My third reason for attending the NCHE Homeschool Conference is
Incredible Speakers and Workshops
Oh my goodness, the speakers. I LOVE listening to speakers during the conference. Sometimes, I hear that I'm not alone, that I'm doing things right, or that other people's kids have struggled where mine have. Other times, I hear pieces of information, tips, or ideas that make a light bulb go off above my head and I think "THAT'S IT!!"
This year, I'm so looking forward to the speakers. Here's the start of my list of speakers I cannot wait to hear this year:
Diane Allen (I've met her!)
J. Mark Fox
Kelly Rogers!!! (I just love Kelly! She owns the best bookstore in North Carolina!)
Dr. Marcus Ross
Hal and Melanie Young (Ohmygosh, I LOVE Raising Real Men!!)
Additionally, there are Vendor Workshops. That means, if there is an item/program/book I'm interested in, I'll check to see if the vendor is offering a workshop. If so, I have the opportunity to see that item up close and personal and ask a ton of questions!
Some vendor workshops that look interesting to me are:
Youth Digital Studios -- I sat in on this workshop last year and even though it will likely be the same material, I'll sit in on this one again. This room will be FILLED with kids who are mad about Minecraft and parents who hope to find the educational benefit behind it.
Bouncy Bands -- I have no idea what this is, but it sounds awesome and I'm always looking for ways to keep the boys engaged. Educating boys is a challenge when they CANNOT SIT STILL!
Session Tips and Tricks
So I have a few tips regarding the speaking sessions. They are as follows:
#1. Make a plan. Seriously, go through that conference guide hour by hour and determine which sessions you really want to sit in, which ones would be interesting, and which ones just don't apply to you for one reason or another.
#2. Make a back-up plan. There will be at least one session each day in which I'll sit down, the speaker will get started, and I'll realize this information is not what I was looking to hear. Maybe I read the description incorrectly, maybe the speaker just isn't what I had in mind, or perhaps it's something else entirely. If I know right away that there's another session I was interested in attending, and know where it's located, I'll quietly slip out and head to the other one. Since I'm traveling solo and can enter a room quickly and quietly, I know I can do this without disrupting the session. If there isn't another session I wanted to attend, I'll head to the vendor hall for an hour.
#3. TAKE NOTES! Seriously! By the time school starts back up in September, some of those amazing ideas I heard in May have long flown the coop that is my brain. If I take notes that I can go back through and read, I can suddenly remember that one awesome idea that I totally wanted to try in our homeschool.
#4. Buy the recording. If the session was really amazing and you found a great benefit to the words you heard, buy the session recording. Maybe there was a session you really wanted to attend, but you were held up somewhere else...buy the session recording. Having these on hand can be an incredible pick-me-up as you enter the mid-year slump or the spring fog.
#5. Be in the moment. Save your facebook browsing or catalog surfing for another time. If you're sitting in a session, you are there for a reason. Be there for that. Listen and really hear what the speaker is saying. If you are sidetracked or distracted, you won't get near the same benefits from that speaker as you would if you had remained engaged.