MACHS 2017 Homeschool Conference in Winnipeg- Keynote Speaker Heidi St. John

Wow! I can’t believe it has been well over a month and I still have not not written about our local homeschooling conference. I originally wanted to wait until the materials I had ordered arrived, and then life got in the way.

A local Christian Homeschool group, MACHS, puts on the Homeschool Conference here in Winnipeg every year.  Back when I was homeschooling Wes I also attended. You can read about my past conference experience in 2011 HERE. It is such a great way to get motivated and inspired. As usual the event was 2 days long. I closed my daycare and took a personal day on the Friday to attend on my own and scope things out. Then Hubby and I attended together on the Saturday.

The Friday was a great time for me to reconnect with other homeschooling moms. We were able to eat lunch together and chat about our kiddos, what was working for us, and what wasn’t.

Saturday was a great time for Hubby and I to explore our options. We were also able to talk about what we really wanted for our son, and what we didn’t want. We spent the session before lunch that was biblically based at the vendors as hubby is not religious. We were able to see what we think will really work for Little Z Man and what likely wouldn’t be a fit.

The keynote speaker was Heidi St.John, mother of 7, grandmother of 2, author of The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight and blogger for the blog The Busy Mom. My friend was saying that all the women in her co-op were super excited to hear her speak. Tracy and I had no real idea who she was.

Now I can say I follow her blog and social media accounts. She was an awesome speaker. Some of what she said was not what we wanted to hear, but it was the truth. There is no sugar coating things in the way Heidi spoke.

I heard her speak on the topics:

  • Fearless Homeschooling: How to Ignore the
    Critics and Do What’s Best for Your Child
  • Real Life Homeschooling
  • The First Three Years: A Workshop for
    Homeschool Rookies

We also sat in on three sessions by other speakers:

  • Learning Disabilities, ADHD, and My Homeschooled Child – By Ross McCallum
  • Homeschooling 101 – By Stacy Fraser
  • Hands on Learning Fun! By Debbie Mogilevsky

The vendors. Oh the vendors. I could get lost in the 2 vendor halls. I could also spend our life savings. I could miss all the speakers speak, because I can so easily get lost in the shopping aspect of the conference. I think of my first conference, before I started blogging. I spent so much money on curriculum I didn’t really need.

The vendors are not evil. They are actually very helpful, but you have to remember to keep your wits about you.

Before you go to the conference, try and keep these things in mind:

  • Look at what you already have at home, how are you going to use it?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish next year?
  • What do you have missing to do just that?

Now you know what you have. How your going to use it. What you want to do, and what you still need to get.

Now when you get there and you see this amazing phonics program, and the sales pitch sounds unbelieveable, you can really decided if it’s necessary. Oh yeah, you have two other phonics programs at home, and they seem to be going well. Why fix something that is not broken? But now you have the name and contact information for a different phonics program, should you hit the wall with the ones you current own. You just saved yourself from buying something you may not have needed.

Answering the above questions also keeps you focused. If you love anything to do with Language Arts, and are not too drawn to Math, but you need to find a math program for your child, this will help you say no to the unnecessary stuff. You can now keep reminding yourself to focus on finding a shiny new math program that hopefully you and your child will enjoy.

So what did I buy? Isn’t this what all homeschool moms want to know. Well I’m happy to say we didn’t go crazy. I have A LOT of materials from when we were homeschooling Wes. We also are going to be going back to the IAHP(If you’d like to hear more about that, check out the video below.), so I know they will have an entire, intensive program for us. I do not want to buy materials, only to not have time to work on them.

I decided that this year, besides the IAHP program, we are going to focus a lot on fine motor skills. So we decided to start with Handwriting Without Tears – Get Set For School – My First School Book – Pre-K Activity Book. I already have the wooden blocks to work with back from when Wes was little. We will also be spending some time on the wonderful brachiation ladder my dad built the boys to build hand strength.

 

 

Now while Z is already reading, and has a solid understanding of phonics, I grabbed Get Ready for the Code A (Explode the Code). The main reason I grabbed this book was to work on following directions and another way to work on penmanship. I thought if I used a subject he was strong in(phonics) to work on a skill he needs practice in(fine motor skills).

 

 

I was really impressed with the whole Akeba curriculum. However Little Z’s level in different subject areas varies too much to follow an all in one curriculum. However I did pick up Readiness Skills K4 – A Beka. It is a great resource for skill appropriate activities for Little Z Man to work on those fine motor skills.

As you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said fine motor skills are really our main focus.

One other thing that I will be sure to plan ahead for next year is to bring a lunch on Friday when I’m there without my Hubby. I found the lunches they served to be small, and overpriced. The food was good, but $9 for a small chicken salad sandwich, a few carrot sticks and a bag of chips was too much. I could have gotten the same at Subway and have been full.

The prices of the conference has gone up, but the price now includes a one year membership to MACHS(Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools) as well as access to the video/sound recordings to all the sessions presented this year and last year for one year. This is great because there were times were two sessions were happening at the same time that interested me. But now I can listen to the second one at home and not have to miss either of them.

The one thing I always dread about the conference is its location. Calvary Temple is a beautiful church, however it is located right downtown. Traffic is horrendous during rush hour on the Friday.  Parking is a nightmare, and quite costly. So to hear the conference is moving to the Victoria Inn with unlimited free parking was amazing news!

What are conferences like in your neck of the woods? Please leave a comment and tell me all about them. Feel free to ask any questions. 

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