Making the Most of Your Homeschool: Old Schoolhouse Expo

This week on LifeasMOM is all about Loving Life — finding ways to help each of us enjoy life a little more. And for my family and a lot of you, homeschooling is a major part of our lives.

A high school English teacher by training, I became a home educator nine years ago. It has been a wild and crazy ride, but one I am so very thankful for. Not only have I filled the gaps in my own education, but I’ve experienced such joy and laughter — and a few tears — in watching my children learn about themselves and the world around them.

Learning from Others

One thing that has helped me has been to learn from others in the trenches and those who’ve gone before me.

There have been older women in my life who have encouraged me and offered suggestions for our school. I have a number of peers who are living proof that homeschooling can produce engaging, intellectual adults. I love reading and writing over at Simple Homeschool as the ladies there encourage me and show me there is more than one way to “do school at home.”

And there is a wealth of resources, book, audio, or video, that is available to help you hone your skills and refine your vision for homeschooling.

FishPapa and I have also attended a few homeschool conferences over the years and read a multitude of books. Some of my favorites include The Well Trained MindRecovering the Lost Tools of Learning, and Educating the Whole Hearted Child.

To hear another’s perspective on home education can be so helpful!

Sometimes, however, physically attending a conference can be a little tricky. Childcare is usually a hard thing for me to swing. That’s why I love the concept of the Old Schoolhouse Expo.

The Old Schoolhouse Expo is an online conference that you can listen to while you wash dishes, take a bath or ride on the exercise bike. Talk about multi-tasking!

I’m excited because one of this spring’s speakers is one of my homeschooling heroes, Susan Wise Bauer.

For a limited time, tickets cost $19.50. This includes a huge package of freebie gifts to equip you in your homeschooling. This special Early Bird price ends, though, at 11:59 p.m. on February 9. On February 10, the price goes up to $29.00 and the Bonus Freebies will no longer be available. On February 27, the full price of $39.99 will be in effect.

While this Expo doesn’t take place until May, you can listen to past conferences to get a feel for what an online expo can be like.

Win Expo 2010

In fact, this week four LifeasMOM readers will win an MP3 of last fall’s expo.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, telling us what has been the biggest encouragement to your homeschool.

Comments will be accepted until 8 pm, PST, on Sunday, February 13. Winners will be chosen at random and notified via email. Please respond within 48 hours to claim your prize.

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to the winners: vLmiller04@, euroduck111@, martha@, belauvibes@
Disclosure: I received an MP3 set of last fall’s expo. This post does contain an affiliate link.

This week is all about Loving Life. Check out the wealth of ideas for making the most of every minute.

What has been the biggest encouragement to your homeschool?

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  1. Definitely friends who have “walked this road before me!”

  2. Whitfieldwalker says:

    I think the biggest encouagement to me as a homeschooler has been the faithful example of my parents. I am a second generation homeschooler and I was blessed to be homeschooled from 2nd grade through 12th. When I get discouraged teaching my three kids, I think about all the wonderful times we had growing up in our homeschool and I see the results of my parent’s hard work in the lives of myself and my siblings. With God’s help they were faithful to the vision He gave them and my life has been blessed as a result.

  3. My husband would be my first encouragement when I get down, frustrated or want to give up. I also have a church full of great friends who are ahead, with & behind me in this journey. I would love to win the mp3 set!

  4. My best friend is my biggest cheerleader. Even though we live in separate states, it’s wonderful to be on our homeschooling journey together. Also, since I’ve not been plugged in yet to a local group, I have found lots of great help on forums, such as the Sonlight forum and all the great homeschool mom blogs out there such as this one. 🙂

  5. Would love to win the conference mp3s. My biggest encouragement would have to be watching my kids. Seeing them learn and learn how to learn. Seeing them get excited about a subject/book/new concept. Then there are days when these things are not as easy to spot in the home. On those days, my encouragement comes from loved ones and friends who have been down this road before me.

  6. I would love to win these MP3s! I am new to homeschooling since my oldest is 4. We just started doing preschool with him this past fall. I am excited to be starting this journey with our family! My best encouragement so far has been the excitement of my son. He gets so excited and is so ready to learn!

  7. My biggest encouragement has to be seeing my kids growing in every way each and every day. It is just so gratifying to witness them grasp hold of a concept that they had been struggling with. I also love to see them encourage and help one another.

  8. Well, as a newbie to the whole homeschooling journey (my oldest just turned 4), blogs, other moms and Simple Homeschool have been incredibly encouraging.

    I was really tempted to get a ticket to the homeschooling Expo through The Old Schoolhouse but since I’m having a baby in May, I have no idea what life will be like. I’ll plan for next year. I do have time to listen to last years now though 🙂

  9. We travel for my husband’s work, so I started preschool homeschool with my daugther. We will homeschool at least through grade 3. Then we will make a decision to send her to Christian school or not. I really like the Hip Homeschool Hop, and the Homeschol Hub forum I belong to. It has been great finding some many homeschoolers online.

  10. The biggest encouragement for me was a Christian Home Educators Fellowship-Missouri conference we attended last year.

  11. I found a local homeschooling group that has a message board with quite a number of families on it, free! This group has been so encouraging when I have been at my weakest! In December of ’09 I was due with my youngest on the last day of the month. While the baby was being born at the end of typical public school vacation, it was okay – but as soon as everything was in full swing and I was still in the middle of 2 weeks out from a c-section, I was really thinking that it would be better for my Dd6 (1st grade) to be getting SOME type of education, just for a semester. The wonderful ladies who were on my message board encouraged me so much through letting me know that I was still teaching her, even if I wasn’t doing formal book training! She was learning life leassons, just as important as those 3R’s about what can happen sometimes in life! However, there were many women who didn’t oppose public schooling, even if they were homeschooling – and so everyone was able to offer valid, thoughtful and considerate points of view to the subject. It was such a great way for me to connect – when I couldn’t get out of the house and meet with other Mommies at the time who could encourage!

    Another encouraging thing, would be my parents who wish that they had homeschooled themselves. They have been so supportive, and even intend in the future to be apart of the learning that goes on with the kids. Lastly, watching my oldest just blossom and learn on her own, or grasp a subject that might be tricky at times – and seeing her running around and free to be a kid when so many other children are trapped in classrooms and desks at school, those things are the rewarding encouraging things I see and need!

  12. I find encouragement from other moms who home school. Sometimes these moms are virtual! I also find encouragement when my child “gets it” and is excited about it!
    Thanks for the offer! 8)

  13. Blogs like this have been a huge blessing- it has helped encourage me in being an organized homeschooling mom and watch my grocery spending, too. I found Mary Pride’s Complete Guide to Getting Started Homeschooling a great beginning go-to book that demystified homeschooling for me :)!

  14. My husband and my little pupils are my biggest sources of encouragement. I also read Simple Home School blog and it gives me a sense of community.Reading the Well-Trained Mind gave me wonderful resources for curriculum choices. Thank you for the link, I will definitely sign up!

  15. My biggest encouragement is other moms.

  16. My biggest encouragement (since I haven’t yet begun – but will this fall!) are other homeschooling moms that are offering their experiences and advice of what to do or not do. Thanks to all!

  17. Jennifer Ott says:

    My biggest encouragement is my kids themselves. When my kids are playing together during the day, enjoying each other’s company (which they wouldn’t have time to do if they were in school in different classes), I am glad we’ve made this choice. And when my kids beg for school (when I tried to take 2 weeks off after our baby was born in December), I am thankful that they love learning!

  18. My biggest encouragement has come from the other moms in our homeschool group. Sometimes I think I get more from the group than the kids do.

  19. The biggest encouragement for me is the other moms I have met through a homeschool co-op. They are a constant encouragement, that I can do this!

  20. The biggest encouragement has been other moms who homeschool, too, and share their experiences (so I can learn from them) – in real life or via blogs!


  21. Cynthia Cusson says:

    Joining a homeschool group and meeting and talking with other local moms.

  22. The most inspiring thing to me in homeschooling is being with my children and sharing the Lord for a Godly family. We’ve homeschooled for going on 22 years and those who really walked the walk and put and KEPT GOD FIRST are those I listen to. It’s been disheartening for us as homeschoolers to see the Lord come in second many times to academia. If we put the Lord first, He will make sure everything else falls into place. Much of education is common sense, it’s not a system. Many are trusting in horses and chariots these days and not the Lord, their planners have become more important than the Bible and personal communion with the Lord.

    Now my baby girl is 17 and my oldest daughter is 28, we have four daughters and we are able to share on Cultivating a Godly Home at our group’s yearly homeschool workshop.

    That was one of my prayers when I was standing at the library with a newborn baby 21 years ago…”Lord please help me homeschool and I promise to help others”.

    God is Faithful. He is so faithful…

    Hang on to the Lord, be willing to stand alone. Go with the Word not the herd.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. : )

  23. I found some great resources at a garage sale, and they were new items!

  24. My biggest encouragement to homeschool is my daughter that says she would not go back to public school for anything, even though she is lonely some times. We pulled her out the beginning of this school year and she is in 5th grade.

  25. Brenda Borchert says:

    My encouragement has come from meeting adult friends who were homeschooled. They are “normal”, kind, loving folks who I would be proud to call my own children.

  26. My mom (who works in a public school) has really supported my desire to being homeschooling my 3 preschoolers soon. She sees what goes on in the public schools and encourages me that I can teach my own kids. I have also read “The Well Trained Mind” and was encouraged by the ideas there.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  27. I do not yet homeschool but am seriously considering it for the fall. I am encouraged by blogs I read and hope that if I do homeschool that I will join a local group as well.

  28. What has encouraged me is being able to plan out the year, and how the year fits into the spectrum of years I’ll be homeschooling. I have gotten so much out of Susan Wise Bauer’s book The Well-Trained Mind. Her guidelines were very helpful, as well as curriculum recommendations.

  29. My husband’s support has been the greatest encouragement as we’ve wrestled with the idea of homeschooling.

  30. definitely friends, though blogs are a super close 2nd!

  31. I have begun homeschooling but hope to next fall. We have many friends at our church who homeschool so I feel I would have lots of encouragement. Thanks for the chance to win.

  32. We are in our 5th year of homeschooling. There have been many highs and lows, but it’s so encouraging to talk and share with those who’ve gone before and given me advice and much needed encouragement to keep going. I’d love to win this because I can use all the help I can get 🙂

  33. Thanks for sharing!
    I am wondering do you have patterns you are following for the activity in the picture or just building your own?

  34. The biggest encouragement to me as a HS mom has been praying and talking to God. I just keep hearing yes, keep homeschooling the kids. Don’t return to work just yet.

  35. I do not officially homeschool yet, but the biggest encouragement I have to even wanting to do it is all the great resources, like this blog and many others that I have found in connection with it, that are giving me the confidence that I can do this. Even with a 5, 3 and 20 week old!

  36. My biggest inspiration has been bloggers. I learn so much from bloggers, and the ability to ‘see’ what a particular day looks in a different homeschool, so I know that I’m not totally crazy!

  37. I have not done full time homeschooling yet; I just supplement areas for my daughter – but I am so encouraged when we can delve into a topic or learn in a way that would not be possible in a very structured school curriculum… It really shows her that learning is FUN and you can take ownership of your own learning! Thanks !

  38. I too am so grateful for the faithful homeschool bloggers who are REAL! I so wish I would’ve had them to encourage me a few years ago and now that we are once again on our homeschooling way…I have encouragement daily!

  39. AllieZirkle says:

    We are pulling the kids from public school this month. You’ve been the biggest encouragement/ resource so far!

    🙂 Allie

  40. I love talking to the ‘been there, done that’ moms! They offer so much wisdom. I also enjoy scanning blogs and reading books. I really love the idea of a virtual conference. How wonderful to listen to nuggets of wisdom at my leisure and be able to return to the information when encouragement is needed during the ‘dry’ times. Great giveaway!

  41. My biggest encouragement has been other moms sharing their experiences and reassuring me that I can handle it!

  42. I have been doing homeschool preschool with my son and will be starting with my daughter. I am encouraged also by all the other homeschoolers I have meet who are so willing to share what has worked for them. I also have been encouraged by blogs like this that are full of wonderful ideas/helps.

  43. This comment is about the photo of you with your family. I don’t know if you realize how important it is to the blog-reader to see these type of just regular every day shots. When the pictures are from a picture source I feel disconnected from you and when they are personal, even if just your kitchen counter with your frozen casseroles, well, I feel like we’ve crept into your home. That’s all I have to say about that.

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