Thoughts On A Conference

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mr. A and I are back from a local-ish homeschooling conference. I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas swirling around my head. Before I tackle those, though, I thought I would debrief the conference experience itself.

Normally I look forward to a yearly homeschooling conference. I find them encouraging and motivating. I like being surrounded by like-minded people...even if I don't know any of them.

I like attending seminars given by authors of materials we use. It's insightful to hear the reasoning and intention behind a particular curriculum. The authors are full of great ideas and tidbits that really help you to use their material to your greatest advantage.

I especially enjoy the vendor fair. I comparison shop. I'm a touchy-feely shopper so I need to flip pages. I need to check page layout. I need to weigh the book in my hands. If I know what I want, I have no problem ordering from a catalogue. But if I'm looking for something new, I have to browse with my hands and see what else is on the shelf nearby.

This year, my conference experience was going to be very different. Mr. A decided to come with me. This would be his first conference. I never pegged Mr. A as the HSing conference type. I was worried that he might not enjoy the day or be engaged by the speakers. But, the lure of the conference was strong. It overshadowed my trepidation and we made a date of attending together. I decided the day called for an open minded attitude on my part. After all, Mr. A would at least enjoy spending the day with me.

Being a (mostly) confident and (fairly) experienced HSing mom, I knew to get the most out of the conference I had to take what I wanted and leave the rest. I left the keynote address and snapped up a seminar given by someone I've waited two years to hear speak. (<--more on that later!) I made the call to skip the last seminar in order to spend time in the vendor hall when it wasn't so crowded. One of my main goals of the day was to browse for new grammar and science resources. Mr. A and I decided to only buy what I can't order from my favourite HS supplier instead of buying all our supplies. It was hard not to buy everything up right then, but I was able to persevere since Mr. A was Keeper of the Currency. I also like to buy direct if I can. I was able to get our French workbooks directly from the author as well as a surprise treasure directly from the source. (<--more on that later, too!)

Mr. A stuck by my side the whole day. I thought Mr. A represented the supportive homeschooling dad very well. He was a little amused to be the only guy in the room a couple of times throughout the day. In the first seminar (titled: Organizing Your Homeschool) he listened intently and seemed to be impressed that I was taking notes. A couple of times he leaned over and waggled his eyebrows at me while nodding toward the presenter suggestively. That was my cue to take a note. I choose not to analyze his motives too closely. I was trying to be open minded, after all.

The end of the day involved a detour to a nearby MEC store. I'm not too sure what it has to do with helping me feel encouraged and motivated about homeschooling, but Mr. A insisted I needed a new kayaking PFD. That would be the yellow and black bits alongside my new collection of catalogues in the photo above. I decided this open minded attitude thing definitely made for a successful day.

Feeling jazzed about the remainder of the school year,

Mrs. A.

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