The Homeschool Convention, or as I like to call it, Summer Camp for Weary Moms

I find myself right smack dab in the early part of summer.  And I have a span of time wherein I do not have to cart children off to whatever respective camp.  Hence, I have WORDS and time to WRITE THEM.

We ended our school year in May, and I made the annual pilgrimage to the Florida Homeschool Convention with my two cohorts in crime (sisters-in-law Trish and Cathy).  I’ve made this trip every year since Emme turned 4 and Fiddledaddy desired for her to be homeschooled.

I desired for her to be shipped off to boarding school.  In an uncomfortable climate.  But that could have been sleep deprivation talking.

When a homeschooling girlfriend mentioned the annual homeschool convention way back then (before Kindergarten), all I heard was VACATION.  Fiddledaddy was onboard because he knew the the mother of his children was not homeschool mother material.   He hoped the convention would aid me with tools I might need to, you know, teach.  It did.  I’ve only missed the convention one year and that was because I had given birth to the SURPRISE boy child in 2005.  So we’re talking 11 years of convention attending.

Not only have I amassed much learning, I also have a respectable collection of hoopty ploopty hotel lotion samples, as we stay at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando.

A few years ago, we began opting for the atrium room view.  I prefer to take in the view from the safety of the interior of the room, but I do enjoy the sights and sounds which waft through the doors.

Atrium_view
This was our view on this particular visit.  Spectacular.

Fiddledaddy happily holds down the fort at home while I attend, so I can take full advantage of all that the homeschool convention has to offer.  I may or may not have sprung for a pedicure.

I have a good deal of dear homeschooling friends who attend with their entire families in tow.  I would like to tell you that I feel guilty leaving my husband and children at home.  But that would be a lie.  As I left, my children mumbled for me to say HI to ALL THEIR FRIENDS that would be there.  I was all OKAY, AND MAYBE I’LL SNAP A PICTURE OF THEM TO SEND YOU!  Bitter, party of 3.

At one point, my friend Michelle texted me, “I’m at the pool, what are you doing?”  (You know, in between lectures.)  I sent her a picture.

Convention1

This was prior to the alleged pedicure.

I went down to the pool to join her, but she texted me as I arrived that she had to leave to take over CHILDCARE RESPONSIBILITIES in her hotel room.  So I sent her another picture.

Convention2She posted the following to social media along with the picture I sent her:

This is my friend, DeeDee, at the home school convention.
DeeDee didn’t bring her children.
DeeDee is smart.
Be like DeeDee.

Although, when it came time to party with the moms (who had their husbands on child-care duties), I had to reply to that text with, “I know it’s only 9:00, but I’m in my pajamas.  In bed.”

Because secretly I’m 92.

Part of the joy of attending the homeschool convention with the sisters is that we’re almost always in bed by 9.  Heavenly.

On our last evening, my SIL, Cathy, was joyfully expressing how stress-free this convention felt as opposed to past conventions.  I added THAT’S BECAUSE YOU ARE NO LONGER HOMESCHOOLING.  “Oh,” she mused with a snort.  “That’s right.”

Indeed, she graduated her last child this year.  Yet still chooses to attend with us.  The love of learning continues I suppose.  Or the love of atrium views, time away, an exhibit hall which contains all manner of fun, and more laughter than 3 grown women ought to ever experience over a long weekend.

It is therapeutic.  And what keeps us pressing on.  If the other sister or I ever start researching local schools, we remind each other, “But, remember, the convention.”  The light at the end of the long homeschooling tunnel.

DeeDeeSig

June 20, 2016

3 Responses to The Homeschool Convention, or as I like to call it, Summer Camp for Weary Moms

  • Sounds wonderful! I regret that I never attended one of the conventions in Houston that lasted several days. I did go to Arlington several times, but only once overnight with a friend. That was my first year. I learned the hard way that you attend all you can on Friday and really go through the vendor area making a list; and then only shop on Saturday after having gone over your list and scratching off everything but the necessities. Live and learn 😉 I’m so glad you had a great time though. 🙂

  • I hear you. I’m still operating on a learning curve. My m.o. is to peruse every single aisle of the exhibit hall as soon as it’s open (quickly, often leaving my slower com padres in my dust). Then I go back on Friday to re-visit booths I need more intel from. Purchases made on the last day. I still buy most everything used, but I do love to TOUCH the new stuff. 🙂 {{{Hugs to you my intrepid homeschooling friend!}}}

  • Homeschool conventions do definitely have a certain smell, don’t they? I was somewhere recently, and smelled that smell and it brought back so many fun memories of the homeschool convention, with all the great people watching opportunities. People think all homeschoolers are alike, but when you visit these conventions, you see everything from the super conservative families, with their matching clothes, to the ultra liberal hippy types. 😀 While I homeschooled 10 years, I only went to about 4 conventions, so I am jealous of your annual pilgrimage. I too, traveled with other moms and none of us brought children along. It truly was our vacation. One night, we had all gone to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and we brought our cheesecake back to the hotel room. Some of the mom s had coffee too, and we all had our curriculum purchases to pore over. We called it the three C’s, coffee, cheesecake and curriculum. What could be better than that? My favorite speaker at conventions (and I still listen to his podcasts, 4 years after my homeschool career had ended): Andrew Pudewa. He gives such fascinating talks and I love his IEW products!