I’ve been back from Fort Worth for a few days now, and I’m still processing all of the amazing talks and encouragement I received over the three days I was there. Because I’m a generous soul, I wanted to share the highlights of each speaker I heard. I spent most of my time listening to lectures about a classical liberal arts education (since that’s our focus), but I also sat in on some lectures about problem based learning (since that’s something I want to add).
The Encouragement: Probably the most encouraging part of going to a homeschool convention is to see the huge amounts of parents and families that are homeschooling. Some people are just beginning, some people are in the thick of it, and some are finishing up their journey. I met one mom who had come all the way from California to investigate homeschooling because she had realized that the public schools were not doing an adequate job of educating her son. I happened to run into her on the last day and she had been so equipped that she was returning to California feeling that this was something she could do. It’s always beneficial to be surrounded by people of a like mind when it comes to educational decisions that can remind you why you started and where you will end.
The Challenge: I’ve got two words when it comes to the challenge of a homeschool convention: vendor hall. So much awesome homeschool curriculum all right there for you to peruse and purchase. It’s difficult to keep your wits and your wallet about you when the new and the shiny calls to you. I was proud of myself. I held myself to only one purchase (although it was relatively costly), but considering I had about five things on my list that I wanted to purchase, I was pleased with my self-restraint.
The Fun: I love meeting people that I only know from the internet in person! I had a great time meeting Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things. She has inspired me with her writings about teaching from rest and schole. In case you are curious, she’s just as lovely in person as she seems online. I wish we’d had the chance to sit down and just chat for a couple of hours, but she was busy and so was I. I also got to meet a lot of the writers of curriculum that my kids use. They were all wonderful people who truly are passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects.
The Surprising: I don’t know if it’s because I’m in my seventh year homeschooling or if maybe I’ve found our perfect niche, but the most surprising thing I realized is that we’re doing pretty good. Our curriculum line up, our daily schedule, our reading lists are all in perfect alignment for the most part with the speakers I heard. I found myself nodding my head many times as the advice they gave is the same tools and tips that I’d already learned and implemented. While this was surprising, it was also affirming that we are on a good path for our family and our goals.
The Inspirational: And now for some quotes from the lectures I attended at the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth.
Truth isn’t just a Christian monopoly. Truth can be found in almost any culture because it’s God’s world so truth is there for anyone to find.
~ Martin Cothran
Our job is to provide meaningful education for an unimaginable future. The old model of plateauing in your knowledge has moved to continuous cycles of learning. You cannot memorize your way into problem-solving.
~from Problem-Based Learning Studies for One
We need to cut (subjects) to be more fruitful (in our homeschool).
~ Dr. Christopher Perrin applying John 15:2 to our homeschools
Classical education is messy but the beautiful table (results) that you set will not reflect that.
~ Classical Education Panel Session 1
The modern mind says life is a scientific experiment. The classical mind says life is a work of art. Your children are images (of God).
~ Classical Education Panel Session 1
Rigor is instruction that requires students to construct meaning for themselves at the outer edge of their abilities and apply what they learn in more than one context.
~ from Adding Intellectual Rigor to Your Homeschool
Listen to and respect the opinions of your child. Give permission to think. Teach them to respect their own opinion and provide the tools to support it.
~ Andrew Kern
In answering the question what are the liberal arts….
Liber means free. Art is the way of making something.
Hopefully you can make your way to a homeschool conference in your area. The inspiration to be found there can be life changing for both you and your students.
Thank you Great Homeschool Convention from all of us in the tree house,