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Wednesday, August 12

Join Together (Who)

Homeschool conventions can be a great way to rejuvenate...get some fresh ideas, meet like-minded people, and further your commitment to homeschooling.  We went to one in Dallas last year, and really enjoyed it, but didn't sign up for one this year.  As convention season rolled around, I began to be a little bummed about that.  Then, at the eleventh hour, we were asked to drive down and fill in for someone at the very same convention in Dallas!
Being an unexpected trip, we quickly finished up the canning, stacking jars two and three deep until we could organize the pantry later.  Just before leaving, we discovered a leak in the bathroom (happy day!) and quickly made a TP pyramid and left a note for dad.  After all, he'd be coming home to a quiet house....he surely needed a 'honey-do' list to keep him occupied!
We made tracks to Dallas and found ourselves in a swanky hotel....up on the 28th floor, no less!  The view was stunning; though the sight of the ocean out that window would have been preferred, we found ourselves mesmerized by the sheer number of people and cars.  That's country kids for ya!

Down to the convention center, we set up our booth for Biblioplan.  After all, that was our whole purpose in going!  If you've never heard of Biblioplan, and you're in the market for a new curriculum, check them out.  This is a four-year classical history curriculum, spanning creation to modern times.  It covers history, literature, art, and more!  The wide variety of resources make it easily adaptable for students of all ages (K-12) and able to be used with the entire family at the same time. 
Next up was getting the Lego Mindstorms EV3 system set up.  Y'all were all so great about supporting my son in his 20 month quest to earn the money for this robotics set (thank you!), and he finally made enough to buy it!  After taking a week-long summer camp on how to program the robot, he was excited to give it a shot!  He must have played EV3 with every little boy at the convention.  The moms would stop to talk, the kids would play with the robot, and everyone had a good time!  Also, it gave the kids something to do while their moms were perusing our booth...
After several hours of EV3, the boys went off in search of new adventures!  They discovered a plasma ball, purchased dissection kits, and built a double helix DNA structure at the CurrClick booth.
They found some history treasures, too!  A quill & ink set, gladiator swords, and viking shields.  Hal & Melanie (of Raising Real Men) had these super-fly semi-automatic guns and targets, but the boys had already spent all of their money by the time they discovered them.  So...maybe next time!  We all have to learn to budget wisely.
The best moment of the whole convention, for me, came in the evening.  Our booth neighbors were from Landmark Tours, and they were having a drawing for a sword.  A real sword!!  The boys won.  They had been enamored with this sword all weekend and just drooling over it.  After making sure it was fine with me for them to receive the sword, the representative called the boys over.  They had been chatting all weekend, and become friends, so the boys didn't think anything about it.  I so WISH that I'd been able to capture the moment when they understood that they had won the sword, and were taking it home.  Priceless....just priceless!
After dinner, they finally wound down.  The little one took a nap under the table, and the big one was forced to quit roaming and making friends when he blew out both of his flip flops (....but stepped on no pop tops).  A little duct tape got him back on his feet, literally, the next day.  He rocked the 'trashy' style!  After two and a half days of talking to people and making new friends, we were ready to head back home.  We hit the club lounge for a quick afternoon snack before breaking down the booth.  Ta-ta, Dallas, we'll see you next year!
View from the 27th Floor Club Lounge.