Sunday, May 22, 2011

Homeschool Convention Recap (and mishap...)

Alright, I'll give you the mishap first so this post can end on a good note later!  Friday afternoon we parked in the DESIGNATED parking lot for the Lansing Convention Center.  Paid the 5 bucks (twice, actually, because I had to leave to pick up Dan and come back) and parked right where the attendant told us to park. We come out at the end of the evening to find our section of parking lot roped off as the "Fireworks Fallout Zone" for the Lansing Lugnuts baseball game and all the vehicles GONE.  No towing company to call, no information about where our van is...nothing.  Thankfully a helpful cleanup crew gentleman at the stadium across the street remembered the name of the towing company so we could find our car.  Long story short, we couldn't get our van until the next morning and had to pay about $120 in towing fees and parking tickets.  Grrr.  But I'm not going to get hung up on it and complain.  You'll see why at the end of the post:)

I did get to enjoy one of the best meals I have had in a loonnnggg time on Friday evening during our dinner break.  Dan and I went right across the street from the Convention Center to a little hole-in-the-wall looking place called "The Knight Cap".  Basically we chose it because 1.  It was close  2.  It wasn't busy because it was obviously a bar and "good" homeschoolers don't frequent such places (watch for a post still coming up about what we thing about that!) and, 3.  They advertised as being the place for beefeaters, which we most definitely are.  Well...from the moment I walked in I knew we were blowing pretty much our whole date/dining out budget for about the next 8 months, but let me tell you, it was WORTH EVERY PENNY.  The service was amazing.  Our server sat down and talked to us casually for a few minutes, explained the menu, gave us his suggestions and favorites...and the atmosphere was so cozy and intimate!  And of course, the food.  I ordered one of their local seasonal specials, veal with Michigan morel mushroom sauce and sauteed fiddleheads.  Heavenly.  If you're ever in the Lansing area and want a really nice dinner experience, you simply must go there!

I could go on and on about all the ideas, good books, interesting people, etc. from our trip to the INCH Convention this weekend, but instead of boring you with all those details, I thought I would sum it up with three quotes I jotted down while listening to some excellent teachers.  I could say much, much more, but this will give you the "essence" of what I came away with from the conference (besides books and curricula, of course!)

First, a quote from speaker Michelle Miller in her presentation, Mom's Role in Raising Men: "If boys don't see an enemy, they will create one in themselves."  Wow.  Even with my oldest only being eight years old, I can totally see this.  My boys want a battle.  They need to conquer things.  And in our culture, it's not like the "enemy" is running at us with a battle axe in his hand wearing animal skins and a helmet with horns.  Our enemies today are usually invisible, or dressed in more innocent clothing.  Presenting history, science, language, math...everything we study together as part of a great battle for the minds and souls of every person on the planet could certainly go a long way in motivating my boys to learn, rather than sinking into self-indulgence or self-destruction.  OK, I'm getting a little heavy here...

Next, keynote speaker Voddie Baucham (which, for the record, is pronounced Voe-dee Baw-kum) said, "Every person who enters your home should be met by the aroma of Christ."  He spoke of being raised in a Buddhist home and how he could still smell the incense, hear his mother chanting and see the shrine on the wall.  His mother's worship left a permanent mark on all his senses.  Through purposeful traditions and intentional daily routines I can leave the same mark on my childrens' memories...cookies in the oven, fresh pine needles at Christmas, songs of praise filling the house...these things are more than "warm fuzzies" to me.  The sum total of all those sensory impressions can add up to a beautiful childhood that points to Christ in big and little ways every day; a comforting, welcoming place where relationships are safe, no matter what.  I know, because it's the same way I feel about my own home growing up!

Finally, a great line from Heidi St. John (check her out on facebook at "The Busy Homeschool Mom"): "Be amazed!  Everything is amazing but nobody is happy."  Oh, how sad, but true!  There are countless things in our little world--even our own backyard--to be amazed over and somehow we still manage to just find the things to gripe about.  It reminds me of one of my favorite little poems by Robert Louis Stevenson that I find myself repeating again and again:

"The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings."


  1. Hi Jill, Think I could call you sometime this week? I've got (lotsa') questions for you. If so, email me an idea of what timing works and your phone number. I'm not sure that the email I have for you is right... Ch :)

  2. Of course you can call me!! You know, I'm not sure I have the right email for you either:) I haven't changed mine in ages...still the same yahoo address. You have that one, right?