Registration is open at 11am on the Friday. (The Exhibit Halls, where all the curriculum booths are, also opens then.) The Opening Remarks and the first Plenary Session starts at 1pm. Everyone attends the Plenary Sessions with the keynote speaker, who was Michael Donnelly, this year. After the Plenary Session, and a break time, (which is spent either visiting or shopping) Workshop A begins.
Whenever there is a workshop, the convention attendees have a choice or six workshops they can attend. This is the worst part of convention! There are always way too many workshops that look wonderful! Unfortunately, I can not be in six places at the same time! Thankfully my husband comes to convention with me and we usually go to separate workshops so we can talk about them later. That way, we can learn twice as much :)
- International Homeschooling by Michael Donnelly
- Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Et Cetera: Removing the Labels by Sylvia Funk
- Secrets to Home Management by Kim Noel
- It's Debatable - Developing Critical Thinking and Public Speaking Skills by Lorelie DeRoose
You may notice that I only went to four out of the five workshops available. I missed Workshop C because that is when I was hunting for a new spelling program, which I talked about in my previous post.
I already shared with you what I learned at the International Homeschooling workshop in my first convention post. Now, onto the other things I learned. Or, I should say, SOME of the other things I learned. I always learn so much at convention! That is one of the reasons that I have to write it all out when I get home, to help me try to remember the really important things that I learned :) In this post I will share with you about the best ideas I got at the homeschool convention.
Secrets of Home Management by Kim Noel
The one thing I really got excited about was when she said that she gets her children to wash the dishes and she reads to them while they wash dishes! Okay, now that I wrote that out, it doesn't sound very exciting, but I did mention before that it is a very simple idea! I have been implementing this ever since we came home, and it has made a huge difference in our home!
First of all, I have three children, so this works perfectly for us as they can all be involved. One child can wash, one can rinse and one can dry. The next day they switch, so no one gets stuck doing the same job every day. Here are the reasons I love this simple, yet brilliant, idea:
- The children now wash the dishes without complaining!
- My dishes are getting washed, but I don't have to do it!
- I am finally able to fit in the extra reading I have been wanting to do with the kids without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else, like the dishes!
- My wiggly children who have trouble sitting through longer books, have something to keep their hands occupied so that they are not disturbing the rest of us while we are trying to read!
It's Debatable - Developing Critical Thinking and Public Speaking Skills by Lorelie De Roose
I did do some research over the last year about debate in Saskatchewan and found out that there is a program called Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association (SEDA). SEDA offers debate workshops, clubs and even summer camps for children ages ten and up. I also learned that one homeschool family we know is involved in debate and they are really enjoying it!
In the convention workshop I attended they had several homeschool students from the local homeschool club show us what they can do. The audience chose a topic and gave them five minutes to prepare. They then debated the topic.
I must say that I was very impressed with how well those students did! They all did a really good job of looking out at the audience, making eye contact, not looking at their notes too much and even using hand gestures. They spoke up so that I had no problem hearing them at the back of the room and three out of the four students rarely used any filler words, like "um" or "like".
Our first morning back home, we started. Actually, the children were arguing, again. They seem to do that a lot lately and I am constantly getting frustrated with them because they can't seem to get along! That morning, on the way to church, I started to get frustrated again and told them to quit fighting... Then I changed tactics and said, "Actually, you are allowed to argue after all!"
That got their attention much better than if I had yelled at them :) "But I'm going to teach you how to argue properly." All three were looking at me like I had lost it :) I told Princess, "Say something that you don't think Little Man will agree with." She thought about it for a moment and then said, "Princesses are fun." Then I looked at Little Man and said, "Do you agree with her?" Of course not :) So, I told him to tell his sister one reason why he does not agree with her statement. He said, "Princesses are not fun, they are boring." Then I asked Princess, "Can you say one reason why he is wrong or your original statement is right?" Her answer, "Princesses are fun because they wear pretty dresses."
Once their first debate ended, it was Little Man's turn to pick the starting statement, and then Princess got to argue against him. Then it was Munchkin's turn. Her starting statement was, "Animals are fun to watch." When I asked Princess what she had to say about that she said, "But animals are fun to watch." That is when I got to explain that sometimes when you are debating you have to think a little differently than you normally do. You might have to argue against something that you actually agree with. After a moment Princess got a big smile and her rebuttal was, "Animals are not fun to watch when they poop!"
The kids love their new "debate class", even though we don't actually do it in "class". It often happens while we are driving or when we are eating supper. But we do have to work on getting the kids to use the proper terminology. Little Man went to church that first morning and told his friends, "Mom is teaching us how to fight in school!" It's called DEBATING, Little Man, not fighting!!!
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