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Thursday, June 19, 2008

The WHO

This past weekend I was able to attend the WHO conference. We were all going to go together, but Rich ended up having to chase down some stuff on the airport late into the night the night before, so he and the children slept in and I went by myself.

There were all sorts of fun things for children and families to do there, so we're planning on making sure all of us go next year, if possible. However, it was nice to go and take a look at the vendors and hear the speakers on my own. I ran into three friends of mine, so we wandered the exhibits together and held babies or shopping bags for each other. I was able to pick up some curricula for next year at a good price, and because of our membership with WHO and signing up at the conference, I was able to get a $25 discount off of our HSLDA membership, not to mention the free entrance to the conference, so we more than made up for our annual fee this year.

Kim and I had a good time looking at the fun bags and t-shirts and what not on sale, though we both agreed that the ones that either said outright or implied that our children are smarter/better behaved/better than your children ones weren't exactly doing a service to the image of homeschooling or homeschoolers. There were a couple I really liked, though. They were positive about homeschooling without being negative about anyone else. One was a shirt with pictures and names of famous people who were homeschooled, presidents, scientists, artists, mathematicians, etc, there was a homeschooling father one I particularly liked the sentiment of, though it was a bit cartoonish and Rich would never wear it, but the one I really liked had an image of Mount Rushmore with the words Homeschooling, You Never Know Where You Might End Up. I'm almost regretting not picking up a couple for our children.

So, as of two days ago, I am five books away from having our entire set of curricula for all the children, plus reference type books for me, bought or ordered and on their way. Last year, I think we ended up spending about $2500 for all the children's school related things, including school supplies, a file cabinet and a new book shelf. That was purchasing rather extravagantly, as well, anything I thought we might need or use, not to mention just the initial set up costs of some larger curricula packages. This year, I think our grand total will be closer to $775-800 including the books I still haven't bought, some book ends and new school supplies. Not bad. That doesn't include out YMCA membership, nor the new computer, but since those aren't strictly for school purposes, I don't think they count anyway. I'll still hunt freecycle for more bookshelves, and we still use our library for most of the fiction and dvds we use. I'm not sure how much baseball is going to cost for Alexander, because he really wants to start that , Dominic and Elijah's gymnastics are free with our Y membership, Amira will still be doing ballet, and that ends up being about another $500 a year, but it's more extracurricular than actual school money. I'd like to start some music lessons, but it is hard to find a good teacher at a good time for us with our other activities. In the meantime, we are learning church hymns, Latin music and I have an introductory book on music theory for the older children, Elijah and Amira have been getting exposure to classical music through their school work, and I can start them on the basics of how to treat an instrument and what the notes sound like with my violin.

We're out for the summer now, though I will be doing some history reading and astronomy with them. Both of those are things they all enjoy, and summer seems like a good time to do the astronomy anyway. We'll do some math practice with the boys, and keep up reading work with Elijah and Amira, but in a much less structured way. This way also, if I can't keep up with it over the summer, it will be something light we can do as a family when Rich is home.

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