By a swift stroke of the “Register” button, I did one of two things: I either
(A) Signed myself up for a turbo-learning weekend of new and exciting approaches and ideas, or
(B) Set myself up to think I should be doing more, more, SO MUCH MORE.
LEARN NEW THINGS. I need to tattoo that on Mister’s forehead (not my own, because I wouldn’t be able to see it). The purpose of the convention is to learn new things and get ideas. But mark my word – once I meet that double-digit family who are all wearing coordinated knitted sweaters from the hand-spun wool of the sheep they raised themselves for their science and home ec. unit study on sheep, I’m going to feel a little inadequate.
That’s not going to happen. It will be too warm for sweaters.
So, I’m going to my first homeschool convention and admittedly, I started to feel overwhelmed as soon as I opened the features page. How am I supposed to navigate through a few hundred vendors and more than 50 presentations, many happening simultaneously?
I’m a planner. I can’t just wing something like this when missing a lot of it is kind of built-in.
Here’s how I’ll be prioritizing this monster (a friendly monster!) of an event.
Eliminate what you don’t need.
I don’t have kids in high school yet, so I can cross college talks off of my list for the next few years. I’m not interested in cyber schooling, so I can skip those talks and workshops. Crossing off what doesn’t apply right now takes care of a lot of sessions and even more vendors. The itinerary will look a lot less daunting once you do a first-pass yea or nay.
Research books, programs and curricula.
Resist the urge to go through the list. Are you really going to comb through 200 or more websites? Likely not.
Instead, work backward. If you’re looking for a pre-packaged curriculum, poke around the internets to find out which options have a good reputation and align with what you want to teach. If you’re piecing together your year, make a list of 3 or more options for each subject you plan to teach, then map out your plan from that list.
Get the dirt on the speakers.
Know how uncomfortable religion and politics can get sometimes? Well, guess what? You have a lot of both as topics of a homeschool convention, and the speakers were chosen carefully for their audience. Once you’ve narrowed the sessions down to what applies to your children’s educational stage, do a quick search on the speakers. You can get a good idea of the angle they will take by doing a little internet digging beforehand.
Here’s hoping that a little prep work makes my first homeschool conference a little more manageable, dare I say fun!
Now, if I could refrain from comparing myself to the perfect homeschool moms with the 16 kids with the perfect science fair projects who all cheerfully do their chores and then practice their piece for the symphony performance and got into MIT at 16…then I’ll be cool.
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