Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 ICHE Convention

WOW...What an amazing two days I had! I attended the Illinois Christian Home Educators Homeschool convention this past Thursday and Friday. My sweet (and brave!) husband watched the kids while I was gone - and that's a whole other post I need to write. Let's just say I came home to a spotless, dirty dishes and laundry-free house! He's the best!
I was a little nervous about going. I was excited about it, but afraid that once there, I would get bogged down with feelings of doubt about curriculum choices and guilt over what I WASN'T doing. There is so much out there to use that is GOOD - it's sometimes hard to weed through that and find what's BEST. And the best for our family will be totally different from other families. I spent time praying about it, and was amazed that instead of feeling overwhelmed and confused, the Lord confirmed the choices Ryan and I had made regarding curriculum. I now have a great sense of peace, even after attending informational sessions for other curriculum programs.

I attended a convention with my parents when I was in middle school. The only thing I remember is a long hallway filled with book tables!(In fact, I still have the book my parents let me select!) Well, my memories of that conference in no way prepared me for the enormous amount of information that was about to be stuffed into every bit of free space in my brain. By Thursday night I was feeling a little foggy, and I still had another day to sit through!

Thursday began with Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child's Heart. He spoke on getting to the heart of your child's sinful behavior. It was a good reminder that the purpose of discipline is to reach the heart and point the child to God, not correct "annoying or undesired" behavior. I've loved his books, and really enjoyed the opportunity to hear him speak live. He spoke again on Friday afternoon - "Giving Children a Vision of God's Glory." This subject stressed the need to remove the idols from our children's lives, instead of polishing them for them. Also that kids view of God is directly linked to our view of Him. I'm working on a post on that talk that will be up eventually. Not a light subject, and very convicting. I am still processing it all!

We attended 4 workshops on Thursday, and four on Friday. I'm just going to list a little blurb about each of them:

Jeannie Fulbright - Jeannie is the author of Apologia's K-6 Science Books. I attended three of her sessions. The 7 E's of choosing Curricula, Notebooking:Creativity with purpose, and Charlotte Mason:Excellence without Sacrifice. They were all good, but I especially enjoyed the notebooking class. I had previously avoided the Apologia books, because they just screamed TEXTBOOK, and that's not what I want for my kiddos, so I had decided we would look at other science options. Well, after listening to and participating in the notebooking class, I went and bought the Apologia Astronomy book! I was very impressed that this was NOT a dry, boring textbook, but very definitely a living book with ideas for projects and experiments, as well as narration instead of tests. My kids are going to love it!

Vicki Bentley - Vicki is the mom of 17 kids! (okay, she didn't give birth to all of them, but she did homeschool all of them - some were foster kids) I loved her session on Getting Kids to Help at Home. She had some great ideas on what to do about kids who decide they don't want to do their chores, and fostering responsibility in children. The idea I found most enlightening was the concept of training them when they are little in HOW to do the chore. I don't know why it didn't occur to me before, but she has the child do the chore right along with her until they are experienced enough to handle it on their own. Her motto is "As a mom, you need to work yourself out of a job." So this summer, we are going to work on some chore training.

Dianne Craft - Can you say BRAIN OVERLOAD? Dianne is an amazing woman. She is a certified Natural Health Professional (think lab coat, not peasant skirt and bag of granola), as well as the learning specialist for HSLDA. I went to two of her sessions, and had planned on going to another two, but just couldn't handle any more of the info, so I'll be downloading those sessions to listen to later. Dianne spoke on Identifying and Correcting Blocked Learning Gates, which was excellent. I went with a couple friends, and we all sat there saying wow - that's MY kid she's talking about! I was overwhelmed by the amount of information she gave us, and will be implementing a lot of it with some of my kids soon. The second session was Teaching the Right Brained Child. This was a great session as well, and actually taught me a lot about my own (overly-dominant right) brain!

Steve Demme- This was another great session, simply because Steve is a very Godly man who is very committed to the family. He is the creator of Math-U-See, and pastor of a church on the east coast. His session was Why We Do What We Do, and How to Keep At It. We spent the hour discussing why we homeschool, and ways to keep from getting discouraged or distracted. It was a great reminder of why we chose this path in the first place.

I had promised the kids I'd bring them each a surprise, so the vendor hall was a lot of fun for me! I got some great deals, was able to order our curriculum for next year (I'll be posting on this seperately), and got some fun things for the kids. Sawyer got one of Ken Ham's Dinosaur books - this is huge since we don't have any creation based (or evolutionary, for that matter) dinosaur books. Campbell got James Herriott's Treasury for Children. I knew she'd love this, since the whole book is filled with stories of animals he took care of while working as a vet in the English countryside. Grace got some Doug and Melissa animal lacing cards. I wanted to find something she'd be able to do independently while we were busy with school in the fall. They should be perfect! All poor Cullen got was a big smoochy from mommy! And I can't forget the big kid! I found a book at Rainbow Resources called Backyard Ballistics. It has directions for making potato cannons, rockets, etc. If it explodes, it's probably in this book. He was really excited, and I found him and Sawyer on our bed yesterday going through it and writing out a list of the things they needed to go get this weekend to try making a few things!

Overall, it was a wonderful time of renewal for me. I came away feeling convicted about some things I need to work on as a mom, as well as energized for the next step in this journey.


  1. So I didn't realize this was the same thing as your facebook post until I was halfway through. Needless to say I am enjoying hearing about your adventure of homeschooling. You inspire me! :)

  2. Janna,
    Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to read your upcoming posts that you talked about.