Friday and Saturday I attended the BC CHEC 2013 Conference. This was my first conference and thus was a little overwhelming. I did learn a lot but it is Saturday night and I am trying to type out all my thoughts, memories and little gems from the weekend. Mentally I’m exhausted but I did take notes.
Friday started with a Praise and Worship session with some very good and lively music. I was going to see if they had a CD but I forgot. I will ask some of the people I know. There may not be as it was music interspersed with prayer but the music never really ended.
The keynote speaker was Catherine Levison. I had little knowledge of that name going into the conference and now I wished that I had signed up for more of her sessions. Fortunately they recorded everything and I was able to buy MP3s of the sessions that I missed.
The title of her keynote was ‘How do you want to be remembered?’ The notes that I took:
“Whatever you work hardest on is what you are most proud of.”
“What more can I do?” as a motto from a homeschooling family
“Try to do something everyday that will make tomorrow better”
“Show you children to not kill time by example.”
These are all things that I want to add to our home. I also what to add sketching to our daily routine. She also talked about using an If-Then chart for punishments. IF you do this THEN this is the punishment and actually taking the child to the chart to look up the punishment.
I stayed in the same room for her next talk that was and overview of the Charlotte Mason Method. I found it very informative but didn’t take a lot of notes. I also discover that a lot of what I do fits in to that philosophy. She did a whole day of sessions. My wife ended up staying for all of them. They had some cancellations of speakers and thus some of my wife’s sessions were replaced. She chose to stay as we liked some of what we had already heard.
The next one that I attended was called “Boys Can So Write”. I quite enjoyed her presentation and that resulted in my first purchase of the weekend. These books look be very good. We will be giving it a try and finding out. The books are geared towards boys and uses appropriate to boys subject matter. I liked her idea of having kids search for the errors. So in correcting she leaves the right margin blank and puts the symbols for what needs to be corrected on that line. The kids then need to find the error and correct it.
The next session was called “Research 101” and our speaker was Natalie Sing. A lot of it was specific to resources that we had access to through our school. We also talked about primary and secondary sources and the dangers of online research. With online research it is much more important to check the bias, accuracy and source of the information. She also mentioned two websites that will take a source and generate a bibliography for you using a variety of standard. Here we use MLA but there were others. The sites are:
She also has her own blog, True North: Our Canadian Homeschool, that is an excellent resource for Canadian Homeschoolers particularly in the area of social studies. (EDIT) She now has the slides from this talk available on her blog.
The last session on the Friday had my wife and I back listening to Catherine Levison for a talk titled “Balancing Act. To structure or not to structure.” It was another good talk. The funny thing that happened in it was at one point she was talking about getting your work done before relaxing. The example she used was if you go to the mall with your husband shirts still in the washer that eats away at you in the back of your head. At this point I nudge my wife and say ‘Or your pants’. To often my wife has asked ‘Did you wash my pants yesterday?’ to which I answer ‘Yes, But I’m not sure they made it in to the dryer.’ She spotted my nudge and commented to the audience ‘A husband over here just elbowed his wife. I’m not even going to look over there’ She theatrically turned away and then went on with her talk. I laughed my head off. I found it very funny that she had made an assumption on our roles and thus misinterpreted the joke my wife and I were sharing. After the session I went up and explained the role reversal and the humor that I found in it. She thanked me for telling her that side of it. I wonder if I will become a story told at future speaking engagements.
That ended the Friday sessions. On Saturday morning there was another praise and worship session but we got out of the house late and missed it. The first session was called “Home Management and Organization for the Homeschooling Mom.’ And Yes I did get a laugh out of the mom bit. I found that I already do a lot of what she talked about but there is still a lot of room for improvement in our house. The biggest item for us is to get rid of stuff . One of the things she said was about your stuff needing stuff. My stuff needs places to put it all. We have gotten rid of a lot of stuff in the last couple of years but more needs to go. Some ideas she uses.
25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. Repeat 4 times then a 30 minute break. Repeat the whole thing.
Always make any room you are in cleaner before you leave it.
Putting kids art in frames on the wall. You can put more then one is and store it there as well.
The next session was back with Natalie Sing for a talk titled “Canadian History through Living Books”. Lots and lots of wonderful books. She is going to be putting the list up on her blog so I won’t bother writing it out here. (EDIT) The slides are now available on her blog.
The next one was on short stories. I thought it was going to be about writing them but it was about using them as living books. It was good but my exhausted brain took more than a minute to switch tracks. Two books that she mentioned were:
Both are by William J Bennett. She also mentioned the Teaching the Classics program which I hadn’t heard of before. So I am looking at that. I’m not sure I want to buy it but it sounds interesting.
The closing keynote was Cori Dean. At this point I was mentally exhausted So I sat back and just listened, no notes. The two messages that I got from her story was to be content in what you have and to trust in the Lord to provide.
Overall I had a wonderful time and will be back next year.
My lone picture for this post. I took his picture back at our old house. It is now Sunday night and I feel that he captures my mood right now which is a little nuts.