An Idea: A Conference for Stay-At-Home Mothers

 

A quick dispatch from a homeschool conference; I think I’m in Pennsylvania. Someone else drove.

I’m planning on homeschooling our children (ages 4, 3 and 1 currently), and have been attending Charlotte Mason homeschool conferences for the last year and a half. Even though I don’t yet have children schooling, I find them helpful to keep in mind how my future homeschool will look on a day-to-day basis, but also immersing myself more in Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. This is a helpful guide to the philsophy; on which there are several curriculums available.

What I find also helpful about these conferences is it feels a lot like a professional development break to attend workshops and talk to other, more seasoned mothers, accustomed to juggling more children and different ages. With the talk of the Resurgent event buzzing at Ricochet currently, I thought to myself how beneficial it would be to have this sort of conference, geared for SAHMs, with inspirational speakers discussing the business of raising children, not just keeping them alive. There would be workshops on household management (I’m currently writing this in a nitty gritty workshop about how to plan meals, school work and chores on a week to week basis). Discussions of “Mother Culture” (things we moms should be doing for ourselves to keep ourselves growing personally) are also invaluable in order to maintain a focus on my own sanity and ensure I’m always learning and bettering myself, shaping better character and habits for myself, not just my kids.

Does something like this exist? If not, I wonder if it would be a beneficial activity for other stay-at-home mothers, homeschoolers or not.

 

There are 9 comments.

  1. Annefy Member

    My kids are grown now, but we had something very similar to what you describe.

    We called it Happy Hour.

    • #1
    • July 13, 2018, at 2:00 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    My wife and I — OK, almost entirely my wife — have homeschooled our 4 kids continually, for a total of 18 years so far. Our elder two kids are boys, and we homeschooled them through middle school. The plan is to homeschool the younger two, both girls, through the end of high school.

    You might consider acting or looking more locally. Some sort of national conference could be helpful and inspirational, but in my experience, a busy homeschooling mom generally doesn’t have the time or resources to take 3-4 days off for an out-of-state conference.

    I know of a state group, Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE, website here). You’re just barely too late for their annual convention (yesterday and today). Their website may have information about other state or national groups.

    We’ve had great success working with local homeschooling groups. We’ve been involved with two of them, both evangelical Christian in outlook. We were briefly involved with one that wasn’t Christian, but it was small and actually didn’t work very well. My suspicion is that it’s going to be hard to find a really good homeschool group that isn’t explicitly Christian.

    These are more than support groups. They have organized classes every week, special events like talent shows (way, way better than anything I’ve seen at a public school), and other activities and outings.

    If you’re interested in checking out these groups, their websites are:

    Christian Homeschool Educators of Tucson, Northwest (“CHET-NW”), website here.

    Quest for Education and Arts, website here.

     

    • #2
    • July 14, 2018, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I have another plug for thinking and acting more locally. It would be good, at a conference, to get insight from “other, more seasoned mothers, accustomed to juggling more children and different ages.”

    Here’s something better. Join a group in which there are a dozen (or more) such seasoned mothers, right in your community, meeting with you, and your kids, and their kids, every week. With their numbers on your cellphone if you have a question or need help. And who will actually come over to your house, right away, if you need help. And who will actually know your kids, individually, and thus be able to offer more personalized advice.

    By the way, this is not a chore, it’s a joy. “Meeting with” isn’t like a business meeting with a demanding or unpleasant client. It can be a pool party, or bowling, or a picnic.

    My wife just looked over my shoulder while I was writing this post, and she says that it also helps greatly if the dad is involved, especially if he teaches a class or acts as something like a principal.

    • #3
    • July 14, 2018, at 8:37 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Duane Oyen Member

    Boy, how did my mom survive? She had 3 kids in diapers in 1948 (included a set of twins), and lived in a war surplus trailer that did not have running water while my dad finished college via the GI Bill. Somehow, she stayed sane through all that, because everyone else was in the same situation.

    I’m not saying that Bethany’s ideas are bad or wrong, just wondering how previous generations survived these same sorts of challenges.

    • #4
    • July 14, 2018, at 8:43 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. Full Size Tabby Member

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Boy, how did my mom survive? She had 3 kids in diapers in 1948 (included a set of twins), and lived in a war surplus trailer that did not have running water while my dad finished college via the GI Bill. Somehow, she stayed sane through all that, because everyone else was in the same situation.

    I’m not saying that Bethany’s ideas are bad or wrong, just wondering how previous generations survived these same sorts of challenges.

    I think you answered your own question. :) 

    Therein I think is my recommendation for Bethany – associate with local people who are doing the same (general) thing, as @arizonapatriot suggests, who can provide immediate interaction. 

    I am a long time from the matter (my oldest child is the same age as @bethanymandel ), and we did not home school, but we did have a number of friends who did. Other than curriculum (which they got from national sources), they relied mostly on each other, including occasional trading of teaching, since some were really skilled in particular topics, and on local groups. 

    I also suspect that most of your local homeschool support will be explicitly evangelical Christian. I don’t know how Seth and Bethany would feel about that, but I’d be surprised if the Christians would object to having observant Jews among them, and they could probably be prevailed upon to minimize any inclination to try to convert you (!). We are evangelical Christians, and particularly with the children around, we found we usually had more in common with observant Jews than we did with most people in the wider culture.

    [Side note, I find the term “stay at home mother” an amusing misnomer. Although we didn’t homeschool, my “stay at home mother” wife was always going somewhere (the minivan had a license plate frame for “MTD – Mom’s Transit District”). Her “stay at home mother” and homeschooler friends were similarly often going hither and yon to grow those little children.]

    • #5
    • July 14, 2018, at 10:16 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Full Size Tabby Member

    OP:

    A quick dispatch from a homeschool conference; I think I’m in Pennsylvania. Someone else drove.

    Post line of the week! :-)

    • #6
    • July 14, 2018, at 10:18 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Stina Member

    Duane Oyen (View Comment):

    Boy, how did my mom survive? She had 3 kids in diapers in 1948 (included a set of twins), and lived in a war surplus trailer that did not have running water while my dad finished college via the GI Bill. Somehow, she stayed sane through all that, because everyone else was in the same situation.

    I’m not saying that Bethany’s ideas are bad or wrong, just wondering how previous generations survived these same sorts of challenges.

    Like Tabby said, its everyone in the same situation.

    Need companionship? Grab kids, fill a basket with food, and hop over to a friend’s house to share the load of watching kids, helping with chores, and chatting – raising tips, husband tips, cleaning and cooking.

    I am the only SAHM in my neighborhood and it is painfully obvious when the only children I ever hear playing are my own kids. They are loud… and it is painfully lonely for all of us. We don’t have friends (something I’m working on changing). I don’t homeschool, so I haven’t plugged into that network. I have recently found something that could work but still working on building those relationships.

    • #7
    • July 14, 2018, at 5:51 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Mrs. iWe has her obsession – quilting – and it has changed her life. So much of a mother’s world is rinse-and-repeat – from laundry to cleaning and even, to some extent, schooling. You go to bed, wake up, and do it all over again.

    The trick for my better half was to find something that grows from day to day (don’t rely on your kids to be that for you for a range of reasons), that you can look back on and say, “I built that.” The women I know who have found that kind of hobby/passion are much, much happier and settled than the ones who only did the gerbil-cage thing.

    I’d say, what with the blogging and activism, etc., that you are already on that path. But making it conscious is not insane.

    Have you listened to my speech yet? <nudge, nudge>

    • #8
    • July 15, 2018, at 2:35 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. MegConley Inactive

    We do this in the Mormon church, it’s not exclusively for SAHM or even moms in general, but we have an conference in each region once a year that is exclusively for women. Everything from – theology to financial planning to casserole making to mental health to career development to (last year!) the difficulty in grappling with our polygamous past – is covered. The quality can vary from place to place. The region I’m in right now has a particularly rich program each year. It’s only a day and I always wish it was longer.

    • #9
    • July 16, 2018, at 10:07 PM PDT
    • Like