Last weekend I strapped Asher in his carseat and drove with some friends to the Teach Them Diligently Convention. Only, it wasn't that easy, because homeboy hates his carseat like nobody's business. So a quick drive over the mountain in between nursing sessions took much, much longer than it should have, but that's besides the point.
This was my first homeschool conference to attend. I had no idea what to expect, but I was with good friends and I knew, if anything, I would have a great time with the girls...plus Asher. Lucky for me, Teach Them Diligently was fantastic. It really set the bar high for all future homeschool conferences I attend. The speakers were fantastic. The vendor hall was filled to the brim and then some (seriously, there was an overflow room!) For being a first year event, I was super impressed with the smoothness of things. It was a well-oiled machine!
I had the chance to sit in some fabulous sessions. God used some of them to pierce my heart and reveal things in my heart that needed to be left at the feet of Jesus. Other sessions filled me up and gave me the confidence to follow our convictions about homeschooling, even if we're in the minority. I couldn't get to all the sessions I wanted to go to because there were just too many on my list! Some I had to step out of early due to my adorable little sidekick.
I got to connect with other homeschool moms that I know from social media. How fun is that?!?! Some of the meet-ups were planned, but one in particular was completely orchestrated by God and probably the most encouraging for me. I met Jacque from The Grain Loft, a real-life reader of The MOB Society, and fellow adoptive mom. My heart was so encouraged by our meeting. Their adoption story is similar to ours (well, the beginning at least) and it was a pleasure to talk to her and her husband. It was kinda weird to have someone recognize my writing, but kinda cool at the same time.
I also got to meet Melanie Young from Raising Real Men and a fellow MOB Society writer. Listening to Melanie and her husband, Hal, during their Raising Real Men session was fabulous. I have long admired them and what they have to say about raising boys (they are practically experts with 6 boys and 2 girls). Their session, named after their book Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys, was a treasure trove of wisdom for parents of boys.
I got a chance to thumb through curriculum in the vendor hall. Picking curriculum is by far the most daunting thing to me right now about homeschooling and getting to look at things up close and personal was helpful. Although, at the same time, my indecision is getting the best of me still as I look over catalogs repeatedly. As a public school teacher, I never had the chance to choose curriculum...I don't know what to do with this new found freedom! Although, I think I have narrowed it down to a few. We're still praying over the decision.
One of the vendors that I met that blessed my heart was Kristi from Samuel L. Collins and the Search For Biblical Truths. She sent me home with a DVD for Jonah to watch & review and an encouraged heart. God used her speaking session to point my heart in the right direction when it comes to planning activities for Jonah. While the ABC's and 123's are important, I tend to get tunnel-vision when it comes to that sort of thing and forget that it isn't all up to me. One of the things that I wrote down from this session in my notes was
"Where is God going to work when you have it all figured out already?"
Ouch. I'm so guilty of this. I think I have to have a plan and be in control, when really, God is already at work. Oh, this session was so good!
I know I'll have lots more to say about Teach Them Diligently as I read over my notes and listen to the sessions that I missed. (My friends and I went in together to purchase them!) If they have it again next year, we'll be going again for sure!