12 Things I Learned from My Local Homeschool Conference

Many years ago when my friend invited me to my first homeschool conference in Portland, Oregon, I didn’t know what to expect.

Having grown up in the homeschool community, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on homeschooling.

I was wrong.

The conference opened up to me not only new curriculum but new ideas about how to approach homeschooling and education.

The first time I heard about deschooling, unschooling, delight-led learning, life schooling, car schooling, relaxed homeschooling, notebooking, or unit studies,  I was sitting in a session or around a table visiting at OCEANetwork’s conference.  

This was around 2005 or 2006, and the internet was not as much a part of my life as it is now.  If this kind of information was available online back then, I was unaware of it. We still had dial-up back then!

I found that my family wasn’t the only ones who didn’t fit the homeschool stereotype: there were other families that did not wear dresses exclusively, didn’t make all their own matching clothing, didn’t have very type-A parents, and didn’t homeschool with a copy-the-public-school mentality.  

I was blown away by the diversity and by the idea that anyone could homeschool if they were dedicated to finding a way to make it work for them.

I’m very grateful for the insight the conference has offered which is why I have agreed to promote the conference here on the blog.

Here are 12 things that I learned at the conference which have stayed with me:

1) I don’t have to be type-A to homeschool.

2) Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost me a ton of money.

3) Homeschooling allows me to customize the education to the needs of my children.

4) Homeschooling is a great form of education for special needs kids –and special needs parents, too!

5) I don’t have to worry about getting too far behind if I understand how homeschooling works –that it’s just the start of a life-long learning process and even struggling learners usually catch up if given patience and the time to do so.

6) I am not alone in the crazy journey, and there are tons of moms out there like me fumbling their way through each day hoping and praying they’re doing right by their kids.

7) I can trust my homeschool and my kids to God who is far more invested in them than I am and loves them more than I ever could.

8) Even the struggles my kids and I have can be used for God’s glory, so we just need to trust Him and His timing.

9) There are tons of different methods of homeschooling, there’s not one right way, and I need to keep looking and trying different things until I figured out what works for my family.

10) It’s okay if I have a bad day or a bad week; it doesn’t make me a bad mom or a bad teacher. 

11) It’s not helpful or healthy to compare my family and our homeschool to the neighbor or that family at church because each family has unique challenges that they must address in their own way.

12) I answer to God for how I raise and educate my children –not my neighbor, or someone I think is a “super homeschool mom,” not my parents, or even my pastor– so I need to make prayerful choices for my family even if others don’t agree with my choices.

Those are just a few of the many things I’ve taken away from the conference.

I always leave feeling refreshed and encouraged!

Teachers go to continuing education; homeschool parents can, too!


Sarah Forbes


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