Monday, May 29, 2006

You might be at a homeschool conference if. . .

As a disclaimer, this list is not meant to either (a) poke fun at conservative homeschoolers (I do fit that description, after all) or to (b) uphold homeschoolers as hyper-spiritual people who have it all together. This is merely a summary of things I noticed at this past conference, as well as at others I've attended. Homeschoolers (especially the more conservative ones) definitely have their own subculture ;-).

You might be at a homeschool conference if. . .

You realize you're not nearly as conservative as you think you are.

A very large minority of the women and girls have on long, flowing skirts.

You see stairstep processions of sisters in matching homemade jumpers.

A lot of long hair and braids are present - on the women, that is. The men sport clean-cut haircuts.

The vast majority of the men (including the boys) have on tucked-in, buttoned-down shirts, though there is no dress code.

You do not see a single pair of baggy jeans.

The few "renegades" who are wearing rumpled t-shirts and sporting shaggy haircuts look downright out of place.

The one youth group that is present is segregated by sex.

You know without a doubt that the
Coastal Chamber Musicians listed in the schedule will be a sibling group.

Though the lectures are definitely aimed for adults, a large percentage of the audience is not yet in middle school.

There are many pregnant and nursing mothers present, and no one seems to notice the occasional crying baby.

The public schools are standardly referred to as "government schools" and "The Schools of Pharoah."

A speaker shows a clip from
Star Wars, and you wonder how many people will be offended by it.

A speaker mentions that he and his wife have 15 biological children, and the room errupts into an applause.

There are many families with three generations present.

The conversations you overhear between middle school girls are not about boys, movies, or make-up, but about theology, constitutionalism, and dominionism.

So, I survived the conference, and have begun to recover from my lack of sleep :). The conference ran from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. each day, and we had a 1 hour, 15 minute drive at the beginning and end of each day, so needless to say I took a lengthy nap on Saturday afternoon.

I'm very thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference, and I learned quite a lot. The conference was put on by American Vision, and the theme was on developing a Christian Worldview. The topics included evolution, apologetics, evangelism, Christian education, liberty, constitutionalism, judicial activism, dispensationalism, postmillenianism, relativism, materialism, atheism, journalism, and Christian themes in film, just as a quick summary. It was definitely a lot of information to pack into only 3 days. My hand was so stiff from writing notes, but it was well-worth the effort! Now I have pages and pages to look back over for reflection and for blog post writing :).

What did I take away from the conference? Well, way more than I could write about, that's for sure. I didn't agree with all the views presented, but overall it was a very positive experience. Mainly, it was a refreshing time to retrain my mind to think first and foremost through the lenses of scripture. It was a reminder that Christianity is not a religion, but a lifestyle; the Bible applies to every area of life. It was a reminder that Christians today have a responsibility to understand the times and train their senses to see good and evil. But that is not enough, of course; we then have a responsibility to take action based on our Biblical training, realizing that God has called us ambassadors to a lost world.

I will be posting a few highlights of the conference over the next few days, categorized by a few of my favorite topics like evangelism, depravity of man, and engaging the culture. I'm working on making my posts a moderate length - long enough to be pithy, but short enough so that they're readable. We'll see how that goes :).


Jessica said...

Really, I DIDN'T read your homeschool conference list before mentioning the thing I observed at the homeschool convention I went to...but I can definitely relate! The conference you went to sounds great...definitely a lot of food for thought! I saw on the web-site that it had three debates...did you go to those? They sound like they'd be very interesting to go to! I'm looking forward to the upcoming "pithy" posts!

Jessica said...

The public schools are standardly referred to as "government schools" and "The Schools of Pharoah."

Or "Babylonian schools"...that seemed to be the favorite this weekend in FL!

Anna Naomi said...

Those things you mentioned are so funny! ... and I can definitely relate to most of them! :-) I'm glad you had a good time at the conference!

deb said...

Hi Susan, glad you had a good time! I miss our homeschool conferences since we longer need to attend...often thought about volunteering though. :)

Looking forward to future posts on your conference notes. :)

Susan said...

I didn't read your post before I wrote up that list either, Jessica! Isn't it funny, though? Yes, I went to all three debates. They were really interesting, and I hope to post some on those, we'll see :).

zan said...

Yep. I think you about covered it. : )

John Dekker said...

You realize you're not nearly as conservative as you think you are.

That's interesting - because ever since I first visited this blog I've been wondering about the statement in your profile which says that you're probably the most old-fashioned person I know...

Susan said...


That statement is part jest, part serious. I never know if people want a long or short explanation to these questions. . . I am quite old-fashioned in many ways, but realize that there are many more out there who are more conservative than I am. The statement used to include a bit about being mistaken for being Amish, but then people took that to mean I'm part of a cult or something - which I'm not. My church's denomination (PCA) is not even close to a cult :). People who call me Amish do so in jest.

I say I am old-fashioned because I am. I was homeschooled, I wear long skirts, my hair is past my waist, and my favorite pastimes include sewing, baking from scratch, crocheting, piano, and reading classic literature. My dream in life is to be a wife and mother to approximately a dozen kids. I rarely watch TV and my favorite movies take place pre-1900's. I am theologically conservative (reformed Presbyterian) and politically conservative (I think Bush is too liberal) and fiscally conservative.

The problem is, of coures that this list could be worn as a badge, much like Paul's list in Philippians 4:4-6. I used to struggle with pride in that regard, but the Holy Spirit, in His mercy, opened my eyes. Being conservative is still important to me, but it is not an idol, by God's grace.

The title of my blog refers to L.M. Montgomery's book of the same name, btw, and the byline under the title (Jeremiah 6:16) describes the sort of old-fashionedness that I would like to find. I want to search for the ancient paths of God, not man.

Becky Miller said...

So funny...I can totally relate.

Jessica said...

The title of my blog refers to L.M. Montgomery's book of the same name...

L.M. Montgomery wrote a book called An Old-Fashioned Girl? Or are you referring to Louisa Mae Alcott? Sorry to be contradicting you, but if L.M. Montgomery wrote a book by that name, I've never heard of it before and now I want to read it!

Susan said...

No, contradicting is fine, Jessica, especially since you are right. I of course knew it was Louisa May Alcott, but my brain was not very attentive at time of typing :). Thanks for the correction.

John Dekker said...

L. M. Alcott, L. M. Montogomery - what's the difference?

Actually, I do know the difference. :) I read Jo's Boys once - I figured that was her only book that, as a guy, I could bear reading. ;) Actually, I've always wanted to run a place that would be a cross between the Bhaer's house and the Schaeffers' L'Abri.

I'm also slowly making why way through the Anne books - one book per summer. But I missed last summer, so it might take me another decade or so to finish.

Oh, and I followed the link in your reply, Susan, and found a further link to your church. If it's PCA, it doesn't seem to say so anywhere on the site. ;)

And I don't know if all this was what Jeremiah had in mind. :)

Sherrin said...

Susan, you had me laughing so much here at the Online Access Centre that I had to apologise :). It doesn't seem quite right to be laughing over jokes no one else in the room can see. I needed a laugh today, so thank you very much!

I really want to go to a homeschool convention in the USA some day! I have wanted to ever since I was a homeschooled teen and I envied those in the USA because there were so many of them.

I think your next posts about the conference have achieved your pithy but readable aims :). I find it hard to get time to read very long posts - I like medium ones.

I loved your description of your oldfasionedness too - I share a few of those bizarre characteristics, although I don't always like to admit it. One of my friends said I belonged in the 18th Century. Her reasons were a bit weak though. She said it was because I like cooking (how shocking!), like craft (bizarre!), and what is more I like children and want huge numbers of them (how two centuries ago!). She meant it all in the nicest possible way :).

Susan said...

How can you read through Anne one-book-per-summer at a time, John? That's like chopping a piece of music into little bits, and listening to it a line at a time. You're butchering the beauty of the story! Oh, and if you're going to skip a book, skip Windy Poplars. It's not obligatory.

My church has kind of taken the "stealth" approach to Presbyterianism ;). (I'm not sure what there is to hide. . . )It is PCA, as the denomination's website lists, but the founding pastor didn't emphasize it much, which can be both good and bad. We are not to "follow Apollos", but it is good to make a church's positions obvious, methinks. *shrugs* We are in a transition with our new pastor and the site is woefully out of date, as the church is aware.

I'm so glad I gave you a laugh, Sherrin :). I know the feeling of laughing in a computer lab and trying to stifle my giggles. Sister Dear has a habit of sending amusing e-mails to me at the wrong moments ;).

Oh good, I'm so glad I achieved "readable" status on a few posts. My dear mother's encouragement in that direction has paid off, for now at least. My problem is that I always have way more to say than anyone would actually care to hear. Ecclesiastes 5:2 comes to mind right about now.

I loved your friend's "reasoning" that you belong in the 18th century. That's me :). I've also been told that I was born in the wrong century, but of course got placed me in this century for a reason. . . and I do love my air-conditioning ;).

John Dekker said...

That's like chopping a piece of music into little bits, and listening to it a line at a time.

LOL. There's an organ in Germany that's currently playing a piece of music written by John Cage. The performance is due to last 639 years.