Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homeschool Conference: Country Mice Go to the City!

We got home on Sunday after a challenging but very rewarding home school conference in Rochester. My sister and I went to the conference together, and we really had some personal growth moments. Finding parking was one of them! There was a 5 story parking garage connected to the hotel. When we got there there was seriously ONE SPACE left, all the way at the top. It was more like 75 % of a space, since the cars on either side were parked over the lines. I wish we had taken a picture of the van in the cozy space we fit it into!
Once we found our room, we took a picture of the room number so we wouldn't forget it (a bit of a joke, but I think we were slightly serious).

That evening before we tucked ourselves in for the night we went down to the lobby to ask about how long it would take to walk through the skywalk to the Civic Center from our hotel. They said to give ourselves at least 10 minutes. Well, when we came down in the morning and tried to find our way we thought that we'd made a mistake in not giving ourselves MUCH more time. Thankfully one of the hotel employees asked us if we needed direction. If he hadn't walked half way with us, I'm sure we would have wandered aimlessly for a lot longer.
While we were walking he told us the funniest story. Earlier that morning, he'd seen a gentleman walking around looking lost. He asked the man if he needed direction. The man responded with, "No thanks, I've got Jesus." After about 10 minutes, the hotel employee saw that the man was still aimlessly wandering around. Once again he approached the man, this time saying, "Jesus sent me to direct you 10 minutes ago. Do you want my help now?" This time the man accepted assistance. How silly we are sometimes. How often we miss the answer to our prayers because we're looking for something else!

My sister and I laughed and laughed about our whole situation. It was just so funny to keep getting lost, and be so challenged in figuring things out. It was so fun to have her to laugh with. What a blessing from God it was to spend such time with her!

the skywalk

This is a gigantic Barnes and Noble that we passed in the skywalk. It has an escalator to the lower level (with lots more books), and used to be a theatre. You can see the stage in the background.

This is some artwork that my sister and I thought was neat, and took pictures of for our artsy daughters to try. The dots give the effect of a mosaic from a distance, but are really "dots" of paint.

The keynote speaker was a man who trains horses and compares it to our relationships with God and our children. They created this arena full of dirt for him. It is a LOT of dirt! We found it pretty amazing that they were able to create this very workable space for the "Sermon on the "Mount'" folks to work in.

Lew from "Sermon on the "Mount'" during one of our workshops.

My sister and I enjoying ourselves at the conference.

Overall the conference was a marvelous experience. It was inspiring, encouraging and informative. There were over 4600 people in attendance. It is really an encouraging thing to be in a room with 4600 other people who have all come together with the goal of being the best educators they can be for their children. I wonder how many fortunate children that represents? I personally knew of 5 families who were represented by 6 of the parents who represented a total of 15 children. If we use that to average 3 children for every person, that would be 13800 children! Wow! We attended some excellent workshops on child training, relationships, and education.

I got the chance to become more familiar with some curriculum that I've been impressed with. Unknown to me, I'd been gradually patterning my own homeschool after a lot of the same ideas and using a lot of the same books. I was able to sit in on one of his seminars and found it very inspiring and encouraging. His heart for raising thoughtful, responsible and Godly children was evident just as it is in the curriculum that he and his wife have developed. I pray God develops that same heart in myself and Dan. I tend toward taking the lazy way out of too many things. But, God is good, and He's been patiently nudging me on. When I look back I can see how He's patiently helped(or helping) me to grow up in him.

I was also able to get some good instruction on teaching writing. That was inspiring and also encouraging. I found that many of the things I've been doing have been good, as well as how to take those things to the next level. I feel more confident to carry on now.

So, it was an all around wonderful time! Dan and the kids also had a good time. He took them to lots of parks and on a lot of walks. They found snails and other water creatures to bring home, and got a LOT of sun. They were all a little pink and quite tired when we got back to my sister's house.

Hehehe! Ok, I just read this and I guess you can sum up this whole thing using the words ENCOURAGING and INSPIRING! I was a bit redundant, but I'm done now, so you get what you get! :)

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