Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Teach Them Diligently Convention

It's been almost two weeks since the convention....and I'm still reeling from some of the information.
I'll admit.  I was desperate. Stressed out. Burned out. Without a clue as to how I'd manage this next school year.  This past year was awful. Horrible. No good. And very bad.
We never got into a groove. So many distractions (mostly from the toddler). It was hard and uncomfortable and miserable.
And we didn't get near enough accomplished (which is why we're STILL working on a few things...).
I needed some refreshment, encouragement, and mostly...ideas for making this thing work! My goal was to hopefully gain some wisdom in schooling with a toddler. That's really all I wanted. The rest would just be one big ole bonus.  I attended all of the *boy* related sessions that I could. Then all of large family and preschooler sessions. And in the midst of all the excitement, I allowed God to lead me to a few sessions that I never even considered....and was blessed immensely.
A few of my favorite speakers who I had planned to hear.
  •  the Youngs from Raising Real Men. Those two work so well together and are so engaging. I have two sisters. No brothers. Mostly female cousins. I'll admit....boys sometimes scare and stupefy me. I'm always asking the hubs, "is that normal for a boy?" To which he always replies, "yes."  I saw a lot of my boys in the Young's conversations about their own boys. Whew....maybe they are normal. ;) 
  • Amy Roberts from Raising Arrows. She gave some awesome advice on how to handle large family homeschooling. Her session was practical (which was exactly what I needed) and encouraging.
  • Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace. This is the session that gave me some confidence and rekindled the excitement of homeschooling for me. I may or may not have shed some tears in her session! So funny though....the ideas she gave were not foreign to me. Back when Drake was the toddler, we used several. And it worked! And it was fun! I had forgotten so much of what it was like having a toddler and just felt so overwhelmed with it all. This session was the greatest blessing and I can't wait to share how her ideas work in our home. Kendra really motivated me to get back on the right track.
  • Carol Barnier from Sizzle Bop. Oh my gosh. Well, if anything, you can't sit in one of her sessions without laughing.  She was amazing as well. Some awesome tools for mom of an ADHD child.
And then the surprises. I didn't plan on attending these sessions but SO glad I did!
  • Megan Scheibner from Character Health.  Sitting in her session was like resting on a hammock in the breeze. So gentle and soft. I didn't realize I needed someone to speak to me in that way. I'm a boy mama...we're generally loud and crazy in our home. Megan's tone and demeanor was like a soothing balm to my soul.  Her words, ideas, and encouragement were bonus...and well worth the time spent. I learned so much from her and left the session wanting to hear more....so I bought her books. All of them. Ha!
  • Dennis Gundersen from Grace and Truth Books. I'll admit...it didn't start off well and I was wondering if I should just take a *bathroom break* to get out of there. Then I really started listening and found some gems. Awesome stuff, really.
  • Jon Dunagan from Harvest Ministry. I didn't take any notes in his session. I was too busy just sitting back, relaxing, and listening to him talk. He's funny and engaging. Just really boosted my confidence.
  • Zan Tyler from Apologia. Another soft-spoken lady who eased my soul....about high school. In the middle of my what-do-I-do-with-the-toddler panic, I didn't have one thought about what high school session would be available. I just happened to finish my shopping right before this session and thought "oh, a session on high school? Eh, why not?" Oh my stars. Awesome. Encouraging. Helpful. And now I'm excited about high school!!
And...oh the conversations on the car ride to and from Dallas, in the hotel room, over meals. So thankful for my friends. From silly to serious, all of it touched my heart. That girl time was even more encouraging and uplifting than the whole convention. Special time spent walking the isles of curriculum displays and sharing our hearts. These are my people. And I love them.
So much good stuff!  And I needed all of it!! Three days totally changed the outlook I had all year long about homeschooling.  So thankful!

Most of the speakers are authors, and I highly recommend their books. I picked up many of them at the convention. Also worth mentioning here is Debra Bell's Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling book. Fabulous!

Convention also helped me change a lot of our curriculum. I have a couple things left on my list to purchase, and, hopefully later this week, I'll be able to start planning the year. I can't wait to share what we are doing differently in the coming school year! 

Hope everyone is having a great summer!!

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