Monday, April 20, 2009

Convention speakers

I had two big delays on the road to Cincinnati, Thursday, which almost caused me to miss the first of three Thursday night sessions. Fortunately, I slid into a seat in Susan Wise Bauer's first session just a few minutes late despite the delays combined with a 45 minute wait in line to check into the hotel.

Dr. Bauer, who is in her 40's, was homeschooled with her siblings as a child, and now, she is homeschooling her children. Think "The Well Trained Mind". In the session I attended, Dr Bauer talked about things her parents did right, and things that they've learned from. Also on Thursday night, I attended a session with Carol Barnier about what to do on days when you fall off your lesson plan and one with Scott and Melinda Boring on the topic of the distractible adult.

Another homeschool mom on the Crew introduced me to Carol Barnier a couple of months ago (thank you, April!). Carol Barnier has a new book that is packed with ideas and strategies, and I bought it. You can find Carol Barnier on the internet in three places, Open Gifts, SizzleBop, and Carol's Web Corner.

I attended one session that was familiar to me -- the others were new-to-me speakers.

I've known about Melinda Boring for several years, I've read her book (parts of it several times)and I was thrilled to finally get to see her and meet her in person. She and her husband, Scott, have a humorous and useful presentation on how to live together when one is organized and one is distractible. Their business sells all sorts of tools and doo-dads to assist children with special learning needs, from pencil grips to chair cushions to readers to visual timers (and everything in between).

I did not enter the vendor hall, Thursday night. I could see it from the second floor windows -- it was huge.

Friday morning, sessions began bright and early at (yawn) 8 am. I attended my first session with Mark Hamby of Lamplighter Publishing. Some of Mark Hamby's presentations are here. WOW. I was not familiar with Lamplighter Publishing -- if you're not familiar with it, please check it out. (Make sure you don't miss the Rare Collector Series.)

When I first began to look over the session choices, a couple of weeks ago, my choices were purely based on the idea of homeschooling a child with special needs. Mark Hamby's topics caught my eye, though, and I began to ask on the internet about him, and the responses I received from people who've seen him in person were very enthusiastic. So, I reconsidered some of my selections, and I am soooooo glad I did. I needed to hear Hamby's message.

He talks about parenting, sharing deeply from his own experience, his own mistakes and successes. His message is not about changing the child. His message is about changing ourSELVES, taking the focus off of changing our children. His message is about reconciliation. His presentations were packed -- he is an engaging and popular speaker. His message is touching and sends you looking deep inside yourself.

Then I headed to hear Karen "Spunky" Braun talk about blogging. She's a mini-celebrity, you know. :)

And then, I lost myself in the vendor hall. I thought the vendor hall at my first (state) convention last year was overwhelming. I had no idea. I completely missed a session because I lost track of time in that big vendor hall, Friday. The experience was a little bit like being in Las Vegas, where there are no windows and no clocks. (Stay tuned to my blog-- I'll write later about some of my finds in the vendor hall.)

After I found myself again, I gathered my wits about me and returned to my game plan. I'd spent a lot of time on my plan of which sessions I'd attend, and I was a little bit upset with myself for getting off track.

I sat in on Bonnie Simon's sesson about the importance of learning to listen. She has a really wonderful and creative product, called Maestro Classics, and I suspect these audio CDs might be effective with students on the autism spectrum. She talked about development of musical intelligence and the importance of music in childhood, especially early childhood. She is passionate about bringing music to children, and she does, indeed, make classical music very child-friendly.

After the Bonnie Simon's session, I headed back to the vendor area, and watched the time so that I would not miss a 4 pm session with Mark Hamby on the topic of Building Character One Story at a Time.

And I spent the remainder of the evening, two sessions in a row, with Carol Barnier, as she offered Part 1 and Part 2 of how to teach a distractible child. As soon as her sessions were over, I headed back downstairs to the vendor hall and purchased her new book, "The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles", which has more ideas than she was able to share with us in two hours. I am tickled to say that I got there in time to buy one before they sold out, *and* Carol autographed my copy.

Saturday morning, I started my day with Dr Larry Schweirkart presenting on the topic of why we all need a patriot's history of the United States. (Note to self: Check the library for Dr Schweikart's books.)

Next, I joined a packed room to hear Mark Hamby, again, and had the pleasure of sitting with my cyber friend, Becky, and then to lunch with Becky.

...and (there's a theme here, do you see it?) another session with Carol Barnier. Her presentation about seeing the gifts of your children was very encouraging.

...and I had planned to spend my last two sessions with Dr Stephen Guffanti, on the topic of ADHD and kinesthetic learners, and I did try, but my mind was too tired to concentrate, and I slipped out and made a mental note to get his book via interlibrary loan (he was sold out downstairs) because he kept pointing out which on pages of his book we could find this information or that information.

Saturday night, I began to read one of the books that I bought from Lamplighter Publishing. I would read for a while and then take a break, and was driven to pick it back up again, because I wanted to know what happened next. I finished the book in one evening.

I bought some audio CDs of sessions I missed and listened to several of them on the drive home Sunday.

I learned a lot. I feel encouraged. I'm glad to be home.

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