Friday, September 18, 2009

Another First: Homeschool Convention

My husband & I attended our very first state-wide home school convention back in June. I must say that it was very beneficial for us to attend, esp. because we were brand new to homeschooling. There were workshops, key-note speakers, curriculum resale, student performances, homeschool HS graduation taking place, and hundreds of tables set up with home school supporters, services, organizations, curriculum publishers, etc.. It was quite eye-opening.

Homeschooling is definitely on a big rise, not just amongst Christian, but also with non-religious families. Although it is true that the highest test scores are being achieved by home schoolers, it is not true that homeschool students are being taught to be anti-social. Having had a handful of homeschool students in my class during my teaching years, I would agree that might have been true back then, 10+ years ago. However, the 'typical stereotype' of a homeschool student is changing. Homeschool parents are connecting more & more with other parents. There are many co-ops, organizations that meet on a regular basis, where students learn with other children in a classroom setting. Most of the homeschool students I know now are very social, not to mention more mature, respectful, and are involved with more extra-curricula because they have more time in their day. I can only hope that my children will become as well-mannered & well-rounded! There's a myth out there that just because a child is homeschooled, he/she must be lacking confidence, social-skills, or an introverted. That simply isn't the case!

It was encouraging to see just how many people are choosing/ have chosen to teach their children at home. I'd say there were thousands of people attending this 3 day convention. It is comforting to know that there is an amazing amount of support out there for homeschooling parents like me. Home school is absolutely legal. There is even an organization of lawyers, called HSLDA, who act as advocates for homeschooling parents, providing legal service to those who become members. I had no idea!

Although it was a bit overwhelming with info-overload, I learned quite a bit at the convention. I was most excited to leave the convention center with my year's worth of school curriculum in my hands- no shipping & handling fee! I was thankful that My Father's World had come to present their curriculum for the first time in Oregon this year! What perfect timing it was for us to attend. MFW's station was the most crowded, most visited one there! It was another confirmation that we chose the right curriculum!

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