Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homeschool Conference - Part 3 - Workshops

This is my last post about the conference.  I thought I'd share a little bit about some of the workshops I attended.  I went to more workshops this year than I've ever been too before - and consequently, less time in the book fair (which may not have been all bad from a financial point of view).  For my first decade of homeschooling, I didn't go to any workshops, though I did often buy CDs so that I could listen to them later.  I appreciated the encouragement I received this year.  I'm thankful for the things I learned and wish I could have attended more of them.  My oldest two also attended a number of them and found them to be interesting and sometimes fun.

I went to two workshops presented by Vicki Bentley.  One was a "Jumpstart to Joyful Mothering".  She asked what we first thought of when we say the title "Joyful Mother" - was it silly that it reminded me of my blog (title)?  One of the key points was that we should ask God where we lack joy and to let Him show us.  The other key points were as follows:

*She also stressed that we need to have realistic expectations of our children.  That we need to include them, laugh with them, listen to them and realize that they will mess up and not to take it personally. 

*We need to have realistic expectations of ourselves too.  Taking care of ourselves, know our vulnerable spots and recogize that we have our own gifts, limitations and family situations. 

*We should recognize spiritual warfare for what it is.  The enemy is seeking to target our mind and rob us of our joy.  Our joy is in us because we belong to Jesus and we need to learn to take every thought captive.

*Recognize the source of our joy.  We are commanded to be joyful.  It is a fruit not a feeling!

I also attended one of her Organizing workshops.  She gave us questions to ask of ourselves such as what is working, what isn't working, why do you want to organize and what is causing problems.  (With more questions and examples under each item.)  She gave many other tips - many of which I've heard and I'm sure you have too - BUT, sometimes it is helpful to hear it again.  I think that decluttering and getting organized is a journey (that seems overwhelming at times).  Trying to tackle it one step at a time is a good thing!  She also gave many, many ideas for setting up learning centers in your home.  I like this idea and would like to try to add one or two to my home.  I have the things she mentioned, it would just be a matter of setting things up differently.  Finding the time and drive to to this is one of my biggest struggles.  Anyone want to come over and help???  Please?

I attended another workshop on "The 7 Deadly Termites" in a homeschool group by Kevin Swanson.  These were good tips and were ones that could also be applied to the family as well.  The first was not having a vision.  This theme came up several times and actually really encouraged me!  God has been good to show me some things that I think will be a blessing to our group and ultimately make it stronger.  Along with several other gals, we presented some changes to our group (prior to the conference) and I'm excited to see what God will do with this!

Some of the others things that a healthy group needs include positive encouragement, sacrifice, someone willing to make hard decisions, someone willing to deal with conflict, flexibility and delegation.  I'm very thankful to be a part of a homeschool group that is very sweet!  It's been a blessing and I hope God will direct and guide us so that we can grow stronger and reflect His love to others.

One of the sessions that was the most challenging for me was one entitled "Unprepared for College" by Amy Barr.  She talked about what college would be like and how it is different from homeschool.  She talked about the expectations of professors and things that students could do that would help them to be more successful.  I'm trying to implement some changes now based on some of the things she shared.

*Syllabus - Using this as a written contract with due dates for papers and tests.  We are starting that this summer.

*Letting your student fail - As homeschoolers we offer flexibility and the ability to work until the concepts are mastered.  She shared that it is good for them to learn how to fail, and how to recover from it before they head off to college. 

*Research writing - One of her tips was to have your students go to a local university library and use the reference materials there for writing a paper.  I'm hoping to take a small group of students to one of the close universities and ask the librarian to help them learn how to use the library.  I think this will be a great thing to know before you go to college!

*Praise students for being determined instead of being smart.  If they think they are smart and come to a challenge, they may become more easily discouraged and think that they can't do it.  If they are determined, they don't expect things to come easily and instead know that they need more practice and hard work.

The last workshop I attended was on Traditions by Jennifer Schmidt.  I went to see if I could get some new ideas.  I like having traditions in our family and know that my children appreciate these!  She discussed why  traditions are important as well as sharing ideas.  She keeps a blog if you'd like to visit and see some of her ideas for yourself.

It was a good conference.  I left feeling encouraged and refreshed and excited about a new year.  Rebecca mentioned that she wished we were starting the new school year now!  She is excited too!  Gotta love that and hopefully we can hold on to that feeling for a few more months as we take some time off and prepare for the new year.

I hope some of this was helpful or encouraging to you too!