Hello, my sweet friends… Rebecca, here today with my post on why I wasn’t around for Scrapping Weekend… I was at a conference for Homeschooling.
If you had asked me five years ago… even three years ago… if I was going to homeschool, I would have said, “are you kidding me?” It wasn’t something that was even on my radar… at 5 they go away to school, right? In fact, I started researching our area charter schools when Jake was 6 months old. I don’t have issue with our school system, in fact our school district is one of the best in the state. So, when my hubby asked about what I thought about homeschooling Jake, I think I was a bit dumbfounded… haha. In one of his side business, his mentor and other friends homeschooled their children and he really liked how much freedom that provided for the family and being able to teach to the child’s ability. I have to admit I was scared and nervous at the very thought of being able to provide all the knowledge that Jake would need in the future. However, I kept an open mind and started to do research… and we thought we should attend our state homeschooling conference.
We attended this conference last year when we were just thinking about if homeschooling was for us. At the end, my hubby was 100% convinced… I still needed more confidence that I could do it. So I joined a couple of yahoo discussion groups, followed a large number of homeschooling blogs and have checked out most of the homeschooling book out of the library. My confidence is getting there…
Then in January, it was decision time… next fall Jake will be in Kindergarten and the neighborhood school was sending letters and then finally they called to find out why we haven’t enrolled Jake in school. From the conference last year, I knew that we are not to let the school know that we are homeschooling… so I was a bit nervous that I would say the wrong thing. I think I mumbled something about, we are still weighing our options… haha… I even did a layout about it.
Well, it looks like – at least for Kindergarten and 1st grade (change in our state law), we are going to homeschool… now it is time to get serious and buckle down. Luckily the conference is held on Friday night and all day Saturday at a college campus which is about 25 minutes from home. We pre-registered so it was pretty quick to get all the info and name badges. It was a nice night to walk around and see the campus a bit…
There is only one session on Friday night. We struggled on which sessions to attend this year… many sessions were for when kiddo is a teenager, or if we were going to be unschooling. However, I really wanted to go to this first session called “Worry Less, Learn More”… It was an interesting session and really it came down to it about not stressing out that your child is right on target with his peers… he will learn. It is the same message you read in all the homeschooling books and on blogs… but it’s good to hear it again.
We also spent some time at the Curriculum Fair… I think ours is pretty small. I’ve heard of others talk about their fairs that you need to set a budget or you would walk out with an arm full of books and supplies. Not the case here… I think there were maybe three curriculum companies represented. The rest of the booths are around educational toys and information from local resources that are really geared toward teachers… which one wouldn’t let me take a pamphlet because I wasn’t a teacher, I’m a parent who homeschools – not a teacher… uhmmm… you do realize who is hosting this event, right??? I did leave with one book on the Logic of English. I found it interesting and I can’t wait to read it and see if this is something I want to incorporate into our school.
After the session, they had a social hour… which we wonder where everyone was, there were like 5 of us there and a family who was playing a game. So we grabbed a small plate of snacks and waited to see if anyone else showed up. Last year they had a folk dance in the basement and we didn’t go… so we decided to check it out (mostly because I knew I was writing this post… haha). We thought we better get home… due to all the road construction closing a main entrance into Oshkosh, we got lost and it took us like 40 minutes and driving over the Fox River 6 times to finally get back on the highway back home. It should be known that even though Oshkosh is so close, I really only come down here to shop at the Coach Outlet which is right off HWY 41.
Saturday Morning – we got a bit of a late start out of the house… spent too much time talking to my mom, who was watching Jake for the day. We really weren’t signed up for a first session in the morning since nothing pertained to us. So we walked about the used book sale. This is an opportunity to be able to sell off homeschooling books and supplies. It opened at 7:15 and we were there at 8:00… so not sure if there wasn’t much, or it was really picked over! *sigh* but I did find a few things that I could use… I actually scored more in the “free” section, haha!
Since the book sale didn’t last long, we had about an hour to wait until the next session. So, we walked around the student union thinking back to our college years. For both of us, college was really a means to the end, so mostly our memories are around studying. We both got a chuckle over the sign the college put out to direct people for the conference… I just hope that the student that wrote out “graduation” isn’t a senior this year. haha
Our second session was about the different styles of homeschooling… I think I know what style will work for Jake, but it was good to see what other parents had to say. Next we moved to the ballroom to hear from the president of the homeschooling association that we belong too. He talked about issues that are facing Wisconsin homeschoolers and what we can say to our state representatives. A few parents and students talked about their experiences with homeschooling, how they chose it and how they feel empowered to take on life challenges. And finally they recognized five students that are graduating this year. It was so inspiring to hear these stories.
After the meeting, we were divided into our regions and could talk a few minutes with others in our area. I’ve been a bit nervous that in my area there isn’t an organized group. All that I find online was for groups in and around Madison, Milwaukee, and over in the western part of the state by Minneapolis. It was awesome to meet Leah, who is also from my city and she has since sent me information about the local homeschooling groups and also told me there were homeschooling resources through the local library.
Yeah – lunch time. Last year we walked to a Chinese place off campus because we didn’t go to the meeting/graduation… so due to only having an hour until our next session, we ate at the student union. Oh my, do I feel old next to all these 18-21 years olds!
After lunch, we decided to split up on the sessions. I went to a session we went to last year, titled “Homeschooling Boys”… I found it really interesting last year and wanted to make sure I attended it again this year. Jennifer has a facebook page if you are interested in the subject. My techno hubby wanted to go to the session about electronics. He thought it was going to be a session on using iPads, computers and the like… but must to extreme happiness they talked about circuit boards and he got a pack of free batteries. He declared that his was the best session of the day. haha
Phew… I’m just exhausted, but we have one more session to go… Setting Priorities. Actually this turned out to be different from what I expected… the instructor had a wealth of information and a bunch of handouts that I can’t wait to read.
After this conference I am feeling better about homeschooling. In two weeks or so, the Christian Homeschool conference is being held in the southern part of the state… we are wondering if we should attend to gather even more information. With their’s being more of a national sponsored event, we wonder if it will be bigger than the one we have attended.
Until next time;