Say the word in a group of home school moms and you will get a variety of responses from complete despair, denial to pure excitement. It's usually three days of browsing and buying curriculum in a huge hall the size of a football field. Each booth brings new ideas, activities and a "better" way to teach this or that than the booth next to it. For me...I love it! I love curriculum...yes, you read it right. I love to read about curriculum, I love to learn about curriculum...I love to listen about curriculum.
So for me...it's three days of true pleasure plus listening to tons of speakers talking about every subject that I love to talk about. But, some people don't feel the same way and I can completely understand why...they think homeschooling conventions can be overwhelming and tempting...it is!
I remember being in that first year of homeschooling and going to my first convention. At that point, I didn't realize that homeschooling is like getting into a boat and rowing against the current. That is the best way I can explain it now! Homeschooling defies the "norm"...it goes against the "current" of your neighbor, your kid's friend on the baseball team, your friends at church even your own extended family. But something magical happens when you walk into the home school convention...you feel like the entire world does what you do just for three days. It motivates you...it excites you...you plan and you dream. It's like a "pep" rally for home school parents.
After three days of complete immersion, you almost believe that all those speakers and curriculum booth attenders are coming home with you! It's like one big "teacher" lounge! But weeks after the convention or maybe that first week in September, you realize that those speakers are not sitting in some imaginary teacher lounge in your house and you are not rubbing shoulders with fellow homeschool moms in the hallway. It's just YOU and your kids. This is when you realize that you are sitting in that boat and you are "rowing". It's the same "YOU" that was there yesterday with all your shortcomings, quick temper and frustrations. It's your kids...the same "struggles" they had at school are the same "struggles" they have at home. Everything you heard at the convention sounds like a distant "whisper" and you have a hard time teaching those character lessons from the packet you bought at the convention because you can't seem to "model" any godly character at the moment.
I think when I walk through those doors at the homeschooling convention that I need to keep things in perspective. First, there is not a perfect curriculum and there never will be! What works for one family...may not work for another family. Second, the speakers are usually wonderful and inspiring but we are seeing them at their absolute best! Sometimes we put these "people" on a pedestal...but they have their own challenges, their own messes behind their "closed" doors..their own sin.
My perspective should be on God's Word and the truths of the Bible. Everything we hear and learn at the convention can help us along the journey of home schooling but we shouldn't rely on any curriculum or any teachings of a speaker. Our reliance and our hope even in home schooling is God's Word. It is the only truth in this fallen world we live in. There is absolutely no hope in anything else.
"Every word of God is pure;He is a shield for those who take refuge in Him." (Proverbs 30:5)
So I try to not get myself all in a tizzy in the "hall" of the convention searching for that perfect math curriculum that guarantees a perfect score on the ACT. Reminding myself that math, reading and Spanish are secondary to teaching my kids God's Word daily. I have the perfect curriculum sitting on my coffee table...
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)
I need to remind myself before I walk through those doors at the convention that no matter what I buy or use or listen to...my God is faithful to bring to me everything I need during this home school journey.