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Teri
04-22-2011, 09:13 AM
I do not go to our big homeschool conference that is in our area because it is not inclusive. They do not allow vendors that they perceive to not be religious enough to purchase a booth. (This includes MBTP.)

Are there enough of us to make an impact if we openly boycotted the non-inclusive conferences? Are we to spread out too make any kind impact? If we started planning and spreading the word for next year, do you think we could make an economic impact on these conference?

I absolutely think they have the right to make their conferences as fundamental and religious as they want, but it doesn't mean that we should have to go.

One thing that we have not had up to this point is a core that can help funnel our energy. :p I am wondering if we are a big enough core yet.

camaro
04-22-2011, 09:48 AM
I think in certain areas, there's enough of a concentration of secular homeschoolers that someone could probably have a secular convention be reasonably successful, but I suspect that the established religion-based conferences are fairly safe simply because there's plenty of those folks around to keep them running without secular support. They've probably been around quite a while right? But there's plenty of other places where homeschooling in general thins out to the point that there's probably a lot more inclusive conferences because it needs the support of both sides to keep operating. Up here in Saskatchewan, Canada, that's the case. We have a great inclusive conference here but homeschooling in general just isn't that popular (yet).

Teri
04-22-2011, 09:56 AM
I think what happened in our area is that the religious homeschoolers have been here a very long time. They fought the battles in the 80's and very early 90's that made homeschooling what it is today in Texas. What they have that we do not have is an organizational core.
If we could start off one year with a boycott or pledge to not go to a non-inclusive conference, then perhaps in a few years, the seed would be planted that there is a need for an inclusive event for homeschoolers and vendors would be willing to gamble on a new event.
I can ignore the religious vendors and do my research before I go so I know who to skip. However, if the conference is refusing to allow the vendors that I want to see INTO the conference, then it is really pointless.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-22-2011, 10:34 AM
I assume the goal of a boycott would be to encourage the organizers of this conference to make it more inclusive and allow secular vendors. It would be interesting to find out how many secular homeschoolers attend this conference for lack of an alternative. That would tell you if a boycott would be meaningful.

If you don't want to change this conference (it would likely still be dominated by religious vendors), then why bother with a boycott? I would put my energy into forming a state-wide secular/inclusive group that could eventually stage its own conference.

dbmamaz
04-22-2011, 10:44 AM
I agree, a boycott is unlikely to do anything other than create an advisarial relationship with the larger home school community. The group which creates the 'inclusive' conference near me - most of the sessions are done by the founding members. I suspect its only as the group was able to grow that they were able to bring in 1 for-pay lecturer to be the keynote speaker.

It would probably be more productive to put out a call for people interested in trying to organize an inclusive conference. Try to get a core of people who have the energy and motivation. But i warn you - the organization I"m involved with makes it clear that they are neutral on issues of religion and politics. Last year (but not this year) there were almost a dozen women in burkas. In one discussion panel, Appologia science was soundly recommended by 3 different people. I doubt you can make an expressly secular convention successful - but then again, i live in the capital of the south, maybe you could do it in texas.

JinxieFox
04-22-2011, 02:15 PM
The effectiveness of a boycott depends upon how many people ultimately become involved, correct?

Perhaps organizing a letter-writing campaign from local homeschoolers to the area homeschool conference would have more of an impact, in addition to a boycott. With that, not only are you *not* showing up; you're letting them know that it's happening and why it's happening.

I also agree with the idea of forming your own inclusive group and, ultimately, organizing your own inclusive conference. You can be both reactive and proactive, and considering how large a state Texas is, I bet many homeschoolers would appreciate it!

Martha
04-22-2011, 02:37 PM
I don't know.

I DO know there are also lots of unserved Christians who aren't interested in many of the supposedly "home schooling" conferences. Geez. Mine is mostly speakers for Hank the Cowdog, "Purity", how husbands can lead better (which boils down to how to be a submissive wife) and other crap that doesn't have a thing to with teaching the 3Rs. I get that home schooling is a lifestyle, but it would be nice to actually address the dadblum educating factor at a home schooling conference. Just once. You know. For the novelty if nothing else.:p

MarkInMD
04-22-2011, 04:31 PM
Why don't we just all pick a place and a date and hang out together sometime next summer? :)

dbmamaz
04-22-2011, 05:25 PM
there are big, camping unschooler conventions in several places i believe - and some unschoolers are open to non-unschoolers.

laundrycrisis
04-22-2011, 05:33 PM
There is a group working to build inclusive conventions.

http://www.inclusivehomeschoolers.com/

The idea hatched over at the other forum after all the kerfuffle over the issue of some exhibitors not being religious enough or having the "right" beliefs. It seems there are a lot of religious homeschoolers who do not like the idea of spiritual litmus tests, "leaders" deciding what is appropriate for a convention or not, and who would like a convention that is open to both secular and religious exhibitors.

farrarwilliams
04-22-2011, 08:27 PM
Yeah, I feel like the tone of this RFWP Philly conference (which I think only got started because of some scheduling issue for the big Philly conference?) is really in part in response to the larger homeschool community being annoyed by the emphasis on religion over education at many conferences, as well as the annoyance by big names in homeschooling also being annoyed about constantly having to prove their religious credentials or defend themselves. And many of the annoyed masses *are* Christian homeschoolers who homeschool for religious reasons, they just feel that they don't need someone to lecture them about religion (they go to church, you know!), but they do need someone to help them find a better way to teach a kid struggling with math.

I think things are changing... slowly.

Teri, is there enough interest to start an inclusive conference in your area? I would sell the idea as having a conference focused on educating at home.

dbmamaz
04-22-2011, 09:31 PM
Why was the original PA conference cancelled, anyways?

i looked it up - the conference center broke the contract. But there were 500 families signed up and it only started in 2006 . . .

farrarwilliams
04-22-2011, 10:19 PM
Yeah, that's what I said ... I just have the impression from the things SWB has written about it that I've seen that one of the driving forces behind everyone doing that one for so cheap to replace the first one (my understanding is that neither she nor MCT are getting their normal speaking fees) is the desire by so many people to have an education focused conference instead of a religion focused one.

Greenmother
04-23-2011, 01:41 AM
If you boycott the big religious thingies--it will backfire. We are way outnumbered for that for one, and I would say that I would not want to start a group by defining what we are *NOT--meaning a negative. I would rather be in a group who are positive who they are. I offer that would give any group a much more healthful foundation. I agree with the ideas like the unschooler camps. I almost posted some suggestion to that end days ago but then chickened out. There is nothing stopping us from creating a coop for the sole reason of increasing our buying power for the text books and materials *we want.

I was told our local homeschool convention is free for first timers, but have not gotten any clear answers as to what is carried there, or if it would interest me. My husband and I were talking about it--he was totally sympathetic to my trepidation regarding attendance. I am in a mood. I have been in that mood for a few years now. If I show up somewhere and discover that Sarah Palin is the surprise guest host.... there are lots of humorous scenarios that I could introduce here-- in response to this dystopic fantasy, and all involve dark humor. [note humor].

So here is what I chickened out on posting--+ some. First of all, I looked into the HSLDF and is it just me or are they trying to price normal people out of a membership? If it costs close to or more than my YMCA membership--no thanks-- I have homeschool stuff to buy, trips to take the kids on, food, and electricity issues to pay for etc., Premiums on my insurance. If I missed something, or misunderstood--someone be sure and clue me in.

Next--I used to belong to an unpopular religious community way back in the 90s. They had festivals all over the US so that people of a like mind could meet and greet and hang out. Often over long weekends, involving camping. It was great. Sometimes they held their get togethers at hotels--I guess that was okay too, but I prefer the camping.

Word to the wise--if you plan to do the camping thing, I suggest that you make sure and try and time said weekend during a time that does not coincide with major, seasonal storm activity. Tornadoes, straight line winds, microbursts, flash floods, parking lots turned into 2 ft mud pits and tents imploded and blown into the next county are unpleasant to say the least. Just a suggestion.

If you break this up into regional areas, then everybody can have a turn, and then you can have a biannual big tent thingy where everyone can travel to be there---Or whatever the time frame you need to make that plausible.

I am sure I can think of more, but for now this will have to do.

laundrycrisis
04-23-2011, 10:38 AM
And many of the annoyed masses *are* Christian homeschoolers who homeschool for religious reasons, they just feel that they don't need someone to lecture them about religion (they go to church, you know!), but they do need someone to help them find a better way to teach a kid struggling with math.

I think things are changing... slowly.


I am happy that the shift seems to be coming from inside the religious homeschooling community ! I think that is what will bring the most change. They are not all fundamentalists or young-earth creationists; many do not like to be bossed around, treated like children/sheep who need to be guided by "homeschooling leaders", and have their intelligence insulted; they also don't want to be associated with those who are into religious hairsplitting and using "truth" as an excuse for unkind behavior. I think this business has been very much about "true colors" and may perhaps lead to some organization of more moderate religious homeschoolers aligned with secular homeschoolers. I hope so. I would love to attend a convention with a Charlie's Playhouse table set up next to a Bible study curriculum, a yoga/mediation program at the next, etc and have it all be good.

Teri
04-23-2011, 11:18 AM
The point of the boycott, in MY mind would be to bring together the non-fundamentalists that want alternatives. Texas DOES have a lot of secular and inclusive groups, but none of us are organized on a state level or have the resources to create a well attended conference.
We have two options here for conferences (and I have been to them all over the state), they are either extremely religious (think denim skirt bunheads) or they are radical unschooling who disapprove of anything that remotely looks like curriculum.
I don't have any hope that if I go to the largest conference in the state on Mother's Day that even 25% of of it would be acceptable to us.
I don't want them to change.
I want others to know that they are not alone. That maybe our numbers are not so insignificant that we can't make an impact and sustain our own conference.
If a lack of secular homeschoolers at a conference does not hurt them, that is great...for them. I would just like to go somewhere that has curriculum that is remotely acceptable to me and not have to feel like I am on a covert operation when I am there.

dbmamaz
04-23-2011, 11:43 AM
The point of the boycott, in MY mind would be to bring together the non-fundamentalists that want alternatives.
See, I think this is what confused us - becuase according to dictionary.com, boycott means

1. to combine in abstaining from, or preventing dealings with, as a means of intimidation or coercion: to boycott a store.
2. to abstain from buying or using: to boycott foreign products
and most of us were thinking of the first definition - as a means of intimidation or coercion. But I dont think it sounds like you want to try to 'hurt' the existing conference - it sounds like you know nothing you can do could 'hurt' them - you just want something else. Boycotts are not usually used as a way to offer an alternative, but just as a way to stop something.

And of course, again, my state has one. However, because its small, there really arent many vendors there anyways. It wont be the massive shopping center so many people want to see - we do have enough people to make conferences, but maybe not enough people to make mega-conferences.

Greenmother
04-23-2011, 12:45 PM
"If a lack of secular homeschoolers at a conference does not hurt them, that is great...for them. I would just like to go somewhere that has curriculum that is remotely acceptable to me and not have to feel like I am on a covert operation when I am there."

I hear that. But as stated in previous threads--I feel that way most of the time no matter what.

Jennifer Higdon
04-23-2011, 10:06 PM
I agree with MarkinMD...I believe there are enough of us to have a good showing at a conference of our own. I have found it kind of funny that Disney World has 2 homeschool days...concidering how unrestrictive the Disney company is socially, and how "traditionally" restrictive homeschoolers are...or were...we are proof to a changing trend. The big question I would ask is if there are enough of us to have a gathering that will entice more secular vendors? It wouldn't have to be Disney...Williamsburg or Mt. Rushmore or anywhere that families could multitask...school, reasearch materials, network and vacation. Just an idea.

MarkInMD
04-23-2011, 10:41 PM
I agree with MarkinMD...I believe there are enough of us to have a good showing at a conference of our own. I have found it kind of funny that Disney World has 2 homeschool days...concidering how unrestrictive the Disney company is socially, and how "traditionally" restrictive homeschoolers are...or were...we are proof to a changing trend. The big question I would ask is if there are enough of us to have a gathering that will entice more secular vendors? It wouldn't have to be Disney...Williamsburg or Mt. Rushmore or anywhere that families could multitask...school, reasearch materials, network and vacation. Just an idea.

That's kind of what I'm thinking, too. Depending on how many are willing to serve as "host" of sorts, each year the destination could be in or near the coordinator's hometown, and that person could provide suggestions of places to see and things to do while there that are educational in nature. The conference room of a local hotel or convention center or whatever's affordable could be the base of operations for a day or two so that we could bring some of the materials we use for homeschooling, and in that way others can see and "test drive" other curricula they're curious about. This is assuming that we couldn't get some vendors on their own, which you never know -- we might.

If I didn't live in such an out-of-the-way rural area that doesn't have much of interest to non-Marylanders, I'd even consider starting this up myself. :)

dbmamaz
04-23-2011, 11:58 PM
and . . . there is already one IN my town every year . . . so it makes no sense for me to host one . . . unless i can count harassing you to COME as 'hosting'

lakshmi
04-26-2011, 03:03 AM
Are there enough of us to effect change? Probably, but everyone would have to be committed to a specific goal. Typically I am not a conference person anyway, but the folks here in my local coop were excited about going to the Cincinnati conference which told me without even looking that I'd probably not like it much.

Maybe rather than thinking of homeschool conferences specifically, we could broaden our scope. My guess is that the previous inclusive and religious conferences sprang up because there was a perceived need for community. Well, as a secular group, we are definitely perceiving a need for community. Inclusive is a nice idea, but it would sort of be nice to not be surprised by any religious stuff. Like someone said, researching the conference to see what there is to see before going.

Maybe broaden the scope by tagging onto a conference like SXSW, or Blogher, or something else like that. Where more than one need could be met.

Or just go hang out and camp! Like Rainbow gatherings or something.

I am way too rambling this evening. Count me into secular conferences.

Greenmother
04-26-2011, 11:58 AM
Mark I used to live in S. Maryland. I loved it. I would go to DC and to Waldorf all the time. Walk along the Cheasapeake. I loved all the restaraunts too. The only thing I missed was really good Tex-Mex. The one thing that Oklahoma has going for it right now in my world. I can drown my sorrows in truly excellent home made chips, salsa, and Modello.

MarkInMD
04-26-2011, 10:40 PM
Southern Maryland is nice. I live in the western part in the hills. Really all of MD has its charms for different things. We always learned to call it "America in Miniature" in school. :)

dbmamaz
04-29-2011, 11:54 AM
I noticed that the "DIY Homeschooling conference in WI is coming up, and thought it would be good to take another look at this article and see JUST HOW MANY secular or inclusive home school confereces there ARE . .. lets focus on what we HAVE!

http://www.secularhomeschool.com/content/391-Secular-Inclusive-Homeschool-Conventions

lakshmi
04-30-2011, 12:58 AM
Duh... yeah, or we could reinvent the wheel instead.