One thing that was different this year is that my husband and I allowed our 12 1/2 year old son to crash our traditional date/getaway weekend. Since Ethan is entering 8th grade next year, it is our desire that he begin to take ownership of his own education. As much as I, as a home-educating mom, can get discouraged, we saw that he, too, was getting discouraged. We hoped that the convention would be as therapeutic for him as it has been for us over the years. Needless to say, he had a great time and was challenged. Summit Ministries speaker John Stonestreet was one of his favorites, and Chris and I gleaned much from the couple of sessions we attended with Ethan. He also enjoyed learning to study like a genius and The Human Calculator. We had some great conversations with him, and he relished the respect and freedom we gave him. The highlight of the weekend for him, though, was Tim Hawkins' performance. I must admit that I laughed quite a bit myself!
Chris was most encouraged by Tim Cash. Chaplain for the Atlanta Braves, this guy leads a men's bible study which includes Chris Tomlin, Mac Powell, and Jeff Foxworthy. Can you imagine being in a Bible study with Jeff Foxworthy? or spending time in worship with Chris Tomlin & Mac Powell?? Very cool! I appreciated his wife Barb. How could I not when she incorporated readings of a couple of her blog posts into her talk?!? ;)
Chris and I both were extremely impressed with Dr. Jeff Myers of Summit Ministry and Passing the Baton. What a tremendous vision for his family he has, and what a fabulous ministry he has in encouraging people to develop a Christian worldview. And I'm not kidding when I say that he was funnier than Tim Hawkins. At one point, Chris had tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard. Let's just say we can relate to his description of his children's behavior during family worship. By the way, have you ever considered that Jesus' disciples were probably mostly teenagers? Imagine the conversation about the feeding of the 5000 with the disciples' voices changing and you'll never read the Gospels the same again. If you're confused, maybe you should go get one of his CDs and judge for yourself (we listened to "Rescuing Children from the Culture of Irresponsibility").
As for me, I need a bulleted list to limit my ramblings. So, since I've become so adept at communicating in Facebook status update format:
- gained a fresh perspective on writing from Julie Bogart of Brave Writer, a professional writer and homeschool mom whose course The Writer's Jungle teaches kids how to write the way professionals learn, rather than the way educators teach. (She has a blog too!)
- started crying at Julie's booth and was blessed by her wise counsel and compassion.
- became less anxious about homeschooling through high school because of Lee Binz and Inge Cannon and began to think about transcripts, achievement tests, and applying to colleges.
- was convinced by Lee Binz that by homeschooling with excellence, her kids can earn full scholarships to the colleges of their choice. I'll let you know in 5 years how that turns out, Lord willing.
- was reminded that her goal in home-educating is not to produce geniuses, but to raise men and women who will stand up in Auschwitz and offer their lives that another might live. (Thanks to Dr. Jeff Myers.)
- chatted with Spunky and was convicted of her out of whack priorities. My children and my husband need me more than my Facebook friends.
- was grieved as John Stonestreet opened her eyes to the entertainment driven society of which she is a part.
- laughed until she was gasping for air during Tim Hawkins' performance.
- continued to reap the benefits of marriage to a godly and supportive husband.
- appreciated anew the wonderful young man her son is becoming.
- enjoyed the sweet fellowship of fellow home-educating families from around the country.
- wished she had bumped into Julie and could have spent more time with JenIg.
- purchased a fabulous worldview curriculum from David Quine, Starting Points.
- found a Yellowstone Unit Study and a Geology textbook to use in preparation for our family vacation this September.
- filled a suitcase with purchases from Miller Pads & Paper. Love them!!
- bought a few autographed copies of some horse books for her daughters written by homeschool graduate Victoria Kasten.
- purchased 10 CD sessions so that the learning and inspiration doesn't have to stop just because the weekend is over.
- dined on Quaker Steak and Lube BBQ wings.
- is ready to press on, make some changes, and pursue homeschooling with excellence.
If you're a homeschooler and you haven't attended a homeschool convention, you're totally missing out; you need to go! As weird as it may sounds, if you're not a homeschooler, I think you'd glean a lot from going yourself. And I don't say that to try to convert you, though you might begin to analyze and rethink your decision to put your kids in public or traditional school if you opened your heart to the message of many of the speakers. Truly, the experience is invaluable to all parents. There's nothing that the secular or public school world offers to equip and encourage parents that's anything close to what a homeschool convention offers. (Of course, that's the way I feel about what homeschooling offers to children as well.) I already have next year's convention on my calendar. Care to join me?
Grace and Peace,