This has become the better-late-than-never post. Each day I've wanted to promptly write my take on the Minnesota Catholic Home Educators Conference from last Friday and Saturday, but just haven't.
It won't be anything overly beautiful and wordy, just a brief reminder why I enjoy this conference each year. If you want to read more posts written far more eloquently, you can read Margaret or Tracy's version.
Ways Reed and I enjoy the annual conference:
-We get a little over two hours (one way) in the car together for uninterrupted talk time (or even silence).
-We get to meet up with a wide array of parents/educators, but mostly I enjoy meeting up with old friends and new ones too! So many ladies from my single days that I got to bump into again now that they are dear mamas who homeschool.
-A Bloggers Chat that gave me the opportunity to meet even more MN Catholic bloggers, along with those I've already gotten to know here in cyberspace.
-Curriculum shopping with my husband! He gently helps to keep me grounded and realistic on what I can or cannot undertake. Ultimately, he leaves decisions up to me but he helps immensely in weighing out all of those awesome resources out there. We bought almost everything we'll need for the new school year already! It helped to have an itemized list for each of the kids this year and we stuck to it.
-We found fun resources that other bloggers have talked about and get to see them in person. Like the Lapbooks for Catholics gals, of which we bought the Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist and The Holy Mass lapbooks for Lily and The Things I See At Church for Jonah. Lily's already looking forward to hers in preparation for her First Communion next spring.
-We get the opportunity to be inspired by amazing presenters...
Like Dr. Ray Guarendi, what a hoot that guy is! He has tons to offer on disciplining, teaching and guiding our children and he delivers it with such humor. It all just sounds so easy when he's saying it. I'd highly recommend his books or DVD's if you can get them.
Reed opted for fill-in David Rinaldi's 'Keeping Your Kids Catholic' and he really enjoyed it. I used to know Dave from my NET days, so I highly anticipated that his presentation would be dynamic and funny as well. And he delivered. A few of his points he delved into were: Family Prayer; Spend Time, Not Money; Speak With One Voice; Have A Spiritual Vision For Your Family; Renew Your Love For Christ and His Church; Renew Your Love For Your Spouse.
Of course, I chose to sit in on both workshops given by our favorite coffee loving blogger, Margaret. EXCELLENT! And no, I'm not just saying that because Margaret is Minnesota Mom and well, everyone loves Margaret so we all write nice things about her (although that is true too). She spoke with honesty and beauty and of course the wit that we've all come to love in her blog. She reminded me and the others to guard out heart and remember why we are home educating; not to be misguided and lured by the homeschooling family who has the perfect little crafts, the ideal curriculum, etc. That's not why we are at home educating our children. I think it struck a chord with many of us who jump around with curriculum, try to perfectly teach every little thing and spend too much time trying to create what is not best for us or our families.
Margaret had a lot to say in her second talk about perfectionism. Did you know she's a perfectionist? Again, this struck me so much. I'm still hearing her words repeat in my head asking how often we let our children bake with us? Because heaven forbid the cookies aren't perfect. We want all of these things all lined up and just so. Does that matter? She certainly gave me a lot to ponder on these last few days.
We both went to hear Maureen Wittmann, who presented 'The Thrifty Homeschooler' and had wonderful insight into easy ways of saving money in our homes and our homeschool too. She's author of this book, in case you didn't know it.
So, yes, we came home fulfilled and rejuvenated. Ready for the next school year, eventhough we had just finished the last one the day before. And tired.
All reminders why hubby and I enjoy this special date each year, why we attend it together and why we still choose to homeschool. We are so blessed.
*If you are interested in any of the sessions presented, you can purchase CD's too.