Veteran Opinion: Why Conferences Still Matter

By Christine Bullock

It is nearly that time of year again, the time to gather together from all across Oregon at the 18th annual statewide Christian Home Education conference. It always surprises me how much I look forward to this each year.  I circle the date on our calendar as soon as I get it and I find myself eagerly anticipating the full measure of encouragement I receive. 

I'll admit the lure of the Exhibit Hall with mounds of shiny new curriculum, the thrill of a good deal in the Used Curriculm Exchange and many "how to workships" filled with clues on how to motivate my reluctant learner, aren't as much of a pull as they used to be when I first began more than a decade ago. It is something else that makes me excited - something that I know I need to "keep running the race set before me."  So why after 16 years, does the conference still matter so much? 
1. It is our annual planning meeting as husband and wife. Because we attend together we have a chance to get on the same page at the same time. What an opportunity!   As busy partners in marriage it is easy to go about our separate roles and not communicate directly about what is happening in our homeschool. For those of us who have been at it awhile, the temptation is even greater to just focus on our piece of the puzzle. The conference provides the chance to really delve in and work through things together. 
2. Catch a vision. Often at conferences we have caught new or deeper visions for our family life that have been life-changing. We know the importance of family discipleship, of teaching godly character and values to produce an eternal impact on our little learners.   The question is, how do we do this on a daily basis this year?  How to reach a teen starting college next year is different from teaching a third grader.  The many different speakers offer lots of advice for just that.  Homeschooling is so much more than mere academics and veterans need to be reminded of this too.
3. We see that we are not alone. How encouraging to be in a gathering of thousands of homeschooling parents. Look around; you'll fit right in.  We homeschoolers are an ecletic bunch! Sometimes homeschooling can be a divise thing in our churches or extended families, and we can feel alone and misunderstood. But at conferences you get a glimpse of the greater tapestry of grace God is weaving through the home education movement.  There are different styles and methods of homeschooling, yet we share the same heart’s desire to teach our own with Christ at the center.
4. Dads are empowered in their roles as the leaders of their homes. This is no small thing. Dads are not a side note here. How very different from the image the world protrays of bumbling father figures without purpose beyond a paycheck. Dads have a very high calling, and OCEANetwork is very good at bringing speakers who teach to equip men for the role God has commanded fathers to fill. Strong godly dads lead strong godly families.
5. Mothers are commended.   Homeschooling is a tough job and it rests heavily on the shoulders of moms who want to do the best they can. It is a balm for my soul to be among others who see value in my life’s work and recognize the battle it can be. Seeing families who have made it to graduation and have produced godly competent young adults is one of my favorite parts. Homeschooling works!  Honor is given to "professional mothers" who are daily battling with English lessons and laundry and exhorted to NOT GIVE UP.  It is so worth it to keep going, even we veterans need to be reminded of that!

So what can you expect at the next conference? Visit the OCEANetwork Conference page to get all the details. Cirlce those calendars and don’t miss out on the encouragement and inspiration.

Christine serves with her husband on the OCEANetwork board. The Bullocks have homeschooled their four children from the beginning, graduated one and have three more to go. Christine’s passion is to encourage and equip the next generation of homeschoolers wherever they are in their journey. She loves to share what God has taught her so far through writing and speaking about homeschooling, teaching in their co-op, and being a mentor to beginners. Homeschooling is a tough job, but one that is full of a lifetime of rewards.

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Posted by Christine Bullock on May 25, 2012 at 6:00 AM | Categories: Conference - Encouragement - Discipling -



mamaweeks wrote on 05/26/12 6:41 PM

I'm looking forward to the encouragement and especially the opportunity to attend with my husband this year.

Susan wrote on 05/27/12 12:38 AM

The encouragement is a very big factor for me. The opportunity to see, touch and read the new (to me!) curricula that we're thinking of adding to our school is also ojuvitally important.

Emily wrote on 05/27/12 6:17 PM

I'm looking forward to getting away with my husband for the weekend, and being encouraged by other like minded people on our homeschooling adventure! Also, I'm looking forward to picking up next year's curriculum!

Lori wrote on 05/29/12 12:22 AM

I'm very much looking forward to focusing on homeschooling with my husband this conference. Planning our next year will be fun if we do it together.

Cheryl wrote on 05/29/12 3:32 PM

My husband and I look forward to time together to plan for next year and to touch base. We love the new curriculum to look at and speakers to learn from.
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After 16 years of HS'ing, I trpically do not get a lot of new information from conferences, but rather a large dose of confirmation that HS'ing was/is a great choice. I am reminded (from workshops to the book/curriculum tables) how much we've learned and experienced together. And, conferences stretch me in creative ways- inspiring translation to a rich and vibrant home program. Enthusiasm is contageous. wrote on 08/02/16 2:37 PM

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