I'm refreshed, recharged, and ready to go! I just spent two days at the Southeast Homeschool Convention. I finished up choosing and purchasing curricula. It was nice to spend time with like minded people and hear from experienced individuals in different fields.
Last year I also attended the Homeschooling 101 conference. It was very informative, but not necessary this year. I went in with more of a game plan and wasn't as overwhelmed going into the Vendors Hall. I knew what I needed to see and what I needed to research further. I was incredibly blessed this year to have Derek go with me. He wasn't able to go both days, but did go today. We attended some great talks. I appreciated his input into the math curriculum, which we'll get to in the next post - Curriculum Choices.
One of my favorite speakers is Rebecca Powell of momseriously.com. She is incredibly wise and I admire her ability to share her knowledge in parenting and homeschooling. She was the main speaker last year in the Homeschooling 101 courses. Yesterday I attended her talk, "Square Peg, Round Hole: Shaping Your Daughter’s Identity in a Be-Like-Everyone-Else World". What wonderful advice! One of the most profound things she said was, "If we don't tell them (our daughters) who they are, they will believe what others tell them." It is our job to build up our daughters and help them understand who they are in Christ. She gave specific roles each parent has. It was a fantastic talk.
Robert Andrews gave an encouraging workshop entitled "Parenting: Mission Impossible". It was a Biblical perspective of who we are called to be as parents, understanding our children, and understanding how to relate to our children. Some things I took away from this was that we are parents called to raise the next generation for Jesus. As parents, we are first sinners. We are made righteous through Christ and carry the Authority of God in the lives of our children. We, ourselves, must learn to yield to authority before we can wield it properly. Likewise, our children are sinners. We are all born this way. It is our job to bring them up in the ways of the Lord. In dealing with their sin we are not to ignore it, believe everything (they ARE kids), excuse it, or berate them. As a parent we are not their best buddy, we are the parent. We should discipline without anger, but with firmness and compassion.
One of my favorite speakers from last year was Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm. Derek & I were able to catch one of his talks this time . It was hard to get in since it was standing room only. I do have some of his CD's that I plan to listen to with Derek. Kirk is a dynamic speaker with some great ideas for creating a calm home. It first starts with US and how we react to our children. It's about giving the responsibility of choices & consequences to our children. I recommend looking him up!
Ok, so it wasn't all about parenting and dealing with kiddos - though I think that's the larger part of homeschooling. I did attend some talks about specific subjects and teaching techniques - one of those was the Handwriting Without Tears. I actually used this curriculum last year, but Audrey disliked handwriting so much that it really was not enjoyable for us. And, honestly, I struggled with the curriculum. I should have spent more time studying and preparing for it. It isn't difficult, but when you have a child that dislikes it so it does add another difficulty level! I decided to stick it out and actually bought a used set for Maddie when it's time for her. I enjoyed the talk, got some nice ideas, and some great goodies to take home, too. =)
The first class I actually went to was "Incorporating Fine Arts into Homeschool". It was important to me to attend this workshop as Audrey is stressing a huge interest in Art. We will be making an extra effort in doing more art classes, attending museums, and studying a broad spectrum of arts. She also gave some practical ideas for introducing art, artists, and history into every day.
One great class I attended was "Understanding Your Child's Learning Style". The talk was given by a vendor (of a school) and it was, in part, their spin on learning, but I still found it helpful. In addition to the common learning styles (Auditory, Visual, & Kinesthetics), they introduce what they call The Learning Dispositions. These approaches are more student based rather than concept based. It is about fitting their talents, interests, & goals into their learning. The 5 Dispositions she shared are Relating, Performing, Inventing, Thinking/Creating, and Producing. I'm still looking over these and deciding what style Audrey really is.
I attended a workshop called, "How to Homeschool & Stay Organized". My expectations of this going in was pretty high. The speaker lacked a ton of personality, but she did have a lot of information and sped through it very quickly. Some of her suggestions did not really pertain to our family, but I did take away some usable information.
Since I'm doing a review, I must also honestly report on some talks I did not find helpful. Derek & I both attended the "Homeschooling the Gifted Child". Now, let me preface this by saying that I've never had Audrey tested. I do not KNOW that she is gifted. However, I know that she is very intelligent. According to the checklist provided by the speaker, Audrey IS gifted. If only the talk had really followed that. I did not feel that anything useful came from this talk. It was mostly about her and her gifts. Sorry... that's how it came across.
The last talk of the day, Derek & I split up. I went to "Instilling Organization in Our Children". Derek attended "Creating a Gifted Mathematician" (surprise, right?). Let me start with my class. I kinda cringed when I realized who the speaker was. I attended one of her workshops last year and was really disappointed. I tried to change my attitude and give her the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, it was much of the same. I found myself making tally marks on my paper for every grammatical error I saw on the Power Point presentation. :/ There were no concrete ideas on organizing. It was all about realizing that you need organization and doing it. Duh! (For the record, last year she taught on Lapbooking/Notebooking and I found her stuff to be elementary and PPP full of errors.)
On the flip side, Derek came out of his talk pumped and excited! I was actually talking to a lady outside of my workshop as I waited for Derek to finish up. She did not like the one Derek attended for her own reasons, but Derek loved it. He really connected with the speaker and we spent some time afterwards talking to him at his booth.
So, that's it! Overall, it was a great experience. It was informative and encouraging. I met some sweet people and saw some familiar faces. It is not easy, but I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach my girl!
- Welcome to my little spot on the web. My name is Kim. I'm a mom of 2 precious girls - Audrey, 11 & Maddie, 8 1/2. I'm married to a fantastic man who I often refer to as "my walking encyclopedia". I love musical theater, singing, crafts with my kiddos, games, and colorguard. This blog is my outlet to share my journey through life. Hope you enjoy the ride with me! Please feel free to FOLLOW ME on this journey! =)
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