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Enjoy Your Homeschool Conference

Periodic Table puzzle, an educational treat

Periodic Table puzzle, an educational treat

Tomorrow is our annual homeschooling conference and for the first time in years I will not be able to attend.  Sometimes life seriously gets in the way, and it’s best if we learn to accept that cheerfully and not complain about what God has put in our path.

But–and this is a big ‘but’–if you can make it to your conference, I highly recommend you do so.

Do you remember why, O busy mom?

  • deep and relief-bringing encouragement
  • a chance to explore curriculum you’ve been considering
  • book tables of all sorts
  • educational treats like puzzles, bug kits, and more
  • a change of perspective
  • meeting old friends and new ones who are all on this journey with you

In 2012 I did not really want to attend the conference but went anyhow, and I was so thankful afterwards!  Here’s what I wrote then:

This year I went to our annual homeschooling conference only because my teens wanted to attend and my friends had put so much effort into it.

It wasn’t something I really wanted to do.  After all, life is busy enough without taking an entire day off. I didn’t feel discouraged, so did not need encouragement; after homeschooling for 15 years, I did not need basic how-to-homeschool information; and I was relatively satisfied with our curriculum.  So why bother going?

Guess what?  The day was wonderful…as I had, deep down, known it would be. 

  • I talked to old friends, the ones I see only a few times a year, and chatted with people I had met at previous conferences.
  • My teens loved their sessions, and are now both reading Mere Christianity at the recommendation of one of the speakers.
  • Mr. 16 is not happy with Singapore’s New Additional Math which he’s been using for pre-calculus.  He and I had a chance to look into two math programs I had been wondering about, Teaching Textbooks  and Life of Fred.  Both look very interesting, but who can really evaluate something like that in 10 minutes?  It’s time to find some detailed reviews and comparisons.
  • I was inspired to focus on nature study.  We always used to live adventurously and go out exploring nature, but that somehow disappeared from our lives.  It’s time to change.  Even if a fear of bears keeps us from venturing into the wilderness, there’s so much else we could be doing!
  • And who doesn’t need reminders to pray?  To pray constantly, specifically, and with thankfulness?
  • Most of my friends and relatives read a lot.  My online friends read, too.  So it was a startling reality check to meet a wise, enthusiastic, thoroughly alive lady who made it a point to read two books a year. Yes, two.  And her Bible, of course….   
  • In the middle of one of the sessions, I suddenly realized that this conference was a holiday for me.  I shed layers of duties and responsibilities, and just focused on enjoying the day.
  • Our keynote speaker was a public school teacher turned homeschooler.  She listed many elements of school teacher training and showed how a homeschool mom is ahead of a school teacher on every single point.  We may not have teacher’s credentials, but we have everything we need to teach.  She also encouraged us to take as many professional development days as public school teachers do; homeschooling moms need to be refreshed and to keep learning too.
  • I met someone who owns 87 first edition Henty novels and now writes children’s history books himself. 
  • It turns out that HSLDA sells a lot of fascinating books.  I just pay my dues and occasionally call HSLDA for help, but I’ve never looked at their books.
  • Our young writer, Miss 14, met another young writer, a real life one instead of a bloggy one. 

Although I didn’t want to go to our conference this year, I’m so glad I went!  I encourage you to attend your conference too.  Take a professional development day and enjoy whatever God brings to you.

So, if you are at all able to go to your homeschool conference, do go.  Plan ahead:

  • decide whether or not to buy curriculum at the conference,
  • make a list of what you want to look at,
  • set a budget,
  • arrange to meet friends,
  • eat a good breakfast,
  • wear comfortable shoes, and
  • set off for your day of encouragement and adventure!

May God bless all the work that conference organizers and speakers do, and may he bless the work you do teaching your children.

4 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    I’m going for a little while tomorrow, just to hang out with the books and some friends I haven’t seen in a while. I don’t usually listen to the keynote, I prefer to visit and shop. 🙂

    1. Annie Kate says:

      You’ll have fun! I’m thinking of everyone out there right now, and I’m going to be cheerful about being home, not sad.

  2. Jenn says:

    Ouch. I was feeling a little guilty for not going to my local convention for all the reasons you listed. I really should go next year. Thanks!

  3. Amy says:

    I went to my first convention last year and loved it. Since it is a few hours away, my husband and I decided to not go this year. Instead, we are going to my state convention and selling copywork books in the vendor hall! I am allowed to visit any seminars I want, so if my husband feels confident at the book table, maybe I can sneak off and listen =)

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