TMA’s Mid-Year Family Convention June 2012

I was at the TMA mid-year Family Convention yesterday.

I was late because of a rumbling tummy and no taxis for more than an hour. Our car was banned from the public roads from 7 am till 10 am. When the taxi arrived we could use our car already so we sent the taxi away.

The event started at 9 a.m. We were an hour late. Never mind, I still had about 2 hours worth of the convention to listen to.

This time I brought my Dearest Daughter with me. She was curious about the event and I thought old enough to sit quietly and keep herself busy when she got bored.

Part of the Convention was a showcase of the students’ various accomplishments. This was the part we missed which was a real bummer. It would have been great for my little girl to see other homeschooling kids perform their musical best.

I took notes, it’s a habit of mine. There were lots of announcements, mostly changes about the organization. The most important ones were these:

1. The TMA Homeschool offices were moving closer to where I live.

Yehay! This was positive news for me.

2. The Music, Arts and Physical Education program got a mini-make over with a new name: Creative Arts and Sports (or CAS).

It has a nice ring to it. It’s “officially” open to non-homeschoolers now. One good thing I see about this from the student’s perspective is the diversity it will bring into the courses, making for healthy competition, I hope.

The other change is the fee increase. I thought it was rather modest from about $6 per hour to $8 per hour for the quality of the services and the qualifications of the faculty. When I hired a piano teacher to teach my daughter she charged about $10 per hour and she came to our home for the lessons. Compared to other music course providers TMA is still quite affordable. I don’t need to tap into the CAS services as yet but it is definitely another option that I’ll consider when I do choose a provider. Proximity was an issue for me before, now it will be the closest provider for me.

3. More changes in the organization happening.

I’m not sure how to take this one. I know change is necessary but I feel too much change happening all at once or one after another can be quite draining. What was originally part of the functions of the TMA Homeschool program has been spun off into another organization called the Homeschooling Solutions, Inc. I thought that was a very good idea. I’m just not sure if the timing is right. The CAS I mentioned above is part of that new organization.

This HSI, as it is called, will also have a group or team that will take care of curriculum and materials evaluation. One of the plans in the future is to have a bookstore. This is a welcome idea – and one that is long overdue. Just this week I ran into some problems with some of my children’s textbooks. Local suppliers had run out of stock and one of them stopped printing one book I needed. I was forced to order from the US through an online bookstore. I now have to wait 2 to 6 weeks for the books to arrive. My Beloved wasn’t too happy about it. I found an online resource to help estimate the custom duties, taxes and fees I’ll have to pay when the books arrive. I hope I won’t get scammed into paying more than I need to pay when the books arrive. I read that books are supposed to be exempted from these but you never know what happens with Customs…

The other interesting part of the HSI is the Research and Testing group. This team keeps tabs on how TMA Homeschool students perform compared to peers outside against international and local standards, among other things. I like research and having the numbers to show how well you’re doing is handy to have when you need to make the case for homeschooling.

We had to leave about 20 minutes before noon because Dearest Daughter was hungry. I don’t know what else happened afterwards.

Change, change, change….this is what life is all about. If the January convention was about inspiring parent-teachers, this one is about improving the way homeschooling is done the TMA way.

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