This year was my second time attending our annual homeschool conference. Last year I didn’t have any children starting school but I was really interested in what the main speaker was going to be talking about so I went anyway (she was speaking on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching).
I cannot believe that my son is already old enough for school, but I am so excited about starting with him. I plan to start school a little early due to something that will be disrupting our school year (I’ll talk about that in another post). And I am using a mixture of Charlotte Mason method and traditional curriculum. I love teaching and, while I really like the Bob Jones curriculum, I also loved some of the principles from Charlotte Mason, so I plan to mesh them together to create a curriculum that, I hope, will work with my very active child.
Even knowing what curriculum I planned to use, I have enjoyed attending the homeschool conferences the past two years. It has given me a chance to hear points of view from other homeschool parents through various workshops and get to know them as a support for our own homeschool journey. There are also great resources available and extras that you just can’t get when on your own.
Friday night they hold a second-hand sale and this year was the first time I had gone to it. I could have bought half of the things being sold, hah. So many neat items and tools are available for homeschoolers. Most of the tables are run by homeschool families trying to sell their old, unused or barely used, curriculum and books. One of the tables, though (well, I think they had 4 or 5 tables, hah) was run by Homegrown Homeschool Consignment. This is a “store” run by a homeschooling family in the Berwick area. They take items on consignment and sell items at a great price. They had everything from curriculum to fictional books to games. I picked up the History of Canada game from the brand Professor Noggins. I love these games. They are pretty reasonable brand new ($10) but I was able to pick mine up for $3. These deals definitely helped stretch my homeschool budget. You can also find Homegrown Homeschool on Facebook and keep up with where they are and any great deals they have on.
The main vendor hall is also a great place to check out any curriculum that you may have not heard about before. There were also tables being run by Cadets, Joyful Sounds Band, and universities. These tend to be for older children but are great ways to find out about other resources for homeschoolers.
The workshops are another way to find out about different ways of homeschooling and about what is going on in Canada and Nova Scotia in relation to homeschoolers. The Provincial Update was extremely interesting and I learned a few things this year that I didn’t know, especially in regards to registering your children (Notice of Intent) and the Pre-Primary Assessment that the government is offering (not that it was offered to my child, hah).
Paul Faris, the director of the HSLDA (HomeSchooling Legal Defense Association) was the main speaker and he had a lot of insight into how rules and laws are changing within Canada. I had heard about the Association in previous years and really wanted to get a chance to talk to him. Everyone else had the same idea, unfortunately. I was able, however, to sign up with them and am so glad I could take advantage of that. If all the children in your house are under age 6 you can sign up for free. It’s a yearly membership. This gives you access to free legal defense in regards to homeschool matters should anything arise (not that we expect it to). Once your children are older it’s a monthly rate to join. Personally, I feel this is just a protective covering for our family. I don’t expect any issues. I am quite open about what I am doing with my children and don’t feel the need to hide our homeschool activities. But we all know the way things are going in North America and it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some “big guns” on your side.
Overall, I feel the Conference was a huge help to our family and a blessing in so many areas. I am already looking forward to next year’s.
For more information check out HEMS online.