Adventures in Homeschooling Conference 2012: Part 1

. 6 min read

This summer we went to the HSC Adventures in Homeschooling Conference. The conference happens the first weekend in August every year in Sacramento, California.

It was our second year to attend.  Both years it was spectacular beyond words.

In this post, I’ll share with you some of my thoughts and feelings about the Adventures in Homeschooling, and lots of photos and videos.

Tomorrow’s Our First Day of Homeschooling

Before I get into writing about the conference, I wanted to share that tomorrow my 5-year-old daughter Kate and I officially start our first year of homeschooling. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

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My whole life, I was looking forward to having babies and raising children. I yearned for those days of having a baby in a playpen and a toddler running around the house. Those years only last a short time, though — just five years.

Reading Pat the Puppy

The next thing you know, your house is empty all day long.  I didn’t want to miss all of those special moments from kindergarten through college. I wanted to be able to spend that time with Kate.

I started my business, Real Food Media, 4 years ago, in part to create the possibility so I could stay home and educate my daughter.

Prior to my daughter’s birth, I worked for 15 years in the digital advertising industry. If I had not taken the risk of starting my own business, I would have gone back to being gone, away from home, for 50-70 hours per week.

And now, because I took the risk (which was not easy) and worked very, very hard for four years, working longer hours than I ever worked in my corporate jobs, I get to spend my time enjoying Kate’s childhood.

Oh sure, I’ll still be working full-time, but we’ll also be spending every morning reading together and exploring what she is interested in. And there will be lots and lots of playing Barbies, cooking, gardening, making art, and lots of park days.

I’m just feeling very grateful today.

Think You Can’t Homeschool?

If you are wondering how you can find the time to homeschool, there are creative ways you can find a way to pull it off. For example, I have friends who work nights so they can stay at home with their kids during the day.

I had a chat with my friend Kelly the Kitchen Kop earlier this year. She was saying how her kids weren’t doing well in school and they were so unhappy. And she was frustrated by the 3-4 hours they were spending every single night on homework. I said to her on the phone, “You know, Kel, homeschooling only takes a few hours a day. In the hours you’re spending doing homework, you could be homeschooling!”

Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Then Kelly talked to another friend who’s a mom who works full-time AND homeschools. She realized that there are lots of us doing it, and started to think maybe she could do it, too.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop & Cheeseslave

OK, so now, onto the conference…

HSC Adventures in Homeschooling Conference

Here are some of the things that were great about the HSC Adventures in Homeschooling Conference:

Fabulous Weather

It’s in the summertime in California so the weather’s perfect for hanging outside, having picnics and swimming in the pool.

There’s also a lake with a fountain and ducks. So pretty, eh?

Great People

The people are amazing. You meet the most awesome parents and kids. It’s meeting the people that convinced me last year to homeschool Kate.

The photo above is of our friends Shauna and her family. Although they don’t live in LA where we do, we get to spend time with them at the conference every year.

We also got to meet Sandra Dodd, author of [easyazon-link asin=”0557181550″ locale=”us”]Sandra Dodd’s Big Book of Unschooling[/easyazon-link]. (I can’t get through more than a couple pages of this book without tearing up and thinking to myself, “THIS is the way parenting and school SHOULD be!”)

Sandra Dodd is fantastic. If you ever get the chance to see her speak, do not miss her! And of course, you can [easyazon-link asin=”0557181550″ locale=”us”]order her book[/easyazon-link] and/or check out her website, which is chock-full of great information.

Lots of Stuff To Do

There are tons of things to do at the conference. Never a dull moment!

The kids (and parents and grandparents) build things.

And play with things.

And make things.

Lots of Great Stuff to Buy

There’s also a huge exhibition hall with lots of cool stuff, from books to software to crafts.

We got a lot of graphic novels and comics, since Kate loves them.

Check out all these classics we got — I love this Campfire series:

  • [easyazon-link asin=”9380028563″ locale=”us”]Oliver Twist (Campfire Graphic Novels)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”9380741103″ locale=”us”]Macbeth (Campfire Graphic Novels)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”8190732684″ locale=”us”]Christmas Carol (Graphic Novel Adaptation)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”9380028342″ locale=”us”]The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Campfire Graphic Novels)[/easyazon-link]

We also bought the whole series of the Story of the World on audio, read by Jim Weiss:

  • [easyazon-link asin=”1933339047″ locale=”us”]Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times Audiobook CD: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition (7 CDs) (v. 1)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”1933339128″ locale=”us”]The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2 Audiobook: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance, Revised Edition (9 CDs)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”1933339179″ locale=”us”]The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Vol. 3: Early Modern Times, 2nd Edition (9 CDs)[/easyazon-link]
  • [easyazon-link asin=”1933339039″ locale=”us”]The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Modern Age: Audiobook (Vol. 4)  (Story of the World) (v. 4)[/easyazon-link]

Grandparents Get in Free

If your grandparents want to attend, they can get in free. I highly recommend bringing them along. (My mom’s planning to come from Texas next year.)

Bubbe (pictured above) and Papa (pictured below) had such a wonderful time.

It’s a long weekend of play, talking, sharing, creating, and relaxing. We enjoyed every meal together, talking about what we learned and did during the last session.

And they were proud to wear their GRANDMA and GRANDPA badges.

We’ve had a lot of great family vacations with Bubbe and Papa over the years, but in my mind, this was far and away the very best.

Check Back Tomorrow for Part 2

Try as I might, I have too many great pictures and I can’t fit them all into one post.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow, with more activities, music and lots of dancing!