Thoughtful Thursday Week 27 – Homeschool Conferences

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I have said it before, and I will say it again: homeschooling parents should attend a homeschool conference at least once a year. Sorry for should-ing all over you, but you should. I am not saying you should spend money on transportation, hotels and restaurants to get to one. But if you have a local event, by all means change your schedule, get a second job to pay for the fee, volunteer at the conference for discounts, do whatever it takes and attend.

Adriana Zoder and Susan Wise Bauer at the Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, June 2015

With Susan Wise Bauer at the Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, June 2015

The reason people don’t attend homeschool conferences is that they don’t think they will get enough value out of them. I know, I know, some of you are saying, “That’s not true. Some actually can’t afford a conference.” I can agree with that only for the extremely poor, but even they make an effort to earn some extra money for something they deem valuable.

Ultimately, it is human nature to choose activity A over activity B because activity B does not offer as much satisfaction or perceived value as activity A. Sure, I understand schedule conflicts. I also understand lack of resources. I even understand the fact that homeschooling parents are afraid of being made to feel inadequate in their efforts by so-called homeschooling experts.  Continue reading »

And yet, I say, homeschooling parents should attend a homeschool conference once a year. If you think you are doing great and don’t need any help, you should go. Pride comes before a fall… If you are in need of help, you should go. You just might find the right workshop that will get you out of trouble. If you don’t care because you feel blah and hailing down the yellow school bus seems more and more attractive, you should definitely go.

Thoughtful Thursday Week 27 - Homeschool Conferences

The Appalachian Home Educators Conference came and went. Attendance was low. Vendors got in the red after they paid for their expenses to be there for two days. Organizers appeared disappointed. Susan Wise Bauer said this was the slowest conference she has ever attended.

But numbers aren’t everything. I saw some sales being made, parents learning new teaching methods, questions posed and answers given. I saw networking happening, friendships started, and new partnerships forged. Things happen at homeschooling conferences even when they are small.

As for me, I gave my two workshops as scheduled to small but very attentive audiences. I was excited to answer questions and help people. I met my educational guru, Susan Wise Bauer, and spent some time asking her questions of my own. I purchased Peace Hill Press curriculum at 60% off and some really cool science gadgets and field guides for my kids.

My husband got to listen to Ms. Bauer and received a final confirmation that my choices for our homeschool are right for our family. Last but not least, I discovered Virginia Soaps do not give me allergic reactions, despite the fact that I am allergic to fragrance. Their ingredients must be so far from parabens and other chemicals used in commercial soaps, that it actually makes a difference even for those of us who must have everything fragrance-free.

All in all, it was a great weekend we spent together as a family. I wish more of you could have been there, but… again, I understand. There is always next year. Or, why not? There is this online homeschool conference sponsored by Well-Trained Mind Online Academy.


5 Days of Homeschool Essentials, Day 4 – An Internet Connection

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The internet has changed our lives so much, I don’t know how we managed before it. I know people who homeschool without internet at home. It is possible. After all, pioneering homeschoolers of the 80s and 90s all managed without it.

My children coloring a page as they follow instructions from Kinderbach.com - our piano curriculum online

My children coloring a page as they follow instructions from Kinderbach.com – our piano curriculum online

However, the internet makes it so easy for me to teach. Here are some ways in which the internet plays an essential role in my homeschool:

  • researching homeschooling in general and curriculum in particular
  • inspiration from other blogging, homeschooling moms
  • finding the best deals on curriculum
  • downloading free printables
  • science4us.com, mangolanguages.com, kinderbach.com, k5learning.com – all these curricula, which we currently use, are online. I will be writing reviews on all of them in a few weeks, by the way.
  • finding about the weather, which can change our plans for the (following) day. Who has time for the TV news to get to the weather forecast? We live in a mountain town, with steep neighborhood streets. Our driveway is at an incline, too. Not bad, compared to other homes around our town, but enough to make it dangerous to walk to the mailbox when it freezes over. Even getting two inches of snow means we are snowed in.
  • Amazon Prime, baby! Love it, love it, love it.
  • Google Translate – sometimes I draw a blank when my kids ask me for a word in French or Romanian or Spanish. Then, I tell them, “Let’s look it up!” Bonus: they learn the process of getting information.
  • blogging – the multitude of opportunities for dialogue and sponsorship a blogging, homeschooling mom exposes herself to is astounding.
  • Code.org – if you want your children to learn how to program a computer, you’ve got it made with this site.
  • The Khan Academy – my children are too young for it still, but we look forward to diving into this free resource for math, science, history, economics, with subjects being added regularly.

To see what my fellow crew members see as a homeschooling essential today, please click on their websites below:

Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

Julie @ Nurturing Learning

Lisa @ Farm Fresh Adventures

DaLynn @ For the Display of His Splendor

Lori @ At Home: where life happens

Nicole @ Journey to Excellence

Brandy @ Kingdom Academy Homeschool

Meg @ Adventures with Jude

Sarah @ Delivering Grace

 

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials