Not Yo Mama's Homeschool Conference

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Admittedly, I have never been to another homeschooling conference so I suppose I don't know what it's like, but I can use my imagination. The Wild + Free conference last weekend was more of an experience. I was introduced to new artists via live music. I met a new friend who I'm pretty sure was sent straight from God. She was THE FIRST person I began talking to and she lives right here in my very town! I got to hear firsthand some of my favorite bloggers, podcasters, and homeschoolers speak about various topics. I got to hear talented writers discussing the ins and outs of teaching their children at home. Oh, and there were donuts. Delicious donuts. I left inspired to tackle this role another week.

I didn't take many photos, but I did take a lot of notes. The thing about this homeschooling gig to me is that I don't often go against the grain. I felt sick when I thought about making this decision. I felt God leading me to it, but I didn't know why. I loved the kids' school. And then there were the opinions. Some whispered out of my ear shot and some spoken right to my face. It seems prideful to think you can teach them what they need to know. Won't they be unsocialized? That's a lofty idea. That's a lazy thing to do. Et cetera. I just didn't know a lot of people who thought this was do-able. Many support me, yes. But I had never met so many people who are actually walking this road until last weekend. I loved hearing from the second generation homeschoolers and the adult children who are still reaping the fruits of their parents' labor, hearing that while their teachers weren't perfect they loved being taught at home and are doing well. I enjoyed Greta Eskridge talk about our passionate kids and how to channel that. I took lots of notes there! Leah Boden, who I didn't know before this conference, discussed how we were all a little crazy as she likened us to the scene in Alice in Wonderland at the mad tea party. Elsie Ludicello knocked it out of the park with her closing remarks, too. 

Possibly my favorite presenter was Cindy Rollins, author of Mere Motherhood. She has raised many children, mostly boys...and has survived. Now, she homeschools other people's children. She homeschooled before there was the connectivity of this community online. She took Charlotte Mason's theories and put them into practice. One of the things she said that struck me was, "If you want to have a happy home, you need to start with a happy face." Possibly the hardest thing about being with my children all day every day is the lack of me time for this introvert. I used to savor nap time when I could just for a few minutes or so not have to tend to someone or something. I could sit and think of nothing at all. When there's not any time for me to be alone with my thoughts, I feel busy and busyness makes me grumpy. Simply peeking at our homeschool schedule each day feels like an overwhelming task and I tend to want to knock it all out quickly so we can get to the true learning that occurs when wonder is involved, when all the senses are being used, or when it happens naturally. That's what I want to preserve! Just yesterday, we were out working on the chestnut farm when we spotted a frog. The boys caught it and began studying it without even knowing. Then they took it a step further and painted what they observed. They were learning so much more than frogs, what they eat, what they feel like, and why they do what they do. They were learning alongside their siblings, laughing and enjoying an early day in Fall. They were putting on their happy faces like I was. We were setting the tone for our homeschool, for our family. Sometimes it is that simple. I remembered WHY I want to do this. I'm buying time with my sweet, smart, awesome kids and that makes me happy. And it ought to show on my face as much as possible!

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