Wow! That is the first word that comes to mind as I begin to talk about our first ever Great Homeschool Convention adventure. Having had the opportunity to attend the Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio this week, I have nothing but good things to say about the experience.
First, a special thanks
First, I need to thank Homeschool Giveaways for my family’s opportunity to attend this wonderful convention. As we had not planned in our budget to attend this event, we were blessed to win a family pass to the full event from Homeschool Giveaways. And what a blessing it was!
Great Homeschool Conventions-Midwest
The Midwest Great Homeschool Convention took place at Duke Energy Convention Center in beautiful, downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The kids were excited to see the stadium and walk the streets that were lined with the spring return of the horse drawn carriages and experience the fun skywalks connecting the Convention Center to nearby hotels and eateries.
The vendor hall was incredible. It is such an amazing site to see from above through the glass windows of the 2nd floor of the Convention Center (see above picture). It was even more amazing to walk the aisles and the meet the vendors that support our homeschool endeavors.
And Off We Go
Armed with a list of must-do’s, we started on one end of the vendor hall and made it two aisles before lunch. We wondered how we would do it all in 2 days with such a snail’s pace. But there was so much to see and talk to people about.
We talked to some vendors like Math U See and Right-Start Math for a good deal of time. The longest conversation goes to the wonderfully knowledgeable, homeschool-supporting, music-loving Mr. David Rosen of Ebaru Publishing/The Violin Book. He was amazing in explaining The Violin Book and why it is a successful program.
I was blessed to attend two of Sonya Shaffer’s lectures while at the convention. Mrs. Shaffer, of Simply Charlotte Mason, is an exceptional speaker and writer. Her understanding and implementation of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and practices is second-to-none. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak and then personally speaking with her as she answered my long list of questions. She was delightful in doing so, even though I’m sure she was weary after 3 days of the convention. What a delight!
I also had the pleasure of attending a lecture in a packed ballroom by Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind. Her down to Earth advise on educating in a real home with real children, with real, everyday homeschool issue, was refreshing and enlightening.
My husband picked up a great read a The Familyman Ministries booth. I would have loved to have seen Todd Wilson, the FamilyMan, speak as I enjoy his blog and contributing author remarks in the Homeschool Minute put out by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. We are both looking forward to reading Mr. Wilson’s book entitled “Help! I Married a Homeschool Mom,” which, incidentally, was one of the lectures he was doing at the convention that we had hoped to attend. (Why weren’t we there – did I mention it was a FAMILY PASS to the convention – all 3 kids with us meant, not quite as much time in the lectures as we had hoped – lesson’s learned! Next time maybe we’ll attend the convention sans the children!) Nevertheless, can’t wait to read the book.
Speaking of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, they were there too. And so was a few of my very favorite vendors like SimplyFun and Usborne and More Books. Of course, I was at the Classical Conversation‘s booth though, since they are so very popular, all the materials I had hoped to buy were sold out. So it looks like my sights are set on Practicum where, hopefully, I’ll be purchasing my materials.
CurrClick was there and what a treat it was to meet Leah and Staley in person. As a new live teacher with CurrClick, I had only had the pleasure of meeting them “virtually,” meaning, via email. So it was great to put a face with the names and get a chance to chat with these wonderful ladies.
Vendors of Interest
There are just too many to name and we didn’t even get to all the booths. But below are some links to some of the booths we visited and some that we really wished we had.
Visual Latin – got to meet the star of the videos – very interesting program
Reading Eggs – we LOVE Reading Eggs and it was nice to see their other products
La Clase Divertida – what a great man – this may be our Spanish program this year
Ready Made Preschool – fun program – the publishers son was a delight as he explained the program to us
Money Saving Mom – great book, love reading her blog – fun to see her at the convention
Maestro Classics – my dream purchase – SOMEDAY!!!
Learn our History with Governor Huckabee – looking forward to trying his DVDs
Rainbow Resources – always a great stop – I always look forward to picking up some good buyers at their booth
Ring of Fire Science – interesting Earth Science lessons – going to look into them, maybe as something this summer, my daughter was very interested in the rock and mineral studies
Brain in a Bag – I didn’t get a chance to hear them or visit their booth, but I heard others talking about them and it is very intriguing, plan to visit their website and check them out
And now for the Grand Finale
We ended the convention with the whole family attending the closing concert by the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them in person, or on David Letterman, check out the video below. Talk about some wonderfully talented homeschooled boys. They were a delight to see in person and the kids were fully engaged as the Banjo Boys fingers flew across their respective instruments. Bluegrass has never been so entertaining to our family. What a treat to close out this wonderful experience!