Homeschooling Convention 2011: A Brief Report

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The really short version is this: I spent all day standing and walking on concrete while looking at curricula, and spending money. By the end of the the day I was light-headed since I pretty much forgot to eat! My head was spinning with new information but I found some great books for next year and have a better idea of what resources are available for the future.

Here are some additional details:

  • There were about 800 vendors there. Most of them were selling curricula or school supplies (pencils, paper and notebooks, science equipment etc.)
  • Although a lot of texts and workbooks were self-published much more attention seems to be being given to producing professional quality materials
  • There are more resources for extra-curricular activities geared for homeschooling schedules and learning environments than there used to be. One music school I looked at schedules lessons during the school day instead? of after school, freeing up after school hours for family time.
  • Foreign Language curricula have also developed quite a bit. There are more languages available and publishers are providing more support for things like pronunciation, through Cd’s, DVD’s and the Internet. I think I finally found a French program that will work with ages and skills of the children and isn’t silly.

There were also some things I thought were concerning:

  • The colleges that were represented were not as high quality as I would have liked to see. The college representatives didn’t really seem like they felt that they needed to recruit. The attitude seemed to be that of course homeschoolers would attend these Christian colleges and that there was no need for them to try to attract students.
  • I saw a lot of curricula that would be “busywork” for most children. Cute, Fun but ultimately not doing much to develop the child instead of giving him something to keep him in his seat.
  • I saw a lot more audiovisual media being used as primary instruction. I believe that video has a very small part to play in good education and the amount of material being presented as “Buy this and we’ll take care of your responsibility and teach your child for you” was concerning. I’ll blog more on this topic I’m sure.

This is just a few, brief thoughts as I try to sort through everything I saw and heard. I’ll be posting more specifics as to what I bought and how I intend to use it in the coming week.

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