Monday, June 22, 2009

Reflections on the VA 2009 Homeschool Convention, Part 1

I've decided that every day is busy, so I might as well get on with that blog post I keep putting off until "things quiet down a little" here I am!

On Saturday my brother Curtis graduated from high school. My grandparents were in town, and we celebrated Father's Day together. Tomorrow is my father's birthday, and in this "in between" day we have green beans to can, sewing to do, and all the little things that make up a busy household. Life is life!

But that isn't the blog post I keep planning. Today I want to share some of my notes from the VA homeschool convention we had the pleasure of attending last week.

When I hear people talk about "sharing their notes" I often prepare myself to be bored, but I hope that these fragments of what struck me during the workshops will be of some help, amusement, profit, or encouragement to you. I don't take notes like most normal people - I don't really write down the main points of the speaker (usually). Instead, I write down things that I want to research when I get home, interesting trivia tidbits, and the like. So please bear with me, and just take whatever bits of this interest you.

We were blessed to be able to spend two days at the convention, and there were three workshops each day, plus a keynote session which everyone attended. I volunteered during one workshop, so I listened to five speakers plus the keynote speaker. To avoid hard choices, I'll simply share my notes in the order I attended the sessions:

Workshop #1: "Finding Hope in the Valleys of Life," by Mr. Steve Demme

My brother Curtis and I attended this workshop because it was our first chance to hear Mr. Demme in person. I wasn't sure what exactly he'd be speaking about, but the title sounded good, and I knew I wanted to hear him speak. For those of you unfamiliar with his name, this is the founder of the math curriculum, Math-U-See - a program I only used my last two years of high school, but which I fell in love with and plan to use with my own children some day. I knew Mr. Demme was an excellent math teacher, but through this session I got a glimpse into his personal life. He has a special-needs son, and this session focused on what to do when life gets tough. I had been having a very hectic and emotional week, and this was a breath of fresh air. You can see from my notes that I did a lot more listening than I did writing.

~ The wise man and the foolish man both got rain. (This may seem simple, but it was the first time this thought had presented itself to my brain. Profound!)
~ "God does not exempt us from suffering - He transforms us in it."
~ Learn how to breathe! Just let go and let it out. Psalm 55:22
~ When in the valley, we need three things: we need the body of Christ, we need to pray, and we need to read God's Word.
~ Note to self: check out, and "When Robin Prays."

Workshop #2: "Building a Family Based Business"

This workshop was geared more towards the business man or engineer who wants to work from home, as opposed to the cottage industry family, but we still were able to take some nuggets of profit away. You'll notice I have more of an "outline" in these notes, because I was basically just copying things off the screen instead of writing my own thoughts down.

~ To build a business, you must UNDERSTAND the customer
~ Entrepreneur Guidelines/Steps:
* Define your business views, principles, values, etc.
* Define your own skills, gifts, passions, experiences. List them.
* Evaluate your resources; money, time, physical, family
* Know what you're aiming for - think about the future, how the business might grow, and what that will mean for you.
* Analyse the following: Industry, Financial, Operation, Product/Service, Customer
~ Identify unmet needs, services to meet those needs, and resources to help you.
~ Are you going to buy a business, build a business, or franchise?
~ DO IT! Try, adjust aim, try, adjust aim, and try again. Don't spend all your time aiming and never firing!
~ Write a financial model. Talk to experts in your field.
~ Write market strategy.
~ Check out

Workshop #3: Days of Old Herb Farm

This was a lot of fun. The speaker is a fairly new business gardener; a man who lost his job and turned to his hobby (gardening) to make a living. He now sells books he's written and travels to a few places to speak. I was impressed by his combination of knowledge and humbleness and eagerness to learn and try new things. I loved looking at the photos of his backyard in the presentation.

~ A website about a family who produces a $2,000 worth of food on 1/10 acre:
~ If I plant pea seeds and get only 2 or 3 pods, I'm dissatisfied - what about spiritual seeds? Am I happy with low production?
~ Compare prices; grow the most expensive stuff, buy the cheap stuff.
~ Check out Bill Mollison
~ Raise In-Demand Dogs for money
~ Plant corn in circular heaps - the way Indians did
~ Check out John Jeavons "How to Grow More Vegetables."
~ Hexagon planting spacing
~ Have 2-4 hens in a "chicken tractor."
~ Check out "Victory Egg Garden" by George Lansing
~ Use "water glass" for preserving eggs. (This point really fascinates me. Anybody have experience with using water glass? I'm all ears.)

Keynote Session to end Day#1: by Voddie Baucham

Our favorite sessions were those by Mr. Voddie Baucham. Being encouraged academically is great, but being lifted spiritually is so much better. God's hand was on these sessions. My notes don't do it justice; I was too busy listening. This was our first time to hear Voddie Bachaum in person, and we loved it. We even got to speak very briefly with him afterwards.

~ Luke 6:40. The disciple will be like his master. (This thought, this promise, holds so much thought packed into one phrase. I will be like my master. This is good if my master is Jesus; it's an encouragement to not give up, and to remind me that He is faithful to complete what He starts. But this is also a warning; those whom I treat like my masters I will become like. It's also a sobering thought as I look ahead to being a parent someday. My children are going to be like me. Whoa! I'd better be following Christ!)
~ People make the right moral choices "not because they heard sermons on this topic, but because they have a biblical worldview."
~ The three foundational skills in education: Read! Write! Reason!
~ Worldviews are formed:
* Informed
*Over time
~ Elements of a worldview:
* View of God
*View of man
*View of truth
*View of knowledge
*View of Ethics

That sums up my notes from day 1 at the VA 2009 Homeschool Convention. I wanted to share both days in one post, but it's getting late, and I don't have the time to do day 2. I'll have to try again later. I guess you have plenty to digest in this post for awhile. Hope you enjoy at least a little of this!


Rose said...

Thank you so much for sharing and the links you provided. I am a SAHM that homeschools. God bless, Rose

Amber said...

Welcome, Ms. Rose! I'm glad you enjoyed the links. I have, too. :)

Leah said...

Thank you for sharing these notes Amber, there are some great points!