Homeschool Conventions—My mistake

If you’re planning to attend a homeschool convention this year, here is a true, but slightly embarrassing, story:

Two years after I had begun homeschooling, a convention for homeschoolers was held not far from my home. With great expectations, I marched into the exhibit hall, looking for colorful textbooks, hoping to find something a lot more interesting than what we had used in the previous two years.

At one of the exhibit tables was an older woman, whose display of books on the table identified her as the author. Ruth Beechick was an unfamiliar name to me at the time. I had no idea of her background as a master teacher, of her deep insights and strategies for helping students love learning, or her strong commitment to helping homeschoolers learn how their children could flourish at home.

All I was looking for was a better textbook.

When Ruth asked me how she could help me, I asked her if her books gave lists of the best textbooks. She began to explain to me why she didn’t have that list, but I was not interested. Asking the same question with different words, I again sought to know whether she could point me to the textbooks that would be more interesting to my son. And, once again, as she began to describe that what would make things interesting was not found in textbooks, I cut her off—saying, “No, I’m just looking for the right textbooks.”

I didn’t know that learning was much bigger than my textbook model.

It was another year or two before I read Ruth Beechick’s book, “You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully.” By that point, I was ready to listen. . .and learn.

So, if you want to gain from my mistake, walk into a homeschool convention without blinders—without preconceived notions of exactly what you need. Instead, walk in prayerfully, ready to listen and consider what you see and hear. Ask yourself, “Which of these bring learning to life? What will give my children joy in their studies? How does this approach bring freedom for different kinds of learners?”

Remember, stay relational!