Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Midwest Homeschool Convention

This year's spring convention came at a perfect time for me. I definitely needed some uplifting about our homeschooling. It would take some very unusual circumstances for me to put my kids in school, but it's usually around February or March that I start having visions of flagging down the big yellow bus and letting them know they have a two new passengers.

When the email blasts about the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati started circulating, I decided it was in the best interest of my kids that I get myself there. Even though this is our 7th year homeschooling, I've only been to conventions a couple of times. The first was several years back at a very small local conference. There were a handful of speakers, but I mostly just shopped. Last year I went to Cincinnati and saw what a real convention was all about. Oh my! Talk about information overload!

So, I headed back this year with a friend and our two 12-year-old daughters, who wanted to attend the new TeenTrack offered. We arrived Thursday from our 5-hour drive around 4 pm only to find the hotel registration line wrapped around the lobby. I ended up taking the girls and some of their friends to their workshop and coming back. We finally were assigned our room, rode the elevator up to the 20th floor, only to find one bed! After a room switch and missing the first session, we headed over to the convention.

My favorite speakers were Mark Hamby and Carol Barnier. Hamby will have you crying uncontrollably and Barnier laughing hysterically. The TeenTrack, put on by Summit Ministries, was well done. My daughter especially liked hearing John Stonestreet speak. However, her favorite workshops were by Victoria Kasten (a teen author) and Little Bear.

One of the highlights of the convention was when I was able to meet up with some of the other TOS Crew members at the The Old Schoolhouse booth. It was wonderful to meet these great ladies in person.

The tired-looking blond on the left is yours truly (Note to self: Call for hair appointment!). Also pictured, from left to right, are:

Penny R of Not New to Autism

Candace C of His Mercy is New

Christy L of Mercy Every Morning

Regenia Speirndle of Homeschool Reveiws for You

Not pictured but also part of the Cincinnati reunion:

Angela R. of Homeschooling and Loving It

One of the things I always dread about going to conventions is the impusle buying. I actually didn't do too bad this year and most of what I bought was on my list.

Math U See Student Kit

I thought I had the DVD set at home, only to find out it is the Zeta I have. I hate paying shipping charges! Now I'm on the hunt for the Teacher Manual/DVD used.

Music for the Mind CD (Heads Up!)

I actually purchased two titles, the one at the left and Productive Flow. We already owned the Problem Solving CD and use it often. I have one child that can't be quiet, constantly humming and singing while working. I have another that is extremely distractible and either needs complete quiet or white noise. These CDs have been great. I either play them for all in the room to hear, successfully quieting my singer, or put them in a CD with earphones for my distratible one to block out the singer. I also brought a couple pairs of earplugs (yes, really!)

Marine Biology Slides (Nature's Workshop Plus!)

Not only am I sucker for no shipping charges, but discounts as well. My daughter needs these for her fall Apologia Marine Biology course and they were offering a 10% off convention special. So, I purchased these thinking I'd save $4.40 plus shipping only to remember after purchase that I was getting charged sales tax! I saved a whopping $1 and some change! I wanted to get the dissection kit as well but they didn't carry it at the convention.


My daughter picked out this design for herself. I must say it suits her well as she's always going against the grain. For my son, I picked out an eagle design that says "Homeschool Varsity".

Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution I by Jobe Martin

This DVD was my impulse purchase. I went to a workshop by Martin and just knew that my son would love this DVD. Dr. Martin is genuine and quirky, making for an enjoyable workshop! If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, go!

IronHeart by Victoria Kasten

This is by the teen author whose workshop my daughter, an aspiring writer, attended. My daughter thinks she and Victoria are somehow related as they have very similar goals! She hates math also!

I've started reading this book out of curiousity of what other homeschooler writers were doing. Just a's for older kids. There is a short premarital s*x scene!

Lastly, I purchased the Summit Ministries Lightbearers curriculum for worldview studies. I can't seem to get a pic loaded, but you can read about it and see a picture here. This wasn't exactly an impulse purchase, but it also wasn't something I was intending to purchase a couple of weeks ago. It was also my most expensive purchase. That's a story that I'll have to save for another post.

Before leaving, I picked up numerous recordings of workshops that I either missed or attended and wanted to listen to again. Mark Hamby was high on my list of repeat listening. I missed one of Jay Wile's workshops on homeschooling through high school that I heard was excellent. Needless to say, I now have several hours of listening inspiration to pull out when needed.

Mary Hood, one of the speakers, talked about her book on reasons to homeschool. The title of the book is Onto the Yellow School Bus and Through the Gates of Hell.

We homeschool for a variety of reasons, but that title was enough to make me stop and pause before thoughts of flinging myself in front of the yellow school bus just because I had a rough day.

Overall, the Midwest Homeschool Convention was fabulous. It gave me an attitude adjustment and affirmation that home is where my kids need to be.


Heather L said...

You were a more controlled spender than I was. I found the consignment shops and walked out with an entire BJU science series grade 1-6 for 20.00. Great buy but still it was funny to watch me, the large box and my cane try to make it back to the room. LOL

God bless
Heather L

Heidi said...


What a deal! I purposely avoided the consignment booth. I knew I'd find a ton of bargains that I didn't need but would buy because they were a deal.

I saw many walking around with the rolling carts to carry their finds. I almost bought on before the convention and figured I'd just try to fill it up. LOL!