The period of time when I had the most time to research parenting was when I really didn’t need to. Prior to baby number one, even though I didn’t know it, I really had all the time in the world. Enter child number one in 2008 and we’ve been scrambling ever since.
The thing about parenting is that it is ever-evolving. We finally start nailing one part, and then it changes - and then we are thrust forward into a different, unknown territory, often feeling like we are back to square one.
Interestingly, there seems to be an answer for most parenting dilemmas yet it can be hard to navigate our way to the guidance that we need. Growing up in church, we’ve sat through our fair share of parenting seminars and sermons but nothing prepared me for how impactful attending a Great Homeschool Convention would be.
We attended our first Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati in the spring of 2018. It was an exciting time of the year to visit because we got an early view of the budding tulips as we made the trek from Michigan. At that point in our homeschooling journey, we were fairly burnt out. Our oldest son was wrapping up his fourth grade work, our youngest was just shy of two, and the middle three were seven, six and four. Traveling with young kids can be harrowing, but in this case it turned out to be more than worth it!
The homeschooling life called to us from the very beginning. We wanted time with our kids and couldn’t stomach the 8:05 AM bus pick-up that didn’t return again until 4:30 in the afternoon. Even so, choosing home education added to the parenting questions we already had, while simultaneously lessening the amount of time we had to seek out answers.
Enter the Great Homeschool Convention. We registered on a whim, feeling an intense need for guidance and encouragement. After only three days we left as new parents, completely energized, armed with excellent information and with a renewed passion for the days and years ahead.
When we first walked into the convention center I remember being wide-eyed at all of the homeschooling families. Simply knowing we were journeying in the same direction as all of these other families was impactful. Our first session was with Steve Demme, author of the math curriculum that we use. When he said the hardest part of homeschooling was “toddlers” I was SO RELIEVED to find that our experience was normal. Steve also said that the reason he homeschooled his children was because he wanted to “train his kids to live forever.” We left that one session with pages full of notes and hearts full of peace.
The exhibit hall was a riveting place! We bought a reading curriculum, some new chapter books signed by the author himself, “The Read-Aloud Family” by Sarah MacKenzie with an adorable matching bag, and a set of 1,000 Kapla blocks! Each of those items have been a delightful addition to our homeschool but really we left the exhibit hall with so much more! Each booth held passionate people, many of whom we would end up looking to on our journey ahead. There were fascinating options and ideas everywhere we looked.
There are parenting and home education resources available to all of us but they tend to be somewhat scattered. Great Homeschool Conventions has done the leg-work to bring it all to one central location. With over 230 workshop options, we left with the most inspiring and yet also practical parenting advice we had ever been exposed to. Attending GHC was one of our very best parenting decisions and because of its impact, I am thrilled to be a part of the team this coming year in 2020. I look forward to seeing you there!