Greetings! I have pondered for some time now wondering why homeschool conference attendance has dropped in the last few years. Yes, I believe the economy and gas prices have played a role, but I also believe the internet has played a major role. The internet gives us social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. We also have various e-mail groups that we belong to, blogs to read and so many places we can go to learn and to connect.
I am thankful for the internet, but it does not take the place of the human connection. Attending homeschool conferences rejuvenates us. We make contact with friends from the past and make new ones for the future. Our hearts and souls are renewed by the people we meet, the stories we hear from other parents, the hugs given, and the talks we attend. We cannot hug someone through Facebook. We cannot see someone’s face who is sharing their burden with us and they cannot see the concern and love on our faces. The joy of laughter and a twinkle in someone’s eye cannot be seen or really felt. With the communication on the internet we know people care, but again nothing takes the place of the human connection.
Conferences are held to help families grow stronger in their Catholic faith, but also to know in their heart of hearts that yes, homeschooling is what is best for their family. Talks at conferences are not just on homeschooling, but are also on topics that will help us to grow in holiness, to grow strong in our marriage and to help our families get to heaven. Conferences inspire us to continue the mission God has set forth for us, to homeschool our children. Conferences inspire us. Conferences make us step back and contemplate our homeschool in order to ask ourselves how are we doing and is there anything we need to change. Conferences remind us that we are parents first to our children and teachers second. Conferences give us the encouragement to continue to say YES to God’s calling for our family. Last, but not least conferences give us the human connection that we so badly need.
This past weekend was the Greater Milwaukee Catholic Home Educators Conference. They had wonderful talks and lots of vendors to visit. The smiles I saw from everyone were so joyful to see. It was like a large family reunion. Everyone was making connections to continue the mission. I received so much from attending these conferences. You may say, ‘But you are just a vendor and don’t attend the talks,’ and I would say, “Yes, you are correct. But, even in vendor halls the conference continues with conversations, questions, and help for all.’ This weekend my friend (all my customers are my friend and family), Jacqueline said she came to the conference in order to give me a hug. That was her mission and in so doing this she made my heart sing. Many hugs were given. Laughter was heard all around. Hearts were shared. Burdens were lifted. The Holy Spirit was moving and the human connection was made.
I hope that you will be inspired to attend a conference with your friends and family this year and join all of us in making the human connection.