Some people go to conventions. My husband, the librarian and IT guy, goes to library conventions and IT conventions. I know people who go to homeschooling conventions, too – something I keep meaning to do but never seem to remember to look up and attend (I blame my ADD brain). Myself, I’ve become a blogging convention goer. Granted, I’ve only attended two. One several years ago and then one just a few weeks ago. On my birthday. It was awesome. I won boots! (And it wasn’t awesome just because of the boots, either.) I know this has nothing to do with homeschooling, but bear with me a bit.
My first convention was Type A Con. It was a wonderful experience. But intimidating. I came away from the conference with TONS of ideas for my previous blog. But there were hundreds of people there. I had a hard time choosing between the track panels, I wanted to attend all of them, but I had to take a break in the middle of day to be alone because my anxiety went through the roof. I have self diagnosed agoraphobia. I am extremely introverted and very shy. Being around a large number of people, especially if I don’t really know anyone there, can cause me to have a panic attack. But I plan on going next year in Atlanta, since I have made more contacts in the social media community (yes, it is a community and sometimes even a family) will hopefully make me feel more at ease. Hopefully.
My second conference, or rather non-conference, came this month. On my birthday. It was a whole different experience. There were less than a hundred people, so it was small and cozy. I knew some of the people there – I had met them at the Type A conference or had interacted with them a lot online and gotten to know them well. I still had problems walking up and talking with people – remember the shy comment? Also, I hate the idea that I am bothering people, which leads to anxiety on my part (what if they don’t really want to talk to me and are just being nice?). Also, I met A LOT of homeschoolers! There was also roundtable discussion panels, where you got to sit with the speaker instead of them standing up in front of you and talking at you, you actually were able to have conversations about the subjects with them. Plus, there were three speakers on each topic and THEY MOVED (so there was less anxiety about where I would sit, since I am socially awkward and worry about not being welcomed with the cool kids – a hold out from high school, maybe?), so you got to sit and listen and learn from all three presenters! And, I never had to take a break from the sessions. My anxiety never even text messaged me!
I left the Aiming Low NonCon early on the last day with a migraine. The organizer, the great and amazing Anissa Mayhew, offered to get someone to drive me to Atlanta (we were at Calloway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA) where I was meeting up with my husband, who was finishing up his own conference. These people were THAT awesome. When I left, I really missed everyone (and am still kicking myself for missing meeting The Pioneer Woman). And I wished there would be another one the next month…heck, the next week! On the plus side, there were two attendees whom I discovered lived in the next town over from me!
I have decided to consider all conferences as field trips and I can only hope that any homeschool conferences I attend in the future can be so wonderful and have me leaving with a boat-full of ideas. What conferences have you attended or hope to attend?