In May, a writer’s thoughts lightly turn to…airports. Yes, the spring speaking schedule is well underway. At the moment I’m sitting in the Richmond airport, waiting to catch a Delta flight to Orlando. When I checked in, the desk agent said, “Thank you for flying Delta. Your plane is on time. We apologize ahead of time for any unexpected delays, problems, or cancellations.” Which sounds like low expectations to me.

Anyway, I’m doing fewer conferences this year because I told the guys in the office NOT TO LET ME OVERBOOK THIS SPRING. I knew I would be doing dissertation duties right up until May 20 (which proved to be the case). Now, at last, it’s REALLY all done. As witness me with my friend Marcia, who finished her computer science doctorate this year as well.

Yes, folks, there it is. The Great Green Doctoral Robe. I wore it as long as I possibly could after commencement, but it was too uncomfortable to sleep in.

Now I’m readying myself for a few weeks of broken work-time, since I’m travelling four out of the next five weekends. I’ve got education conferences in Florida and Pennsylvania, and I’m also attending BookExpo in New York next weekend (read about last year’s BookExpo experience if you’re curious). I’ve also been informed by Norton that I’m doing a book signing at the national American Library Association conference in Washington D.C. (that’s June 23), and I’m already quite certain no one will show up. Maybe some nice people from Norton will talk to me while I kick my heels. (Read this as a veiled request to TELL YOUR LIBRARIAN TO COME TALK TO ME.)

The Florida convention, which starts tomorrow, is an education conference I usually enjoy, partly because it’s always at an over-the-top resort hotel and partly because the conference schedule has a lot of workshops on…education. This may not seem worth mentioning. Unfortunately, many state home education conferences have been scheduling more and more workshops on everything BUT education and fewer and fewer that actually deal with TEACHING YOUR KIDS. I’m the first to agree that educating your kids overlaps with parenting, cooking, house cleaning, marriage relationships, emotional wellness, Bible study, and other parts of a full life, but over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of conference schedules crammed with sessions which don’t seem to serve the needs of parents who are there for the sake of their child’s education.

Florida, however, has lots of good content scheduled, as does the Pennsylvania conference I’m doing in June and the Northern Virginia conference in July. Also it appears I’ll be in California in September–more on this as soon as I have a few more details.

Showing 15 comments
  • A Circle of Quiet

    I must say, Doctoral Green is a beautiful color on you (-:

    Have fun at FPEA and give Kolbi a hug for me.


  • Lori

    You’re lucky! My hubby’s doctoral robe was black and BURNT ORANGE (University of Texas). He looks like a Halloween figure every commencement…gag.

    Congratulations again!

  • dangermom

    Wow, what a great robe! And a squashy hat to boot. Congratulations.

    I’m a librarian and have never been to ALA, and I don’t think our county can afford to send anyone. But I’ll check around, maybe someone’s going.

    And, I’m looking forward to your September appearance in CA, because I’m planning to go! It’s actually near me! (Living in rural Northern CA as I do, this is a special occasion, as hardly anyone ever visits nearby.) I’d love to know what you’re going to speak on when you find out.

  • Johanna

    Some of your fans won’t be able to come to your booksigning in Washington, DC, because we live too far away. We (me Dutch/husband American family) live and homeschool in Belgium and use The Well Trained Mind. There are quite a few local (Belgian and Dutch) homeschoolers here who use your books and sigh over the fact that they are not translated into Dutch, particularly Story of the World. As far as we’re concerned, they translated the wrong book ….

    Anyway, now you have a Ph.D under your belt and another great history book written, is there any chance on writing a book on how you do it all? And we would love to read again how the education of your children is going.



  • Charlie at Peace Hill Press

    The squashy hats always were my favorite.

    Hope the flight went well. See you in New York!

  • Patty in WA

    Green suits you.

    Thank you for airing my gripe with “homeschool” conferences. I do NOT need to go to these to hear how to have dinner on the table for dh after a busy busy day of homeschooling. That is why I am particulary interested in conferences that focus on one speaker only. I will be going to one this September in California, because it has ONE speaker the whole time, whose insights have been so helpful to me in our homeSCHOOL, and I think I can trust this speaker not to worry about whether I am wearing a head covering while I am getting hubby’s dinner on the table while I mentor the offspring in Latin and Greek at the same time.

    Heh heh.

  • Kate CA

    Oh, yes! Celebration time, come on! LOL

    Congratulations and I can’t wait to see you in September!


  • Joanne in CA


    Have you thought about putting together your own seminar on homeschooling?

  • Jenny Wells

    Thank you for speaking out about needing education workshops at education conferences!! Yes, and Amen.

    I am so glad you will be visiting CA in Sept at CCHE. See you there~

  • Jeanne

    Yes! I completely agree about the home EDUCATION conferences!!! Our state one is filled with “Christian worldview” sessions and very little about actually educating your children!

  • strider

    THANK YOU for your recognition of conferences focusing less and less on academics and more on home life and general you-can-do-it blather. It has been a pet peeve of mine, and a big reason why I have broadened my horizons beyond my local, religious conference. At my local conference I have found a heavy emphasis on “getting started”, and a lot of character-building seminars, but not very much to help educate kids who are older.

    Congratulations again on your doctorate. You have worked hard for it.

  • CatsAcreFarm

    Hi Susan. I especially enjoyed the workshop on teaching writing. You have inspired me! I didn’t get a chance to say hello as my husband and I had five very tired but mostly patient kiddos with us during the conference. I too wish that our local conference here in North Florida focused more on how to educate our children rather than how to make bread and such. While I do find some of the other topics interesting, we are there to learn about educating our children.

  • Mindy

    You look fabulous in green!! 🙂

    Hey, I think I sold another copy of your book today. I had it at the gym this morning and a man came up to me and said, “What is that book you are reading?” It turns out he loves Ancient History and he was excited about getting your book. So, I told him about Story of the World also, and he was going to check them out. 🙂 Who would have thought that you’d get a lot of book sales at 24 Fitness at 6:00 AM! 🙂

    Have fun in Florida!!

  • Leah

    …no more conferences that include crockpot cooking hints and filling my (our) quiver….my quiver is full and my crockpot is dusty.


  • Kristin

    I’m actually coming to the ALA conference in DC, so I’ll stop by and say hi.
    Great robe!

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