TPA Post 2

 homeschooling, TPA Convention  Comments Off on TPA Post 2
Jun 072012

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?

Jun 052012

Wow. this past weekend was great. It was horribly busy, but still kind of relaxing, I learned a lot and had a wonderful time at the Teaching Parent’s Association annual convention, meeting up with old friends and spending time with family.

We got into Wichita at nearly one in the morning on Friday. Thankfully the girls went right back to sleep after they were carried in from the car and put down in their bed at Grandma’s. We got unloaded, made sure an alarm was set for the next day and then we crashed. It was quite the adventure getting to the convention center on Friday with the one way streets and most of them blocked off for the annual Riverfest. I got to attend quite a few sessions, wander the vendor hall and chat with people. I will say that this year it was very nice not having a lot of random strangers stop to give me hugs since our nametags state where we are from (last year was just a few weeks from the tornado and it was fresh in everyone’s mind). We got turned around trying to make it home that night and spent a half hour driving around trying to find our way out of the labrynith of one way streets.

Saturday, my alarm didn’t go off, but thankfully I woke up at the time I had set it for. We leave a few minutes early so we could stop at HubbaHubba’s favorite donut shop in Wichita. We get there as they are literally closing the streets for the River Run. So we sat and ate our donuts and watched people run past who obviously never eat donuts. We make it to the convention center a few minutes late so we wander the vendor hall, chat with some vendors and purchase the bulk of our curriculum. Of course, time escapes us and we realize halfway through the second session that we were missing that seminar too…oops. Then it is time for lunch so we go and get lunch, enjoy the last keynote, attend the last two sessions and help my friend Betty pack up her booth.

On Sunday we go to the church HubbaHubba grew up at and we find out that some friends of ours who moved from here recently attend there now. It was great seeing them and their children (the girls were ecstatic to see their friends). We make it home and have lunch and I crash. HubbaHubba came to wake me up at six.

Monday we went to the Exploration Place where they currently have a traveling Star Wars Exhibit. HubbaHubba and Beans went in to see it. Bugs didn’t want to go so we didn’t get the extra tickets for that and we played in the rest of the museum. We met the friends we saw at church there so our munchkins could have time together. We left after lunch time, stopped at Spangles (our favorite fast food in Wichita) and spent the rest of the day doing some chores at my Mother-in-law’s house. We finally leave at about eight at night and got home at midnight on the nose. We shuffled the girls in to bed (they never even noticed), unloaded most of the car and crashed ourselves.

So, today is catching up on laundry, watering the veggie garden, cleaning up from just dropping everything into the living room upon arrival home and relaxing some. And hopefully getting all my reviews and postings done for TPA.

I should go and fold some kitchen towels. And hang up our clothes. Plus I have to hammer in drainage holes in the old tin wash tub so I can plant it with lettuce. Maybe I should find room for our new school books too.

Talk to you all later. I have to get to work!

May 312012

In less than 24 hours I shall be absorbing knowledge in workshops about homeschooling. I will be basking in the fellowship of others who have chosen the path of home education for their children. I will be getting to browse a stocked vendor hall looking for goodies.

I can’t wait. I love TPA for so many reasons. The fellowship, the sharing of ideas, getting to learn how to better teach my very different children, touching homeschool curriculum and asking questions about it. The convention is a wonderful time to relax, learn and laugh.

But first, I need to pack, put together my blogging binder, give the dog a bath, clean the guinea pig’s cage, vaccuum, clean the kitchen, write my 52 Fridays post and schedule it, print off the list of homeschool curriculum I am interested in purchasing for next year and list it by the vendors who will be there tomorrow, give the girls a bath, make sure their guis are ready for judo tonight and go to judo since my babies are belt testing for the first time! I also need to make sure I toss in a shower for myself and dig out my rolling cart for the weekend and doing three loads of laundry.

So, before more of the day escapes me, I’m getting off here and getting to work. Talk to you all from the convention! Which, for real time updates, make sure you are following me on Facebook and/or Twitter! (buttons are in the sidebar)

May 252012

One week from today I will be at the Teaching Parents Association Homeschool Convention in Wichita. I got to attend last year during the chaos of the summer and I was blessed immensely by getting to be with like-minded individuals, attending informative workshops and main sessions and of course getting to browse through the vendor hall. I expect no less from this year.

I am looking forward to hearing the keynote sessions from Todd Wilson this year. I discovered Familyman Ministries back before we were officially parents even. Even HubbaHubba enjoyed and has gleaned quite a bit from his site. He is full of wit and wisdom, doesn’t come across as a know-it-all and is very down to earth. I can’t wait to hear him speak and I am so hoping that his speaking style is similar to the way he writes. I know it will be good.

Dianne Craft is the featured workshop presenter this year. She desires to teach parents how to teach their differently abled children easier. I hope to be able to get in to one of her workshops.

Now, I realize that TPA is just a week away, however, there is still time to register and attend. If you need any more convincing to go (aside from getting to meet me…) just check out the workshops you can choose to attend. There are workshops for those just starting out on this homeschool journey and for those with children getting ready to head to college. There is everything from information about health and nutrition, sports, teaching English, methods of homeschooling, dealing with special needs and yeah. Tons and  tons and tons to choose from!

And if that wasn’t enough to motivate you to attend, how about the vendor hall? I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I am a homeschool curriculum junkie of sorts (ok, I admit it, I am, and no, I don’t really think it is a problem. Yet.)

I am so excited that the Institute for Excellence in Writing has a booth this year!!!! I have pretty much decided that I really want to use their Primary Arts of Writing with the Bugs this upcoming school year and I’ve been wanting to see the curriculum in person before I commit to it.

Artistic Pursuits also has a booth. I’ve used (and reviewed) their The Way They See It book for 3-5 year olds and loved it. You will definitely want to stop by their booth if you are looking for a good art course!

If you are looking for books for your homeschool, you absolutely have to check out Books Bloom. Let me tell you, if you are looking for a book that is harder to find, Jan can help you find it. She is a delight to talk to and will take the time to help you find what you are looking for. I always left their booth with a smile last year (ok, so I admit I visited it several times to just browse, but trust me, you will too)

Doorposts will be in attendance this year. I’ve been hearing a lot about their products and fellow bloggy buddies have been gushing about them so I’ve been curious to see exactly what all the hype is. And this will be a good opportunity to perhaps purchase some of their products as they have been so kind to let us share with you a coupon for five dollars off a thirty-five dollar or more purchase, only at the TPA Convention. And you can share this coupon with friends that are coming too!

A Journey Through Learning will be there for the first time this year. They have created lapbooks for you! If you love to lapbook, or are interested in learning more about lapbooks, stop and visit Betty and she can help you! A Journey Through Learning has lapbooks for every subject and even for Veggie Tales. I haven’t ventured into the world of lapbooking yet, but I just might this year thanks to A Journey Through Learning (oh, and Classical Conversations has approved several of their lapbooks for use with CC curriculum!)

Speaking of A Journey Through Learning, they have graciously offered a giveaway for you! Use the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win your choice of one download from A Journey Through Learning (so, you should go browse and start to think about which one you would choose). (if for some reason the form isn’t working, please let me know, this is my first time with it!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway