Wednesday, 21 March 2012

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2012 Pt. 1

When I first began researching and entertaining the idea of homeschooling last spring I was heartily dismayed that I had missed my local homeschooling conference. I missed it by a mere week too. Sadly, there would be no other conference that would come close in my area for yet another year. I really felt like I missed out. Just to have had the opportunity to look at the variety of curriculum would have been such a great starting place. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Then.

But now? I am just under a year later and Mamma is on the ball. I continued to scope out the Manitoba Association of Christian Home Schools (MACHS) web site for news on the conference so when information was available I was on it. I ordered up my tickets. I'm very happy I got in on the early bird deal because it meant that Daddy could come along for FREE! Can't beat free. Baby girl will be going along as they welcome nursing infants however the boys will be spending the day and a half at their Granny's. They are going to have a ball, and you know what? So am I.

I'm not even sure what I am most excited about. The workshops. Seeing the exhibitors. Spending the time with Daddy. Learning on how to give my children the best homeschool experience. It is all a ball of awesome in my books.

What exactly is a homeschool conference? From what I can tell it is a two day affair where people come and attend workshops, listen to a key note speaker and check out the tables where different companies are peddling their wares and vying for your money for their product. Essentially it is a trade show on homeschooling and I LOVES me a good tradeshow (hello farm kid over here).

As far as the workshops go here is what we are planning to attend...

Session 1 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Ballistic Homeschooling
Of all the workshops I am looking forward to this one the most. What a great way to start the conference. This workshop is going to be all about teaching BOYS!! I have two boys. They are bundles of energy. The description of the workshop described my boys to a T. I am hoping this will arm me with both better tools for teaching them as well as maintaining my sanity. Tall order right?

Session 2 2:15 pm - 3:15 pm
Choosing Curriculum for your Unique Family
I often feel that choosing curriculum is one of the biggest stressors for a homeschooling parent. For me it sure is. Choosing the wrong curriculum can set back your child if it isn't the right approach and set you back in the pocket book department. I am hoping that this will give me a bit more direction. I have been reading 100 Top Picks for Home School Curriculum like a mad woman and hoping that between that and this particular workshop I will have a lot more confidence in choosing a curriculum that will suit my children.

Session 3 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
I decided that we would take a workshop break at this time frame. Not that there weren't any offered but considering we will have baby girl with us taking a break would be wise as well as too keep us from getting overwhelmed. It is during this time that we will browse the exhibitors. Talk to a few people. Maybe make some connections.

There is then a break from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. At this point we will continue checking out the companies represented at the conference as well as pop out to grab a quick bite to eat before the evening session.

Session 4 7:00 pm - 9:00  pm
This session will begin with a presentation update on the Home School Legal Defence Association which will then be followed by the Key Note speakers. The speakers this year are a husband and wife who will be speaking on the importance of Christ and how it relates to homeschooling. I will be interested in what they have to say. I differ from many who choose to homeschool as I am not doing it necessarily for religious reasons. As a religious and spiritual person though I am very interested in grasping some of the connection between homeschooling and faith.

Session 5 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Yup, not going to anything here. Getting our whole crew out the door and to where we all need to be in order to make it for a 9:00 am session would be a feat. One that I do not plan to undertake especially considering the busy day we had the day before. We will be dropping the boys off at Granny's for day #2 and plan to arrive in time for Session 6.

Session 6 10:15 am -11:15 am
Homeschooling 101
I am looking forward to this workshop as it deals with logistics. As much as I am a flighty musician somehow I am also very much about the logistics. This workshop will deal with things such as how to notify the government, how to keep records, teaching multiple grades and many more ins and outs of the system.

While there are a few more sessions that continue after that some of them just aren't what I am looking for right now. We will take that opportunity to return to some exhibitor tables if I have any more questions as well as discover a few that I may have missed the first day.

If you would like to see a full list of the workshops that are being offered please click here.

It is going to be a long two days but I am looking at it with much anticipation. I'm a tad nervous. I know I'll be a bit overwhelmed but I plan to come out armed with a much better sense of the direction we want to go.

Before I sign off this post can I just say that I love technology. I will point out a specific reference to this conference. The company which the ticket processing is done through is called Eventbrite. They run an app which you can use to access your ticket information. I was able to download the app then my actual tickets so that I don't even need to print or remember to take any tickets with me. The downloaded tickets are on my iPhone and since my iPhone is like a 5th appendage, or at the very least a permanent growth on my hand, odds are good I don't have any worries about losing or forgetting tickets. I get jazzed about the melding of tradition and technology.

Tomorrow is Thursday. I will be making some notes and preparing things to take with me to the conference for writing and referencing. Please check back early next week when I do Pt. 2 of my post on the MACHS Homeschool Conference.

Have a great night!

Oh and PS. I may have an solution to The Great Stroller Conundrum. The baby store with the strollers I have been looking at is two blocks away from the conference site. There will definitely be a field trip there.

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