Monday, April 4, 2016

Convention Season: In Which I Reflect on the Experience

Vendor Hall BEFORE it opened
One of the highlights of my year is attending the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. For the past five years, I've made the five-hour journey down I-75. Even the car ride is fun, since I travel along with good friends.

A few days spent with some of my favorite people is one of the main reasons for loving the convention. A getaway is such a blessing. We laughed together more than I've laughed in months and months.

Of course, there's the convention itself - a huge vendor hall filled with curriculum and learning materials and some of the most motivating homeschool speakers. BLISS!

This year I attended ten seminars. Over the next few weeks, I'll share what I learned. My goal was to attend seminars that will help me in the writing and literature classes I teach to homeschoolers, as well as motivate me to finish the last four years and 2 months I have left before my youngest graduates. (Not that I am counting or anything!)
  1. Getting Words on Paper: Strategies for Reluctant Writers - Kathy Kuhl & Janice Campbell
  2. Nurturing the Writer in Your Child/Nurturing the Writer in Yourself - The Writing Family
  3. Beauty and Delight in the Ordinary Chaotic Homeschool - Sarah Mackenzie
  4. Witches, Wizards, and Wands, Oh My! A Parent's Guide to Fantasy, Fiction, and Faith - Adam Andrews
  5. Why Writing is Not a Subject and Why Every Subject Needs Writing To Be Properly Taught - Andrew Kern
  6. How We (Mis)Read the Bible: Being Biblical As We Try To Be Biblical - John Stonestreet
  7. How to Mark a Student Paper Like a Pro (Only Better) - Brian Wasko
  8. The Socratic Method for Dummies - Become a Great Teacher - Adam Andrews
  9. Teaching Reading in the Screen Age - Andrew Kern
  10. G.K. Chesterton and the Metaphysics of Amazement  - Martin Cothran

Wow, strong inspirational teaching in every seminar but one. (You'll have to stay tuned to find out which one was the stinker!)

I rarely attend the keynote speakers and this year was no exception. None of them was compelling enough to skip our evening hijinks. On Thursday night, my friends and I gathered at a restaurant on the nearby city square and laughed and ate (tasteless) burgers. Friday night we ventured on the trolley across the river into Kentucky to have much better burgers and see a movie at the mall.

One of the things I've learned to expect is that I "hit the wall" so to speak after hearing so much valuable information. It's just mentally exhausting. So, I've learned to plan for that ahead of time. Four seminars in a day is usually all I can manage, along with a stint in the vendor hall. Now that I've learned to expect that, it's much easier to get through the weekend.

For those newbies, one thing that has made my experience easier is to bring a rolling cart. If you're heading to a convention, that's my tip!

1 comment:

Wee Pip said...

I was thinking about beginning a post just like this. Well said! I truly enjoyed our laughs and hijinks - such a fun and memorable getaway! -Sarah