Wednesday, 28 March 2012

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2012 Pt. 2

"The best laid plans of mice and men...". That has to be one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books that were required reading in high school (my children will for sure read this when the time comes). It also for the most part adequately describes how our two days at the MACHS Homeschool Conference went.

In short we went, we saw, and we conquered. It was two days of a lot of learning, discussing, and discovering. To my dismay we didn't get to attend the workshops as much as I wanted to. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons from not knowing quite where to go to getting too absorbed in looking at the exhibitors to Evelyn getting a little cranky (girl just wants to be mobile). Whether it was missing a workshop completely or leaving early or just not being able to concentrate the workshops were a bit of a bust. Not to discredit the workshops themselves though, mostly I just wasn't able to mentally be there how I had hoped.

However, to my pleasant surprise all the workshops will be available on the MACHS web site in the members only section. You can bet I got me a membership real fast upon that little discovery. Can I get an AMEN???

AMEN!!!!!! This means that in the comfort of my home and in the quiet of sleeping babes I will be able to listen/watch the workshops over again and really be able to pay attention. As an added bonus the workshops that were cross timed with others that I couldn't go to before I will also be able to listen/watch. Talk about a workshop gold mine. I am hoping they will be available on the web site shortly. After I get my fill I will elaborate more on my thoughts and what I learned from each of the facilitators.

One thing that did go better than I hoped was checking out the exhibitors. To me getting a feel for curriculum was a major part of the conference experience for us. It is one thing to read about them in a book, see pictures of them online and read the reviews but getting an opportunity to actually pick some up and flip through them was fantastic.

I am happy to report that I found some direction and awesome resources. Among those that I am most excited about are:

-Draw Write Now
     Daddy is a fantastic artist. To him the concepts of Draw Write Now are perfect. Using art and writing and penmanship together just makes sense.

-Canadian Handwriting
     I have poor penmanship. At least that is what I have been told my entire life. I hope that my children don't inherit my sad skills. I think that practice will play a huge roll in that. I will use the Canadian Handwriting workbooks to reinforce what they are learning in the Draw Write Now program.

-Math U See and AL RightStart Mathematics
     One thing I have learned in regards to mathematics is that today it is all about manipulatives. Having children work with actual objects for counting and math visualization is where its at. I put both the Math U See program and the AL RightStart Mathematics together because they both rely heavily on visualization and tactile learning. They both have work book components along with the counting blocks, clock, tiles etc. I hope that by combining the more traditional style of the Math U See program with the game playing mentality of the AL RightStart that I will be giving my children a great foundation in math.

-Canada, My Country
     I am a bit of a geography and history nut. They were always my favourite University courses. To me it is very important that my children learn about the history of their country. When I came upon the Donna Ward/Northwoods Press exhibit I was very excited. Even more excited to realize that Donna Ward herself was explaining it all to me. The way it is laid out and how the curriculum integrates and can span several grades. I was hooked. I believe I have said before that Daddy says am a sucker for sets but even he couldn't scoff at this set. This is definitely something I will need to devote an entire blog post to when I get it.

I have not nailed down a phonics and reading curriculum yet which is mildly stressing me out. I saw a few there and I will be doing a lot of deliberating on them. Finding a good reading/phonics/grammar/spelling program is very important to me. I love writing. I love reading. I truly feel that with the right start my children will have that same love. Even now Viktor is making huge leaps in the reading and spelling area and I wish to keep that developing. Max is also watching his brother intently and is trying to mimic the spelling and reading already. Clearly I have work to do here.

To add to all this I saw some great science resources and programs and many very cool world history and geography unit studies. There was also no lack of bible study curriculum that I have to look at.

There is so much that I want to add here but alas those little minds I need to hold are calling me. I can tell already that I will need to do a Part 3 to this little series about the conference. I wish to expand on the workshops after I listen to them online. I want to add more on the curriculum. I also want to speak on how great it was for Daddy and I to be on the same page. Stay tuned for all that.

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