This past weekend my husband and I spent two days with fellow homeschooling parents at the MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) Conference. This time was spent listening to experts. Many of the speakers were more than just seasoned home educators but each had their own unique talents in various fields. Each session had so many good choices that I had a hard time picking which ones to attend. We heard topics such as raising disciples, organizing the home, brain integration therapy and healthy eating.
Phil Downer, author and president of DNA (Discipleship Network of America), and his wife, Susy, were the weekends keynote speakers. I was impressed with Phil's honesty and his devotion to his family. He and his wife began homeschooling with the purpose of raising their children to be disciples of men. Often, as I reflect on my son's progress, I contemplate if I'm teaching him well enough to succeed in the "real world". Although important, I believe it is just as important (if not more important) that I'm raising a son the will make a difference in the "real world". I pray that he will do great things to serve God.
Dianne Craft was not a name I had heard before and after hearing her speak I am surprised that I hadn't. AMAZING! A woman with a gentle spirit who has loads of experience. She home schooled her own children, worked in special education, is a Certified Natural Health professionalism (using natural treatments for attention, learning and behavioral issues) and is the president of Child Diagnostics. Her workshops (she had five sessions of workshops, we caught two) explained the way the brain works and how for some children the brain has "glitches" which makes learning difficult. She taught exercises to open up those brain gates. I strongly encourage you to investigate her philosophy and her strategies.
Friday afternoon Barry and I split up to go to separate classes. While Barry went to hear Derek Carter speak on how to be a supportive home school dad, I went to hear Derek's wife, Cheryl, speak on organizing the home. I like organization classes that are taught by someone who isn't a born organizer. When Cheryl introduced herself as a "recovering messy" I knew that I could learn from her. I don't speak the same language as born organizers. Cheryl is the author of several books on organizing and parenting. Now to put some of her suggestions to practice.
Our final workshop was Peggy Ployhar's, Healthy Eating=Healthy Family. Nine years ago her son was diagnosed with Aspergers and shortly thereafter she began making big changes in the food that she fed her family. Her food journey has been similar to mine as she strives to provide her family with REAL food. During the workshop she taught us how to make fruit and nut bars (even shared samples! They were even better than Larabars.), bean dip, soup with sprouts and homemade crackers. I was enlightened to learn that I could start my own co-op by finding some friend to order together in bulk. It's on the to-do list. I may have to invite her over sometime so that we can share tips over glasses of kombucha. Check out her blog here.
The speakers were top notch and it was nice to have a little get-away with my husband. After last weeks "weariness" the conference was just what I needed to inspire me to continue in "fighting the good fight". The tasks before me really are amazing blessings.