4.29.2013

Mass Hope Home-School Convention Highlights and Multitudes 2013

Nothing holds back the sista-hood! We are His girls! 

I had planned on attending the Mass Hope Home-School conference ahead of time. I bought the tickets and anticipated going, but other than knowing it would be my first BIG Home - School conference I did nothing to prepare. These days are lived teetering at the edge of a cliff. I walk along this current path, veering straight into joy on some days and other days I wonder if jumping off the edge is a valid option. I listened to those who gave me tips and warned me in advance not to be overwhelmed by the volume of vendors. I anticipated blessings because I was repeatedly told I would be blessed and encouraged if I attended. I asked some sweet sisters to be sure and pray for me at the last minute when I had a rough couple of days. I prayed, and waited like a second string player sitting on the bench awaiting for a turn to play, not really quite sure what to expect once actually in the game.

The day arrived and I was off to the DCU Center in Worcester Massachusetts with my dear friend Natasha, her son and my daughter. We arrived at the hotel, and descended upon that conference center Friday later than planned, yet perfectly on time. You know it's all grace, friends.

How shall I describe it to you? 
Let me see, wall to wall books, books and more books. Needless to say, I was in my very, very happy place. I spent hours perusing the curriculum at the various vendors. I quizzed the reps and volunteers with a myriad of questions, sometimes returning after another question came to my mind. Yeah, I am that person.

I was impressed with a number of the curriculum choices and not overwhelmed. I knew I wanted to check out a few specific vendors based on my own prior experience and exploring. These were Sonlight and My Fathers World.  I had gone to the local Home School conference a month earlier and knew I wanted to check into Classical Conversations, based on a lengthy conversation with a couple of  moms who communicated their satisfaction with the program and patiently answered my multitudes of questions. Although I knew there would be good speakers and topics, a table full of books is tough competition, especially once they are within my reach.

A few notables were A Beka, which I had dismissed somewhat but since my daughter seems to like it - I may be considering implementing it. What appealed to my daughter I think was that it looked like enough work to her. She is quite traditional in her expectation of Home- School and feels secure with specific assignments and structure which A Beka clearly models. I did like the cohesiveness, yet I am not sure if it might be too rigid? I stumbled upon a Language Arts curriculum that completely intrigued me, called Total Language Plus. It utilizes classic literature with a focus on critical thinking and communication skills. Both my daughter and I were very interested in this program and probably will try it (at the least) regardless of what else we choose.

I checked out a couple of other sets of complete/semi-complete curriculum: BJU Press, Freedom Project Education, Tapestry of Grace. Each of those I mention had points or elements I really appreciated.

As I searched for the ever elusive perfect curriculum, God had graciously appointed a meeting to offer guidance, wisdom and perspective. I passed by the Summit Group Testing Preparation booth without much interest but somehow the lovely lady there caught my eye and before I knew it we were discussing everything from her homeschooling empty nest to my own one chick nest with all of it's challenges! The company she represents does both online tutoring as well as in home and in school test preparation for SAT, PSAT, SSAT, ACT tests and more. Linda, as I would come to know her was a wealth of information, grace and truth. Plus she gave me chocolate. Now you know that was a truly divine appointment!

I attended the keynote speaker Bill Jack's excellent presentation Saturday morning and loved it. Bill leads Worldview Academy a kind of leadership camp for youth. His take on "Whatever" and our worldview was eye opening and inspiring. I will never be able to watch Gilligan's Island without thinking of the 7 Deadly Sins. Thanks for that, Mr. Jack! Not that I um, er...watch that show. Ahem.
Also singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the sit com's theme song with an amazing correlating lesson was powerful. You had to be there. Or you can get that CD on the Mass Hope web site at some point if you really want to know. 

I also attended Christopher Perrin's talk on Revolutionary Logic. This was a little rough since it was the last session on Saturday afternoon but I have to admit once he started speaking Latin he had my attention. Fortunately he did not do the whole talk in that language but his comfortable use of it and his wit sealed the deal. He had me at Logos...

There were many more workshops but as I said, I was quite the book table tramp.
I had two of the complimentary bags from Sonlight. Yup, I am that person, too. Thanks, guys!


I treated myself to the book The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer  - who I actually am getting to be quite enamored with...she is pretty amazing to me. I am becoming quite a fan.




#436. Safe travel with a beautiful friend and fellowship on the road!
#437. smiling faces on two beautiful children, who are growing up so fast
#438. A hubby who works hard, and deserves a little bit of recliner time, occasionally
#439. Three beautiful gifts of friendship: Natasha, Lauree and Tina. Thank you, Lord for each precious one.
#440. Prayer and workout time in the morning.
#441. free coffee
#442. Meeting Home School parents in the Jacuzzi and talking about Home- Schooling...fellowship and shared wisdom, right there in the foamy, bubbly water!
#443. Singing How Great Thou Art Saturday Morning
#444. Coming home to a Sunday Morning Sermon which was faithfully served up by my very excellent Pastor
#445. Waking up to a crock pot meal made by hubs to come home from church to.



Question for You Home Schooling Friends:

What are your Home- Schooling Preferences?
Do you prefer mixing and matching your own or a complete (more or less) curriculum? 
Let me know what you think.
Don't be shy...please pipe up!



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6 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed the conference.

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  2. Wow, sounds like you got a lot of good information, and got to check out some great curriculums. For my daughter, it works best to piecemeal things together. I find with the kits, we mostly likely wouldn't integrate everything so it would be a wasted of money. I am looking forward to hearing more about your choices for next year!

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  3. There you are! I was getting worried about you. :) Glad you had such a good time at the conference and learned so much. Missed you.

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  4. I'm not a homeschooling expert; we're just now finishing our first year (with Chickie finishing 1st grade and Zoodle finishing pre-K.) I like cobbling together curriculum from various sources. This year I used the state standards and found different resources. I know more of what I want for next year, and my plan (which may be revised significantly!) is...
    *Math-U-See for both kids
    *All About Spelling (phonics-based) for both kids
    *Continue with Rosetta Stone (Spanish) for both kids
    *Awana handbooks for Bible
    *Use state standards to make sure we are covering what we should in science, social studies, and language arts. I'll pull from various sources (Internet, library books, etc.) for these.

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  5. My SIL used Sonlight this year and really loved it. Sounds like you had a very blessed time!

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  6. I'm not a homeschooler but this sounds like some kind of wonderful! It's such a blessing to find resources and people that inspire. Sounds like such was the case for you here!

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