I have been homeschooling my children for about twelve years now, and had yet to attend a speaking session at a homeschool conference until this weekend! To be honest, while I believe listening to homeschooling advocates and parents is vital, I really didn’t care to spend my time at a session hearing someone who wasn’t considered an “expert” in the field. As a blogger, I understand that there are an abundance of women who would like to think they are qualilfied to teach about certain topics, but really, they aren’t.
(Our daughters with a few of their closest friends in the Teach Them Diligently Vendor Hall.)
A few of my daughter’s friends were planning on attending Teach Them Diligently Atlanta, and I decided to look into it further. There were some top-notch speakers planning to attend!
“We believe home education is a form of ministry. Whether we realize it or not, we reproduce who we are in our children, and consequently, homeschool families have a constant need for renewal and encouragement in Christ. This is the reason for Christian homeschool conventions; at least, this is the reason for the Teach Them Diligently Convention.”
Yes, yes, yes! Homeschooling is a ministry!
I signed our family up for Saturday only at the cost of $45 two weeks prior to the convention. We had a really tough time finding parking at the Cobb Galleria during a different convention when I went to look through the vendor hall. Our van is too tall for the parking deck, and it took nearly one hour to find an adequate spot nearby. Since we only took our older kids on Saturday parking was a breeze in my husband’s truck.
Check in was super easy and pleasant. We took our teens to their banquet hall before finding our first session for the day. After a small bit of confusion we found our place in the class Building a Foundation of Faith in Your Children with Norm Wakefield with the Spirit of Elijah Ministries. Wow, were we in for a treat! My husband and I both agreed that this was our favorite session of the day, and the information shared was life changing for me. When we are faced with sin, our children’s disobedience or any storm life throws at us, we can be assured that it was ordained by God to make us more like Jesus. We can choose to react and make our own feelings and desires more important than God’s, or we can choose to worship The Lord through the situation, realizing that our children are watching us, and our reaction (or lack thereof) builds the foundation of their own faith. No matter what we encounter, we must hold fast to Jesus! This session was so encouraging, and I plan on purchasing material from Norm Wakefield soon.
Next, we listened to Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis speak about sharing the gospel in a secularized world. I really believe that all Christian parents need to hear this message. Ken Ham shared how the gospel begins at the beginning of the Bible (which is one reason why teaching Christ-centered science is paramount!), and he also touched on why since our culture has shifted our gospel message must as well. The gospel is still the same gospel of course, but most Americans today do not have a basic understanding of what God, sin, and death is since Biblical teaching was taken out of public schools. They must understand this before truly realizing their need for a savior. “We must prepare the ground before we plant the seed.”
We then ate lunch after standing in line behind approximately 30 people at Subway. The convention center would do well to have a few more dining options, ha! We then ate lunch and I quickly tried to look at a few curriculum booths before heading to our next session.
The ballroom for our next session was advertised as the meeting place for a session we weren’t interested in so we listened to Habit Training Yourself: Good Habits are Not Just for Kids with Sonya Shafer. We learned that Charlotte Mason said that good habits make up one-third of education, as well as a multitude of helpful tips for employing new habits.
We then had a small shopping break where I picked up a few amazing resources from Answers in Genesis before heading to This We Believe with Todd Wilson. This guy had me laughing until I cried, and then I really teared up a bit at the end. His message was simple and was peppered with humor, and it helped me remember simple truths like Home is Best!, Parents are Best!, Every Child is a Masterpiece!, and Relationship Comes First! It would do us well to remember that God chose us to parent our exact children for a reason, and we can do this thing called homeschooling!
Finally, we listed to Mark Hamby with Lamplighter Ministries speak about The Great Awakening: A Rebirth of the Moral Imagination. To be honest, while I did learn a good deal here it was my least favorite session of the day. One of the first things he said was “Spank that child!…just kidding” when a conference goer left the room with a crying little one. It offended me. He also went off on several tangents and didn’t seem to end the session where he should have. None the less, I learned that studies have shown profanity, obscenity, and nudity disrupt beauty and break the continuity of thought in plays and film. Also, a good question to ask of any book before reading it is “has it helped any human soul?” My teens sat in with us during this session since the teen program was over and they enjoyed it.
My three oldest children did really like the teen program other than the small hiccup that they ran out of the promised t shirts for program participants, and they want to come back next year. We plan on utilizing the early bird discount this time around. It truly was a fabulous day, and I wish we would have found a way to attend all three days instead of just one!
Possibly linking to these awesome link parties!