Every year about this time I find myself in an interesting state of mind. Part of me is excited that Spring is here (even though you wouldn't know it by the weather) and that means that the end of the school year is rapidly approaching. At the same time, the other part of me is thinking ahead to the next school year and trying to plan what we want to study and what we will need to study it. Why is that? If I am getting excited about subjects for next year, why can't I be excited about subjects that we still have to finish up? Every year I find myself suffering from an extreme case of spring fever and anticipating that long awaited summer break. I have never been one to formally homeschool all year long. I just can't seem to keep my motivation up that long. I'm sure the kids would probably do better and retain more if we worked through the summer, but I fear it is a lost cause for all of us because I am certain that I have infected them with my "summer off" mentality. Last summer I really did try to follow through on some basic subjects throughout the summer. The only one we kept up with was math for my oldest because she was the one who was motivated.
Part of the reason why I start planning so soon for next year is that there is usually a homeschool conference coming up that I want to attend, so I like to buy as much as I can when I go. This year the homeschool conference is in Joliet, IL and I am a small part of the planning committee. Last year, we went to Milwaukee, WI for the conference. It was a nice time and they put on a great conference. Really, I look at these conferences as kind of a mom's retreat. A nice way to spend some time with other homeschooling mom's planning, praying and getting that much needed boost. The only drawback to being involved in planning and working a conference is that you don't get to listen to as many speakers or spend as much time in the vendor hall. This just means that I have to be extra ready so that I can use what little time I have effectively.
So here is my plug for the upcoming Illinois Catholic Homeschool Conference to be held at the University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL. It will be held May 23 and 24, 2008. If you've never been to a conference before and live within a few hours of Joliet, I would encourage you to come and join us. Friday evening there will be two keynote speakers: Ginny Seuffert and Monsignor Dan Deutsch. If you've never heard either of them, they are both great speakers. There will also be a dance performance by the Little Flowers Catholic Dance and Theatre Troupe. Fr. Pablo Straub will be the Mass celebrant and homilist at the Saturday morning mass. Fr. Rocky Hoffman will be the keynote for Saturday. There will be a lot of other great workshops and a hall full of vendors. If you are interested in attending, just go to the ILCHC website and download the registration form. Send it in ahead of time to save some money!
If you don't live near Joliet, I would encourage you to take part in a homeschool conference in your area. Even if you are only thinking about homeschooling, it is a great way to check it out, get a lot of information and have some time to ponder the many aspects of homeschooling.