10 June 2012

Convention Time

My state's large homeschool convention was this past Thursday - Saturday. I went down on both Friday and Saturday, which made for a long few days since it was 1.5 hours away. One of the speakers I heard said that we've got one of the best conventions he's been to, we've got a huge vendor hall, a large used curriculum sale (UCS), and all sorts of workshops on things ranging from homeschooling, raising a family, how to save money, and all sorts of other things.

I went down early on Friday morning. There was a speaker workshop I wanted to hear that started at 9, so I left the house early so I could check-in and if there was time drop off my used books. There was no traffic on the way down and no line to check in so I had plenty of time to walk down the really long hallway to the UCS and drop off my books. The first workshop I went to was given by Carol Reynolds about incorporating the fine arts (art, architecture, and mostly music) into teaching history. She was a really dynamic speaker, very interesting, and I gleaned some good ideas from her. I had a hard time finding her booth, but later met her and had a very nice chat with her.

I spent the rest of the morning and a good part of the afternoon walking around the vendor hall. First I walked through to see who was there and what they had, basically just scoped out the scene. I went back through more methodically and made my purchases - bought a couple new t-shirts for the girls, got a few books from YWAM, bought some actual school stuff.

Later I went to two workshops by Debra Bell - study skills and teaching teens. I've heard her speak before at the convention and enjoy her. Gained some new insights and some ways to help the girls learn to study. We don't have many tests at our house so they really need to learn how to study and get things into their long term memory so they'll succeed at college.

I was going to go to one more workshop on Friday night, but I was pretty tired from my early morning and wanted to get home. I think I made a wise decision, especially since the speaker I skipped had handouts so I've got those. Got home and slept in on Saturday morning!

Since I'd finished all my shopping on Friday, I didn't need to rush back down to the convention on Saturday; I was just heading down for a couple more workshops and to pick up any books I wanted back from the UCS that didn't sell.

I heard Carol Reynolds speak again about the top 5 skills needed to succeed academically. Some of it common sense, some not so much, but she's very funny so it was quite enjoyable. I really hope they invite her back next year. I'm friends with the person in charge of getting the speakers for the convention so I put in a big plug for her.

I had thought of going to another workshop but ended up talking with a good friend for too long. It was really time well spent though. We had a good conversation about some stuff that's going on with one of her kids academically and it was helpful to me. We also talked a bit about next year, although I totally forgot to confirm with her that our daughters are going to be doing science together again next year. I'm sure it's not an issue!

The last speaker I heard was Andrew Pudewa. I've heard lots about his Institute for Excellence in Writing but have never heard him speak before, although he's been to our convention in the past. He was really funny! I did learn some really good things from him that I'm going to be putting into place almost right away. I had thought of using IEW next year, heard some things that led me to think maybe not, but now I may have to rethink again.

It's been at least two years since I went to any workshops at the convention. The last two I've gone down to do my shopping (most vendors offer free shipping if you order at the convention), some things I can only get there and I like to look around, especially if I'm going to be changing something up. I always get some "just for fun" stuff as well as school books. This year I saw a few that caught my eye as interesting and it was definitely worth it to attend them. The convention is over for this year, most of my books for the fall are bought, I just have a bit of organization to do, gather the last few books, and we'll be set for a new school year.

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