Monday, June 19, 2017

How Long Have We Been Doing This Anyway? {Homeschool Conventions}

I've been trying to find make time to do a blog post about our trip to our state homeschool convention earlier this month, but I'm finding it difficult to actually accomplish that.  I decided to start by doing a little research to answer some questions that came up during our trip: how long have we been going to homeschool conventions, and in particular, how long have we been staying at the lovely guesthouse in the country when we go to the Richmond convention?  Thanks to my blog (which is a more trustworthy resource than my rusty memory!), I was able to pull together this portion of our family history.

2006 - Based on a recommendation that my wise friend Valerie gave me, I went to a homeschool convention in northern Virginia, rather than going to the big one in Richmond (put on by HEAV--Home Educators Association of Virginia).  At the time, Josiah was only four years old, and I was at the stage of needing to absorb a tremendous amount of information as I looked to the future of his education; and Valerie suspected that the Richmond convention might overwhelm me.  I'm sure she was right.  :)  The NoVa one was just what I needed, and I got to meet some wonderful speakers (including Yvonne Bunn, who besides giving some incredibly helpful how-to-begin seminars, was also so very friendly and down-to-earth when I talked to her; she's definitely achieved Homeschool Hero status in my mind because of how warm and encouraging she was!).  I got to stay with my friend Teresa whom we had known from our California days, and that was a blessing.

2007 - I again went to the homeschool convention in northern Virginia, and this time, I stayed with my college roommate Jackie and her husband Pete and enjoyed the chance to connect with them.  I think it was this year that Debra Bell was the featured speaker at the convention (and Jessica Hulcy was the previous year, unless I have that mixed up and it was exactly the opposite).

2008 - Tobin was a baby, born in January of that year.  Jeff went to Israel on a service project in July, so that was the big happening for that summer, but we didn't go to a homeschool convention.

2009 - I was hugely pregnant with Shav (he was born in July), so between that and taking care of my three older boys, I didn't venture too far from home that summer!

2010 - Jeff and I took Shav (who, as a nursing baby, was still eligible to go into the various workshops with me) and went to the HEAV convention in Richmond for the first time.  We stayed in a nice hotel which was maybe 10 minutes from the convention center (and was practically across a parking lot from an Olive Garden) :) and had a great time.  Our wonderfully thoughtful and generous friends, Becky and her family, kept Josiah, David, and Tobin for us (some pictures in this post from their time together).

2011 - We returned to the HEAV convention, taking Josiah, David, and Shav with us--and leaving Tobin with my parents.  For the first and only time, one of my kids spent the night with them at their home that used to be my dad's office.  We were so grateful for my parents' help!  Josiah and David got to participate in the wonderful children's program at the convention.

2012 - This was the first year we took all of our children with us--and this year, that included little Moriah, who was only two months old (and who slept through the night for the first time during the convention weekend)!  Also noteworthy: for the first time, we stayed in a guesthouse in the countryside outside of Richmond, a place Jeff found through Airbnb.  We LOVED it right away but didn't realize what a cherished tradition it would become.  I posted a picture of the materials we brought back from the convention.  Josiah and David were again in the children's program.

2013 - We again took all the children and again stayed in the guesthouse.  Most excitingly this year, Moriah took her first step there at that guesthouse!  She was *only* 14 months old--quite early, according to the "normal" schedule for our kids who all walked at 18 months or later!  ;-)  The Duggars were the highlighted speakers this year (along with many other speakers, of course, who gave sessions on a variety of topics).  As far as the children's program, I am pretty sure David and Tobin were in it.  Josiah was young enough that he could have been in it, but none of us remember whether he was or not!

2014 - All of us went again and stayed in the guesthouse; and although I apparently never took the time to record much about it on the blog, there is this post with a few pictures.  Children's program: David and Tobin, for sure.

2015 - This time, a new person came along with us.  I was pregnant with Benjamin.  :)  Again, I didn't write much, but here are two short snippets.  Ken Ham was the main keynote speaker, and Buddy Davis (who is one of the nicest, down-to-earth "famous" people I know) was involved, too.  This would have been the first year Shav was old enough for the children's program, so he certainly did it, as well as Tobin.  As far as David goes, we can't remember; but Shav thinks he wasn't in it.

2016 - I didn't record much from this year either, but we all went to the convention and stayed in the guesthouse.  For the first time, Moriah slept upstairs in the loft where the big boys sleep; and Benjamin slept in the playpen in the roomy closet (yes, the closet!) downstairs. This year, Vicki, our amazingly talented host, took me inside her home and showed me some of her absolutely stunning accomplishments: quilts, glasswork, fabric dyeing, and a basement wall she's decorated with mosaics--such a treat!  Children's program: Tobin and Shav.

2017 - Now that I have all of this information gathered in one place, I can say with confidence that it was our 8th time at the HEAV convention, and my 10th homeschool convention overall.  Now I know!  It was Moriah's first year that she was old enough to be in the children's program, and she enjoyed it very much, especially because Shav was there with her to teach her the ropes.  :)

There is, of course, much more to say about this year's convention trip; and hopefully soon, I'll be able to get a blog post finished about it.

Key word: hopefully.  ;-)

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