19 May A Homeschool Conference – a Delight, an Education, an Experience
The last two years I have gone to the “Great Homeschool Convention” in Cincinnatti (they have 5 conferences around the country). The first year, an ad came up in my Facebook feed that one of my favorite authors Ann Voskamp was going to be there, and that was my introduction to this convention.
The long and short is I was able to get away for four days. I went to classes, looked at curriculum, learned about all sorts of things, and at the very end, Ann wrapped it up with an edifying message regarding the need to be dependent on Christ while homeschooling in the midst of preparation.
It was a poignant reminder after days of being encouraged and inspired, that I need to be intentional to depend on Christ (seems so obvious but our nature lends to the need for constant reminders:)
So guess what? I left the conference absolutely HOOKED, I left wanting to go back every year.
Last year I was thrilled with the opportunity to look at the curriculum and discuss it with the representatives. It makes all the difference in planning for our families’ needs and goals. And the vendor hall is HUGE! More curriculum than I could have previously imagined.
What I didn’t expect was the “non school” vendors at this convention. Vendors related to healthy living, colleges, games, etc. Of these vendors the most helpful for our family was the vendors geared towards children with special needs.
Getting away is great. I cannot say it is physically restful but the time is refreshing and inspiring.
I love all the classes available! There are hour long classes with 30 minute breaks between throughout each day on a myriad of different subjects. The hardest thing is narrowing down what classes to go to.
So how about this year?
Everything above is still true! The main take aways I would like to share from this year are a few ways my soul and spirit were fed.
I went to a session by Dr. Andrew Kerns entitled “Attention: Why it comes first and how to cultivate it.” My text to a friend sums up a treasure I found. “One of my favorite things from today so far: The importance of teaching our kids attention…Which in Latin is ‘stretching towards.’ The end goal of learning attention and the study of anything is for the purpose of attention towards God which is prayer and beholding God.” Love this.
I was sold on the value of living books before this conference. But now I have an arsenal from which to teach and bring to life different areas of study/their lives through excellent books. Homeschool convention is school for homeschoolers!
I went to a session on protecting the emotional lives of boys by Michael Gurian and got his book called “Saving our Sons: a New Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys.” Looking forward to reading it!
I continue to learn, formulate, and tweak my philosophy of education.
Ideas so this convention (or I would assume other homeschool conferences) is edifying and not draining:
- Mix and match – I have enjoyed picking classes and then leaving some sessions open to browse and talk in the vendor hall. This year there were roughly 250 vendors. If you want to walk around and talk you definitely need to set time aside for that.
- Take breaks – it can be stimulus overload. I found taking breaks to walk outside, walk around the hall, drink water, plan, and eat were super helpful.
- For the most part I made the decision not to buy anything until the last day. Beware that somethings may be sold out but it is so easy to spend a lot of money even when one is super intentional. My husband and I would talk on the phone and plan what I was going to buy the last day.
- Some people go there to buy curriculum – that is great if that works for you.
- I like to use it as a time to look at curriculum, go to classes, go home meditate on it, talk to my husband, research more as needed, and then make a decision. Found it to be super helpful. Do what works for you!
Other homeschool conference/learning ideas (that take less time). Life doesn’t always allow for a four day getaway. For several years my son’s health kept me very close to him. I pray, whatever your life circumstance, you can find a way to be encouraged and inspired in your journey!
- follow homeschool mommas on Instagram – a few I follow are amazing!
- go to a local conference
- getaway overnight with some good books and podcasts
- take part in a local homeschooling group
- take an afternoon and let your house get messy while you dive into some homeschool resources
Blessings to you this weekend!!