Thursday, July 10, 2014

Two and a Half Days, 12 Sessions, 1 Exhibit Hall (What I Learned at My First Homeschool Convention)

     I attended my first homeschool convention organized by Great Homeschool Conventions.  In the weeks after registering for the convention The Principal and I carefully looked over all the scheduled sessions and decided which ones I would be going to and which ones he would attend.

     Then we got a puppy.  Two weeks before leaving for the convention.

     We could have waited on adopting this one (and we did...barely 24 hours), but we had been sort of searching for a dog for some time now and this one spoke to me.  ME...a not-so-big-on-dogs person.  Thus, my husband and I agreed this was the dog for us and wanted to snap her up before someone else did. This changed things since we couldn't leave a newly adopted puppy with anyone during our 3-day trip, nor could we board her since she had not received all her vaccinations just yet.  We decided before we adopted the pup that The Principal would stay home with our son (still finishing his last week of school) and the puppy while Little Toughie and I made our way to the convention.  We had to narrow down our sessions even more, deciding which ones were absolute musts and which ones I could either pass on or purchase the recording.

    

      Homeschool Lesson #1:  Be flexible.  Things will change.  Your plans, your schedule, will certainly be thrown off; whether by puppies or kids.  Besides, one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to adjust to those changes.  View it as a nice break in the norm!

   
     Now, I don't drive on the freeways a lot where I live.  I've never had to and though I used to do A LOT of freeway driving in my younger days (I hear "You young whipper snappers!" in my head as I write that) I've never had to once I had my first born.  Everywhere I had to go was close to our home or could be reached via local streets.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, I had to drive on the freeway to get to the convention BY MYSELF!  (Not exactly by myself, but I don't think my daughter knows the freeways better than me.)  I was a little apprehensive, even trying to carpool with someone else, but it didn't pan out.  The morning I had to leave (still hoping that someone would call me for carpooling) I opened up my Devotional and it addressed phobias.  God at work again!  That message plus the easy route my husband provided for me got me on the road and on our way.  Easy-peasy!

      

     Homeschool Lesson #2:  Start your school day (and everyday) with your kids and God.  If there is a project you have to take on with the kids then dive into God's Word before beginning.  If there is a lesson you fear will not get through to them bring it to our Lord before you even start.  What I got from that devotional was that God would not allow anything to happen to me.  We got there and back, safe and sound.

     
     Between sessions, shuttling my daughter to and from her Children's Conference and walking the exhibit hall, everyday  was a whirlwind that ended way past my daughter's bedtime.  She enjoyed her time alone with me though and we even decided to share a piece of chocolate pie in bed as a special "business trip" treat (The Principal told her since I'm a teacher this was my business trip).

     

     Homeschool Lesson #3:  Make time for something fun and special at least once a month.  Make it something you wouldn't normally do.  It doesn't have to be anything extraordinary or expensive.  My daughter's favorite part of her time with me while at the hotel was the 45 minutes we played in the pool before my first session began, thus kicking off the jam-packed schedule.  That and sharing a late-night treat of chocolate cream pie with me in bed.  Do a reverse day, dinner in the morning and breakfast at night.  Work with the kids to get ideas!

   
     I got plenty of information from each of the sessions I attended.  I was well prepared, with my homeschool notebook in hand and Paleo snacks at the ready.  Walking to and from the convention I observed the interactions between several different parents and their children.  I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.  Practically every child there was well behaved and respectful.  The only whining and crying I heard were from the little wee ones, not quite ready for homeschool.  It opened my eyes to the other benefits of homeschooling.

     

     Homeschool Lesson #4:  The difference between being socialized and socialization.  I get people who are concerned about my kids be socialized and I have to say, considering how kids are today, so am I.  Which is why I'm homeschooling them.  There are things out there that I don't want my kids to learn, especially from their peers.  Does that mean they don't have friends?  Not at all.  My kids play with others, but they're not around them 5 days a week for hours at a time.  Homeschooling will allow me to foster the Christ-like qualities I want them to have instead of them learning inappropriate behavior from the "cool" kids.

     
     As I finish writing this I'm preparing our curriculum for the new school year which starts next week.  My son, A380 will be joining us this year!  I've also been asked to be a tutor for our Classical Conversations co-op and am seeking God's guidance for that.  Plenty of changes ahead.  Plenty of prayers needed.  Plenty of praying happening.  Just more for me to write about!

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