So, I have to share about my fabulous weekend! I went to my VERY FIRST homeschool conference and can I just say...WOW! I have so much to say, but I promise not to ramble on too much We'll see! (smile)
Okay, so on to the weekend...
We met each other at the conference in Orlando first. It was an adventure finding a place to park since it was PACKED, but never-the-less, we did park and found each other after a little 'hunt'. :) We signed our badges in and grabbed a schedule to pick out our first workshop we wanted to attend. We wound up splitting up due to the fact that I wanted to go to the "Handwriting Without Tears" workshop and she, a different one. I LOVED "Handwriting Without Tears" (perfect for my little boy who isn't keen on writing like his big sister was) and even scored a used kit from a lady at the vendor station later on. The whole beginner's kit is $80.00, but I was NOT about to spend that. Well, as she overheard me talking to the HWT vendor, she perked up and asked if I wanted the whole thing for $30.00. Well, YEAH! So, she and I have yet to meet up, but I can't wait because she's a homeschooling mommy of 5 and what a darling woman.
1. I was able to physically go through different curriculums and make mental notes of all the positive and negative things with each curriculum (I'll have to share a whole different post on this one...can't wait to share what we chose!). In a traditional school setting, a teacher must use the curriculum provided. Well, what if that curriculum isn't the greatest? What if that curriculum doesn't meet the needs of all of your students (which it won't)? I discovered some new authors that I just fell in love with. Ken Ham was one that I was extremely impressed with. He is an author who writes books on the topic of creation and the dinosaurs. You have to check him out HERE. I bought a few books (they were 20% off and no shipping!) of his and am contimplating a timeline that goes along with my teaching methods of The Well-Trained Mind. Although I'm impressed with The Well-Trained Mind, it saddens me somewhat that the authors don't take a Biblical approach. Both authors are believers, but they simply use one chapter to address implementing our faith in what we teach. Anyway, I met this great girl and we had WAY too much in common to even share today, but she told me about Tapestry of Grace and how it is the same teaching methods as The Well-Trained Mind, but with a Christian perspective, implementing Creation and other Bible stories. I did jump on their website, but wasn't impressed with how planned out things were. One of the beautiful things about home education is that you CHOOSE what you want to teach to your children and HOW you want to teach it. Tapestry of Grace is good for a beginner with no teaching experience that might want everything laid out.
Anyway, I was impressed by so much more...the Boy Scouts who were there guiding little ones in making homemade rockets and shooting them off towards the ceiling; the science experiments in the middle of the book fair room (Tobin's Lab was there); the little workshops going on in the vendor booths (okay, so I've fallen in love with Lap Books and can't wait to try them. I bought THIS BOOK and it's so packed with information that my mind feels like it wants to explode with great information when I read it). You'll see (if we can get a camera up and running) photos of our lapbooks that we do along the way this next year and for years to come.
2. The Workshops that we planned on going to didn't really happen. Okay, so we went to two or three, but we mostly hung out in the vendor area (it was HUGE and intimidating, but I knew God would lead me to the right curriculum for our kiddos). It took us the two days to go through everything and even when we left, there were vendors that I'm sure we wouldn't have minded going through again. :) I attended the Handwriting Without Tears workshop, the Lap Book workshop (the acutal author and creator of Lap Books, Tammy Duby, was the teacher and was she GOOD!) and that was it. I think next year, I'll be going to many more.
3. My girl time with Jo was just what the doctor ordered. :) Jo and I have known each other for 11 years now and it could be two years since we've seen each other, but she's just one of those friends where you jump right back in where you left off, and like nothing happend. We enjoyed some time at Downtown Disney Friday night, chatting away about our future plans over an incredible icecream sundae at Ghiardelli's, sharing about what the Lord is doing in our lives and how He's physically and spiritually working. We enjoyed just being girls. We enjoyed sleeping in (a little!) on Saturday morning. I can't remember the last time I attempted to sleep in without a little one crawling in bed with Rob and I and snuggling. We enjoyed picking each others' brains about 'teacher stuff' (since we're both educators and have taught in traditional schools), comparing curriculums (still sticking with A Beka math this year, but I'm liking Saxton more and more...not as colorful and visually stimulating as A Beka, but better content and repitition). We just enjoyed each other. (smile)
4. The teaching supplies and materials that I got weren't too abundant, but my favorite two purchases were...