Sunday, June 15, 2008

Inspiration for Education

An incredible weekend is now behind me. I spent two days with my sister, Holly. We headed up to the Washington homeschool convention, chatting non-stop. We listened to over 8 hours of lectures and didn't want it to end.

We met Susan Wise Bauer and listened to her speak on The Joy of Classical Education, Great Books: History as Literature, Classical Education, Grades 5-8, and Preparing for College Admissions (which is obviously not immediately pending in my world, but we were content to listen to her speak on any subject she might choose). We were reminded exactly why she inspired us on our homeschooling journeys in the first place. The woman is brilliant, and her enthusiasm, contagious.

We met Andrew Pudewa and spoke with him a few times over the course of the two days. His lectures, The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing, Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts, The Essence of Teaching, and Nurturing Confident Communicators (an extension of this article at Memoria Press), were fabulous. Pudewa is quite possibly the most engaging, entertaining, and inspiring speaker to whom I have listened. He is also a tremendous pleasure in one-on-one conversation. His lectures are available for download. I would highly recommend them! Holly and I had tears in our eyes (and sore stomachs) from laughter, in addition to receiving information which we will be digesting for some time to come.

At the end of Saturday, we made time to meet Jim Weiss. We both have spent hours listening to his voice on a great number of his audio CDs. It was strange to have his voice come out of a body rather than a CD player.

Many attendees of homeschool conferences spend their time in the exhibit hall, perusing books and curricula, looking for next year's resources and possibly the next best thing. Holly and I feel very comfortable with the resources we've chosen, and there was very little to tempt us. We couldn't walk away with empty hands, however, and were thrilled to purchase Andrew Pudewa's Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization (Book and CD). As it was already on my wish list, I didn't succumb to the impulse purchase. I have to be honest and admit that I have added a great deal from Institute for Excellence in Writing to my 'want' list.
At Susan Wise Bauer's booth (Peace Hill Press), I came to the wonderful realization that I already owned almost every book that she and her mother have available. The only title missing would be Writing With Ease. It isn't yet available for purchase and must remain on my wish list for a little while longer.

A similar experience occurred at Greathall Productions where I was hard-pressed to find a Jim Weiss story CD I had not already purchased. Not to be defeated, I found three to add to my collection: Sherlock Holmes for Children, Mystery! Mystery!, and Beric the Briton (9 hours of G.A. Henty's historical novel).

I am thankful that my husband offered to take a day off and happily take charge of the boys while I was gone. It appears that they had a fabulous time without me around. I was ecstatic to find the house in decent condition when I returned. Thanks, Russ!!


Anonymous said...

OK. I admit it. I am so jealous.

Renee said...

I have been researching The Institute for Excellence in Writing. I couldn't find lesson plans for the level that would meet my boys' needs (k-2nd grade), whatever level comes before level A, can't remember what he calls it. Any way, I love Veritas Press and they recommend this writing curriculum above all else. So I'll have to do more research. I am going to our state's homeschool convention next month. I will also get to hear Susan speak. I am really looking forward to it!
So glad you had a great weekend! Sounds like you received some great inspiration!

Elise said...

Oh how I would have loved to have gone to such a conference. The speakers sound so engaging and inspiring. I would have been in my element perusing all of the resources and no doubt I would have bought something as well.

It must have been comforting to know that you were familiar with, and already had in your collection most of the curriculum material and resources on display.


Laurel said...

Thank you thank you for always posting such fabulous resources. My kids are in a classroom but who knows what the future holds and I am always supplementing at home. I've bought several of your suggestions and they have all been great. Thanks thanks!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy when other people share resources! I am going to have to add some Jim Weiss materials to my list. ;) Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was at that same conference on Friday, with my sister as well! She was having her in-laws from out-of-state arrive at her house that afternoon so we couldn't stay long, I would have liked to meet Susan Wise Bauer.
We've been enjoying SOTW for years now,... and my 6th grade son loved The Institute for Excellence in Writing!
Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Sisters, books, great conversation - what a perfect combonation!