I went last weekend to the VaHomeschoolers’ conference in Richmond. I felt a bit on the fence about it at first. It’s a small conference and it’s a bit of a hike to drive to Richmond for the day, not to mention the fact that I have a sort of low opinion on conferences, my only experience having been pretty poor. However, they had good speakers, so I was swayed to try it.
While not every session I went to was stellar (um, sorry, but telling a room full of homeschool parents to go outside and appreciate nature for science class is not helpful or worthy of a full hour-long presentation), for the most part, I had a great time and felt reinvigorated for starting back homeschooling once our break is over.
The highlight for me was hearing both Ed Zaccaro speak and Julie Bogart speak (more on Bogart’s philosophy and her Bravewriter program in another post whenever I get to it next week). However, the main thing I enjoyed was just having all those things I already know reflected back to me. As we all know, this can be a lonely endeavor and it’s easy to get lost on the road. Sometimes you just need some reminders, even if you already kind of know these things.
Some of the things I jotted down in my notes that were reminders for me:
- Make routines, not schedules.
- Hit problems by going sideways, not by trying to face them head on.
- If it’s not working, then stop doing it.
- Foster your kids’ passions. That’s more important than almost anything else.
- Look for that sweet spot between structure and freedom.
- Ask yourself what’s most important and keep clear about that.
- Keep an open mind.
However good all that advice is, I think the coolest part of the conference might have been that I discovered a small group of children playing Weeping Angels in the courtyard. Because Doctor Who rocks. Of course, I knew that already too.