Every year our local Christian Homeschooling group, MACHS, host their annual homeschool conference. This was my very first year attending. As a new homeschooling mom I was so excited for this day to come. Originally I had only signed up to attend the Saturday, because I was suppose to work in the Operating Room all day Friday assisting with dental surgeries. However the other assistant asked to switch shifts with me, which freed up my Friday!
I woke up and got Mr. Wes ready and sent him off to daycare. He only has about a month left of daycare in his centre and we will be transitioning to me being at home full time at the end of April. For now though, I am very grateful there was somewheres for him to go while I attended.
When I arrived I found it very overwhelming at first. I was dumbfounded. The original plan was I would window shop Friday, and buy on Saturday. Well after witnessing the line up at the Math U See kiosk, and that the Primer pile was going down very quickly I panicked decided to buy. I stood in the long line and asked everyone a million questions about the program, some moms had used it from kindergarten to grade 12. Everyone said they wouldn’t go with anything else.
(Update 2017)However looking back I do not recommend parents jump to purchase a curriculum because they are selling out. Enquire if they offer free shipping of the items if they run out and you order before the end of the conference. If they do, this you should take the time you need to make sure this is the program you want and is best for your family. Looking back now this program was not a match for my oldest son. It involved many tears before we put it away.
Early on during the day on Friday, I was taken under the wing of a seasoned homeschooler. She was a wealth of information. I found it comforting that her oldest was participating in the graduation ceremony the next day. It made me see that people were really pulling this off. She showed me a few other programs, and offered some great advice. This made me feel so welcomed. While I did not come alone, the people I was with were also newbies to homeschooling. Can you say the blind leading the blind? You can tell that this conference is full of people with the hearts of teachers. Everyone was so kind and willing to help a new mom out.
Tip to experienced homeschoolers. If you see a new homeschool parent at a conference and they are open to it, take the time to share your experiences. Make them feel welcomed. You will be such a blessing to them.
Since I had spent a good chunk of Friday in the vendor area, Saturday I figured I better go to a few more lectures. The woman had talked the day before, Stacy McDonald, and really inspired me. Made me think long an hard about how I might be destroying my family slowly by nagging and nitpicking my hubby. Well the next day it was hard to listen to her Mother/Daughter talk she was doing. She was encouraging parents not sending their daughters to post education outside the home. That once a daughter graduates from homeschool highschool she should basically stay at home till she gets married. If parents of girls what their daughters to be more educated they should encourage her to take it online. She also promoted girls not to work outside the home unless she’s doing missionary work.
I know everyone has a personal opinion about this, but I strongly believe that even if I woman wants to be a stay at home mom, she should have several skills in her back pocket. What if her husband gets sick and for a short or long period cannot work? What if her husband dies? What if her husband up and leaves her? I think that as parents we should be training our children, son or daughter, to be able to be both self sufficient as well as be able to live in a relationship with a spouse. Boys should be able to cook and clean. Girls should be able to work and change a tire. After listening to her Mother/Daughter talk, it was hard for me to take her lectures to heart knowing she has such a different point of view on raising children.
I landed up back in the vendor area again. I decided to pick up some basic Rod and Staff Homeschool Preschool Activity Workbooks- Set of 4 (for 3 & 4 Year Old Children). They were fairly cheap, and I think they will help get Wes use to doing workbook type lessons. Each book contains 32 pages of color by numbers, tracing and matching. They are advertised as being great for teaching numbers, shapes, colors, and more
Something I have found helpful is it to unbind all these books and put them into binders. This way when I want to do the lesson with Wes, I can take them out and put them in the page protector and he can do them dry erase. That way we can reuse them if we need to review and I will have them to use with future children as well as with my daycare kids.
All in all it was a great experience. I definitely plan on attending next year. I think I will make sure to really study the schedule ahead of time. This way I can plan which sessions are important to me, and which I think I will skip to spend time in the vendor hall.
I do wish there was a non religious or secular convention here too. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, I do. I know though there are secular material available for homeschoolings that might be an amazing addition to our homeschooling classroom. These types of programs are not typically offered at Christian conventions.
UPDATE: Check out the other homeschooling conferences I have attended since 2010.