By Guest Author Thara Reinitz
It is SUMMER! Also known as homeschool planning season! All the homeschool parents are getting ready for the next school year and everyone has a checklist (even if it’s just a mental one) with homeschool “to do’s” pertaining to curriculum, encouragement, problems that need to be addressed, and areas that are going well. If only there was a place you could go to get help with all of those things. Hmmm … THERE IS, GUYS!!! It is called the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference!
I have been attending conferences since I was a student. My mom, who homeschooled for 36 years, said she would never miss her conference — it was her “vitamin B shot” of encouragement for the rest of the year. Her attitude towards the conference made me think it was an absolute “must” for all moms. As I grew, I was surprised to find that many families don’t attend conferences. Usually the reason given when I asked “why?” was one of the following … I bet you have heard one of these before … you may have even said something like this yourself.
- Curriculum-driven reasons: The wording varies, but typically it has something to do with already having the curriculum for the year because you either bought it online or from another source. The fallacy with this reason is that it assumes a conference is all about buying curriculum. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the exhibit hall. I loved it as a student and I love it now as a homeschool mom, but a conference is a lot more than just a big room full of exhbitors (as awesome as that is). There are speakers, breakout sessions, special events, lunches, and lots of like-minded people. Even if you buy nothing, you should attend the conference for the inspiration and encouragement.
- Time-driven reasons: We have all felt this excuse at one time or another. Like anything in your life, if you don’t prioritize attending conferences, other things will come up and seem more important. I encourage you to think of a conference as both personal and professional development. Plan for it. No one is making you attend, but it truly makes a world of difference in your attitude and motivation for the coming year. If being physically present isn’t a possibility, then look into virtual options. Thanks to COVID, virtual conference options are growing. (Find CHEC’s at Homeschool Summits.)
- Overwhelm: People feel overwhelmed by different things. Lots of choices, lots of people, lots of resources. Conference does not have to be overwhelming. With just a few minutes of preparation you can walk into a conference feeling confident rather than overwhelmed. I have partnered with CHEC to make that preparation process as easy as 1,2,3 — using the Conference Roadmap. This Roadmap comes as a BONUS resource when you register for the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference.
The Conference Roadmap (get yours here) is divided into three sections – Assess, Explore, Advance.
Taking the time to think about your homeschool before you start planning and buying for the new year is crucial. Pausing to evaluate and assess can save you a lot of time, frustration, and money. We all know we need to do it but sometimes it seems too difficult. That is why I helped create this Conference Roadmap to make the whole process a little bit easier. This Roadmap will not only help you at the conference, it will give you a head start on your homeschool planning.
All you need to start is a print version of your Conference Roadmap, a writing utensil, and a few minutes. You can take as little or as long as you want, but like most planning, the more time you put into it, the more you get out of it. The first section is all about what you are already doing in your homeschool. This is best done BEFORE you head to the conference.
The next part is all about discovery. Part of this should be done before the conference and part of this will be something you fill out during the event. It is helpful to look at the conference schedule when filling out what speakers you might want to hear. You can purchase talks you want to listen to later. Like I said, there is nothing like taking the time to physically be present but listening later has its advantages too (like being able to eat popcorn while you take notes).
The last part of the Roadmap is all about advancement. This section helps you take everything you have learned and put it all together into one vision so you can move forward with confidence.
My hope is that you will be blessed by the conference, but also that this resource will bless your homeschool. No homeschool is the same. No family is the same. No children are the same. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and He has great things in store for you and your family as you start this next year. \
So throw out the excuses and register for the Rocky Mountain Homeschool Conference. You and your family will be so glad you came!
[All Bible references were taken from the NASB 1995 version.]