Monday, March 28, 2011

from the weekend

This weekend we attended InHome, the annual home educator conference held here in Illinois. The event is full of great workshops for all ages, wonderful presenters and all the fun that comes with staying at a resort for a few days. The kids had been counting down to the conference for weeks, while Matt and I hurried about getting ready for the workshops we were presenting, wondering just why we had committed to all this again. After all, don't our kids already get lots of time to spend with friends, engaging in enriching classes and activities? Don't we already know all the reasons we chose to homeschool? Isn't there plenty of work for us here without driving someplace else to make more? While I tried not to let on, I was not looking forward to attending the conference this year. The kids' excitement was contagious, though, and by the time we were packed and on the road Thursday evening, we were all looking forward to the days ahead.

While the schedule was full of performances, workshops and presentations, there was time for fun, for swimming with friends and for enjoying the sights.

There was time for strolling among the varied exhibitors and falling in love with the local Esther's Place Farm and Fiber Arts Studio.

There was lots of walking back and forth across the span of the resort, leaving plenty of time for sleepy eyes to rest snug in the sling.

As well as a fair share of wandering down Bourbon Street, the New Orleans themed section of the resort, home to the popular game room and ice cream parlor.

And let's not forget the time spent just being silly.

I'm not sure why we were hesitant about going this year. We all truly enjoyed ourselves and felt part of a great community of familiar people. We watched that community grow as we met new families.

I was glad to attend some of the adult workshops, getting to hear some really influential speakers that helped to reassure and encourage the choices we have made in educating our children. A few highlights:

Scott Noelle, father, author, homeschooler and founder of Enjoy Parenting spoke about taking the stress and worry out of educating our kids. Through his site, you can subscribe to his "daily groove," which delivers a short, inspiring message five days a week to help guide parents to joyful parenting.

Pat Farenga spoke about unschooling and whether it really works. With his incredible history working within the modern homeschool movement and continuing the work of John Holt, he was able to provide solid information and encourage this holistic approach to life-long learning.

I also listened to David Albert speak about handling the challenges we face in comparing our own traditional educations with the version we are offering our kids.

And there were many more incredible presenters joining the conference this year that we didn't get a chance to hear speak. The kids left the weekend feeling content, fulfilled and exhausted; I left feeling recharged and encouraged; Matt is already making plans for new workshops to present next year. I'm feeling a great deal of gratitude for where we are as a family, for the people we know, the experiences we have and the time we spend together.

I'm officially looking forward to doing it all again next year.


PinkCat said...

It sounds like a really interesting weekend and lots of fun too.

Beautiful pictures! x