childcare in order to attend workshops.  You are responsible for meeting and making arrangements with the other families.  HSC and agents assume no responsibility or liability for the cooperative childcare.

Can I bring my friend's kid along with me? What about sending my kid with my friend's family?

  • HSC events are first and foremost FAMILY events. We strongly encourage families to attend together. However, we do allow families to bring an extra friend or two along with them. Every child or teen must be staying with a registered responsible adult.

  • If you bring an extra child or teen, it is very important to understand your responsibilities.

  • You will be asked to sign a statement saying you are the “registered responsible adult” for each extra child/teen. You must be at least 25 years old. If you sign this statement, you are agreeing that any child or teen who is with you is entirely your responsibility. You should know the extra children/teens and their parents well. They should be staying with you at the event (in your hotel room at the conference, for example), and you should be supervising them the same way you supervise your own children. As a responsible adult, you are legally responsible for them and should be sure to have a medical release form from their parents.

  • We do NOT allow children or teens at events unless they are being supervised and cared for by a registered parent (at least 25 years old) who has invited them to stay with them and will take full responsibility for that child or teen’s safety, welfare, and behavior.

Can I bring my dogs to the conference?

  • Yes and no.  Your canine companions are welcome at our hotel; however, the hotel asks that you do not leave pets unattended in your hotel room.  (Dogs don't usually like this either.)  Dogs are not permitted in conference space - that means no dogs in workshops, sessions, in the registration area or at the dances and big events.  (Dogs that can be contained in a sling or backpack are welcome in these areas so long as they are kept entirely in-arms.)  Of course, service animals are welcome everywhere. 

 

  • Why?  Allergies.  We love all kinds of critters, but HSC Conference is intended to enrich the lives of our human participants first.  We are grateful for your understanding as we strive to keep our conference environment-friendly for people who are allergic to pet hair.

What are some ways for all family members, adults, and kids, to best enjoy the conference?

  • The HSC Conference is really five conferences in one with full programs of activities for all ages of kids over two, as well as adults.  Sometimes it takes some arranging to make sure all family members are taken care of.

  • Based on experience, here are some suggestions:

    • One adult may go to an adult workshop while the other goes to family workshops; if a workshop is really good, you can purchase a recording of it to listen to together later.

    • Sometimes, you may find both adults ending up with the kids at the family workshops because they are so fun.

    • Many families take part in cooperative childcare with other families (this can be arranged onsite and is a great way to meet other families).

    • Some folks bring along a grandparent along to watch the kids while they attend adult workshops.  Grandparents attend free!

    • Some families leave the kids at home with a sitter while they go and enjoy an adult learning vacation weekend.

    • We encourage you to choose the approach that works best for your family.

    • Relax, there's no way you can attend everything at the Conference even if you weren't lucky enough to have your wonderful kids with you.  However, if you are fortunate enough to have them with you, enjoy this weekend together.

How can I keep my kids and the conference safe and comfortable for all families?

  • Be sure that all children attendees are wearing conference badges.  Write your pager or cell phone number (including your area code) on the back so that we can reunite children with lost parents in the event that you do get separated. 

  • If you should run across a lost parent or child, please take them to the conference Registration Desk. 

  • Don't leave children sleeping in the hotel room alone. 

  • Do not let children play on the escalator or elevators or run down the halls. 

  • Keep your children seated or on your lap if you're eating in the restaurant.  Those waiters have to move fast with heavy trays of breakable dishes and pots of hot coffee.  If we get in the way, it can be scary for everybody. 

  • Carry healthful snacks and maybe some to share with new friends.

  • Bring sweaters for yourself and your child because the hotel air conditioner can be really cold. 

  • Speaking of clothing, everyone must wear shoes unless they are swimming. 

  • Don't leave any child under 14 alone or with older siblings at the pool. 

  • The hotel says that all children must have an adult supervising at the pool. 

  • Do not bring anything to the conference that has wheels except your car, a stroller, a wheeled cooler, or a wheelchair.  That includes skateboards, rollerblades, skates, bikes, and scooters. 

  • Please report any suspicious person to the conference Registration Desk or a staff member.

What about Advanced Sign-ups for Limited Enrollment Workshops?

  • Following the requests of our members, we have eliminated advanced sign-ups for almost all workshops and are offering a greater menu of workshops than ever.  Of course, some workshops will fill up, but we've tried to do our best to accommodate as many attendees as possible.

 

Will my favorite speaker's books be available at the conference?

  • Most likely!  The Speakers' Booth sells books written by our past and present speakers.  This year's speakers will be available to sign their books at various times throughout the weekend.  Related books, audio, and video recordings will also be available.

 

How can I win some cool stuff to take home?

  • The Homeschool Association of California is again sponsoring a raffle as a fundraiser for the organization.  Some of our exhibitors have generously donated fabulous prizes to our raffle!  We also have raffle items donated by others in our community available to win at the HSC Info Table.  Please visit the Information Booth to discover what you can win and drop your raffle tickets into the boxes of the prizes you most desire.  Tickets will be sold at the conference all day Saturday and until 11 AM on Sunday by the Exhibitor Hall and by friendly folks milling around the vendor hall and other areas.  They are $1 each, 12 for $10 and 25 for $20.  All proceeds go toward HSC’s important work supporting and protecting homeschooling in California.  The winners will be posted on Sunday at noon.  Please claim your prize by 2 pm.  You must be at the conference to win.

 

Can we swim in the pool?

  • Yes, you can swim in the pool.  We ask that attendees do not wear swimwear in the lobby.

 

Can I stay up all night making loud noises? 

  • Only if you go home to do it.  If you are staying at the hotel, we ask that all attendees honor a 9 p.m. curfew in the hallways,

  • if you want to stay up later, please use the atrium level gathering space until they close at 1:30 a.m., after which all socializing must move to private space (hotel rooms). 

  • Please remember that not everyone staying at the hotel is attending our conference.

 

If I don't like a workshop, can I get a refund?

  • No refunds of registration or other fees will be made.

Can I just come to the DoubleTree and hang out?

  • No, a current registration and a badge are required to be in the parts of the hotel being used by the conference or to attend any conference activities. You may attend the Exhibit Hall, which you can browse for free.

Do I have to purchase my own conference pass to attend with my teen?

  • We are so glad you asked!  If your teen is 13-17 years old, they must be accompanied by a paying adult caregiver (not another teen sibling or friend.)

Can I help?

  • We'd love to have your help! Go to the volunteer page to find out how!

Dining Options 

  • Kid-friendly, vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options are available at the Doubletree.  Please support our hotel by purchasing food on site. 

 

How do I join the Homeschool Association of California?

Who is the Homeschool Association of California? 

The Homeschool Association of California is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Tax ID #68-0137455, and a 

a statewide volunteer-driven organization whose mission is to:

  • Honor the diversity of homeschoolers

  • Support, be inclusive of and promote the entire spectrum of homeschooling

  • Provide information

  • Monitor and influence legislation

  • Offer opportunities for homeschooling families to get together

  • Empower families to make the choices that respect the rights, needs, and aspirations of their children

When and where is next year's conference?

  • The 2021 conference will be held July 30 - August 2, 2021, at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose.  Tickets will go on sale Black Friday, 2020. See you there!


What if I have a question that wasn't answered on this extraordinarily helpful F.A.Q. page?

  • Go ahead and send an email to conference@hsc.org and we'll do our best to get you an answer.