Conventional Wisdom

The Florida Homeschool Convention was indeed everything that I hoped for, and so much more.

While I intended to blog my way through it, I became very much aware that my focus was skewed, and I needed to concentrate on why I was there.

This happens to me in every day life as well.  I start to think more about the fodder, than living in the moment.  And this, my friends, is a hard lesson for me.  And why I haven’t been as “present” in the blogosphere.

I’m learning how to balance.  Because the juggling act I’ve been doing has left me exhausted.


We arrived at the hotel on Thursday, and Trish left me with all of our considerable luggage on the sidewalk while she parked somewhere out of state.

As I sat on the bench waiting, I began my customary yearly practice of People Watching at the Homeschool Convention.  There were a couple of moms who had been dropped off by a husband and a van full of kids.  I noticed that these moms were having a hard time tearing themselves away from the van.

“Suckers.  Must be newbies,” I smugly thought to myself.  When they finally pried themselves loose from the children and shut the van door, they stood back and waved to the back of the van as it disappeared around a corner.

Then they started whooping and hollering.  “YEAH!  FREEDOM!  I JUST NEEDED TO GET AWAY!” And they skipped merrily into the swank hotel lobby.

One thing you notice upon checking in to a homeschool convention, is that it most certainly doesn’t look like your average convention.

Moms, clad in various blue jean jumpers and comfy stretchy clothes, fill the lobby.  And with them are all manner of children, strollers, luggage, and of course, food coolers.

Food coolers.  In the lobby of a hoopty ploopty hotel.  Awesome.

And btw, I had my own food cooler.  I was just savvy enough to have it hidden in a rolling cart, and covered with bags.

It will be our secret.

I stayed with my partner in crime, and sister-in-law, Trish.  In the adjoining room was my other SIL, Cathy.  No one can make me laugh like those two women.  And it didn’t hurt that both of them smuggled in drinks that were wine in nature.

In fact, Trish not only brought wine coolers, but the decorative umbrellas that also make the drink look so much more expensive.

I posted a picture of my beverage over the weekend (and sadly, this was the only picture I took the entire weekend), and then took it down for fear that you all would think I’m a lush.

Which I’m not.  Really.  At most I drank the equivalent of one entire wine cooler over the entire weekend.

Because I’m a cheap date.

But I do have to share a story. On Friday night the 3 of us went to eat outside at the little deli-style cafe at the hotel.  Yes, we purchased food.  However, one of my SILs brought a bottle of wine discreetly hidden in a paper bag.  And some styrofoam cups.

I married into a very classy family.

Well.  We were giggling and telling raucous stories.  With the styrofoam cups filled.  I was in the middle of a story that a friend told me recently involving her lively boys and a set of testicles.

I don’t normally talk about testicles at dinner, but the mood was jovial, and well, the conversation warranted it.

Mid-story, a group of 3 women sat down across from us at our large table.  They were obviously of the same gene pool.  There was a young girl, a middle aged mom, and her elderly mother.  The young girl wore a “Got Jesus?” t-shirt.  They were 3 very dour women who spent the entire meal bickering and sniping at one another.  Never did they crack a smile.

I considered telling them the testicle story.  It’s one of those stories that every mother can appreciate.  But I thought better of it.  Then I considered offering the older of the two a little something from the brown paper bag.  They looked like they could use it.  Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed.  Instead, we 3 flashed our winningest smiles at them.

They ate quickly and left.

This cafe was quite the place to people watch.  The day prior we spotted a family with ELEVEN children in tow.  All dressed alike.  The girls all had matching white bows.  They were very well mannered.  I know this because we sat and studied them carefully.  Not one child pushed, kicked, hit,or bit another.

Trish and I looked at each other, “That’s just not right.”

I vowed to throw myself in front of their little entourage at some point during the convention so that I could interview them.

But alas, security was tight.  And I didn’t want to end up in the pokey because of stalking issues.

So I did what any good Christian would do.  I stared.

I attended many seminars that were delightful.  Among my favorites were speakers Linda Werner (Circle Christian School), Mark Hamby (Cornerstone Family Ministries), and Steve & Annette Economides (America’s Cheapest Family).

I was also able to hug the necks of many dear homeschooling friends!  Shout out to Karen, Carla, Michelle, Maridel, Sonia, Trish S., Carrie, and Joanna B., and new friend Joanna.

I came away rested and refreshed.  Mostly due to the sad fact that we climbed into our pj’s by 8:00 both nights and were fast asleep before 10.  Be sure to invite us to your next party.

Now I’m marking off the days until the next convention.  I did leave our FPEA a little feedback on their review form.  THROW THE BLOGGERS A BONE!  There are many many homeschooling bloggers here in Florida, and I think a homeschool convention warrants a seminar geared to us!

Can I hear an AMEN?

This is our last week of school and no one is more excited about that than the teacher.  I’ll be doing a curriculum roundup in the next month or so, and adding Mr. Linky (if he’s all fixed).


7 Responses to Conventional Wisdom

  • I really think you and I would get along great. If I’m ever in Florida can we laugh over a drink with an umbrella?

  • Our homeschool convention is full of every shade of denim jumpers and and a million “fashionable” ways to wear a bun…my friend (hi Mary in AZ!) and I have often joke that we should show up in tube tops, daisy dukes and our spiked heels, just for fun;)

  • Deedee, this is such a fun post – I’m glad you had a good time. And, really, which group of Christians was more attractive, do you think – your laughing, joking group of women, or the dour family with the Jesus shirt??? I don’t think I’d go ask them where their joy comes from! That’s too bad. 🙁

    Anyway, I have a question about homeschooling, which I want to do when the time comes. My little one is 18 months, and turns 2 in December. Should I start a formal ‘preschool’ curriculum this year, or wait until he’s 2 1/2 next year? I’m also expecting my 2nd baby in December, so I was leaning towards waiting…how early did you start? Just wondering! 🙂

    • Carrie,
      I didn’t do anything “formal” until Kindergarten. If I were you, I’d lean WAY INTO waiting. Just enjoy that new baby this next year. And this is just my opinion, but don’t start too soon. Pre-schoolers need lots of play time. Just present the alphabet, sing songs, draw pictures for eye/hand coordination, and hang onto your sanity. 🙂

  • What a fun post! I was at the convention, too and I saw the beautiful family you mentioned. I was amazed at how calm they were and how I didn’t hear the mom yell “don’t touch that!” a single time (I would’ve had to say it to my 2 kids at least 3 times a minute, but we sent them to stay with my folks for the weekend). We kept staring at them like they were white tigers at the zoo or something – a rare sighting (or we don’t get out much).

    Funny story, my husband walked into our room Sunday morning and asked me if I’d had a glass of wine the night before. When I said no and asked why he pointed to a wine glass left outside our door. Since our room was at the end of the hall we’re thinking someone didn’t want to blow their teetotaler cover and left their glass outside our door. We had a good laugh about that.

    Too bad we didn’t run into you at the cafe… who doesn’t appreciate a good testicle story?

    • Tree Climbing Mom,

      I admit it. The glass was mine. 🙂

      I wish I had known you were there! I would have loved to have met you!

  • You are too funny about the picture and we thinking of you as a lush. Girl we already know you are a coffee lush. =) I loved the pic BTW. Glad you had a great time.