My husband and six of our children just spent three blissfully nerdy days in Greenville, SC, at the Great Homeschool Convention. In the early years of our (currently) 21-year homeschooling journey, I attended conferences to hear the speakers; for the next few years I’d skip the speaking sessions in favor of the expo hall (those were the years I alternated between pushing a stroller and waddling along expecting our next addition); next I worked for vendors (Math-U-See and Quaver Music) and mostly stayed in a booth.
Now I’ve come full circle: because we participate in a Classical Conversations community, I don’t have to analyze and agonize over what books we’ll use, but now I find myself hungry for the speaker sessions again.
I’m no longer interested in beginner subjects—how to teach spelling or choose a co-op that’s right for you; honestly, I’m bored with homeschooling as a topic. But worldview? Teaching the classics? Shakespeare? Classical education? I’m all over that.
The Great Homeschool Convention combines a rockstar lineup of speakers and sessions with a massive vendor hall and optional entertainment and speakers for an additional fee on Friday and Saturday nights. We attended An Evening with Dr. Ben Carson last night in a packed ballroom.
His is a story to inspire children and adults alike. We streamed Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story from Netflix (a great family movie!) and bought the book for our oldest daughter for Christmas. I’ve recently adopted Dr. Carson’s mother’s plan of assigning extra reading and book reports to my youngest three kids. They looked a little surprised at first, but I think they’re enjoying it.
He challenged us to spend 30 minutes a day learning something new. It’s easy to spend so much time teaching our children that we forget to teach ourselves.
This is the first time our whole family attended a homeschool conference. Someday my kids will quit analyzing other homeschoolers and just embrace them as their people. Yes, a lot of us are different, both parents and kids. Instead of denim jumpers, my bags held my latest Stitch Fix (review to come!), not that I’ve seen a lot of denim jumpers lately anyway.
Homeschooling has progressed beyond stereotypes.
My 14, 17, and 19 year olds participated in the Teen Track, a series focusing on topics like moral relativism, creation science, and worldview. The Great Homeschool Convention sessions were so diverse and engaging that at times members of my family sat in as many as four different ones at once, based on our interests.
No one said, “Seriously? We’re going to a homeschool conference as a vacation?” Everyone loved it, discovered new interests, and we learned both together and separately, as a family.
If you can make it to a Great Homeschool Convention, I highly recommend it for either you or your whole family.