Last year when I was walking along a street in Ortigas, after attending a seminar on stock market, the lady walking ahead of me was carrying a bag with "homeschool conference" printed on it. Almost a year later, I'm homeschooling my son, attending my very first homeschool conference, and carrying my own canvass bag from the event.
As a newbie in the homeschooling scene, I just can't let the homeschool conference pass by without me being a part of it. I was so excited to learn a lot from the veterans! Last Saturday, I attended the much-awaited event at the Bayanihan Center in Mandaluyong. With more than 300 participants, the venue was jam-packed with homeschooling and non-homeschooling families, booths of different businesses from homeschool providers, to food, learning materials, museums, and learning centers. The event was presented by Manila Workshops, The Learning Basket, and UNILAB. This year, the theme of the conference was "Educating for Life: Homeschooling with Passion, Purpose and Confidence"
"Think HAPI thoughts."
The morning session was filled with inspirations coming from parents who have been homeschooling their children for decades. The audience had a great time singing the 12 Days of Homeschool (tune of 12 Days of Christmas) wherein the usual questions about homeschool were raised in the song. Raffles were also given out throughout the day.
One of the things that I liked most in the morning talks was what Edric Mendoza, the chairman of Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands (HAPI) said about his vision for homeschooling in the Philippines. He envisions that we can change our country one family at a time through homeschool. And I believe that we can.
In the afternoon, I was able to attend 3 talks: Heart of a Homeschooling Mom, Learning in the Digital World, and Homeschool 101. All the speakers gave inspirational talks and insights on to how they homeschool their children.
In Homeschool 101, Tina Rodriguez of Trulyrichmom shared with us the top 15 benefits of homeschooling and the top 10 potential disadvantages of it. This was an eye-opener for a new homeschooling parent like me, who has not enrolled yet in a homeschool provider, has been taking a slow approach to it since my son is just 3, and has a lot to learn more about this lifestyle we chose.
It's important that we STEP UP and discern if homeschooling is really for our family. Tina shared with us what STEP UP means.
S: Set your vision and clarify your goals
T: Talk about it with your spouse and pray about it
E: Explore the different homeschool methods, curricula, and providers
P: Pray about it some more
U: Understand how each homeschool method and provider works
P: Pray about it some more and then decide on the "route" you will take
Overall, here are the top 3 take-aways I got from the conference:
- We should focus on character-building than the academics
- There's no perfect curriculum.
- We should rely on God's grace to help us in homeschooling our kids
An amazing experience in just a few hours. It was nice to meet parents who have been homeschooling for years, new to it like me, as well as those who are still contemplating. I wished we had more time to chat with the parents we shared the tables with, I'm sure I would have learned more.
It was also awesome to finally meet fellow mommy bloggers whom I have only interacted online before. Met Nadia of Nanay's Trip, SJ of All-Around Pinay Mama, and May of Fully-Housewifed. Too bad, I was unable to get pictures with all of them. I got also giddy that I saw in the event my college dorm mate whom I haven't seen for more than a decade!
I planned to buy paint supplies from one of the booths, a promise I made to Little V. The conference, however, ran smooth and little time was given in between the talks (I'm not complaining! I really liked it that way) so I was unable to visit all of the booths. After the conference, I went to the Ma'am and Moms booth and they already ran out of paints. Awwww. Good thing Mommy SJ suggested Bearnie Bear, so I got something to bring home to Little V. I'm happy that he liked it and that he's learning more about praying and Jesus through the CD I purchased.
Thank you to Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket for this opportunity. For more information about the conference, you may visit their website: http://homeschoolingconference.com/