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.