The conference in Kansas City was great! I got to hang out with a couple of dear friends as well as meet so many new and interesting people. Thank you to everyone who welcomed me! (A special thank you to Rosie.)
One thing I learned while there, was that I need to completely rewrite my Relax, You Can Homeschool Too speech. From the questions I got, I realized what new homeschoolers really need is specific information on how to get started and not so much info on the whys of homeschooling or generalities.
When I first started homechooling, there where few to no choices. We just winged it as we went along. (And, our kids are turning out okay!)
Today, parents are completely overwhelmed with all the choices. Home study school or design-your-own? Charlotte Mason, classical, Montessori, unit studies, or literature based? Saxon, Math-U-See, MCP, Fred, or ABeka? Unschooling, relaxed, eclectic, or work-study? Should I supplement with online classes, tutors, co-op classes, or community college? And that is only the very beginning.
New homeschooling parents come to conferences with an idea of what they want to do, hoping to refine that idea as well as purchase the materials they will need for the year. But, what often happens is that they walk into that vendor hall and see a whole slew of new options they have not yet considered and begin to question their original choices for their homeschool. Then, they either overbuy or throw up their hands in frustration.
Perhaps this week, before I leave for South Dakota, we all can talk this over. What advice would you give someone just starting out? And, we have to consider the two different kinds of new homeschooling families - those who are pulling older children out of school and those who are starting at the very beginning.
I have my own ideas on this and will try to mesh them out over the next three days, but I really value the opinions and experiences of my readers, so I'd like to hear from you too in the combox.