Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GHC Cincinnati

How exciting!

My hubby and I took a five hour road trip to Cincinnati for the annual Great Homeschool Conference for the first time ever.  It was amazing!  We met wonderful people, swam in a sea of homeschoolers, and sat at the feet of some very wise leaders.  The weekend culminated with some very conflicting emotions.  We felt educated, informed, challenged, saddened, depressed, inspired, and empowered.

With well over 300 sessions to choose from, the choice wasn't quite clear at first where we wanted to focus our time and energy.  However, I did manage to find an hour or so before we left on our journey to spend developing a game plan.  There were a couple of tough calls, but overall we were quite happy with our selections.  I feel very sure that we did use our time wisely.

Our favorite speaker was Dr. John Rosemond.  We both enjoyed his sessions very much.  So much so that we attended three of them, and purchased an arm load of his materials as gifts.  He is certain to be the guiding angel perched on our shoulders as we lead our third batch of children into adulthood.  If it were possible to have a pocket psychologist, Dr. Rosemond would be my first choice.  Would it make sense to you if I said his teaching is both traditional and revolutionary?  We found him very refreshing and could have easily listened to him speak for hours without complaint.

Another highlight for us was listening to and meeting Spunky Homeschool.  If you've not heard of her before, you simply must check out her website and her Facebook page.  Spunky is a dedicated freedom fighter when it comes to educating the general public about the Common Core, and she is a LOUD voice in Lansing working diligently to protect our right to educate our children in total freedom.  Spunky Homeschool is a wonderful resource whether you are just now learning about the Common Core and wondering whether or not you should be concerned, or you know where you stand and want to be further educated and even get involved on some level.  I strongly urge you to educate yourself on Common Core.  Here is the perfect place to start.

Part of the trip I really enjoyed that I hadn't anticipated was just being in Cincinnati and hanging out.  It was so different than going to Detroit, my only real big city reference point.  The city was clean.  The people were friendly.  There were SO MANY people of SO MANY cultures out and about doing all kinds of different things.  It was warm and beautiful, both the city and the people.  I traveled a little down memory lane going there, too.  Cincinnati was one of my favorite vacations with my dad when I was a kid.  He liked to surprise us, and just wake us up early in the morning and tell us to pack a bag because we were going on a vacation.  I had forgotten the carriage ride around the city until I saw the horses lined up downtown.  The only real difference I noticed is that all the carriage drivers were women.  I thought that was pretty cool.

Take it from me.  Make sure you get registered before the special rate deadline expires for lodging.  We waited until just a week before the conference to decide for sure that we were going.  By then the lodging discount had expired, and all the hotels near the hall were booked solid.  So, we went across the river to Newport, Kentucky, which is another fun city.  However, the Travelodge we stayed at?  Not so fun!  I highly recommend never staying there.  It could have been worse, and we made the best of it, but The Millenium or the Hyatt would have been so much more sweet.  Lesson learned!

Never in my life have I ever seen so many homeschoolers in one location.  There were thousands of parents, children, grandparents, and friends of homeschoolers present under one roof for nearly 12 hours a day, three days in a row.  It was an amazing feeling and wonderful sight to see.  The people that worked at the convention center were beautiful, kind, helpful, friendly, and completely hospitable.  It really is a well oiled machine.

Miraculously enough, I exercised great restraint and kept my spending to a minimum.  I've recently made the commitment to get my thousands of books organized in a useful fashion, know what I have, and use it to the utmost.  I've targeted the weak areas in my collection and purchased a few books to fill the gap and prepare us for the next stage of the plan.  It was funny to me that my husband actually asked me several times if I wanted to go back to the vendor hall.  That was all the confirmation I needed to know for sure that I had indeed kept my purchasing on the conservative side.  Normally he's trying to walk me away from books for sale, not toward them!

This is less than half of the vendor area!

The main speaker to wrap up the weekend was Dr. Ben Carson.  One word:  AMAZING!  We absolutely LOVED hearing him speak.  Neither of us were much more familiar with him than knowing his story from the movie Gifted Hands.  Dr. Carson was an inspiration.  He is anything but politically correct, which he did disclaimer, but for me his lack of political correctness was refreshing and made me like him all the more.  He spoke from the heart with passion, reverence, and conviction.  His challenge?  Dedicate a half hour per day learning something new.  My plan?  Learn who all of my state representatives are, what they stand for, and their voting record.  By the next election, I WILL be a fully informed voter!

If you have never been to the Great Homeschool Convention, no matter your spot in the journey of homeschooling, you simply must work it into your plans.  It is an annual affair held in four locations across the United States and Canada.  Just be sure to take advantage of the early bird specials, and hotel discounts by getting registered early.  Trust me.  It's worth it!


Trish Hackett said...

How awesome! I'm looking forward to going to the convention near me. It will be the first time in about 10 years that I've been! After homeschooling for 17 years, I'm looking forward to going!!! They are so refreshing!!!

Tina Smith said...

Trish - We really enjoyed it! I've been homeschooling since 1997, and this trip to the GHC was only the second homeschool conference I've ever been to. I went to one in Grand Rapids, Mi, over 10 years ago. You'll LOVE it! It was my husband's first time, and he enjoyed it. I'd love to make it a regular thing!

Tess said...

I would love to hear John Rosamond speak. I have one book that I read years and years and years ago when my oldeset was a baby. She's an adult now :D. I think I need to re-read that book. I don't know if I'll be attending a convention this year.

Tina Smith said...

He was awesome to listen to. I have to say that he so touched me in regard to how I parent that I think of him every day. Well, his words anyhow. I have listened to the CD we purchased three times, and I determined today that it's time for me to read his book. I know what he shares is spot on, but it SO does not come natural to me. Working on that!


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