May 26-28, 2011 my husband and I travelled to Winston-Salem, NC for the annual NCHE homeschool convention. Being the homeschooling mama that I am, I loved every minute of it. My husband (even though he may not like to admit it) also enjoyed parts of it.
We arrived on Thursday, checked into our awesome hotel and headed over to the convention center. The book fair opened 2 hours before the actual convention started and this was a perfect time to browse the vendors because it wasn't crowded at all. My original plan was to explore my options and have a general idea of the curriculum we would be using before leaving the convention. I had some ideas in mind, but nothing set in stone. It was so nice to be able to take our time, look through the curriculum, ask questions, and do price comparisons this year. Last year we didn't get to do much of that because it was so crowded and we had the girls with us. We were smart this year and left the girls with their Nana! They were happy and so were we! :)
The speaker sessions of the convention began Thursday at 3:00. The speakers were awesome! We especially enjoyed the session entitled "Homeschooling the strong-willed child", because we all know that I have a very strong-willed child. This session was eye-opening for my husband and I in many ways. Our favorite session on Thursday was the keynote address that evening. Todd Wilson was the speaker and he spoke regarding "Lies Homeschoolers Believe". If you ever have the chance to hear Todd speak, do it! He's a great speaker. He and his wife homeschool their 8 children while driving around the country in an RV. Oh, the stories he can tell!
Friday was full of sessions and book fair shopping! My plan to not buy any curriculum at the book fair was changed when I realized the price difference in shopping there vs. shopping online. I found much better deals at the convention. We've completely changed our curriculum for first grade. More on that in another post. We enjoyed Friday's sessions too. My favorite was titled "Living on More with Less". Jennifer Schmidt was the speaker. She blogs at www.beautyandbedlam.com. She has awesome tips on living frugally. You can be sure I will be writing another blog post on what I learned at that session. On Friday we also met up with our friends the Saufleys. We always have a great time with them and I'm so glad we were able to spend some time together.
Saturday was the last day of the convention. It involved making some last minute purchases at the book fair and attending the last sessions. I'll have to be honest... by this point, we were all a little burned out on the sessions. The speakers were still great but we were in information overload. I attended a session called "Stand By Your Man" about the importance of maintaining your marriage that really spoke deeply to me. Yep, you guessed it...another post will be coming about that one too! After the last session, we had lunch with the Saufleys and then made the 3 hour drive back home. The drive home was filled with conversation regarding what we learned. We discussed our weaknesses and our plans for the future. We had a really awesome weekend. The alone time with my husband was much needed and we arrived home feeling rejuvenated and stronger as a couple and parents.
If you've never been to your state homeschool convention, I encourage you to GO! Even if you're just contemplating homeschooling...GO. You won't regret it.