This past weekend, I attended the NCHE Homeschool Conference and Book Fair in Winston Salem, NC. Many of my Instagram followers expressed an interest in the conference and in homeschooling in general so I thought I’d share a bit about the weekend. I had a GREAT time and am already looking to buy my ticket/lodging for next year’s conference!
(Disclaimer: I’ll be talking about homeschooling during this post (the title should have been a dead giveaway). I won’t be discussing the WHY’S of our choice to venture into home learning today – that’s a post for another day. If homeschooling isn’t your thing, skip this post and come back tomorrow.)
Probably a year ago, my mother-in-law put a bug in my ear about attending this conference. As a first time attendee and a homeschooling mother of a child under 5, I was able to attend free of charge. The conference ran from Thursday night through Saturday afternoon, which was the perfect amount of time to be away from home IMO (thanks to Travis for watching the kids!).
Catherine and I left Franklin around 2pm and arrived in Winston Salem right around 5pm. After a minor snag with our hotel reservation (turns out we actually had a reservation with the Marriott instead of the Embassy – whoops), we made our way to the Book Fair. Note: Our hotel joined the Winston Salem Convention Center via covered walkway so we never left the building (aside from lunch one day)! The Book Fair was….overwhelming. With probably 200+ vendors all selling curriculum that I wanted to see and touch, I kind of just stood in the doorway for a second and focused on breathing. Luckily Catherine has 35 years of homeschooling experience and has been to the convention many times – she knew exactly what to do.
That first day, we scoped about half of the room out and just browsed quickly. I made notes of the booths I wanted to come back to and before I knew it, the Book Fair closed. We headed up to the hotel room and did what moms do best when they’re away from their children – we read books and played around on Facebook. In bed by 10pm.
Around 7am, I got a good cardio session in at the hotel gym, showered and we ate breakfast at the Embassy’s made-to-order omelet station. Fancy. Then I spent the day listening to speakers (click to see the full schedule) – circled below are the ones I attended. It was hard picking just one for each timeslot.
My favorite one of the day: Methods that Win and Methods that Wipe Out. The speaker, Jeannie Fulbright gave me so much inspiration about homeschooling in general. More than anything, I wanted to be emboldened on this unique journey. My very first talk of the weekend did just that!
The remainder of the day was spent either in sessions, perusing the Book Fair (I probably went in there 20 different times when I had extra minutes), eating at Camino Bakery and filling up my water bottle at the hotel gym.
And again, we were in our pajamas, reading by 7:30pm. Dinner under the covers (cereal and milk). Perfection!
Saturday was the last day – there were only three sessions and we stayed for the first one: How To Teach Your Child To Think! Another great one! After the session, it was time to BUY CURRICULUM before heading home. Some of the ones that caught my eye throughout the weekend were:
In the end, I decided to do a mish mash of various ones and make up my own curriculum. As Henry gets older, this method might be harder to do but for now, he’s four years old and in between Kindergarten and 1st grade. Mish mash fits us. I spent around $100 when it was all said and done.
QUESTION: Ever been to a convention or conference that helped you define your vision? Ever homeschooled or thought about it? Homeschoolers – what curriculum did you use?
I’ve been thinking about homeschooling for a while. I know my husband wants to send our girls to the Christian school he went to growing up, but I just don’t know how we could afford it. Then again, I don’t know how we would ever afford me not working either. Yikes. I think there are benefits to both traditional schooling and homeschooling, and I have yet to figure out what would be best for our family some day. Good thing I don’t have to decide tomorrow!
I always find discussions on homeschooling incredibly interesting. In my experience as a teacher, most homeschooled students who transfer into public school have been pretty far behind. However, I know the homeschool movement is becoming more popular and the tools are improving. I’d definitely be interested to hear your thoughts on why you chose this option!
From what I’ve read (and I don’t know much) is that children will eventually catch up to their peers and might know more in some subjects than others. Post to come about this choice – so many people have asked!
It is interesting reading the perspective of a public school teacher! I was homeschooled through 7th grade (as were all 3 of my sisters) and we were all ahead of other students in english/grammer/reading and at least at level in math and science. Maybe it is a case by case thing?! Neat to read about so mnay more options these days though!
I homeschool and use different curriculum. I think the best approach is take it one year at a time or even one day at a time. Each year and each child is different and unique and that is the beauty of it. I think one of the many things I love about it is spending time together provides a never ending time of learning. We have learned to work as a team and everyday activities become part of the learning if that makes sense. My kids are still young so I have not been doing it long, yet I love how we have a rhythm going and they experience so much more as we make our home a place of learning what I feel is the important things. Yes we do math and reading, but I am raising mighty warriors to live for Him and to me that is the fruit and the root. Everything else will fall in to place. I guess I think of the verse..Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you. Girl, you are going to have so much fun discovering with your kids. If you need any encouragement please email me and I also know some awesome people that have homeschooled for years. Katie has my email.
THANK YOU!!! Very encouraging!
I’m so glad you felt good about this! I told you before, I wish I would have home schooled in the beginning. Now I think the kids feel strange about it. I’m so excited for you!
I LOVED being homeschooled. It was such a precious gift, and definitely a sacrifice that my parents made that I treasure everyday.
When I was in school, my Mom used Rod & Staff curriculum through 4th grade, then switched to Bob Jones 5-12. Now she is using My Father’s World. I was never a huge fan of Bob Jones…..but I hafta say, since Rod & Staff gave you a PINK math book in 2nd grade, nothing else quite compares. :)
I WILL get that book then!! (I loved the Rod and Staff style!)
I would love to homeschool! Just not sure if I have the patience or stamina to do it. With my oldest finishing up his first year of school and listening to things that he has learned from other kids…ugh. And I’m not a fan of the public education system here in TX at all. I would love to at least send my kids to private, it’s just not financially feasible for us at this point. Praying that option will be possible for us in the near future! Serious props to you for embarking on this journey! I taught for a year at a private school, and we used A Beka. My kids have also used a combo of A Beka and Bob Jones at their preschool. Love them :)
Maybe take it one semester at a time!
I was homeschooled k-8th grade and loved it. It’s one of the reasons why I became a teacher. And after teaching high school English in both private and public schools I can say with full confidence that I want my kids to learn at home. Mostly because I want their learning to learn not just “be good at school.” Our oldest is now 3, so we’re hoping to explore some homeschooling conventions soon. Although we’re leaning more towards unschooling and not necessarily bringing school into the home setting. Looking forward to hearing your “why” if you ever choose to share it here:)
I could never home school, but I applaud any and everyone who is willing to take on the task. When we have children they will attend a parochial school which is apart of our church. I’m curious if this was an option for you? What chose you to not go this route?
I’ll definitely write a post!
Love home school. I was home schooled K-12, taught for 3 years in a private school, and now I’m teaching public school! So I’ve done a little of everything. my parents use (they still have a few in there) used a huge variety of materials. In fact, different for almost every child based on our skills/needs. I got to spend a lot of time specializing in music — I even got to take extra long piano lessons because my teacher had more time during the day. I love the school where I teach, but at the same time I can’t quite imagine sending my own kids here alllllll day at age 4 or 5! So I’m guessing some type of home school may be in our future someday!
I was homeschooled! My mom used a lot of Sonlight and Bob Jones…sorry, I can’t remember the other ones she used, but I recognized the names you posted! she mixed and matched for each of us (myself and 2 siblings) rather than stick to just one curriculum. I was very strong in english/language arts, reading, etc, and not so strong in math and science…my mom was able to tailor the books to my level for each subject, and then I was able to choose my electives after that.
One thing that I think was amazingly helpful was the time she spent reading to each of us, and then eventually us reading to her…I remember also learning to read and write using a book called “The writing road to reading” which she still swears by. amazon.com link below just in case :)
I’m not going to lie, one of my favorite things about teaching was looking for new resources and materials! In one job I had working as a semi-homeschool teacher, I basically had an unlimited budget for those sorts of things, and I loved spending every penny of it. :) I think a mishmash curriculum is the way to go…always. Even when they are older. That should be part of the joy of homeschooling: not feeling like you have to follow the exact school district guidelines and pick and choose the order that works for you. I often changed up things based on how I thought they should be arranged…luckily I didn’t get in trouble for it. :)
I have never once considered homeschooling until I actually had a child…My sister and my mother are both college professors and now that my mother is getting ready to retire, I tell her all the time that I want her to home school my baby boy. My sister-in-law homeschools her 4 children and I think it’s the best thing for their family too…I would really like to do a little more research on it because I think it could definitely be in my future!
I had so much fun reading this post!! My husband & I knew before we were married that we want to homeschool our children :) I’m always reading up on homeschool blogs for new ideas & pinning for later. Now, just gotta have the babies lol!
My mom did her own mix of curriculum. Easy Grammar was a great grammar program! I highly recommend it! She is a teacher by profession and pulled me out of the public school system after kindergarten- I was (literally) teaching the the other five-year-olds how to read. I’m fairly confident that my academic success (graduated college with a 4.0 GPA) has everything to do with homeschooling and parental involvement! In other words- I think homeschooling is a great option and your children will thank you for it one day. :)
Not having known anyone who’s been home schooled (well, that I know of), this is really interesting to me. I’d love to read a post about why you made the decision and what your plans are!
Readjng this makes me so excited! I can’t wait to attend our denver conference…although I wish I had a veteran homeschooler to go with me. Wheeee, glad you feel ready and confident about taking it on!
very interesting! i’m a public school teacher, but i’m always interested in anything education-related! i’d love to hear why you chose to go the homeschool route :)