Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crossing the Threshold of a Homeschool Convention

We hit a major milestone on this new Homeschool journey by attending our first homeschool conference.  I wasn’t too sure about what to expect...  lots of salesmen pushing their curricula like used car salesmen... boring speakers droning on an on... [Based on my experience as a lawyer attending Continuing Legal Education classes where the lawyers speaking appeared to get paid by the word and made Ben Stein seem as dynamic as Jim Carrey on meth.]  “weird” women who all look like former nuns without make-up, wearing “comfortable shoes” and homemade clothing (they would have spun their own cloth on home looms, of course) toting along their 17 well-behaved children.

I couldn’t have been more wrong on all fronts.  Here I thought I had done all my research, but I hadn’t realized that all the research in the world still hadn’t reached down into the roots of my own bias and preconceived notions.  My knowledge of homeschooling had changed, but some of my initial negative impressions of homeschoolers were still intact. 

Simply walking through the parking lot to get into the conference was an eye-opening experience.  The parking lot was overflowing with cars from all over.  People were hopping curbs and parking in the grass.  I had no idea that there would be so very many people there.  Thousands of families were there!  (Quite literally thousands, over 2,200 families were registered.  I know, because I asked.)

Reading that a certain percentage of Americans homeschool does not mean that I had internalized just how many people that would mean.  We aren’t coming from a social background that involves homeschooling.  We don’t really know any homeschoolers.  We meet them occasionally, but never really knew any personally.

Take a deep breath; it is time for me to walk in to the conference.  It was a bit scary because the act of going in meant that we were becoming “one of them,”  HOMESCHOOLERS... out of the system, set off and apart from the mainstream (which obviously can be both a good and a bad thing).

Surprise!  Or should I say, “Duh!”  What does one find inside a Homeschool Convention?  Why one finds all sorts of people, different sizes and shapes of all different sorts of backgrounds.  They are there for a multitude of different reasons, yet they do have one thing in particular in common...  Every last one of them is trying to do their very best for the children.  Guess you wouldn’t need to work for NASA to have been able to figure that one out.

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