When I spent time over Christmas Break considering what I wanted school to look like for Jack and how to achieve what I was hoping for, I began looking at various home school conventions that are held around the country every year. This was also something I asked current home school families about – “Have you ever gone and what did you think?” I got one of every answer, from “Never have gone” to “I have attended one and enjoyed it.” I was looking for someone to point out clearly whether this was a good decision or not. What I was left with was making yet another decision.
After more looking, especially at past speakers and reviews, I decided to attend a convention but wanted something that would not require excessive effort on our part. We were not looking to make a vacation out of this event, nor to spend a lot of our of pocket money with travel and hotels. The MidWest Homeschool Convention is close enough that we can drive there in a day, and we could save on a hotel by staying with friends (which my husband is very excited about). To make the deal even better, with the fulfillment of several hours of volunteering, we are able to receive a free Family Registration to the convention.
I talked it over with my husband, then signed up. The initial thought was for me to volunteer while my husband worked on some of his school work and the kids attended the Children’s Conference. As the time got closer and my husband and I talked things over, we realized the he would have no school work (he would be between classes that weekend) and he could volunteer for a few hours while I attended one or two of the talks. It will take a little bit of planning to prepare the boys to sit quietly (i.e. have quiet activities for them to do) but I think they will be able to do it. After that, my husband can take over spending time with the boys.
With all the
chaos activity in our lives, my husband and I have found a balance that works for us right now. He goes to work, problem solving there, and fills his head with knowledge he needs to learn for school. I try to take care of things with the house and fill my head with details and information to help the boys with their schooling. We share and talk about things, but we each have our focus. There is only so much information one person can absorb before something else has to be pushed out. 🙂 For this reason, he will be taking the boys on field trips while I attend the rest of the conference.
My goals for the MidWest Homeschool Convention are multifaceted:
- Gain more knowledge of how to help George learn in the public school setting; what can I do at home to help support what they are trying to get him to learn.
- How to present information in a way that will peak Jack’s interest, making him want to learn the material.
- How to set up our home school to make the most of our time, without taking up all our time.
After seeing the line up of speakers, I would be interested in going for George’s sake alone, even if we were not homeschooling Jack. After dealing with special education of one sort or another these past few years, I have learned that if I do not know what information is out there, what options are available, or some other ways to teach material, I would have a much harder time advocating and making decisions for them academically.
Looking at the list of speakers to be presenting, it was very difficult to narrow down exactly where I wanted to be and who I was wanting to hear speak. the first step to narrowing down was to remove all the talks relating to high school kids. Our kids are still early Elementary ages, so learning some of that material right now would not be very practical. Finally, referring back to my goals for this conference helped be reduce the lists to 4 or 5 speakers for each time slot. From there, I will make a decision once I am at the conference, though I have a top choice or two for each session.
While there is a curriculum sale also going on, I do not think I am going to purchase anything at this time. I am happy with most of what we are using currently, though will definitely browse and take notes. Seeing something and being able to actually touch it makes a huge difference in my decision making down the road.
I have been to conferences before, but never one for education/teaching your kids. My assumption is that it will be similar, but I am still nervous about it. Silly, I know, but that is the introverted side of me coming out. Once I am there, I have no doubt that I will relax and enjoy myself.
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