I now have six years of homeschooling under my belt. There is still undiscovered country called "Jr. High" and "High school", but there is a lot of stuff that is becoming easier. I feel a lot more prepared for John being in first grade than I was for Elizabeth, for example. So finding helpful seminars is a little difficult. A couple that sounded like they were helpful really just were things I had heard previously, like using the Charlotte Mason Method to teach language arts. It was a good reminder that I don't have to cover all subjects explicitly, but they get covered by having kids read good literature and copy it. The most helpful was the seminar about preparing for high school and beyond and a class on micro-enterprise businesses, as Elizabeth has an interest in turning her artistic giftings into early money.
However, the one that was initially the most disappointing in the beginning ended up being the one that has left the biggest impression on me. The title of the seminar was "The Biology of Auditory Processing" and it appealed to my inner geek. I thought it would be a detailed explanation about how information is physically captured in the brain from the ear. However, if I had done a little more homework on the presenter, I would have realized that her focus was in helping mothers schooling learning disabled students. It was also, apparently, the second lecture in a two lecture series, which was NOT spelled out in the information sheet. And the presentation was on how food choices affect your ability to learn and hear. I don't have any learning disabled kids, so I was tempted to walk out and ramble among the vending hall or find a quiet corner to ask God to help me assimilate all I had heard during the two days. However, I was in the fifth row right in the center, which would mean I would make an obvious exit. I would hate to have someone walk out on me in the middle of my program (if I was ever brave enough to become a public speaker, which I am not). So I sat there and alternated between listening and stewing over "false advertising" and, finally, hearing God's quiet voice tell me that He had me here for a reason.
Basically, she recommended limiting dairy or even eliminating it for a time being, eating foods rich in Vitamin E and taking lecithin supplements. Dairy seems to be an inhibitor and the mucus generating effects might affect hearing. Vitamin E is a good brain booster and lecithin helps with concentration and focus. So as a personal challenge (because I love all things dairy especially butter), I am trying to virtually eliminate it and substitute it for food high in calcium and high in Vitamin E. I am now drinking unsweetened almond milk for it's high calcium content. And I am enjoying it. I am also converting my family to the Mediterranean practice of dipping breads in oil, specifically, walnut oil, which is high in Vitamin E. I don't think that I could totally eliminate it. I definitely could not turn down my daughter's first dinner of quesadillas made completely without adult supervision because it was 90% cheese. Instead, I limited myself to one half. I also couldn't turn down pizza last night. And pizza without cheese is like eating an ice cream cone without the ice cream! Speaking of which, instead of ice cream, I am eating frozen fruit bars. Coconut is my favorite. I am also not counting items baked with butter and/or milk as dairy because that would also eliminate pancakes. If you know that I am "cheating", please don't tell me and ruin my day.
We will see if it helps me feel better or not and if it helps expand our palates for a wider variety of food.