This past weekend we spent together at the Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville, TN. This was our first EVER homeschool conference as a family, and am I ever glad we saved up the experience for this!
There aren’t enough words to tell you just how much of a heart-talking, life-changing, soul-encouraging weekend this was. Yes, it was busy, tiring, and included a LOT of walking (through the beautiful Opryland Hotel where the conference was held! OH MY!), but the blessing far out-weighed the efforts.
We arrived Thursday afternoon in Nashville, me to the blogger meet-up, and my hubby to our hotel with the kids. I was stressed and strained, anxious to get upstairs and meet everyone, and annoyed that I had forgotten my blog cards at home! After an even more stressful 45 minutes wandering the hotel trying to find where I was going (the Opryland Hotel is GIGANTIC! 14 miles of walking path!) I landed at my destination in tears. Greeted at the door by dear friends I haven’t seen in so long, they immediately gathered me and Miss E into their arms and loved on me so I could get myself straightened out.
I entered the room as quietly as I could to hear Sally Clarkson impart some wisdom and laughter into our souls before the weekend began. It was so great to meet friends I’ve only known online, and to see others again from Allume.
Ok, so, before I go any farther, I have a confession to make. My attitude on Thursday STUNK to high heaven. I think God was trying to get my attention, to warn me that what I had planned was not necessarily in his plan for me. I had circled and high lighted all these speakers I wanted to hear, but God knew that if I was kept that busy I wouldn’t be hearing the messages that he had for me. My attitude carried over into my children and my husband, and I nearly ruined our weekend there! But the Lord was gracious and showed me where I needed to release to him, and by Friday morning I’d had a huge change of heart, and was ready to let him lead.
The kids were registered in the Battle for Truth program for Friday and Saturday, and though they were slightly hesitant at the huge room and all new faces, they quickly felt right at home, thanks to the great leaders heading up the program. They were EXHAUSTED at the end of each day, but filled with the truth of God’s word, and we knew they were well-cared for.
As I mentioned, I had grandiose plans of hearing so many speakers, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day to do so! Heidi St. John, Crystal Paine, Sally Clarkson, Rachael Carmen, Mark Spence, Mark Hamby, Ken Ham, and this was just scraping the surface! Miss E was FANTASTIC the whole weekend, very happy go lucky – but she’s also a 5 month old baby, so she can be loud, and sometimes she was just plain tired of hearing voices over speakers, and she made it known, so we had to make a lot of quick exits (sorry Heidi :D). As a couple The Man and I took in only a handful or so of sessions together, but I didn’t stress over having to miss them, because there’s audio available for every single one!
Just in case you were curious, here’s the audio line-up for the sessions I caught only part of or wasn’t able to attend that I would recommend getting if you can (they’re not available yet, but I’ll post links when they are!):
ANY of the sessions by Mark Spence
Any session by Mark Hamby – ESPECIALLY the one talking about encouraging our children and not crushing their spirits – this one spoke the most to me out of the whole weekend!
Heidi St. John‘s sessions on managing your day and romance for the busy homeschool mom (she also has books on these!), notebooking and multi-level teaching (oh, and she’s HILARIOUS!)
Rachael Carmen – Teaching your children to B.L.E.S.S. and 7 Simple Steps to Sanity
Todd Friel‘s whole series on parenting and marriage – I’ve never heard him before but everyone kept saying how he just nailed it!
Denise Eide from Logic of English on teaching kinesthetic learners
Amy Roberts – Creating the Perfect Schedule (lots of wisdom here from a mom of 7!)
Sally Clarkson‘s – great encouragement and experience – she’s been through it all my friends!
Sonya Shafer – Living Books
Norm Wakefield – Homeschool Vision
The vendor hall was stunning. So many great companies come together with solid, biblical resources available to help you in your walk as a Christian and homeschool family.
Teach Them Diligently Marketplace, Apologia, MasterBooks, WriteShop, Sight and Sound Theater (where we are headed to next!), The Busy Homeschool Mom, Vision Forum, Mission Imperative, Doorposts, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
You can find next years’ curriculum and so much more at these tables. Visit and chat with the vendors, they’re eager to answer questions and help you find what you’re looking for!
On top of all this, I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of a live webcast with Rachael Carman and some other homeschool bloggers. I’m still reeling in shock that I was on LIVE with Rachael and Amy (from Raising Arrows) as she asked us questions about what God has been teaching us in our homeschool and ourselves. Obviously God wanted me to hear loud and clear what I had already been feeling he was speaking to me through the few sessions I had attended. If you want you can watch it here!
The best part about this weekend? The Man enjoyed it. And he was just as encouraged and blessed as I was! This is what it’s all about – getting the husband and wife together on the same page, encouraging them to DISCIPLE their families, enabling the husbands to LEAD. This whole conference isn’t just about homeschooling, it’s about discipling, equipping, teaching Christian parents how to honour the Lord in their homes.
There’s still one more opportunity to attend in Omaha, NE – May 30 – June 1, 2013 And if you’re unable to make it then, there are 9 locations across the US where there will be a Teach Them Diligently Marketplace – a retreat weekend with a mini-marketplace – check it out!