Recap: A Home School Convention Is Like No Other
Original article posted here.
It was about 10 years ago when I attended the my first Home Education Association of Virginia conference. That year, my family relied on a trusted friend to tell us which break-out sessions were worth going to and which we should avoid.
This year, my wife and I didn’t need any mentoring. We are the experts going from session to session knowing what would be most beneficial for our family. Still, after being a part of the home education movement for over a decade, I am still learning and amazed. Here are some of what we learned or observed this year.
The average homeschooler is now scoring the top 15% of all students
Homeschoolers are knocking a home run academically. Our average student is not only excelling, but they are doing so in undeniable terms. Way to go homeschoolers.
Bye-bye denim jumpers
Yes, denim jumpers are a thing of the past. I did not see one mother or child wearing these atrocious fashion staples of the past.
Socialization is a dead issue
The myth that homeschoolers are not as socialized is only held by low information people or those with an agenda. The research is overwhelmingly clear, we are excelling in every area of life, including socialization.
Music and the Arts are amazing!
During one of the performances by a homeschooler this weekend, I was overcome by emotion. The music was absolutely beautiful. While the public schools believe the arts should play a smaller role in education, homeschoolers are seeing the arts as intrinsic to a great education. We are excelling in the arts!
A car dealer got the hint
I do not know who the car dealer was, but parking a 15 passenger van in the middle of the conference hall was genius. This $52,000.00 car had almost everything a large family needs.
Did you see NASA at the event?
In years past, we have seen large Universities recruiting our students. This year, a new group present at the convention was NASA. We not only saw NASA, but experts in robotics, pilot training, the Civil Air Patrol, a culinary chef school and much more. If you are a geek, chef, or musician, you would geek out over this convention.
We are more diverse
When I first showed up on the homeschooling scene, there were some minorities, but their representation was sparse. While minority representation still needs to improve, the number are exponentially increasing.
If you attended a conference with hundreds (or thousands) of kids from all socio-economic levels, would you expect character to be the defining trait?
At one point in the conference, a young man (probably no older than 11) started a conversation with me. A few feet away was a computer opened unattended and free for the taking if someone so desired. The child said, “I would think that this is not wise to leave a computer unattended.” My response was simple, “Any other conference, you would be right. At this conference, I doubt anyone needs to worry.” The computer remained there all day until the rightful owner claimed it.
This is one story, but a true story among many from this year’s conference. Retailers left their money unattended, people lost items they just purchased only to have a child recover it and go out of their way to find the rightful owner, children engaged adults in conversation, and boys demonstrating respect to the girls in the conference. Character is evident at these conventions.
Yes, they almost did outlaw Homeschooling in the 90′s
I knew of the bill in the 90′s that would virtually outlaw homeschooling if passed. However, I did not realize how close we came to losing our rights. A last minute change that was needed would have allowed the NEA and liberal groups to mobilize more forces to oppose us. However, the active Homeschooling community bombarded D.C. with calls and turned liberals in favor of advancing the bill to the floor.
Homeschoolers are becoming more Entrepreneurial
I was delighted to see the number of students engaged in being entrepreneurs. What is also a delight, the number of seminars and groups designed to help students become entrepreneurs. We are creating leaders in every field, including business.
We are not only creating leaders, the children are demonstrating leadership skills today. Most of the people I talked to in booths were homeschoolers who conveyed, better than most adults, their program, material, or organization. One 14 year old was able to tell me all about the Civil Air Patrol. I give him kudos because he was both professional, engaged me, and conveyed the program effectively. I left our conversation impressed with the Civil Air Patrol and this 14 year old.
Homeschool children are more likely to carry the torch of faith to their generation
We may be losing the greater cultural battle, but we are winning the battle for our children’s future. We are raising a generation that will help shape the next generations.
I rejoice over the homeschoolers at this year’s conference. We are maturing, becoming more engaging, and developing the next generation of leaders. Great job!
Derick Dickens has an MBA in Leadership, MDiv, and MA in Religion. He speaks regularly on topics ranging from Christian Worldview issues to business leadership, and he is an Adjunct Professor of Business and Human Resources. Derick is also an award winning public speaker, speech evaluator, and leader. Married for 16 years to his wife Lacie, they have three children and live in Lynchburg Virginia. You can follow Derick on Twitter at twitter.com/derickdickens.