Why I'm not going to my state's homeschool convention

I've been seeing links to articles about why you (meaning you, homeschooler) should attend your state's homeschooling convention. Right up front, I will say that I haven't read any of them. I've gone to a homeschool conference every year I've been homeschooling; I don't really need a reason to go. I've enjoyed learning new things, meeting friends, shopping for new resources, having a day or two away. I used to love it all.

This year, after the bust of last year, for the first time ever, I'm not going. It's not that I have become a homeschooling expert and can learn nothing else. It's not that I don't think there are nothing new resources for me to look at. And it's certainly not that I no longer enjoy a day or two away. No, there are definitely reasons why I have chosen not to go this year.

Here they are:

1. I'm tired of the lack of joy. You would think Chicken Little was in charge of the conference, because the overwhelming message seems to be that the sky is falling. Or at least the end of life for a Christian as we know it. Sigh. Of all the people in the world, Christians should be the least filled with fear, because we have no reason for it at all. But, to hear the speakers and the keynote addresses and the topics being discussed, you would think that fear, particularly fear about the future... for us, for our children, for our society... is a belief requirement. Everything is worry, worry, worry, fear, fear, fear, and very little joy that we get to spend time with our children. I can dredge up worry and fear all by myself, I don't need someone else to do it for me. I'd rather hear people who will remind me why I don't need to fear and how to find joy in what I'm doing.

2. I'm tired of keynote speakers who are not actually the homeschooling parent. I'm really tired of the non-homeschooling parent tell me what I need to do to have a Godly family. I'm really, really tired of the legalistic bent that the parent is solely responsible for their child's faith in God; that the parent creates that faith by checking items off a list. Oh, so tired. Homeschooling is not the means to salvation any more than public school is a guaranteed trip the other way. Besides being just plain wrong, life is far more complicated than that. If a speaker can distill something so complex and nuanced to something so simplistic and legalistic, I question anything else that speaker has to say. I stopped going to the keynote addresses long ago, but now find I cannot even give money to an organization which can promote that type of thinking.

3. I'm tired of there being nothing for us old homeschooling moms. We don't need to know who to teach someone to read, but we could use some encouragement. How do you keep things fresh after so many years? How do you begin to navigate not having toddlers and early elementary students when you've had them for so very long? How do you make friends when you don't fit in well anywhere? Maybe it's not even a speaker that is needed, but just a space for us to meet and kvetch together. But... crickets. And yes, I've written extensive requests year after year on the conference evaluation form. Surely I can't be the only old homeschooling mom who would appreciate something like this.

4. I'm also tired of the heavy marketing to homeschoolers, especially the heavy marketing with the implication that if you don't buy a certain curriculum you will ruin your children. But that has been going on for quite some time, and I can overlook that. It does bother me, though, when new homeschoolers feel as though they have to buy everything or else. My friends and I have accosted moms as they leave a vendor's stall to correct the information they were given by the vendor. I'll miss that part. I'll also miss stocking up on consumable supplies at my two favorite vendors. But they both have websites, and I can shop from them online when I actually need the things, and save the hefty entrance fee to the conference.

So, there you go. Based on my purely unscientific observations, I am probably not the only one to feel this way. The number of attendees does seem to be fewer every year. But last year, when the P. Family mom and I did our shopping and then decided our time would be far better spent visiting Habitat for Humanity ReStores, it was our sign that we were done. Homeschooling conferences should leave you excited and encouraged, not angry, with a sore jaw from grinding your teeth.
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Don't forget P.'s Go Fund Me page. I'm sorry to be a pest, but I'm willing to do it to allow P. this opportunity.

Phoebe Curry Go Fund Me

Comments

I go for what I want out of it.. if I don't agree with the narrow minded speaker, I don't sit in even if it's a main session....but even hearing something that I don't agree with affords me the momen to think....that's a commodity.... thinking.. ....that's why I plan to go...to set aside some planning and thinking time . Will you consider speaking on one of the topics you mentioned?
thecurryseven said…
Carol,

Yes, I'm happy to speak on the topics I've mentioned. Details of my speaking topics can be found here: http://ordinary-time.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

e
Peggy said…
I soooo agree with you! We just completed our 24th year of homeschooling. We stopped going to the convention a few years ago. I have looked at the workshops each year to determine if I want to go, but like you I haven't found one that fits our needs. You hit the nail on the head when you spoke of the fear and worry. I've been finding that to be true of so many Christians lately. The Bible says things are going to get worse the closer we get to the second coming....so why do Christians worry so much about the state of the world? We should take it as a sign to be ready, and we can find joy in the journey..in our everyday lives.
Jayview said…
I have never been a homeschooler, but as an educator I have been very frustrated by the big conference model rolled out everywhere. These conferences succeed in getting lots of people together who would probably be wonderful to talk with - but design things in a way likely to stop you ever finding the people you’d really enjoy and from whom you’d learn most. Jean
#3. Yes. I was at a homeschool sale last weekend. Trying to pass along some of our loot from 19 years of homeschooling. And I felt... old. I'm 45. I'm not "old." But in the homeschool world, if you don't have little ones, you're a minority.

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