Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hear Me, Hear Me!

Get it? "Hear me, Hear me?" *snort*

I'm speaking at a homeschooling conference in May!

I should've made this announcement some time ago, to do my part in advertising this new fledgling conference in central Illinois. But seeing as I'm speaking, the nervous part of me decided to keep mum while I did some deep breathing and figured out how to keep from sweating profusely during my first workshop. Do they make diapers for armpits? I need to know this. And do they come in bulk?

Illinois has two major homeschooling conferences every year. The
InHome Conference is the big one we attend every year. It's an offshoot of H.O.U.S.E. - that would be Home Oriented Unique Schooling Experience - an inclusive, non-sectarian, statewide network of support groups. The conference is HUGE - I'd guess over 1000 this year? - and is always in the Chicago suburbs. There's also ICHE, Illinois Christian Home Educators, and they have a well-attended state convention every year, too. This new conference, where I'm speaking, will be held in Bloomington in the central part of the state, in answer to a lack of events for those who live far from the Chicago area.

The new conference is called, aptly, the
Central Illinois Homeschool Conference.

I'll be the unschooling speaker. First I'll sit on a panel with two others. Together we'll represent 3 styles of homeschooling - unschooling, obviously, Thomas Jefferson Education and Charlotte Mason. After that I'll lead my own workshop called
Unschooling - Yes, You Can! And finally, I'll host an unschooling table during lunch where attendees can join me and grill me on questions like "But what about math?" and "Are your kids, like, weird?" and "Are you bloody mad?" while I talk with my mouth full and try not to spit bits of my lunch on them.

I've spoken on unschooling before, but those were smaller venues and a long time ago. I love speaking. But it's the few days leading up to it, as well as the first 10 minutes of finding my groove, that are the challenge. During those days my husband will carefully ask, "Why did you agree to this if it stresses you out so much?" while ducking and cutting me an extra-wide berth. During those days I'll look over my notes, decide they're "Wrong! ALL WRONG!" and shred them and start all over. During those days my kids will go hungry and wonder just what exactly is my problem. But as soon as I get to talking? I'll be fine. After I get a feel for my audience, and provided they're not hostile and only there to poke holes in my presentation, I'll find my stride and talk and talk and talk. As Brady put it, upon hearing I was asked to present, "You'll be great at that. You can talk about this stuff forEVER." What a nice thing for him to say. I think?!

Anyhoo, if you've been noodling around with the idea of unschooling, if you live anywhere near central Illinois, if you need an excuse for a road trip, or if you've been waiting for the chance to heckle me for my unusual unschooling views, come on over! Or up, or down, or cross-country, or whatever it takes to join us!

And nevermind on that last bit - hecklers aren't invited. And if you're still tempted, I cry easily. Just so you know.


zamozo said...

Argh! I was actually looking into coming but then I saw the date! Zoe's recital weekend. Phooey!

Good luck!

piscesgrrl said...

Zamozo - too bad it doesn't work out for you! Could you put the word out, though? The conference is not full yet.

kelli said...

How exciting! You'll do great! I wish I was closer, I'd bop in and give you some support.

K. said...

First - you are going to totally kick ass, and I'm really excited for you.

Second - you've completely broken my heart, seeing as how I'm guessing this means you won't be hopping a plane to Life is Good, now. You are a terrible tease. Now I'm going to go and cry.

Kim said...

Ah, you'll be fine.

Mrs. G. said...

I wish I could come. I think so many people misunderstand unschooling.

Tina H. said...

Congratulations. I'll be thinking of you from Indiana.

Beverly said...

The irony is, if I didn't have kids, I'd go. But if I didn't have kids, why would I, right?
Good luck! You'll be great.

debra said...

Kudos to you, Laura. I wish I could come. I love going to places and events where the whole world homeschools. And where people don't assume that we sit at the kitchen table all day.

zamozo said...

Put the word out -- sure thing!

Lynn said...

You will be fantastic and inspiring and if I had the where with all to travel over there I would be there like a shot :-))xx

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I found all this information just in time. Thanks for being a speaker! I'll be there! A homeschooling momma of 5 in central IL.

piscesgrrl said...

Glad you can make it, anon!

k - you're right, it doesn't look like it's in the cards for me to jet to Vancouver in a few weeks. I am still a wee bit optimistic, checking flights once in a while, but since it's a holiday weekend airfare is ouchy. And my washing machine just broke down. And my kids have a soccer tournament. And - and - and. You're going still, right? I want a full report. With pictures!

Thx for the good luck wishes everyone! And I was serious about those underarm diapers.

diana(hahamommy) said...

You're gonna have so much fun!! Your co-panelists look interesting, I can't wait to hear your perspective. I always thought Thomas Jefferson's life was an epitome of unschooling, I think he'd crack up at the "taught to think for 5 hours a day, 5 days a week" concept being touted with his name attached - I sure did :D
(still keepin the faith as I count down to LiG)