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2014speakersKeynotes We made it! We survived #HEAVCON!

I know this post is a little late, but we ended getting in late last night, and I frankly slept most of the day today. Had to catch up on the multiple nights of no sleep – I am getting much too old for that. HA!

So, Saturday ended up being a really good low-key day for us. Most of our “chores” were done, and I could actually GO to a couple sessions. And because some have told me they are actually interested in my shopping and curriculum adventures over the weekend (which cracks me up – I always feel like I’m talking to myself when I write that sort of thing!), I’d thought I’d share what I got on Saturday.

Late Friday night, after polling tons of people all weekend, AND all my friends on Facebook (what homeschool moms did before Facebook I have NO IDEA), I ended up changing my mind completely about my spelling curriculum. Saturday morning I ended up taking back all of the All About Spelling curriculum I had purchased, and we’ve decided to use SpellingCity.com next year. There are a couple reasons I decided on this. First of all, after reading lots of online reviews, I realized I’d have to spend 20 minutes at least separately for each child to do spelling each day. That’s really 40+ minutes out of my limited 3-4 hour time block for homeschool. Second, it looked like a lot of work for the mom (maybe, reports were conflicting). Third, I just couldn’t get excited about it. I think I will like Spelling City and I’m pretty sure both my girls will. They LOVE getting to play on the computer and their tablets (we almost only have educational stuff on their tablets). They can learn the words through playing games, and having fun!

And I think that is what I am looking for in the upcoming year. You know, that journey homeschool moms talk about – when we have to “de-public-school” ourselves in order to homeschool! I keep thinking, why do certain courses have to be unfun? WHY? We want our kids to learn, yes. But it’s even more important that they love learning. As long as a child things learning is fun, teaching them really doesn’t feel like work, right? It’s more facilitating their learning. At least that’s my working theory.

Don’t worry – I haven’t stepped over to the unschooling side. I haven’t gone quite that far, yet! 🙂

I also ended up buying what I needed for our My Father’s World: Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum next fall.  Oh, and I picked up Handwriting Without Tears’ Cursive program. In the afternoon, I did just a little splurging. I got all of this at Melinda Boring‘s booth. My girls have already dived into much of what I got to add to our “fidget basket.” (Those are toys they can play with quietly that fulfill their need to fidget when I need them to be still. Great for places like church, or during activities where they need to fidget to listen.) Great stuff.

20140607_143524 So, that’s it. I’m done shopping for next year! Which is a good thing, since the movers are arriving in exactly two weeks, we’ll live in a hotel for a month, after which will come the unpacking and setting up the new house, and we’ve got oh, about ten weeks left in the curriculum for this year?? And please someone, don’t let me forget I need to get my oldest’s testing done and sent in before we pack out. Ay yi yi.

So, what are my lessons learned from #HEAVCON 2014? (I’m writing this down, so I can remember for next year!)

#1A. Earplugs. So I can drown out the “talks-in-her-sleeper” and the “snorer” and get some real sleep.
#1B. Bring my own pillow. It’s worth hauling more junk to have this.

#2. Consider bringing one of these. I’m sure we figure out how to attach a rolling cart to the back, right?

20140607_092114#3. Take selfies and family pictures the first day when you’re not completely exhausted and look it. Use bribery to make the children smile if you have to. Consider bringing the really nice camera, because your phone camera really can only do so much.

20140607_091204I love our homeschool TShirts!20140607_124015There is just NOT enough time to do everything. Really. Oh, why can’t we do HEAV twice? Or have four days? There was just so many things to DO, that were all going on at the same time! It just didn’t seem fair. Oh well, at least I have all the recordings sitting on a thumb drive now. I plan to upload them to my iPod and listen to them throughout the year. I am so thankful for the recordings!

Most importantly, the few sessions I did get to sit in on, reminded me just how important it is that we homeschool our children. I know I always feel slightly uncomfortable being really vocal about my support for homeschooling – I hate the idea of offending or hurting someone’s feelings, I know that some have really great public school experiences, I do believe homeschooling is a calling that some haven’t been called to (yet), and some don’t get the opportunity to homeschool due to circumstances.

And yet.

And yet, it was very affirming  — yes, we most definitely made the right decision for our family. Yes, we are most definitely called to do this. The hubby even remarked that last year (his first) that he felt a bit out of place, and this year he didn’t. He joked that it’s probably because “now we have become one of THEM. We are comfortable at HEAV because we are now ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!” And he was right, it felt great being surrounded by folks where we fit right in. He also says “Some of the coolest, smartest people I’ve met, I met at the homeschool conference. Homeschooling is cool.” And we love feeling like we are “cool.” HA.

Oh, speaking of hubby, he was the one wearing this shirt:

20140607_114204He wants me to add that he really learned how truly important homeschool DADS are. Sure, we always knew that, and as the “homeschool mom” I’ve been telling him that, but it was really good for him to hear that from other strong, successful homeschool dads like Voddie Baucham and others.

My last round of pictures:

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And I have to throw in a VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to the staff in the kids program. Our girls had a BLAST. And we had a blast because they were off having a blast, and we could do things we needed to do. They did not want to leave. Our oldest burst into tears because she had made a bestie and didn’t want to lose touch. (I gave my business card to pass along to the mom.) I know exactly how much work you put into that program and you did a great job!



So, that’s it. #HEAVCON 2014 is over. For those of you that don’t homeschool and read this, you’re probably very thankful I will start writing about other topics, and I do plan to! And I also plan to continue to share with you information and different vendors and products that we learned about at convention, but I promise to spread that out through the year.

“I am excited to be a blogger for HEAV this year. In exchange for sharing my honest opinion about this convention, I was provided with a family registration at no charge.”