My how the time has flown. I honestly had not planned on taking quite that long of a break. Between the VaHomeschoolers Conference, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and company joining us here at the beach I have not had a spare moment until now.
The Conference was an absolute blast and loads of fun. All the hard work really paid off this year (of course the fact that I did not have the stomach flu this time around helped too!) Our keynote speaker, Thomas Armstrong (author of In Their Own Way and many other books on learning styles) was incredible. He pulled no punches and definitely shared his views on many things. Of course it helps that I agree with about 95% of what he said! His keynote, Awakening the Genius in Every Child, was very thought-provoking and I am very glad to have gotten to hear him in person.
I presented several sessions this year, starting with an hour-long Beginning Homeschool session on Friday afternoon. It went really well and was a wonderful warm-up for the next day. On Saturday, fellow board member Celeste and I talked about the legal issues related to homeschooling in Virginia in our Navigating the Legal Waters session. I followed up with So What Do I Do On Monday? which covered the more practical aspects of homeschooling…how to decide what and how to teach, how to find support groups, how to find activities and classes, how to deal with common new homeschooler worries (including the dreaded "S" word!). This was the first time that we had split the beginning homeschool information into two sessions and I think that it helped to have the extra time. I finished up with a session on Blogging and Homeschooling, which talks about how blogs can add a new dimension to homeschooling.
I personally find talking with new homeschoolers to be such an uplifting experience! It really helps keep me in touch with the reasons that I started homeschooling in the first place. It is also rewarding to see the excitement that many new folks get when they start to realize that maybe they are not quite as crazy as they thought the might be for considering homeschooling and that they might actually be able to pull this thing off.
Often I get questions from people whose child was struggling in school and this may be the first time that anyone has not questioned their decision to homeschool their child. Or validated that it is ok for their child to have needs that could not be met by the school. That it is not necessarily that their child has the problem, but that schools are often just not set up to be able to handle the individual needs of some children…especially if they fall outside the norm. The relief on their faces is wonderful to see.
I also got to hang out with my friend and right brained learner guru Cindy which was a treat as always. And I am sure that she was glad that I did not spend the whole weekend nauseous again. We had loads of fun gabbing well into the evening and most of Sunday morning/afternoon as well!
Well, I have promised myself that I would not stay up too late, so I need to sign off. It is good to be back and I hope to get back into a more regular posting schedule. And many thanks to those who made it out to Richmond to the Conference…it was great to meet so many people that I had previously only known online!