Feb. 7, 2023

GOAT #51: Helping Homeschool Mid Year Burnout

GOAT #51: Helping Homeschool Mid Year Burnout

Are you feeling the "mid year burnout?"  It's definitely real for homeschoolers!  Generally, the weather doesn't help much, and we're all trying to stay encouraged in our teaching and not get bogged down in the lessons that might just not be as exciting as they were at the beginning of the year!

In today's episode, Erin and Amanda discuss how they have struggled in their homeschools mid year and offer up some ways to encourage yourself.  Listen as they find ways for all types of homeschooling parents to find connection and encouragement to last the rest of the year.

Resources & Links
Bloom & Blossom Conferences
Clinton Home Educators (on Facebook)
Midwest Parent Educators

Be sure to subscribe to GOAT Homeschooling with Erin and Amanda wherever you listen to podcasts, and join us in continuing the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or via email.

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[00:00:00] Erin: Hello, welcome back to GOAT Homeschooling with Erin and Amanda. Today we're gonna talk to you a little bit about January burnout, second semester burnout, and some of the things that we're doing or have done that can stave off some of that burnout. And then we're gonna also talk about some of the questions that homeschoolers get asked.

[00:00:21] Erin: Or at least those of us who've done this a while, and hopefully you'll get some insight from our responses to those. 

[00:00:27] Erin: Welcome to GOAT Homeschooling with Erin and Amanda. I'm Erin. And I'm Amanda. This is the podcast to encourage moms that have been at this homeschooling gig longer than five years and plan on sticking with it through the high school years.

[00:00:41] Erin: The long haulers, as we like to say. We wanna help you have the greatest of all time homeschool that meets the needs of your family by encouraging you with real conversations on the issues that pop up as you've been in this homeschool lifestyle for years. 

[00:00:55] Amanda: So it'll be fun to try and see if there's people out there that made the encouragement and there's anything that we can do to help others as they get started on their journey, that'd be awesome.

[00:01:05] Amanda: That's what we're here for.

[00:01:09] Amanda: So basically we're just gonna unload, um, all of our mid-year, the mid-year crud on everybody's Right, right. Is that what that is? Right? Yeah. 

[00:01:18] Erin: Yeah. How are you holding up this school year? 

[00:01:21] Amanda: You know, not bad. . Not bad. Overall, I find myself bored a lot of the time, which is not healthy for the podcast because then I overdo things for the podcast and then I burn myself out and then I go stare at a wall for the wall.

[00:01:35] Amanda: It's, that's a problem with having only one left. Just wait, you know, in about 10 years you're gonna be doing this where you're like, I have one left now what do I do? Mm-hmm. . But your five year old's pretty busy, so, and my son, when he was. . It was pretty busy, but now he's like, mom, you're so cringe. So he's doing his own thing.

[00:01:55] Amanda: Mm-hmm. . And if I'm not sitting there watching anime with him when he is not doing school, then, you know, but yeah, overall it's not bad. He does most of his stuff without complaint and we move on and it's pretty low key. Mm-hmm. , how about yours? 

[00:02:09] Erin: It's trucking along. I can't say it's been like really, really an eventful lately, which is nice,

[00:02:16] Erin: Um, but yeah, we're getting our stuff done. We've got our routine schedule that we do. It's a little hectic in that regard, but yeah, 

[00:02:24] Amanda: we're good. You thrive off of that though, don't you? You thrive off of busyness. 

[00:02:29] Erin: Uh, I wouldn't say thrive off busyness, but I do like to have activities to do. Yeah. Because I don't like to be bored.

[00:02:35] Erin: Like you, like Yeah. Uh, are facing right now. I, I like to, yeah. I like to keep myself and my kids busy and I've got four kids that I'm homeschooling this year, so we've got lots of different interests and sports and activities Dance. , those kinds of things. We do a drop off co-op, so Yeah. 

[00:02:55] Amanda: Yeah. You know, and my son is like, he, he says, mom, I'm doing the stay at home policy.

[00:03:00] Amanda: And so I asked him if he wants to go do things like there are homeschool dances and there are mm-hmm. , you know, lots of drop off activities and there's lots of, we could go to church, you know, he is, there's youth groups. He could, there's probably five or six youth groups he could pick. Mom, I'm just, I'm abiding by the stay at home policy, so if it's allowing him to stay at home, he'll do it.

[00:03:23] Amanda: But if he has to leave, which I'm finding is opposite of most 14 year olds, a lot of them. Mm-hmm. , a lot of our friends and people that have kids his age are like, You know, they, they, their parents are seen as taxi drivers and they want to go everywhere and not my kid. I, I don't know how to change that.

[00:03:42] Amanda: I'm gonna go drop him off at your house and make him run around with you for a couple of 

[00:03:45] Erin: days. , he'll be, uh, in a culture shock, I think. Yeah, he would, 

[00:03:51] Amanda: he wouldn't know how to handle that, but that might not be a bad thing. Well, 

[00:03:54] Erin: I mean, you might as well just come along then, then I can hang out with you, 

[00:03:57] Amanda: right?

[00:03:57] Amanda: Yeah, I might, that would stave off my boredom and, yeah. 

[00:04:01] Erin: Yeah. See we're finding solutions already , so I have had the opportunity in the last week to speak at a couple of events, uh, for homeschool moms. Such. Shout out to Amber and Megan and Claire and, uh, Larissa and all the ladies that I got to meet at the Bloom and Blossom Winter.

[00:04:23] Erin: It's nice to meet you. And then I also came down to, uh, Clinton Home Educators and got to hang out with some ladies and hosted a mom's tea in Kansas City with several ladies. So Rachel, hi and all our friends there Danny. Um, so it's been really fun to do those kinds of things for other moms cuz I find like where I really, I think what I love to do is not to be out of the house all the time, but I do really love encouraging other women.

[00:04:50] Erin: And I mean, I can stay in the house and do this podcast and I love doing that, but, um, I'm just really finding that what helps me with my own burnout is connection with other women who are also, because like I, I feel like, and I know that we don't talk about the hard stuff that much. I mean, you and I do, but , you know, a lot of people just don't.

[00:05:11] Erin: And so we get to January, we get to the second semester, and we're like, oh, we're so burned out, but we don't wanna talk about it. We just wanna like put the face on. Go do the things and you know, when we catch up on screens, everything looks good because I could show you a picture of like a cheeseburger I'm eating and you're like, oh, you're living your best life,

[00:05:32] Erin: I'm crying in that cheeseburger. That is soggy. 

[00:05:38] Amanda: Oh, man. Yeah, I, you know, I'm really glad that you were able to go and do your talks and I support you in that completely. And, um, I might, you know, there might be a day that I, that I go do that, but it's not today. I can see, you know, uh, God working in me a little bit to do more writing and mm-hmm.

[00:05:56] Amanda: um, maybe that's the way that I can encourage and, and connect with other people and, and through the written word versus speak. . And if I'm speaking with someone one-on-one, like what you and I do most of the time, or even one-on two, you have a group of three or four people maybe. Yeah. In those very, very small groups.

[00:06:12] Amanda: And I can do that because that is the connection for me. Um, speaking to a large group of people, if, you know, my mom was really big, she was a really big cusser. She loved using foul language. And I know that that's not necessarily the Christian way. There are Christians that curse. I understand that. But, um, most, the majority, most of them don't.

[00:06:30] Amanda: When I have spoken in a front of a large group of people, When I get nervous, that's what I do. , . Oh no. And I have, I have found myself saying inappropriate words in two large groups. And so maybe, uh, public speaking's not quite for me yet. I have to figure out how to, how to not do that so much, you know? So we could talk, we could certainly speak to the masses and the, during the podcast, and I can watch my mouth, but, you know, being raised in that environment, it takes a lot to pull that out of you, you know, , that is so cool.

[00:07:03] Amanda: And get rid of it. Yeah. You know, trying to speak for, I was getting my WILA medallion in a church in front of all of my family and friends, and I had to say something I did not know super far in advance that I needed to say something. And there was a couple of words that came out that should not have come out.

[00:07:21] Amanda: And thankfully no one ever said anything to me, but that was like 25, 30 years. and it still bugs me. , , you know those things, you see those memes you'd lay awake at night thinking about the conversation you had 12 years ago, that's still bothering you. You know, like mm-hmm. , that's, that's one of those that still bothers me.

[00:07:40] Erin: That's hilarious. . Oh my goodness. So January burnout, some of the things like we talked about, getting around other women, encouraging them, however that is. And like Amanda is pointing out, like we are all gifted in so many different ways. And whether that is you bake some muffins that are gluten free and bring them to your friend who needed some muffins, you know, and you just say, Hey, and you just dropped them off.

[00:08:04] Erin: Like something as simple as that 

[00:08:06] Amanda: for me. Who doesn't need muffins? Everyone needs muffins at some point in time in their. And they might as well be gluten free. Yeah. Mm-hmm. make '

[00:08:13] Erin: em healthier. Yeah. So, uh, another thing that we're doing in this burnout or what I find myself doing is looking ahead to something that's exciting and that's always like whipping out a new planner and starting planning my next school year and then, Not wanting to finish out this school year because I'm just like so excited about what , what else there is going on.

[00:08:35] Erin: Do you do that? 

[00:08:36] Amanda: I have, you know, I'm annoying about when I do things, I get really annoying about it and, um, So, yeah, I've been kind of looking at next year and, uh, making some plans and preparing my attack with how I, uh, involve other people in, into that plan. Yeah. Especially with like co-op, like we're gonna look at co-op next year.

[00:08:57] Amanda: Well, what kind of classes? and the other women at, at my co-op want nothing to do with next year in January. You know, they're the ones that wait until June or July to start talking about next year. And by then I've got new gray hair and bald patches from pork uhoh waiting for them to like tell me what they wanna do.

[00:09:13] Amanda: Cuz I do that. I plan ahead. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And you know, mid-year I'm doing a lot of projects too. It's like it's winter. There's, there's not a whole lot going on outside. Mm-hmm. . And so I, because of my boredom, I will start, well, what can I learn? And I think a lot of us as homeschoolers have that kind of growth mindset.

[00:09:33] Amanda: And they, we always, we're always learning, we're always wanting to do new things. . And so what can I learn? Mm-hmm. , what can I, what kind of craft can I get? What can I buy on Amazon that can teach me something, you know, do, or do you spend all of January coloring, you know, when you're not running the kids around or reading , you know, like, that's what I do.

[00:09:50] Amanda: I, I find projects and so I've had the spinning wheel, and so I'm trying to do this stupid spinning wheel and I wanna throw it in the burn pit. Mm-hmm. , because it's not working the way I want it to work, but I'm determined because it's still winter, right? Mm-hmm. , and what else am I gonna do with. Sorry, Erin, what were you gonna say?

[00:10:05] Amanda: Here I go off on tape. Just shut me up, 

[00:10:06] Erin: girl. No, you're fine. I'm listening. Um, because I think that what you're saying is true. A lot of people find different ways. You've got hobbies, you've got gardening, you've got projects. Some of us cope with winter blues or feeling burnout by finding a new thing to do.

[00:10:21] Erin: Others of us just in like retreat inside and just kind of wanna, you know, do nothing extra and everything. Like by this time I know there's people who are like, yep, co-OP's gone. We're not doing this class anymore. We're totally de you know, getting rid of all of those things. So to say all of that, there's no wrong way or right.

[00:10:42] Erin: To handle the burnout or the fatigue of the school year. It's just finding what works for you and your family and that could look different year to year. Uh, for some of us it's looking forward and for some of us it's just staying like really hyper focused on where we're at right now and finishing that out, and then taking the summer off.

[00:11:00] Erin: Yeah, it could be a lot of things. So you mentioned co-ops. Are you still doing the same co-op next year or have you thought 

[00:11:08] Amanda: about As far as I know, as, as far as I know, I'm still doing the same one. I need to have that conversation with the other ladies. But yeah, it's just four of us moms and so we'll keep going with it until we don't, I guess.

[00:11:19] Amanda: But yeah, this year we're doing science and life skills and. literature, and so I'm thinking maybe next year, because our kids are all in different places, maybe next year we should do something like non-core. Mm-hmm. , um, class. Maybe they, they should take a foreign language or maybe they can do a music class or maybe they can do an art classroom like that together, where the high schoolers that are in that can earn the high school credits for those non-core classes, and the younger kids can have the introduction to those items that could be expanded.

[00:11:52] Amanda: when they get into the high school years, you know, and most of our kids are from, I think the oldest is 16 and the youngest is like 11 or 12. So we're talking middle school, high school ages here. So all those non-core classes would probably be good to do. We don't necessarily have to do core classes, but um, yeah, he'll do something different for science and some of those core classes next year.

[00:12:12] Amanda: So it'd be good to do non. 

[00:12:14] Erin: Yeah. I find that's the hard thing with high schooling and homeschooling and co-ops, because I was talking to another friend yesterday just kind of realizing a lot of the friends that our kids made, it was through field trip groups or co-ops. They did when they were little, and that's kind of where you start building your friend circles in that co-op.

[00:12:35] Erin: So then as they move on to high school, like you said, they're really specific. Have goals and careers and what they wanna do after high school. So then it gets really, really hard to mesh the high schoolers schedules So, . I know a lot of moms like to farm out language arts and science. Mm-hmm. for their high schoolers.

[00:12:54] Erin: And that's typically when they're looking for like an a la carte type co-op. They want those two things because they don't know or understand those things and sometimes math. So I would say those three things are pretty much what a lot of high school moms are looking at. I don't know that I'm necessarily looking for core things at a co-op for my high schooler, but then it, that also gets tricky because we're all looking at different electives.

[00:13:17] Erin: So, um, it'd be interesting to hear from some of our listeners, if you wanna leave a comment on our Facebook group, our discussion page. Uh, go ho homeschooling discussion. Uh, what do you look for in a co. For your high schooler. Yes. Don't be. 

[00:13:32] Amanda: So what are you gonna do, Erin? You're gonna have one graduated at the end of the year.

[00:13:36] Erin: Yes. Year. So my street cred will go way up with my homeschooling crowd. , cuz I will have graduated a child. . Is 

[00:13:43] my 

[00:13:43] Amanda: street cred high? Because I, I've graduated one. I didn't know that. I feel like I need to monopolize on that somehow. How do I ? How do I capitalize? 

[00:13:52] Erin: Yeah, I don't know. But I just feel like once you've hit that, that bar that's so high, you know, it's like once you have like little ones and you get into middle school, then it's like, ooh, you have a middle schooler and then you have a high schooler and it's like, oh, high school.

[00:14:03] Erin: You're doing high school. I could never cue that. Mm-hmm. . And then it's, oh, you've graduated one. Oh, what does that even look like? So we. That's took in level four of homeschooling. 

[00:14:12] Amanda: Right? Well, you know, if you can imagine a, a prairie full of beautiful wildflowers and just frolicking in the prairie, that's what it's like to graduate a child from homeschooling.

[00:14:24] Amanda: Right, Erin? Yeah. It's all peaches and cream and daisies and. Lil's. 

[00:14:29] Erin: It's the easiest thing I've ever done. . . Yeah, right. 

[00:14:34] Amanda: Nope. Nope. So, so, but you're gonna have another one that's still in high school? Well, actually you're gonna 

[00:14:38] Erin: have two in high school next year. Two high schoolers. Yeah, freshman and a junior.

[00:14:41] Erin: So, 

[00:14:42] Amanda: so they, they're not gonna do co-ops, are they? Your older one's not doing co-ops. . 

[00:14:46] Erin: Well, my older one ages out of the co-op, that's a drop off. That's an enrichment program. So I don't know. But I don't want him to be home all the time. He does have a job. Right. So 

[00:14:57] Amanda: that's, you could send him to my house and he could do farm chores and that could be life skills for him.

[00:15:01] Amanda: like we can teach him how to haul hay from across the fingers. 

[00:15:04] Erin: Yeah. Uh, I don't know. So I don't know what I'm doing with him yet. That's still up in the air. And then, Soon to be ninth grader. We'll continue on at the drop-off program because it goes through 10th grade, so he's got two more years and my little one will be at that program as well because that's the only day that I have silence.

[00:15:23] Erin: Excellent. That's 

[00:15:23] Amanda: beautiful. Oh, not giving, you know what, I just thought of something your older son could be doing. Like he, we could teach him tech stuff with the podcast. Like he could be our support person on the, he could be graphics. We could teach him Canva. Do all that. That'd be cool. Right? Like he could be our intern.

[00:15:41] Amanda: He could be our 

[00:15:42] Erin: intern. There we go. That's big dreaming. That's fantastic. I don't know, he's, I don't know if you g into that. Dunno. We 

[00:15:50] Amanda: can convince him. We have time . I'll have, I'll have my son text him and tell him, Hey, okay, 

[00:15:55] Erin: you do that . So yeah, that's for co-ops, that's kind of, it's up in the air for us. I don't know what I'm doing next year.

[00:16:04] Erin: I am really looking forward to having my first graduate. That's just gonna be exciting and 

[00:16:10] Amanda: I'm thrilled. Absolutely thrilled for you to have her. Yeah, be done. It's fantastic. I know it's been a long road to ho. 

[00:16:17] Erin: Yeah. So another thing that we're looking at in the next couple months, or at least, well, you're coming conventions, how many of you guys come to conventions, your state convention or conferences like that?

[00:16:30] Erin: I love doing stuff like that. 

[00:16:32] Amanda: Yeah, you know, I've been homeschooling, this is our 10th year and I have yet to go to a 

[00:16:37] Erin: conference. That's hard for me to believe. I mean, not because it's you, but just like that, anyone would not want to go to a conference , 

[00:16:45] Amanda: you know, it's not that I don't want to go, but I, early on in my early years, I thought, you know, there's gonna be so many vendors there, and I had heard so many good things about it.

[00:16:53] Amanda: I mean, people. With good intention saying, oh, there's so many vendors. There's like a hundred vendors at this conference, and there's all these speakers and there's all these wonderful things. And that sounds great to a lot of people. And then when someone says that to me or people like me, I'm like, yeah, that sounds too peopley.

[00:17:10] Amanda: There's a lot of, that means there's a lot of people there. Like we're talking like in the hundreds, probably a difficult place. Thousands place to, yeah. Difficult finding, difficult places to park, you know, actually having to. Keep on the nice face for a long period of time. Mm-hmm. , um, can be a challenge for me depending on mood I'm in.

[00:17:27] Amanda: So I've just, I've avoided it to the, to date, I've avoided it. I'm not completely, I'm not against conferences. I think conferences are great and they have their place and when you come back with all this cool stuff that you find at conferences, I'm a little jelly. Cause then, then it's too late for me to do it.

[00:17:42] Amanda: To like, go with you and see all these cool things that you've seen. Yeah. I just haven't, I haven't had. The motivation, the motivation to go has not outweighed the motivation to stay home. Okay, 

[00:17:55] Erin: so let's talk about the pros and cons of convention potential. Yeah. Okay. So a potential pro would be, , all the networking, all the people.

[00:18:05] Erin: For me, that would be a pro. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. For you, that's a potential 

[00:18:08] Amanda: con, that's a con, big fat con. Yes. 

[00:18:11] Erin: So, and I think 

[00:18:13] Amanda: is a good, networking is a good thing. Like, I like networking. I like talking to people, but having it all in, you know, it's just all in one place. Uhhuh, , that's, that's where it turned into a con for.

[00:18:24] Amanda: Yeah. 

[00:18:24] Erin: Okay. So another pro could be, I mean, you get to touch everything. If you're a very tactile person and very sensory seeking as a mom, it's really, really nice to go smell the new books. Mm-hmm. to touch all the things, to be able to hold it in your hand. Flip through the pages like I am very visual learner, so if you're a visual learner, Might be a really good option for you to go to a conf conference or a convention where there's a vendor hall.

[00:18:49] Erin: Mm-hmm. . Um, so a, a con would be if you get too sensory overloaded Yes. 

[00:18:55] Amanda: Then that would be needed. You know, if you have 15 vendors all with a science curriculum and you have one day to look at all of them and try to make a decision in order to get that price that they're offering just at that day, whew.

[00:19:07] Amanda: That's a lot of brain power to try and sort through all of that. So that's where that can turn into a con 

[00:19:11] Erin: for me anyway. Yeah. So pro tip, when you are going to a conference, Make sure that you already kind of have an idea of what curriculum that you want to use, so do your research before you show up. Mm.

[00:19:23] Erin: What I've done in the past is find a list of all the vendors and then research the ones that interest me, and then what I would do is print out. A form of the vendor hall, you know, the map of it, if they have that available. And then I highlight which vendor booths that I wanna go to. And I would literally draw a path of where I would walk to hit the ones that I had already researched and found like, okay, so sunlight or whatever it's gonna be at this convention.

[00:19:49] Erin: I wanna check out that booth, so that's booth, whatever number I'm gonna hit that booth at this time. And then after I purchased all the things that I came to purchase, then I would allow myself to walk and hit the other 

[00:20:01] Amanda: booths. Excellent. Because that's excellent idea. If, if you can take the time to do that ahead of time, I think that would probably mm-hmm.

[00:20:08] Amanda: reduce significantly the overwhelm 

[00:20:10] Erin: for sure. Yeah, because you definitely can feel some decision fatigue. At least I do when I'm faced. Four different sciences and all of this, like all inclusive stuff. And then, oh, I didn't even know there was an elective on underwater basket weaving. And now here I am buying all the books,

[00:20:29] Erin: So yeah, pro tip, plan your trip out in advance. Another um, potential con can be the cost. Sometimes conventions can be very costly, especially if you have to travel. Thankfully there's one in Kansas City close to us that I wouldn't. To necessarily travel to and book a hotel. Um, although that is a pro for me that I take that weekend and I do that very thing, get the hotel room, stay a couple days, have time to process and have a quiet place to go because I, as much as I love the networking, I do get overwhelmed by the noise.

[00:21:04] Erin: Mm-hmm. and all of the decisions. And I do like to take some time in the afternoon to just go and sit by myself and read. talk to my family or whatever. 

[00:21:14] Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. A pro, you know, the timing of conventions are always in the spring. Mm-hmm. , but that's also a con because when you have people like me that are gardeners mm-hmm.

[00:21:25] Amanda: and that have animals, that's kidding season, that's seed planting season. That's preparation for the growing season. And so that can be difficult to plan out. Okay. You know, I mean, I have March and April. and even into May, there are seed starting days in there and we're getting stuff in the garden. Things are starting to grow.

[00:21:48] Amanda: I've got three goats that are due with babies at the beginning part of March. Mm-hmm. , you don't know how that's gonna go, so I don't wanna plan to attend something like that. Within a couple of weeks of when the mm-hmm. , because you don't know what I mean, it's like planning a baby, you know, if you're pregnant, right.

[00:22:04] Amanda: You're planning to have a baby in that time period. You don't wanna buy tickets for something two weeks after you're due rights. True. Because you don't know if you're gonna have complications. True. Are you gonna have babies in nicu? Like, I mean, who knows what's gonna happen? . And so, um, the best laid plans are always the ones that kick you in the pants.

[00:22:19] Amanda: Mm-hmm. afterwards, right? Mm-hmm. . So I always, I wanted thinking about that. Like, even though there, it would be cool to go to some, I'm thinking, you know, I would spend the money, get a ticket. This is the whole Murphy's Law thing, right? You spend the money, you get a ticket. , and then, and then you have issues.

[00:22:35] Amanda: And after that then you're milking. And I'm the only one in my house that milks, so I, you know, my kids and my husband don't go out and milk goats mm-hmm. . Um, and so I'm gonna have three goats that I have to milk twice a day for the foreseeable future, at least for the next, like four or five months. And I know that there's probably people listening that also have goats or mm-hmm.

[00:22:56] Amanda: have gardens and, you know, have a focus for that uhuh. So that's, that's a con That's true. Yeah. The timing. If they had 'em. Yeah. Oh gosh. Even if they had 'em in the summertime, that'd be hard. . So you talk about like having a hotel room and stuff and I'm like, yeah, that sounds nice. Buthuh. Who's gonna do my chores?

[00:23:14] Amanda: That's like 

[00:23:14] Erin: the next one. Yeah. Yeah. Well, so, okay. . Yeah. That's all a lot of legitimate reasons. , thankfully to me. Cause I, I'm not an animal person. , my rabbit doesn't need to be milked . 

[00:23:28] Amanda: I thought that'd be funny if they did. Oh gosh. . Um, 

[00:23:32] Erin: but on the, on the, on the pro side with the cost is, I know that some conventions, if you volunt.

[00:23:39] Erin: For a certain amount of time in the vendor hall or uh, reception or whatever they give you free entry or admission. So that's actually what I'm going to do for one of the ones coming up soon, hopefully, uh, to be able to save costs because I will have travel costs to get there. So there are ways that if you really wanna go, you can find an affordable way to do that.

[00:24:02] Erin: Whether that's like, uh, a lot of years I'll book a room with a friend who I can room. and we split the cost and it works out really well because we kind of have narrowed each other down to like, okay, you're someone that I could stay with. Mm-hmm. have my downtime, not feel obligated to have conversation with.

[00:24:19] Erin: Um, so finding a good roommate would be a, a good thing. There's 

[00:24:21] Amanda: no task of friendship that there is a, you know, There, there's no greater test of friendship than there is one that you can travel with, you know, if you can travel with a friend. Right. That's like next level. Yeah. Yeah. Because you, that's, those are like the most stressful moments is when you're, uh, traveling with your friend and finding out all those little idiosyncrasies you 

[00:24:41] Erin: wouldn't another otherwise see.

[00:24:42] Erin: Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Um, I would say another pro to the conventions is being able to sit in on the different sessions with the speakers. A con though of that, that I've found is sometimes I look at the speaker list and the topics, they're discuss, they're discussing and they just don't apply to me. Or I might find like one and it's.

[00:25:02] Erin: I don't know. The timing of it isn't right, or it's just before lunch, or I, I have to leave that late in the afternoon. So I find that sometimes going to different conventions, the speaker's topic is not relevant to me because it's like brand new to homeschooling, you know? Mm-hmm. , here's the law or whatever, which those classes are fantastic for people, but like for the people like me.

[00:25:22] Erin: Then the other thing that I see happening is because there are so many people writing books and pushing their merch, that sometimes it just feels like a vendor sales. and I'm like, oh, I really thought we were gonna talk about the topic of what you're pitching, you know? But now you're just talking about your product.

[00:25:38] Amanda: So basically what you're saying is, is that you need to start holding classes at conventions, , 

[00:25:44] Erin: that's what you're saying? No, that's not what I'm saying at all. . Oh, Amanda, you pushed me so far. . You have higher hopes than 

[00:25:54] Amanda: I do. . You know, I just, I just flight ideas, man. You can, you just gotta pick 'em up and throw 'em down or pick 'em up and take 'em.

[00:26:02] Amanda: It's up to you. That's so funny what 

[00:26:03] Erin: you do with it. No. Um, but if you do find that the speaker list is great, and I have had some really great sessions that I've sat in with some people that I follow on Instagram or on social media. Some really, there's some funny homeschool moms. Like we have a pool of really talented women who have chosen this profession of home education and for those that capitalize on that and put products out that are fantastic or books like I Love, I'm an avid reader, I will buy all the books.

[00:26:31] Erin: Yeah. There's just so many talented homeschooler women, so I love supporting Pro of Convention is supporting all the small businesses because you do have a lot of vendors that are. Mom and pops, they're homeschool parents just like you. They've found the thing that works for their family and they've marketed it and they've produced something that's super helpful for other parents.

[00:26:52] Erin: I mean, several of the bigger homeschool companies started out that way. It was just a mom who needed something for her, just like, like child, or you know, whatever, a struggling learner. And now here you go. Here's a course. And she's teaching you the things that she's learned on her own. And I love, love, love supporting that.

[00:27:09] Erin: So that was. If I can sales pitch for you to support conventions, uh, if you possibly can do it, because there are so many great small businesses 

[00:27:19] Amanda: out there. You know, we need to do like an online convention. Yeah, we should do that. A 

[00:27:24] Erin: third of those. Yeah, I've, I've seen some of those. So another point to the cool convention discussion would be,

[00:27:30] Erin: A lot of times the conventions offer audio or video files that you can purchase before, um, for a discount or after whatever, the convention of the talks. And you can actually have access to the, yeah, to the talks. Oh, cool. So if you can't make it in person, you can still support the convention itself.

[00:27:48] Erin: Because another thing I've seen is a lot of the state organizations hosting conventions sometimes are being pushed out by bigger corporate. Um, conventions and I mean, there's pros and cons to having a lot more money backing up your convention. You can get bigger names and that kind of thing, but then those smaller conventions are kind of pushed out or, you know, if they're around the same time of the month or the year.

[00:28:17] Erin: People have to choose, and a lot of times people will make that choice to go to the bigger one. Mm-hmm. , even though, you know, we have a really great local one, I'm gonna shout out to Midwest Parent Educators. Their convention is March 31st, and. April 1st. It's over that weekend. So the tickets are available now.

[00:28:35] Erin: You can sign up. They have a full children's program. It's fantastic. Their vendor hall's great. Their speaker lineup is great. I love supporting them. And now this is not a paid ad at all, . I just, they're friends and, uh, we 

[00:28:47] Amanda: love to support that. We need to send them an email, shouldn't 

[00:28:49] Erin: we? Like, hey, we should, yeah.

[00:28:51] Erin: Yeah. So what else about conventions? Do you have any other pros, cons that you've thought 

[00:28:55] Amanda: of? No, I'm, I'm trying to think. They're, I'm like parking. There're all day. Like I can, I can load you up on cons. You know, connection is definitely a pro cuz you can get a lot of conve connections with other homeschoolers.

[00:29:12] Amanda: Mm-hmm. . Um, and I'm sure that another pro would be that people watching is probably top notch. Yeah. Conventions. It's good. There's a lot of different types 

[00:29:20] Erin: of people out there. Yeah. 

[00:29:21] Amanda: Yeah. So that would be a pro . I think I need to have, I'm thinking of recon, but I'm trying to be balanced here. But yeah, go ahead.

[00:29:29] Amanda: Sorry. 

[00:29:29] Erin: Maybe that's your area of growth challenge that I can push you in going to a, a convention with me for one day and we can vlog it or something. , oh my goodness. And a 

[00:29:39] Amanda: reaction video. You know, it's rare. You can't tell what's what I'm thinking by looking at my face. So yeah, I mean like, I wouldn't probably have to even say anything.

[00:29:49] Amanda: You just know exactly what I'm thinking. 

[00:29:51] Erin: Or maybe you'll use like what SpongeBob causes those sentence enhancers that you were talking earlier. 

[00:29:57] Amanda: sentence enhancers. Yes. Oh my god. Oh man. I'm trying, I try so hard to avoid them. I do. Yeah. But some, you know, sometimes people just make me just go there. 

[00:30:07] Erin: Okay.

[00:30:09] Erin: Sort of wrapping up the convention talk conversation. Yeah, go ahead. Conversation. Another option. And I did actually get you to sign up for this one. I'm so excited. Women's Encouragement Day. Yeah. 

[00:30:20] Amanda: I went last year. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We, I'm not going this year, but I did go last year. You didn't sign up? No, we didn't talk about it.

[00:30:26] Amanda: You signed up? No, we didn't talk about it. Um, and then, and then it sold out. I was thinking about it and then it sold out, and then I have gardening plans that day. Yeah. Women's Encouragement Day was good. And I, I think it's not just us that has the Women's Encouragement Day. I think there's lots of conventions countrywide.

[00:30:41] Amanda: Yeah. That. Something similar to that, if not that same thing. Or 

[00:30:45] Erin: local, local organizations. Right. Sometimes 

[00:30:48] Amanda: host them, which is nice. Yeah, there's a lot of really good things. There's pros and cons to that too, for sure. Mm-hmm. . 

[00:30:53] Erin: Um, so what we're talking about for anyone that doesn't have one of these is just, uh, homeschool specific.

[00:30:59] Erin: Day for moms to go. Women's Encouragement Day is what M P E holds. The Midwest Parent Educators that also has the convention. There's also another one in Springfield. It's Christina Carpenter that we've had on before a couple times. The Bloom and Blossom conference, and that's in April. So it's just a day typically from like eight 30 or nine ish till three or four ish.

[00:31:18] Erin: Mm-hmm. . So a whole day you eat lunch, it's catered. There's different sessions, panels of discuss. . So if you don't have something like that, and maybe you want to, I mean, you can reach out to us and we can talk you through some of what that looks like. Set 

[00:31:31] Amanda: one up. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It just takes, it takes someone that's motivated to put it together to do it with that kind of vision.

[00:31:37] Amanda: You know, we've seen that with Christina where she had a vision of Yeah, what that might look like, and she did it. I mean, she initially, she was a one man show when we first talked to her with her first Bloom and Blossom. It was pretty, pretty amazing to see what she was doing, and so if you are motivated and you feel like your community needs that, your local community needs that, then absolutely reach out to us.

[00:32:00] Amanda: We can connect you with Christina. Maybe she can give you some guidelines and we can kind of help you along and help you figure out how to do that. But. , there's a lot of churches that'd be more than willing to open up their doors for a day and, you know, you're just really pouring into women. Mm-hmm. , um, and, and encouraging them.

[00:32:16] Amanda: And we had speakers, there were speakers lined up mm-hmm. , um, that were, they had testimony that they, and that was pretty encouraging. And then of course they have merged and so on and so forth, but mm-hmm. , um, you know, snacks, they had like a whole gluten-free snack table, which I thought was. Us gluten frees don't really get that.

[00:32:35] Amanda: Mm-hmm. in a lot of places. And so that was nice and to be thought of in that way. Yeah. Um, well, and I 

[00:32:41] Erin: find that, that's the ones that I've been to, the moms are homeschool moms. It's not like it's some sort of event company that's planning these things. These are women who are in the trenches homeschooling, thinking what they would wish that they would've had.

[00:32:55] Erin: You know, a lot of it's veteran homeschool moms that are running these things who've been doing this a long time, just like. and those are always encouraging things. So with the, the whole pro con thing of numbers and people, if you're not as people a more introverted or sensory overload, these types of events are somewhat smaller.

[00:33:12] Erin: Mm-hmm. than the conventions. You're talking maybe a couple hundred people. At a time instead of a couple huge thousands of people. Usually it's, yeah, a church parking lot versus an event, uh, center parking. You know, we've got, 

[00:33:27] Amanda: yeah, the encouragement day. When we had the encouragement day last year, it was, I mean, there were probably 200, 250 women there, but I, it was just the women, like you didn't, there was maybe one or two men in the whole.

[00:33:39] Amanda: and they were the speakers and the presenters, like the people, the organizer's husband, like helping, helping sort things and haul things and stuff. So that was nice to know that it was just all women mostly. And of course nursing babies were there. Mm-hmm. . And that was fun. And you know, there's a certain level of comfort that comes with that.

[00:33:55] Amanda: And knowing that. Mm-hmm. , you're sitting in a room full of people that are just like you and. . And that's nice just to be kind of, you have that comradery, right? 

[00:34:05] Erin: Yeah. So you have that, and I always market that to my husband as those are my professional development days. And if I was in a career where I was getting paid, I would definitely need yearly training or monthly or whatever.

[00:34:17] Erin: You know, any job I've had before, we were required to do a certain amount of hours of training in our field, right? Mm-hmm. . So I kind of see this. Mom who is maybe hesitant to participate in, in something like that if you have the finances available and, you know, cost is cheaper for like a women's day event versus a convention event cost.

[00:34:36] Erin: So maybe save five bucks a month for the year. I don't know. 

[00:34:40] Amanda: Yeah, I think last year it was like $25 or something for the ticket if you're a member of the organization. Yeah. So, you know, and, and if you're putting one together, it doesn't have to be a costly endeavor. Right. You know, especially if you. You can get volunteers for things like that where you can, you know, someone can donate their church or they can donate their supplies and um mm-hmm.

[00:35:01] Amanda: there are companies that are homeschooling and they can ride off the cost of food or, you know, whatever it is. So there is a way to do that pretty inexpensively, and it may still make it pretty special. 

[00:35:11] Erin: Yeah. And so I, I guess too, for the whole burnout convention, co-ops, all this connection talk, another easy thing is, Maybe you have a couple of your mom friends and maybe one of you has.

[00:35:25] Erin: Uh, connection to a lake house or a cabin or something like that where you can make it even a smaller little retreat for an afternoon or go have coffee. I mean, I guess the point is no matter how big or small you wanna go to make connection or network or learn or grow or be taught something new or check out curriculum, there's ways to.

[00:35:46] Erin: That you can find to do that, to meet your comfort level. Mm-hmm. . So if you're very peopley, not peopley. If you have a big budget. If you don't have a big budget, the point is, whatever way you choose, whatever is comfortable for you, make the time. Set aside that time. and commit to it. Mm-hmm. and you won't be disappointed.

[00:36:05] Erin: Especially this time of the year where it's winter, you know, a lot of times it's super cold, there's not a lot going on. Our schedules are clear. This is a perfect time. Or even, you know, the community center. Rent a room for an afternoon, go in on it with a couple other ladies and just bring your planners and start looking at curriculum or whatever your, you know, curriculum catalogs.

[00:36:26] Erin: Bring your laptop, make it a little professional workday. 

[00:36:30] Amanda: That'd be kind of, . 

[00:36:31] Erin: Yeah. Yeah. There's all kinds of options. 

[00:36:33] Amanda: Even just meeting it at Starbucks, you know, sit around to, cuz they, they don't really care if you're sitting there for a long time. Right. You know, get your cup of coffee and, and spread out throughout the whole place.

[00:36:45] Erin: And you know, a place that I really love going at night around like seven, eight, when people are not really there, is the grocery store because usually there's a seating area that's pretty quiet. Yeah. and you can just sit there. You don't have to buy anything. You could get your groceries afterwards. Like that's kind of sometimes what I would do.

[00:37:04] Erin: We've 

[00:37:04] Amanda: done that. We did a, a devotional, we did like a bible study thing. Did Bible study there? Yeah. At a grocery store. That was kind of a weird place to go, but once you go and you go and you, you find your, People sitting in, in the chairs. Mm-hmm. next to the employees of the grocery stores having their break.

[00:37:19] Amanda: But, um, right. , you know, it's kind of nice cuz you can still get a drink. You can still get a snack. You can, you know, a lot of those grocery stores will have salad bars and, and it's, yeah. It's free to sit there and, um, and it's private and nobody else thinks of that. So now that we've said it, we'll see that across the country where there's thousands of people invading their grocery stores just to sit down.

[00:37:41] Amanda: in the, whatever you call it, the communal area, cafeteria. The cafeteria section of the grocery store. Yeah. 

[00:37:47] Erin: Yeah. . Yeah. Well, hopefully some of these ideas have struck you. If you were on the fence about going to a convention, maybe we push you over the edge and you're like, never, I'm never gonna do that . Or maybe you're like, oh, you know, maybe I'll do it this year.

[00:38:00] Erin: Maybe I should sign up. Whatever you ch choose to do. Go with that. But we hope that some of this information has been valuable to you. And, 

[00:38:09] Amanda: and either way, know that you're not alone. You know that Yeah. That there's, that, there's not one way to look at this, and, and we can certainly help you one way or the other.

[00:38:18] Amanda: If you want to go to a convention and you're afraid to go to a convention, reach out to Erin. If you want to go to a convention, but you don't really wanna go to a convention, come, come to me and I will convince you to stay home. So, you know, either way. We got you hooked up. 

[00:38:33] Erin: Yeah. But I will say with some bonus tips before we leave, wear comfortable shoes.

[00:38:37] Erin: If you go bring a water bottle in a clear container so you know, water in a clear container, bring your list and bring a, a cart of some sort because you're gonna leave with way more stuff than you intended. Kind of like when you go to the the market, you know, don't get the watermelon first because you have to carry it the whole time.

[00:38:55] Erin: So, , I would've never 

[00:38:57] Amanda: have thought of that. That's. . Yeah, make sure you budget for it too, then so you, uh, or take your credit card so you can just like, not worry about the cost or everything. Uhhuh, , I would be like, I'll take $50 just in case I wanna buy something. Uhhuh . And then I go and I spend 25 on a t-shirt and need to eat.

[00:39:15] Amanda: And then I'm like, well, I guess I can't buy any curriculum because I only brought 50. You know, like, that would be me. 

[00:39:19] Erin: That's how I, yeah. Yeah. So. Well, but you do wanna make sure you're prepared though, because a lot of times. The pro would be going to convention. They offer convention discounts that are specific to that weekend, and they give you a goodie bag with all the swag in it, and it has codes on it.

[00:39:35] Erin: So if you can even go for like 10 minutes and get your swag bag, a lot of times you can get the codes, even if the convention hall is not your thing. Mm-hmm. , or if you just wanna go to hear the speakers and totally avoid that portion. Sign up. Anyway, get your bag of swag. Go sit in your session for two or three times or whatever, go have lunch and then go sit somewhere and look through your goodie bag and then order online.

[00:39:57] Erin: There you go. Easy. 

[00:39:59] Amanda: Super crazy. See guys, way I could sign up for something like that. Yes. . I could do that. That 

[00:40:04] Erin: sounds cool. Yeah. All right. Well thanks for listening and we look forward to seeing your responses on our Facebook page. You can find us on Instagram and we look forward to hearing.

[00:40:17] Amanda: Thanks for listening today. We hope you'll subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts, and if you'd like to suggest topics for us to discuss or if you have any questions, find us at @GOAThomeschooling on Facebook, on Instagram at @GoatHomeschool and email us at goathomeschoolingpodcast@gmail.com. Have a great day. Thanks for listening.