Sunday, March 6, 2011


Parents, kids attend Christian-focused MidSouth Home-school Convention
More than 3,000 at 3-day event

By Linda A. Moore

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More than 3,000 parents and children came for knowledge, supplies and support at the three-day MidSouth Homeschool Convention, which ended Saturday at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

The Christian-focused event included a broad range of workshops on academic subjects, etiquette for teens, sibling dynamics and college preparation. Speakers included family psychologist, author and newspaper columnist John Rosemond, whose column appears in The Commercial Appeal.

In the convention's exhibit hall more than 250 vendors offered religious materials, books, and curriculums in mathematics, social studies, music, art, languages, history and science.

"What is out there and available for home-schoolers, it's so overwhelming," said Mary Jo Dean, who with her husband, Brennan Dean, head Great Homeschool Conventions Inc. "You have to pick and choose what you want to do."

Academically, home-schoolers tend to excel, she said.

"Colleges now are seeking home-schooled children because of how they test," Dean said. "We are preparing our children for college."

The biggest misconception about home-schooling is that the children aren't well socialized, Dean said. There are sports, debate teams and in some cases special co-op classes with other home-schoolers, she said.

And for Kana Farrell, 13, being home-schooled has not resulted in mom overload.

"I think it's more of a bonding relationship. Most families don't have that. The kids are gone all day and when they come home they're alone and they don't have that time to spend with their families," said Kana of East Memphis.

Her mother, Oriana Lee, is on the board of Ebony Homeschoolers and the Memphis Homeschool Education Association and has been home-schooling her five children for 11 years.

"I home-school mainly because I felt the school system is not really serving our children well," Lee said.

Her only complaint with the convention was what she felt was a lack of diversity among the vendors, particularly with regards to African-American history.

"Fifteen percent of the more than 2 million home-schoolers are African-American. You would think there'd be a little bit more representation, especially in Memphis," Lee said.

© 2011 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online

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