I love to attend homeschool conferences. It's exciting to browse the many curriculum options. It's informative to listen to various workshop speakers. Here are some of the workshops I attended this year:
Thursday (March 20th)
- Movers and Shakers: Curriculum and Teaching Strategies for the Active Child (by Kimberly Kulp)
- The Secret in the Sunset -- Grumble Much? (by Heidi St. John)
- If Mary and Martha Had Been Homeschool Moms (by Joanne Calderwood)
- How to Homeschool and Keep Your Sanity (by Cynthia L. Simmons)
Friday (March 21st)
- Run the Race (by Becky Browning)
- Improve Attitudes, Learning, and Relationships by Discovering Roots of Problems (by Kathy Koch)
- Cultivating a Love for Learning (by Ashley Wiggers)
- Lies Homeschoolers Believe (by Todd Wilson)
Saturday (March 22nd)
- Restoring Joy in Your Journey: I Choose Joy! (by Candace R. Hansford)
- Habit Training: A Charlotte Mason Approach (by Sandi Queen)
- 12 Genius Qualities to Encourage in Your Child (by Kathy Koch)
All of the workshops were very good; some were excellent! :)
By the time the conference was over, I was physically exhausted. However, I came away from the conference spiritually uplifted and feeling mentally and emotionally energized, motivated, more "centered" and more "focused." I mean, it's always a good thing to be reminded (1) of some of the reasons why I am homeschooling,
(2) to keep Christ in the center of my homeschool, and (3) to teach to the heart of my child.
Possibly one of the most satisfying moments of the conference for me was when I had a revelation about homeschooling T. I realized that just because I never had a "being hit on the head" light switch moment when I thought, "Aha! Yes, I am being called to homeschool!" didn't mean that I wasn't called by the Lord to homeschool. For many years, I kept hearing the phrase "called to homeschool" and I wondered, struggled even, with whether I actually was "called" to homeschool or simply had decided that was what I was going to do. (Are you still with me?) Here's the story.
The Lord brought to my mind a conversation I had with my sister, as follows.
Several years ago, my sister reminded me of something I'd said to her years before that in response to her question of whether or not I would be willing to raise her daughter if anything happened to her (my sister). At the time, my sister was homeschooling as a single mom. I agreed that I would raise my niece, if ever needed. I added that I wouldn't homeschool her, but that I definitely would put her in a Christian school. I never planned to homeschool.
We didn't know of T's special needs until after he was born. (You can read more about that story here.) From the very beginning, I wanted the best for T -- the best life I could give him. His special needs coupled with my teaching background began to evolve into my realizing by the time he was school-aged that homeschooling was best for him. The Lord knew my major in college would be elementary education, my spiritual gift would be teaching, my passion would be teaching, and my son would have Down syndrome. He worked it all together...for the good of all of us!
Do you see where the enemy was able to gain a foothold in all of this? My doubts stemmed from never having had that aha moment that I thought being "called" was all about. But the Lord revealed to me in a moment at the conference that as my background and my desires for T were knit together and culminated in a decision to homeschool T, that WAS my calling!
I shared all of this with my husband and asked him if he thought it constituted a "calling" to homeschool, and he said YES! Oh, happy day. :) I feel so relieved...so content. My doubts have been swept away! I have joy and new purpose in my heart.
Did I say that I love to attend homeschool conferences? :D