in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
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Glen Burnie, Maryland
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|The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine|
March 20, 2013
Conventions are Near--Should I Go?
Many years ago now, I thought I did not need to attend a homeschool convention because I felt that I already knew what I was doing and what I wanted to continue doing. I didn't want to go and be persuaded to change my ways or my curriculum. So I skipped a year.
Within months of the conference I became discouraged and needed refreshment. Oh yes, that's why I went before! I was always refreshed and had my vision strengthened by attending. Although I knew what I was doing, I lost sight of why I was doing it.
When we lose sight of the "why," then when discouragement or tedium hit, we crumble. Because, face it, we are doing a lot of work in the face of lots of opposition. It takes strength and courage to continue, and we can find both when we renew our vision by attending a convention. You will not regret making the effort to attend.
Besides renewing our vision and drive for homeschooling, there are many other benefits to attending a convention:
- After researching online, I am able to actually look through a product and make the purchase right away if I decide it is a good fit. I can ask questions of the vendors and get answers in person to my curriculum questions.
- Seeing homeschooling in a bigger setting than just my dining room table, helps me realize that I am not alone in this endeavor and there are actually thousands who have not "bent the knee" to public education.
- Rather than being ridiculed and questioned, as is normal for homeschool families, I am validated and supported in the convention environment.
- After praying for a certain child, or praying for the right product for that child, I have found many of my prayers answered through either the teaching from inspiring speakers or through walking the aisles of the vendor halls. As I pray, the Lord leads me to the right places and people and answers my prayers for wisdom.
- My local support group spends a lot of volunteer time and energy and I should support their efforts with my attendance. When I attend, I am not only being supported, but I am supporting the vendors and speakers and the vitality of homeschooling itself.
- Many husbands have fully "come on board" after attending a convention. And, there have been many instances where the speaker's workshops on CDs have been given to in-laws or friends, and have convinced them of the benefits of home education.
- I find old friends and new, and I always leave conventions with joy in my heart and the courage to continue on and, of course, a new book or two.
Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld, renowned author and homeschool conference speaker wrote an article entitled, The Boom in Homeschool Conventions, in which he summed up the benefits of conventions this way: "I could write a book about these wonderful homeschool conventions, the families that attend them, and the fabulous entrepreneurs who offer their products to parents who truly care about their children's well-being and happiness. If you want to see the beautiful benefits of educational freedom, go to a homeschool convention. You'll love it!"
Let's support our homeschool conventions together, as we praise God together and thank Him for the continued freedom to keep our children Home Where They Belong.
"I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people." Psalm 35:18
TOS Senior Editor
Here is a TOS article titled, "An Insider's Guide to Conventions" by Maggie S. Hogan.
The American School offers outstanding value for
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I'll never forget attending my first homeschool convention. It was summer, just two years ago. My mom and sister accompanied me. None of us was quite sure what to expect. By the time we left, I knew I had to find a way to come back again. I had to return. I was in awe--not to mention the fact that my arms simply could not carry one more item, free or purchased!
Walking through the exhibit hall made my head swim. Ideas swirled. People. Images. Resources. The freebies alone filled a tote bag! Ideas and brainstorms exploded in my mind. This was a place to come to be inspired, equipped, and encouraged.
One of the many advantages of attending a homeschooling convention is all the people you get to meet. Parents and educators. Curriculum designers and small business owners. And the great speakers, such as Kurt Hoffman, one of SchoolhouseTeachers.com's newest Teachers.
Kurt will be appearing at the Great Homeschool Convention's Midwest event in Cincinnati, Ohio, at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine and SchoolhouseTeachers.com booth on April 4-6. Kurt debuts a course on Social Justice April 1. He is the founder of Young Heroes' Academy, built for everyone who's been told to stop asking why. Through his class, he hopes to help equip teens to change the world and to abolish slavery, to fight to protect the dignity of every person. He starts with helping them recognize their own.
In a time when the effects of human trafficking and modern-day slavery are felt around the world, from major cities to small towns, from foreign lands to home shores, the need for such a class is great. The need for empowered and equipped teens is even greater.
Stop by SchoolhouseTeachers.com on April 1 and join Kurt Hoffman for his brand-new class. And if you can, stop by and see him at the booth in Cincinnati. It will be an experience you won't forget.
Bonnie Rose Hudson
I'm bushed. I just pulled in our driveway after speaking at our first official homeschool convention of the season down in Greenville, SC. There's just something encouraging about gathering with a boatload of homeschoolers that feels . . . good.
There are homeschool products to look over, speakers to hear, and other moms and dads to meet. Plus if you plan it right, you might even get a night or two in a hotel . . . without your kids.
In just a few days I'll be heading up to the homeschool convention in Manitoba (that's in Canada). It doesn't matter where you homeschool; we're all in the same boat and face the same struggles and concerns. That's why conventions are so encouraging.
So let me urge you to take advantage of your nearest homeschool convention. You need it. Even if you think you don't, you do. Even if you've been homeschooling for decades and think you've got it all under control . . . you need it!
I talked to a mom this weekend who hadn't been in years. Through her tears of happiness, she thanked me for what I shared and then said how grateful she was that she had chosen to come because she needed it . . . and so do you.
In fact, if you end up in a convention where I'll be, stop by and say "hey."
P.S. First person to welcome me to Canada with a loonie, toonie, or a Tim Horton's donut gets a free CD of their choice.
A Great Homeschool Convention!
Don't Miss the MidWest Homeschool Convention, April 4-6, 2013 at the Duke Energy Convention Center,
Cincinnati, OH. Encouraging and informative workshops! Huge exhibit hall! Amazing featured speakers! Comedian--Tim Hawkins! Abortion Survivor--Gianna Jessen! MidWest Only--Dr. Ron Paul!
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Imagine asking a doctor, "Do we need doctors?"; or a firefighter, "Do we need firefighters?"; or a museum curator, "Do we need curators?" . . . Of course each would answer, "YES!" There is a certain subjectivity, with an answer framed from the self-interest of continuing their careers, isn't there? Even though that is obvious, nevertheless, when we stop and look at the question objectively, we agree that there really is a need for doctors, firefighters, and curators.
I bring this up at the start of today's topic because, honestly, all of us writing in this column have a certain subjectivity to our answers. If you all stopped coming to conventions, it would greatly impact our ability to continue doing what we do. Even with that honestly out on the table, nevertheless, when we stop and look at the topic objectively, I'm here to tell you that there really is a need for conventions--and your ability to homeschool will be greatly enhanced by going.
Why? Because first of all, there is no substitute for experiencing something in person. I appreciate the internet--I'm so grateful for the amazing things we can discover, learn more about, see images of, listen to, watch, and purchase on the worldwide web. Yet, if I have the chance to hear a lecturer in person and ask questions afterwards, if I can watch a cooking demonstration and actually taste the flavors as the food is being cooked, if I can look at a science book and also ask the scientist who authored it to explain his perspective, if I can see a botanical garden and actually walk the grounds, touch the plants, smell the flowers, and talk with a horticulturalist--then I have had an authentic, experiential, hands-on (or tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing) adventure that "virtual reality" does not encompass.
If you go to a convention, you can experience things that are not possible online. You can talk to authors, listen to speakers, meet other homeschoolers, find resources that you would otherwise miss, put your hands on the books you've been considering and discover if they are as good as you had hoped, and experience what it is to be among thousands of others who are walking the same journey as you.
Secondly, I have learned that there are times I don't even know what I don't know.
Let me give you an example of that. If I think I know what education is, but my basis for knowing is only what I experienced as a child in school--and I don't stop to ask, "Wait, is that all there is?"--then I will mistakenly think, "Oh, yes, I know what education means. All I need is the right curriculum, the right co-op, the right lesson plans, and then I will achieve my goals." The reality is far different, isn't it? Children are incredibly complex, with different learning styles, different developmental stages of growth, different interests, and different needs. If I don't know enough about education to understand that there are varying ways to approach it, then I won't ask the questions that could unlock an amazingly adventurous, treasure-strewn journey of learning. And once you get started learning about the particulars of education, there is still more to learn. There are nuances and details that you will discover as you look at the incredible resources available in an exhibit hall, and as you listen to national speakers who have paved the trail before you--with wisdom that comes from going the distance and gaining the perspective of many years of homeschooling.
Should you go? Absolutely. Hope to see you there!
Remember, stay relational,
Raising Real Men
Hal & Melanie Young
When our eldest was just one, we went to our first homeschool convention--in a picnic shelter (really!) in Modesto, California. It was so exciting to talk to homeschoolers and to look through all the books. We knew we wanted to homeschool and this little taste of it just whet our appetites. We've only missed going to a homeschool convention once in the twenty-two years since then!
It's true the internet has changed things. It's easier to get information and easier to "talk" to other homeschoolers than ever before. You can even download workshop sessions from your favorite speakers whenever you like.
So why should you go to a live homeschool convention?
It's different when you are actually there. We love the time after our workshops when we get to talk to moms and dads face to face and pray with them. You can really get to know the speakers you enjoy--and they can get to know you.
Often the people who wrote the curriculum you are interested in are right there in the book fair. Even if they're not, there will be knowledgeable folks running each booth, usually people who've used those books themselves. You can talk to other parents there and gain from their experience, and take a look at new things you've never even heard of before.
It's good to be away from home, too. It's hard to focus on your own learning when the children are running in and out and the laundry is calling. It's so relaxing to sit back next to your mate, listen and learn, then head to lunch together talking about where the Lord is leading your family. It's good for you and good for your marriage and children, as well.
The best reasons, though, are the divine appointments. Cool things happen when you put a few thousand homeschoolers in a building together. It happens all the time. We see two dads bouncing cranky toddlers in the hall and the dad who's been worried about high school talks about the teens he's met there. Teens who'd been restless at home gain a new perspective and a bunch of new friends in the teen sessions. A group of moms chatters up a storm waiting for a session to start, then settles back happy with some new ideas. Old friends call delighted greetings over stacks of books. The energy and joy is amazing!
Here are the conventions where we'll be this year: CHEA Bay Area, Santa Clara, CA; Teach Them Diligently in Spartanburg, SC, Nashville, TN, and Omaha, NE; NCHE in Winston-Salem, NC; CHOIS in Nampa, ID; AFHE in Phoenix, AZ; and HINTS in Charlotte, NC. If you come to one, stop by and say, "Hi!"
Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie
Got a boy nine to twelve years old? Wondering what happened? You're not alone! Join our live, interactive webinar series, Boot Camp 9-12: Getting Geared Up for the Teen Years! Starts March 25th, so hurry!
Coming in March 2013 . . .
Homeschool Mom Burnout
Featuring Heidi St. John
The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daytime:
How to Fit Your Size 16 Day Into a Size 10
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. They have seven children ages 1 to 20 and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference speaker, Heidi approaches homeschooling with humor and grace at events all across North America.
Her passion to encourage homeschool moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Visit www.heidistjohn.com for more information.
Sign up for the Expo here!
Also, you won't want to miss . . .
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on
Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. EST!
(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT)
Check out all the details at
Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1,000 available!
"Most of the scientific evidence points to wolves as being the ancestors of modern dogs, but there seems to be a difference of opinion of when the domestication of dogs first took place." Read more in the article Were Dogs Domesticated 33,000 Years Ago?
Read this article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
For the month of March, 2013
A+ Interactive Math from A+ TutorSoft, Inc.
I received the A+ TutorSoft Inc. CD software for 1st grade to review. The CD software is for A+ Interactive Math for 1st grade. They also offer an online version of the CD software.
Before I tell you about this product, I want to share a discount code that the company is offering. Through the end of March you can receive 50% off by using coupon code SPOFFER50! Wow! ( . . .)
I have to admit, when I signed up to review this I thought we would be using it with my oldest daughter. Instead her little brother decided that this was his new favorite thing in the world! He's always liked math and is actually very good at it. He's 6 years old and ahead of his 8-year-old sister!
My son sat at the computer the first day he used this course and did three lessons. He listened and interacted during the "talking" or lecture portion and then did the questions that went along with the lesson. After he finished the first lesson, I was going to shut it down until the next day but he begged to do another! When a child begs to do school, well it's normally best to allow it! So I let him do a second lesson and second question set. He then decided on his own to go to the third and was well into it before I realized he had even begun! (. . .)
The A+ Tutorsoft Interactive Math program was very easy to install. We simply put the disc in the computer and followed the instructions. It allows you to set up a parent account as well as multiple children accounts. We received the premium edition on CD which retails at $124.99. If that seems a bit pricey make sure to remember the coupon code for 50% off that I shared earlier. I think the cost is reasonable considering you have a full years' worth of math for your child, you can use it (CD version) for more than one child, and it has extra worksheets you can print off.
Read the full text of this review here.
Product review by Erin Slocum, blogging for the Schoolhouse Review Crew at For Him and My Family.
Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "A+ Interactive MATH" for a chance to win* the CD OR online version of this math program for your homeschool!