My mom had a good visit. First Communion, Williamsburg, the botanical gardens, the aquarium, one day of stuck-on-the-couch illness, the Outer Banks, local historic homes, and pierogi making. We were busy.
In other news, the IHM homeschool conference website has the schedule up for the DC conference! Woo hoo!
Why should you go to a homeschool conference?
- It’s inspiring.
- It’s nice to be in a large group of people, none of whom will look at you funny for homeschooling or ask, “But what about socialization?”
- More curriculum than you can shake a stick at. Bring a good backpack or rolling cart. (And have a list of what you actually need before you go!)
- A couple of days without the kids.
- Oh, yeah, and how-to workshops and advice.
Personally, I will usually pick speakers on “Why Catholics should be aware of how countercultural we need to be” over “How to teach math better.” I figure I’ll sort out the technical details as I go (that’s what the vendors’ area is for), but I want to be reminded of the big picture.
Especially at this point in the school year, when I am beginning to absolutely despise my lesson planning book and its dictates, it’s so easy to get lost in the weeds of the “how-to” that we forget the beautiful flowers that answer the “why?” Why homeschool? Why go through the extra effort, the criticism, the stress, the sheer weirdness of something most of us did not do as children?
I’ve been weeding a lot lately, can you tell? Ever notice how the weeding causes you to see only the weeds and problems, until you can sometimes miss the purpose of the garden, i.e. the flowers and vegetables? The weeding becomes maddeningly tedious when we forget to look at what we are accomplishing. After an exhausting, and sometimes frustrating, year of homeschooling, I’m looking forward to a solid dose of, “Keep at it, what you’re doing is important! Look at the end result and big picture!” at the conference.
(Ok, I’m looking forward to that, and the Chesterton Society’s table, where I plan to buy one copy of everything, then stand there waving the copy of Lepanto I bought from them last year, loudly encouraging everyone passing by to buy at least one! As Dale Ahlquist says of his first “meeting” with Chesterton through his writings, wow, this guy is incredible, and how the heck did they give me a degree without making me read him?!?)
If you’re considering a conference, look into what they plan on presenting. The Virginia homeschool group is heavily into Creationism and rather too Evangelical for my taste; I do not attend their conference, even though it would be closer. The IHM Conference, on the other hand, has some great speakers I really admire who I was already familiar with beforehand (and they dropped the “Ladies will be more comfortable in skirts or jumpers” requirement a few years back). Also, check to see if your conference of choice has some sort of group deal for hotels.
Yes, homeschool conferences aren’t necessary, at first glance. You can buy your books online or at a local homeschool store. You can listen to encouraging talks on tv or online.
After my first conference last year, however, I don’t plan on missing one again!