Thursday, July 17, 2014

Overloading on Awesomeness (2014 Homeschool Convention!)

There's Christmas Eve, and Independence Day, and all those other fun days of the year... and then there's the one that blows them all out of the water - the Arizona Families for Home Education annual homeschool convention!

We had a wonderful time. We always do, as a matter of fact. Each convention has been both life-changing and a needed time of encouragement among fellow home educators. Local homeschoolers, if you haven't been to one of these yet - you need to go. The sooner, the better!

Ready to start but feeling decidedly GREEN. 

This year, we almost didn't make it to the convention. As I've been dealing with morning sickness, we spent considerable time debating whether or not I'd be able to go even if we did purchase our (non-refundable, non-transferable) tickets. And even after we decided to go, we had a very difficult time finding grandparents to babysit.

And after all of that, we had a rough start to the convention. The preparations to get there were exhausting, I felt yucky, and the first speaker we got to hear was simply not our style. (This has never happened before and will probably never happen again.) Thus, my main thought during the first hour or two of the first day was, "And why did I insist on doing this to myself right now?"

Thankfully, things improved from there!

  • We had a wonderful time listening to the various speakers. We had originally planned to hear many of the first speaker's sessions, but after hearing the first, we cancelled all of the rest off of our itinerary- and thus got into the sessions that we really needed to hear instead! The Lord works in mysterious ways!
  • We got to visit lots of vendors in the exhibit hall - excellent, as always! And one of the benefits of starting school in May was that all of our curriculum decisions have been long made, meaning that I didn't have to make any nerve-wracking curriculum-purchase decisions.
  • We saw many friends and caught up with people whom we see only at the convention. A lovely time!

Two of my favorite speakers:

Carol Barnier - One of the keynote speakers. She is intensely passionate, interesting, and wildly funny. Getting to hear her speak was a treat!

Linda Crosby - An AFHE board member and also an intensely funny lady. She gave several talks on the subject of field trips, hands-on learning, and teaching history - and each was just what I needed.

I prefer the descriptor "pleasantly plump," thank-you-very-much. 

Each year when we attend the convention, I pray that the Lord would accomplish in our family exactly what needs to be done. Improvements to be made, issues to be addressed, weaknesses to correct - whatever it is, I want to see it accomplished in our family!

The Lord more than answered this prayer this year - primarily in rekindling my passion for teaching history and for field trips. Both of those are areas in which I have recently experienced a decent level of burnout. While I'm still trying to figure out why I got so burned out in only one year of (serious) homeschooling, I really got the boost I needed from the convention. While I want to be careful not to overdo things, I now feel ready to tackle those areas again this year. 

The day after the convention, I was exhausted, super-nauseated, irritable, depressed, and cranky - my (mostly) usual post-convention let-down. "What do you mean, I have to wait a whole year before I can go again?" Thankfully, on Monday I woke up back to usual and ready to tackle the world. 

Life is good. 

Questions? Bring 'em on!

We'll see you at next year's homeschool convention! 

DH, on our way out the door when we realized "Oh, no! We forgot to take all the pictures we meant to get!"


  1. Ooo, I love convention time! What was one thing you heard that made you want to do field trips? What are you planning to do and or use for history? Is there a time period you are doing this year or will you just do topics of interest without a chronological order?

    Did you buy anything from vendors?

  2. I love homeschool convention time! I've gotten to listen to Carol Barnier speak, too, and she cracks me up! I love her high energy style (the opposite of me) and her sense of humor never fails to encourage me.

    I'm glad it worked out for you!!! I was praying so.

  3. Afloyonmyhomeschoolwall - Thank you for your prayers!! :)

    Tristan - Ah, field trips! Really, I think I just tried to do too many last year. Listening to Linda was great for me because she, being a local, really knows the field trips that Arizona offers. She was able to show slide after slide of the field trips that her family has done, and I would think, "Oh! I've heard of that place! We could go there!" It was just a nice little boost that I needed.

    For history this year we are using Galloping the Globe, which is country-based unit studies (right now we're on Germany). It is a ton of fun, but I know it won't last forever and I'd like to figure something out permanently. Unfortunately, all of the history curricula I've investigated are either completely overwhelming (i.e. I start hyperventilating as soon as I start opening the book), or they are segregated by grade level (everyone studying something different), which I definitely don't want in a growing family. I'm praying about it!

    This was actually the first year we've escaped without spending ANYTHING at the vendor hall, which was cheering (especially considering our current finances!). We considered a couple of purchases but eventually decided against them. Honestly, I was so tired that I didn't do a lot of serious looking. Next year!! :)



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