We attended the Home Educators Association of Virginia's 31st Annual Conference in Richmond, VA last weekend. We stayed just under a mile away and walked to the convention center each morning. I know some people would cringe at the idea of walking almost a mile each morning and back again in the evening, plus all the walking that happens naturally at a convention this large, but I loved it. Part of the reason we homeschool is because Hubby and I both love to catch the teachable moments and a walk in downtown Richmond is full of teachable moments.
No, we didn't see any crimes occur. I was talking about the magnolia blossoms, cumulus clouds and amazing architecture, not those other kinds of teachable moments. Thank God that while we were walking through some slightly rough parts of Richmond, we didn't witness anything that was difficult to explain to our kiddos. In fact, every single person we walked by smiled at all the cute little red heads and had to marvel at how adorable Sweet Pea was snuggled on my chest in her Moby. Clearly the citizens of that area of Richmond are enlightened, kind-hearted souls with impeccable taste.
Anyway, we loved our walks back and forth. The hotel was wonderful to stay in and cheaper than the hotel we stayed in last year. As a bonus, the valet didn't drive our 7 ft tall van to the roof of a parking garage with a 6'9" clearance. That, my friends, is a large bonus. Also, this hotel greets you with enornous, warm chocolate walnut cookies. We also had a hot breakfast included in the cost of our hotel rooms. For a large family who loves breakfast, that is a great thing. There was a pool on the roof. That was pretty cool.
My favorite session the entire weekend was Preparing to Homeschool High School with Lee Binz. I walked into that session feeling very stressed and wondering if my slacker mom skills were going to meet the challenges of high school. Listening to Lee Binz helped enormously. I feel like I really understand transcripts, credits and grading now. It's not going to be any harder than this homeschool journey has been up to this point. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, take it!.
I think the funniest moment was walking into a session entitled, Help! My Tongue Is On Fire and I Can't Put It Out! Susan Kemerrer was speaking about how to look at our children through a different lens in order to equip ourselves to speak encouragement to them. Basically she was addressing this to homeschool moms who feel like they snap at their children too much. The session was in one of the smaller rooms, but five minutes before it started the room was packed. I looked around at all these sweet, loving looking women and thought, "Hmmm.... James 3:8 everybody, right?" Unfortunately, Sweet Pea got fussy and I had to leave the room. Still, just seeing that everybody in that room was struggling with unruly tongues was encouraging in it's own way.
My children enjoyed the children's program, as usual. Polar Bear attended the dissection where he discovered that sheep's corneas remind him of lifesavers. I'll take his word for it. His little siblings enjoyed poking at the half brain and spinal cord of a sheep that he brought home with him. Breathe in, breathe out, the company says it is well preserved and should last for years. Breathe in, breathe out, that doesn't mean it MUST last for years. Right?
Hubby and I both really enjoyed the Vodie Baucham's keynote speech. We love the heart he has for families and getting dad's engaged in the lives of their children. I was surprised that Hubby was quite interested in Joel Salatin's sessions. I wonder what Hubby is thinking or planning.....
As usual, I found good deals, good information and good friends at the convention. Somewhat unusual was how often Sweet Pea and I stopped traffic in the halls of the convention center. Everyone seemed to have a burning need to make comments about her shock of gorgeous red hair. Many women chatted with me for a minute and then petted my daughter's head. It's a good thing I'm not a new mama or I might have felt a little concerned to have strangers touching her head. As it is, I can't blame them. I agree, she is gorgeous.
Sorry, friends, I don't mean to tease you by telling you how cute my newest little one is without showing you pictures. I am going to have to put a post up that is nothing but photos. At the moment, my camera and my computer refuse to speak to each other. I'm certain it's an issue with the person working the machines. As soon as I can get photos shrunk so they don't overwhelm anyone's bandwidth, forklift, dial-up, modem, who's a what's it things, I will do that.