Per Request: LDSEHE

on 19 May 2011

Ok.

Since you asked, here's a bit more information on LDSEHE.  Bear in mind that this is the only year I've ever gone...so my perspective may not be the most objective.

The website declares that they're a community of Latter-day Saint home-educators that are seeking to support and inspire each other.  My sister describes it as a bunch of home-schooling moms who are just trying to help each other.  The other component is that it provides a distinct community (via a youth conference) for home-schooled kids.

I think all of these things are GOOD things.  While I haven't seen it for myself (yet), I think the theory is good that home-schooled kids need to be around other home-schooled kids so that they see that they're not alone, they're not freaks, they're just a few of many who are all home-schooled too.  Again, I've seen my sister go from being burnt out to being excited to try new things post-conferences.  So I think it's a great thing that they're trying to do.

That said...I don't think I've ever seen so many Alpha-Moms gathered in one place.  It was moderately scary, not being an Alpha-Mom myself...that first day I had an abject fear of being eaten alive.  The fear receded a bit after I taught, but I remained aware of the Alpha-Moms and made an effort to avoid them at all costs.

That said, I met some seriously awesome women.  Benta, who is my age (well, 2 years older than me) and has ELEVEN (11!) children and home-schools them ALL!  And Melissa and Katie who (along with my sister) help to organize and run the conferences.  I think what was most encouraging was seeing that there are home-schooling families EVERYWHERE.  There were several families who had driven down from Quebec, New York, Massachusetts,  and many families from Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Florida.

For someone who cordially dislikes confrontation, I have to admit that there are few people MORE opinionated than home-schoolers (it's not a bad thing, it just is what it is), and I have to admit that I have my own opinions as well.  It's hard to remain polite when you're faced with someone who home-schools differently from you and seems convinced that everyone in the world is WRONG unless they home-school their way.  I think this attitude is the most frustrating for me.  Part of what is so appealing about home-schooling is the choice that is affords.   I like the freedom of being able to choose what is best for my family and I respect that others have that same freedom.  So I find myself resentful of people who are attempting to limit that freedom--even when they're fellow home-schoolers.

The other point that I found frustrating is how often home-schoolers remain bound by public-school paradigms.  And here's where it gets personal.  For a variety of reasons, I have decided to start a phonics program with the Boy...probably some time this summer. 

(I know what you're all thinking, "He's only THREE!  He's too young!  It's too much pressure!  Just let him be little!"  Do you really think that I, as his Mother, haven't thought those same things?  I have.  But I'm not going to miss the opportunity to let him progress at his own pace.  I've asked a variety of people whom I trust and they all concur that he's ready to TRY.  It may be a full year before he succeeds, but I think it's time to begin.  At the risk of sounding like I'm bragging about my wunderkind, he spells out the words on the page...if I'm not reading fast enough, he takes my finger, points to the letters and tells me which letters they are.  It's funny and awesome and terrifying all at the same time.  He narrates books he knows.  He doesn't RECITE them, he tells me what they're ABOUT and then gives me commentary on them, which is just so many shades of awesome that I can't bring myself to be scared.)

At one point I inquired of the women teaching the Charlotte Mason classes if she thought it would be reasonable to start with short-mornings.  I was thinking of taking 15-30 minutes of phonics work in the morning followed by a walk outside and then some general play time.  She asked how old my son was and when I told her, she all but laughed at me and said, "No no no.  You shouldn't do anything like that until he's FIVE or SIX."  When did we decide that 5 or 6 was the magic age for reading?  Who says?  I'm far from an expert, but it seems reasonable to me that if a child is ready to read at 3 or 4 they shouldn't be held back by the whims of others who think that's not appropriate for that age.  I encountered these attitudes more than once...and it seems to me that part of what is so great about home-schooling is that we aren't bound by what the public school system is doing.

I will say that I LOVED Michael Ballum's talks--he spoke about the necessity of the arts in our lives, and he was absolutely singing my song.  And there were loads of mothers who are genuine and kind and absolutely love their kids and want to do what is best for them.  It was really lovely to see.  All in all, I'm glad that I was able to go, but I'm not planning to go back for a long while.  It was wonderful to be able to talk about education and religion at the same time without fear of imminent persecution, but it was strange too.  I kept waiting to be BOOed for it during my class, but I wasn't.  All the same, I think I'd like to take the next few years to just teach my Boy and then maybe when I start to feel bored or frustrated I'll go back and try again.

Any other questions?  I wasn't entirely sure what you wanted when you asked for more information...

3 comments:

Metta said...

WOW. That's all I've got to say. WOW.

And... have you ever looked into the Waldorf school? That's where I was raised, and with a bit of a miracle and some lottery money we'll have Gigi there in a few years. If you are ever interested in checking out the Emerson Waldorf School, let me know. I take any excuse to go.

Cel and JP said...

Alpha moms ... hee hee... I'd be scared to. And Elena works on phonics, so pbbbththttt to what'shername who said Cameron is too young. You're his mother. And you're not going to FORCE him into something he's not ready for. Sheesh.

So I'm really curious about the class you taught. I never got to go to the one you taught for RS, although I'm sure they were different. But again - if it's too much for one blog post ... :) :)

Sibley Saga .... said...

I totally agree with what's been said. You are the Mama. You know your baby. You know if he's ready or not. Psh! Whatever!

I'd have been fascinated with what was being taught at a conference like that but probably would have been scared of the alpha moms as well. I like Susan Bauer's method, too. For now I'm going to supplement London's education at home and study like heck to be ready if we need to home school down the road. Right now Los Alamos public schools are fairly impressive. At least academically. I'll wait and see how she does socially and all that.

I'd have liked a conference like that. I feel like I want to be really for all options for London down the road.