I am thankful for Homeschool Conventions. Many state and regional groups host conventions, and if you live too far away to travel to one, you can even attend an online convention. If you're wondering why I am thankful for a convention, consider this: where else can you learn from so many different speakers and view so many types of curriculum and hands-on activities in just a day or two?
I've been to a few homeschooling conventions. The picture above is from the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati last year. On the left is my friend Bethany, and in the middle is Jim Weiss from Greathall Productions. A few years ago Bethany and her sister-in-law introduced me to Jim Weiss' wonderful story CD's. I went to one of his speaking sessions and I was hooked. Our girls have amassed quite a collection of Mr Weiss' CD's since then. I enjoy listening to them too. Jim Weiss' CD's are one part history, two parts story and three parts fun. If you grew up in the 70's or 80's, your parents might have listened to the singer Andy Williams, Jim Weiss' voice reminds me of those Andy Williams records my parents had. Besides being a master storyteller, Mr. Weiss is a fun guy to be around. Arlene and Emily wanted to know what he looked like, so I asked if Bethany & I could take a picture with him after his speaking session. FYI- he's short. That's ok because it puts him closer to eye level with all those children he entertains!
I've heard convention speakers talk about learning styles, teaching methods, record keeping, and a lot of other topics. Going through the exhibit hall can be a bit daunting if you're new to educating at home. The best advice I ever received was "look, but don't buy your first day there." In the dozen years we have been educating our girls, the amount of curriculum choices has grown exponentially. Many books are not necessary to teach your children, but sometimes it's nice to have all those choices. The variety in the convention exhibit hall can even help you choose what NOT to do. We still make great use of our library card! Don't be fooled into thinking you need a curriculum for every subject. Choose wisely and stick to your budget. Last year I spent time at the exhibit hall making sure that the geometry curriculum I had chosen from online sample pages was really the one I wanted the girls to use.
If you have the opportunity to attend a convention, I encourage you to go. It may not be something you do every year, but it can be such a time of encouragement and refreshing. This is the time of year I could use some encouragement to keep going! I am thankful our state homeschool group's convention starts tomorrow. Stop by again next week, we can both use the encouragement to be thankful!