FPEA Conference Review
The 23rd annual FPEA conference was held at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida last weekend. FPEA, or the Florida Parent Educators Association had a busy and successful program, running from May 27th-30th. An average of $18 per family will support membership to the FPEA for the year, which includes a substantial discount for the homeschool convention, amongst other discounts for the year for homeschool products and services. Members also receive a copy of The Guide to Homeschooling in Florida, as well as a newsletter that is sent five times a year.
Here is a rundown of what was at the homeschool convention:
Exhibits- The Exhibit Hall consisted of many vendors selling a variety of homeschool curriculum and resources. Rainbow Resource and Lamplighter Publishing offered a wide variety of books and programs at slightly discounted prices. The advantage with these vendors is that when you purchase on the spot you do not need to pay for shipping. Other curriculum vendors were in attendance, along with knowledgeable representatives willing to explain their products in full. Some of these vendors included Math-U-See, Rosetta Stone, Five in a Row Publishing, Writing Strands, Saxon Math and My Father's World Curriculum. There were several interesting vendors, offering unique programs for homeschoolers. These included Championship Chess and Maestro Classics. For a complete list of vendors who attended check out the link for the FPEA site below and click on the conference guide.
Presentations- The majority of the presentations were done by vendors, which can be beneficial for some. For those folks interested in purchasing the product being offered, like My Father's World who presented “Occupying Preschoolers While Teaching Older Children” , this is a helpful aspect of the conference. However, for seasoned homeschoolers who have a set curriculum and are looking for non biased presentations, the offerings were limited. There was a funny and jovial key note speaker, Carol Barnier. While I did not get to hear her keynote address, I was able to attend her presentation titled “Margins for Moms, Limits that Liberate”. Her sense of humor and excitement for homeschooling made her presentation a definite bonus.
Kids Only- The great thing about the FPEA is that it consistently promotes family and fun, and they offered several activities for children to participate in. There are fees for these programs, but they may be well worth the price for folks wanting an educational experience full of fellowship for their child. Topics this year included “Around the World in Two Days” for children and “Elevate: Living the Christian Worldview” for teens. A friend of mine had her boys attend and they really enjoyed the programs offered.
Graduation- Perhaps the highlight of the FPEA conference is a Homeschool Graduation. Besides this traditional ceremonial commencement, a buffet dinner is offered, as well as a brunch for family and friends. A reasonable fee for these events associated with the graduation offers not only a special meal for your graduate and their family, but it also offers a no clean up celebration! Being that my son is ten, I did not attend, but I am thankful for this awesome opportunity the FPEA offers.
Odds and Ends- Many families chose to make this a mini vacation, and they reserved rooms at the hotel. Homeschoolers and adults alike enjoyed swimming and frolicking at this resort-like hotel. There were also a few extra goodies, like a showing of “The Mysterious Islands” movie and a few theatrical presentations as well. These were included with the conference fee.
Worth noting is that the conference is presented from a Christian standpoint, and you will find almost exclusively resources in accordance with this. As a Christian I appreciated this aspect of the convention, but homeschoolers not of the Christian faith may not concur.
Check out the FPEA site below for more information. Check back soon for my reviews of some materials and curriculum I am reviewing from the conference.