Home from the convention.

The Midwest homeschool convention was this weekend and it was a lot of fun.  I really enjoy taking the time to just browse all that is available to homeschoolers.  I took in a couple of workshops and talked to some helpful people that have BTDT (been there done that).  I also talked to some quacks, but hey, it takes all kinds.

One example of this was when I asked about starting transcripts at two different booths.  One lady said that I needed to go ahead and start a transcript for the couple of classes that Dearie will do next year that are at a High School level.  Another lady, when asked the same question, said that I need to keep enough records so that I could make a transcript from them if I need to, but not to stress about it.  Both ladies were in the business of helping people make transcripts, but one of them had homeschooled and graduated a highly gifted child.  Can you guess which one was which?  Can you guess which advice I plan to follow?  Can you guess which one I invested my money in by buying her book?

Another bit of advice that I got that just strikes me the wrong way was about the other two kids.  Both Honey and Kiddo have mixed dominance (so does Dh for that matter).  This means that they have a dominate right hand and a dominate left eye.  The brain has to work a little harder to get the info from the left eye to the right hand than it would from the right eye to the right hand.  At one workshop they recommended forcing the person with mixed dominance into having just one side dominate.  They said to do this by patching the dominate eye for four hours a day!  I have thought a lot about this, but I really don’t see how this is different from tying down a child’s left hand just because they are left-handed.  Maybe it is because Dh doesn’t seem to have any problems from it, I don’t know.  I reserve the right to change my mind on this one, but for now there will be no patching going on in this house!

But there was a lot of good things at the convention too.  I found the language arts program that I will use next year for all the girls (Brave Writer), and I found a good science for Honey and Kiddo (Switched on Schoolhouse).  For Math everyone will just go on to the next book in their program.  Dearie started the Keys To… Algebra book today.  She didn’t have any workbook pages to do in her Singapore book, so I let her do a page in the Keys To… book.   She seemed to enjoy it.  From now on she will do at least one Keys To… book between each Singapore book.  When she gets into the New Elementary Math (NEM) books (these are algebra books) I may have her break more often for the Keys To… books.  We will just do whatever works. 

I was able to pick up two new readers for Honey.  Her spelling program, All About Spelling (which I have tweaked to use as a reading program), had two new books out.  They aren’t even on the website yet!  Honey even had the author of the program (and the books) sign her books for her.  It was cool. 

Kiddo will use All About Spelling next year.  Since I have already used it once, I know that it reviews the sounds at the beginning of the year.  One way it has the kids practice this is for the teacher to say the sound while the child writes it.  This is how I am going to get handwriting in for Kiddo!  She won’t need much practice on what sound each letter makes, but she does need a lot of practice in making the letters correctly.  Since I am sitting right there, it is easy to help her do it right.  This is how Honey learned to make her letters.  It was hard work at first, but it was so worth it.  And hey, since I already have everything I need (there is no workbook) it is basically free, right?

The kids went to a kids program at the convention.  It was mostly just glorified babysitting, but it was very well-organized and the kids had fun.  There were over 400 kids in one big room so the noise level was a bit much and it took a couple of days for the girls to recover from the over-stimulation, but I would do it again.  I went and got them each day for lunch and we walked downtown to a restaurant.  There were two restaurants that we know work for us so we chose to eat there.  They ate dinner in the car on the way home (except for Sat. when I forgot our dinner and they and to make-do with snacks). 

This convention is very well run and I really enjoy it.  Someone on-line made a comment about CHEO being a ministry and more than just people out to make a buck.  But I have to say that the free-enterprise model works very well for me.  Because they want to make money, the people behind the convention in Cincinnati try very hard to provide what people want to hear.  I feel like my comments from last year were acted upon.  They must be doing something right there were over 1200 families at the convention and like many others, I can’t wait for next year (just as long as my feet have quit hurting by then 😉 ).

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