Nine years of homeschool conventions have taught me that I don't want to miss one. They've also revealed that I don't attend for the same reasons I may have years ago. I now own enough curricula to support a few families for several years and I can rattle off the basics of home education to any newbie who might have questions in the exhibit hall. However, it's the camaraderie of all of us who are in this challenging, yet rewarding, journey that keeps us home with those we've borne and (hopefully) educating them well.
Sitting amongst hundreds of parents this morning in the auditorium for the opening session meant I am a part of something greater than the decision I made to keep my children home; I am connected to the body of believers who are intentionally and prayerfully pouring into their children hour by hour, day by day. My friends who send their children to school are not exempt from this definition, but there is something so comforting and familiar about this large group we call home educators. We laughed together, tears brimmed over tough choices concerning children with academic struggles, we attended seminars and encouraged one another to purchase a particular book or program due to experience and longevity.
Many years of homeschooling have also taught me that I don't always use what I buy at a convention. Therefore, I stand at a particular vendor's table and quietly consider each child, the time I have to teach, and whether or not the book will work for our family. I'm not always right, but I have two sisters with seven kids between them who will benefit if I'm wrong :) Here are some choices I could not pass up today:
This is simply adorable and very old-school. I may have used it as a child myself. As I flipped through it, I knew immediately Oliver would enjoy it. It's aimed at grades 2/3.
I bought 3 levels of this cursive writing/art appreciation book. I love how the kids can do a sentence or a whole page depending on time, and I love how it's connected to observations about art.
I can't seem to stop the read-alouds for our Africa study. Here is a game we will enjoy that teaches the names of the African countries (which we already know) and their placement on the continent (for which we need more practice). The above books were advised by the vendor and since I've trusted her before and been blessed, I listened again :) The convention prepares us for the following school year but also helps us to gain inspiration and energy to wrap up the present year well.