It’s no secret that education is dear to my heart.
After years of public school teaching and librarian work, moving to the home education field just made sense. After all, where else could a gal that goes giddy over learning styles and curriculum guides satisfy her insatiable need for knowledge?
For many years, I have attended homeschool conferences – from Kansas to Florida – but the annual trek to Springfield, Missouri remains a favorite. Hosted by SHEM, an area organization dedicated to assisting home educating families, the event has steadily outgrown its locations until it now resides at the spacious Springfield Expo Center.
What does a homeschool convention look like? First to note is the extraordinary friendliness and hospitality of the staff and volunteers. There’s no shortage of easily-identified members to help with registration, scheduling, and finding your way around. For exhibitors, entire squads of eager young people are on hand to help load boxes, set up booth areas, and even bring a cup of coffee or ice water throughout the long shopping days.
Authors, teachers, and field specialists are booked from all over the country to speak to attendees on topics ranging from this year’s Native Landscaping for Learning (Jay Barber, Conservation specialist) to Uh-Oh, The Fractions Are Moving In (Tom Clark, Indiana Department of Education, and Houghton-Mifflin).
I was privileged to speak on Friday about Literature-Based Learning, focusing on the unique benefits (and just plain fun) of teaching with good quality books and integrated theme units. Visitors lined up at the booth afterwards to get the new titles available from GoldMinds – for a special show price, of course!
Click on the Microphone to listen to an excerpt from “Literature-Based Learning”, recorded at a recent educator’s conference…
Although I have attended this particular show for many years – both as a homeschooling parent and as an exhibitor – I have to admit that this year’s event was the most streamlined and enjoyable. Everywhere there was a buzz of excitement as parents and teachers discovered new ways to tap into their child’s learning potential, address the special needs of students, and embrace a whole-child approach to education.
The dates have already been set for next year’s conference (April 25-27, 2013), and my pre-registration form is ready to go! See you there!