I really must suggest that if you are able to attend a homeschooling convention, that you do so. Some people say otherwise, some say if you have a great support system in place that you don’t need to. Even when you have a great co-op, supportive people around you and everything else is right, I still have found that you can learn quite a bit from a convention.
This year we attended a workshop on Irlen filters for glasses. The description of the workshop spoke to me as I have seen several people in my family have issues pertaining to reading, writing and other things in life that so heavily depends on your vision. I learned so much about the colored filters, what they are used for, how to get screened to see if they will help and where to get them. Cathie Hays taught the seminar and was so kind and patient for all the questions that were thrown at her. I was amazed that sometimes what seems to be a complex issue can be helped very easily.
I also got to attend a workshop by Dianne Craft about right and left brainedness (ok, so I made that word up. It works in this instance) and how to use some occupational therapy to help the brain move information from one side to the other to make reading and processing things easier for children. How certain nutritional supplements can aid in education and ultimately the behavior. While we aren’t on the far side of any of the special needs spectrum ourselves, it is good information to know and help even our gifted children process better for when they get hung up on something and to be able to share this knowledge with others.
Getting to sit in on workshops to learn about things from knowledgeable people is such a blessing with a homeschool convention. You get to learn new things yourself, maybe things that you didn’t know you needed to know. I was like that with the workshops by Dianne Craft. When the Bugs gets hung up on something, I now know what I can do to help her over the hurdle and avoid frustration. I used to think that it was just something she had to get through on her own, but now I can equip her and help her over it faster and save us both more frustration.
The vendor hall is another reason you should go to a convention. I decided for sure to buy the Primary Arts of Language; Writing for the girls after attending the workshop by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I had been leaning towards it for a while now, but after seeing how to use it, and looking at the books, methods and lessons in person I was sold. I decided against a particular math program last year after thinking I wanted it. I saw how it worked and decided that it really wasn’t going to work well for the girls. I saved us the expense of buying it to find out later it was a bad fit for our family. Getting to look through curriculum you are considering, seeing specifically if it is a good fit for your family and then supporting the vendors who come to convention with your purchases is such a blessing. I bought the bulk of our core curriculum (writing/grammar, math) at TPA Convention. I got convention specials, a few discounts and saved on shipping. I won by saving money, getting just what our girls need and the vendors got my purchase and support (which, if you don’t support the vendors that come, they won’t come back. They have to not only make up the cost of their booth, it also has to be worth their while financially to come). And I have decided that I may venture into the world of lapbooking this year, thanks to my friend Betty who works with A Journey Through Learning.
I have read posts against going to homeschool conventions because it potentially *could* destroy your marriage, give you too high of standards to reach towards or whatever. Honestly, I don’t see it that way. It is a chance for you to be equipped to better educate your children at home. It is continuing education for yourself. Public school teachers have to go through continuing education to continue to teach, doctors must constantly be getting more education to practice medicine. My husband has to get continuing education in digital signage, VOIP systems and everything else he works with to stay current with his job. Why should we treat homeschooling any different? It is a job we have chosen to do and we should equip ourselves through conventions, independent study, reading books to do the best job that we can.
If you have been to a convention, what was the best part for you?