This past Friday & Saturday we attended the FPEA homeschool convention here in Florida. It was our 3rd FPEA convention. My overall feeling…Not Impressed…at all. At least, compared to the last two conventions.
The first year we went to the convention our kids were still in public school. Going into our first convention we were about 95% sure we were going to homeschool the following year. During that convention I made up my mind that we were 100% full speed ahead with homeschooling. I was SO impressed with the speakers, the workshops, the convention hall, etc.
There’s not really a whole lot to say about last year (our 2nd convention). The convention was good…just not as great as the first year. We still had a great time and learned a lot.
This year… ugh… I tried. I really really tried to enjoy myself…really. But, the speakers weren’t as great as the last two years. Most of the workshops weren’t as inspiring. Though, a few met my expectations. Kirk Martin from Celebrate Calm and Todd Wilson from Family Man Web told great stories and really had a grasp on the every day struggles of the homeschool family. They also gave tips on how to work through those struggles. The Fly Lady offered great tips on how to keep a house clean while homeschooling. And, Steve and Annette Economides from America’s Cheapest Family gave great tips on grocery shopping on a budget.
I think the FPEA could also do a better job of convention hall exhibitor layout. I’m sure the exhibitor layout didn’t annoy most people there; but, since I used to have my own wedding and event planning business, it was only natural that I noticed what they could’ve done differently and how they could’ve made more sense of the layout.
Now, before I mention my biggest pet peeve, let me say that I KNOW that FPEA is a faith-based organization. And, I have NO problem with that. They (usually) host a great convention. And, they support all families that are interested in homeschooling. That being said…this year I felt like I was attending a church convention. Most of their workshops were faith driven. I felt like I was listening to a sermon at church and, ‘oh, by the way, here’s how you can apply the lesson to homeschool.’
By no means am I against those that want to run their homeschool in that manner. However, even though I am a christian, I want to keep our homeschool stuff separate from church stuff. If the subject of God comes up during a homeschool lesson (and it has) I will gladly discuss it. I just don’t want our lessons or curriculum to be faith-based.
By the middle of the second day I was exhausted…we left the convention at 2:00pm. There were no workshops that day that really made me excited and energized. I had already been through the convention hall at least three times. And, I was SO tired of people being pushy about God this and God that. I really wanted to wear a sign that said, “I believe in God. Leave me alone. Don’t speak to me unless I speak to you first.” I know, I know…that makes me sound SO un-christian. Whatever…
I felt drained and unmotivated to do anything. I might give the convention one more year. But, I am going to have a hard time convincing myself to spend my money on tickets next year. I could just use that money to buy more school workbooks.
Wabi Sabi Mommy