Thursday, June 12
This might just look like empty tables and chairs in a big room to you, but I see something different.
This is a picture of the book fair in Houston on Saturday.
These tables and chairs should be filled up, but they were not. Five years ago, they would have been.
In fact, the book fair used to be so crowded that if you dropped something and bent over to pick it up, there may or
may not be room for you to stand up. The isles were filled with moms, kids, strollers, dads, wagons, suitcases on wheels
full of books.......to the point that you could hardly walk. It was more of a shuffle to get through all of it.
Not so, this year. The vendors were few, and the buyers even less. Yes, I know, some of them were upstairs attending workshops, but the halls of the great
Reliant Center were also almost empty. There was not even a line at Starbuck's this year. (what is this world coming to?)
So what happened?
I knew last year that things were going South, but I didn't think it would come to this. I had a list this year...
granted, it wasn't very long, but I did need a few things for the two girls we have left in school. I walked through the walk-ways with
ease, didn't bump into anybody, no crowds........and also hardly any of the vendors that we have gone to for the last 10-plus years.
ONE cd from No Greater Joy and a small pile of books from Rod and Staff. NOTHING else. This is the place we used to go to and come home with loads
of books we needed, some we just wanted, and even some we didn't need. Sparse is an understatement.
Where did all the people go?
The vendors? The moms in mini-vans and jumpers? The kids in wagons?
Was this year a result of people trying to save gas? Was it a result of vendors choosing the *other* book fair in Houston? Are people less interested in
book fairs because of the internet? Are we all so fixed and smart that we don't need work-shops to help us with English, math and cursive?
I always look at the book-fair as a once a year pep-rally for home-schoolers. We're talking about our kids here, the kids we say need to be taught and filled. This is important........but where were all the people?
Why should we attend conferences? If you are new at home-schooling it can be overwhelming to see hundreds of books, just for first grade, just for MATH!!!! But if you take time, you can weed through all of it and get what you think is good for your 6 year old. Yes it does take time, but remember, these kids need to be taught some things if they expect to make it through life........girls need to know how to double a recipe and figure out which salad dressing is the best value........boys need to be able to measure and figure somebody else's money. We, the home-school moms and dads are to teach them these things. So where do you get your books? You order them from the internet and hope they are what you want. Oh well......it isn't, we'll just have to suffer for a year, or just not use a $25 book. If you have home-schooled for years and don't need lots of books, you still need to go and see what is new. Sometimes the new things are better. Sometimes new things are ridiculous. You must go and decide and SEE what books would be the best.
We as moms OUGHT to be spending lots of time deciding on books and what each child needs, see what we've got and make out a list for each child. This is NOT a time to pinch the buffalo off of a nickel. My husband hasn't taught our kids English or cursive, but he has budgeted money for home-school books. Not one time, for the past 20 years have I heard him groan at the amount I asked for. He ASKS me how much I need, he doesn't tell me how much I am getting......and then proceed to tell me to make do. Neither has he said, "Well, it doesn't look like we get to buy books this year." Don't be surprised that it costs money to do this.
We have been home-schooling for a long time, and I still feel it necessary to GO. If you don't, one year slides into the next and there is no changing of the books, new pencils and different schedules. It's just plod, plod, plod. Nothing is ever new and fun. Learning isn't always fun, but moms ought to give it their best to make an enjoyable home-school. I know, I know, lots of people home-school year round.........lots of people have the *relaxed* home-school and they're learning all the time......just make sure your year round relaxed laid back home-school is not a result of ~~~~this is easier than putting effort and time into it~~~~~~~type of schooling. (that is a very possible thing)
We have kids, we have made a commitment to home-schooling and then find ourselves doing everything we can to spend less, do less and the results will be evident. No, you don't have to attend a book-fair to be successful. There's probably lots of moms that attend every year and still have *mommy burnout*. But why would we commit ourselves to something that takes 13 years for each child from start to finish and take very little interest in it?
A quote from Marilyn Rockett: Online options for information, workshops, and curriculum purchases are popular, and they are helpful and convenient i multiple ways. Still, it would be a shame for a generation of homeschooling parents to lose personal touch with the heart and soul of home education by missing the affirmative atmosphere of a convention. You can not replicate that on a computer screen.
To attend or not to attend? I would not miss the refreshment, fun, and fellowship for anything? Want to join me?
All that being said and knowing that the SESTHA book fair has changed for us, we WILL be going to the THSC book fair next year. We will do what we can to continue our quest to learn things for ourselves that we can pass on to our kids, even the 4 we have graduated. There is always something to learn and something to see and something to share at a book fair. What is in it for you? Whatever you put into it.