Saturday, March 10, 2012

C is for Curriculum Fair

I'm doing my best to not get this done this week!  Participating in a meme to blog through the alphabet, even when I already have the perfect timely topic, hasn't proved to be as easy as I hoped.

I was planning to do an entry for each of my kids, which would start this week with "C is for Connor."  But then during "C Week" I was able to attend a Curriculum Fair.  And since I want to blog about it, well, it just seemed natural.

So C is for Curriculum Fair.

Every spring and summer, I end up totally jealous of all the people who live out east where there are so many options for homeschool conferences, conventions, and other such things.  State homeschool groups that put on an event worth attending, not to mention the "for-profit" groups putting on massive conferences.

It isn't fair.  My state homeschool group, well... this isn't a vent post.  Suffice it to say that I simply cannot support them financially.  And they don't have a "homeschool convention" anymore regardless.  It is something dorky like a "Family Vision Conference." 

But I did have the chance this year to get to the Spring Curriculum Fair put on by Home Instruction Ministries.  It was lovely.

I drove up yesterday morning, went in, and wandered through the vendor area, which was larger than I had expected.  A lot of it was local stuff that doesn't pertain to me.  But there were bigger vendors there as well.  On Friday, I spent time at the Sonlight booth, so now I can say that Karla Cook of Ramblin' Roads is now more than just a virtual friend.  I also spent money at the Institute for Excellence in Writing booth (the only place I spent money yesterday thankyouverymuch) where I purchased the Speech Boot Camp (all three big boys will be using that this summer) and Elegant Essay (which Connor will be using, probably in August).  I talked with Brenda at Artistic Pursuits, and although I didn't end up purchasing the high school program, I think we will be doing that for next January.

And I attended a workshop on Homeschooling high school.  It was excellent.  There was discussion on organizing records, and a bit on figuring out what classes to have the kids take, how to count credits, and some basic transcript advice.  One thing I've never picked up anywhere else was the fact that some schools really want to see Algebra I specifically on the transcript.  If you have a child like one of mine who would end up with way too many math credits if you start counting them with Algebra I, their recommendation was to list it as a course taken in 8th grade (or, <ahem> 6th/7th in Connor's case) and give 0 credit. 

I can do that.

What was the most fun, probably, was hearing the questions that some of the other moms (I think it was all moms yesterday) were asking.  With such a small conference, there were only around 15 of us in the session.  Easy to ask questions that way.  I also talked a bit with a couple of the moms after the session ended.  It was a bit weird to be seen as "experienced" though.  I don't feel experienced, which would be why I was in the workshop.

I spent the night at a hotel in Fort Collins, which was lovely and peaceful.  I was going to go out to eat, but I ended up ordering in a pizza from Beaujo's instead.  I haven't had Beaujo's Pizza in forever.

This morning, I headed back to the curriculum fair and checked out the used book sale.  I picked up some Math U See manipulatives (yay!) and back at the vendor hall, I finally had the chance to sit down and talk to the Math U See rep.  Thanks to three different amazing friends, I own (or have borrowed) a bunch of Math U See, and I am finally coming to grips with the fact that this program is perfect for William, and probably exactly what I need for some of the others. 

A couple other vendors I learned about:
  • A PE curriculum vendor, Faithful Workouts.  They have a workout DVD, but also an actual PE curriculum which focuses on faith, fitness and fuel.  
  • Abiding Truth Ministries carries some really interesting looking Bible study materials.  Including a book on Biblical Archaeology.  Stuff like that always catches my attention.
I attended two workshops today.

The first was put on by a couple people from the Loveland Barnes & Noble, and it was about using e-readers in your homeschool.  That was fun.  We had the chance to play a bit with the various Nooks, and, ummm, I want a Nook Tablet.  Especially when they told me that it can do webpages that use Flash.  And when they mentioned being able to put in a card that would let you turn in into an android-like device.

The second workshop was about homeschooling your dyslexic child.  She mostly talked about things I knew already, but it was still great to sit in there.  I wish I had attended a session like this three or four years ago.

We received a hand-out about the signs of dyslexia.  We talked about a few of them specifically.  We talked about common myths (seeing things backwards, the idea that dyslexia is uncommon, etc.)  We talked about research into dyslexia.  One thing I did NOT know is that "they" have identified the dyslexia gene... and she was saying that it is a dominant gene.  That, I confess, confuses me.

The speaker has a profoundly dyslexic brother and a severely dyslexic daughter, but she isn't dyslexic.  So, if there is a dominant gene, I understand that she wouldn't have it but her brother would.  But then how did her daughter get it?  And yes, that question is personal... I suspect my brothers are/were at least mildly dyslexic.  I don't think I am.  But clearly I have one child severely dyslexic, and at least two who are at least mildly dyslexic.

Anyway, the session talked about Orton-Gillingham methods and how research backs that being incredibly effective.  Which (as I feared) got me back into feeling guilty that I'm not actually DOING a true O-G program with William right now.  <sigh>

The greatest part of the session, though, was just being in a room, hearing some of the comments about dyslexia's challenges, struggles and blessings, and looking around and seeing all these other parents (there were dads there today!) nodding in agreement.

I didn't know how badly I needed to remember I'm not alone.  I mean, I know that there are so many other parents out there.  But it has been a long time since I've really felt that they are.

Check out the other posts at Ben and Me this week, where you can learn that C is for chocolate, cursive, calluses, and much much more...


Unknown said...

Oh, I'm jealous. I want to go to a curriculum fair.

Amy B

Unknown said...

so glad you were encouraged :)