It's been busy at our house, getting ready for the ND Homeschool Convention in Minot, ND. This is the first year my husband Jim has been executive director of the Assoc., so it's the first time we've been intimately involved with the details of a convention. What an eye opener! Thankfully there is also a convention coordinator, so we have just been helping out however we can. Minot is about 100 miles from our place -- the closest a convention will ever get to us. It may also be the last time it is ever held in that city, since registrations are really down and a small number of vendors coming, probably due to gas prices and how far the city is "out in the boonies." I guess people prefer attending in one of the larger cities.
I remember the first homeschool convention we ever attended -- way back in March 1996. I remember dates according to who I was pregnant with or taking care of as a baby! That time I was newly pregnant with our son Andrew, and the convention was also held in Minot. The temps were not even rising above the zero mark, and Jim volunteered to take our 2 boys and get them settled in the car. I followed them out a short time later, and we headed out. When we got to a town about 2 hours away we stopped for gas, and I asked Jim where he had placed the boys' winter jackets. Jim had a sudden blank look on his face, and I discovered they were still hanging in our closet in Fargo. Thankfully, we called a friend that was also driving up later to attend the convention, and she was able to round up jackets, hats and mittens for us to use while up in Minot.
A week or so before the convention we were given a tape to listen to of the convention keynote speaker -- Jonathan Lindvall. That tape changed our lives, and I really think started us in thinking about moving to the country.
Mr. Lindvall had many topics that interested us greatly, such as sheltering our children, becoming debt free (including free of a mortgage), courtship and betrothal, home businesses, and others. We became convinced that God had a better way for us than what we had been planning. We had never heard of some of these topics before, and came away thoroughly challenged. It is interesting that since then we have heard of people who were turned off by his presentations, but it was enough for us to start looking to the Lord for what His will was for us in everything.
The leadership of the home school assoc. has been very wise in their choice of speakers, and every year we have come away with new challenges to what we have been thinking. It took me a while one convention to tune into the style of George Grant, but I came away with pages and pages of notes and the desire to read books with more meat in them. I think our most enjoyable time was listening to John Taylor Gatto confirm what we had been thinking. People complained afterward that he didn't present anything practical for the homeschooling families there, but Jim and I were thrilled to listen to him share his insights and experiences with us. This convention we are looking forward to what we will learn from Mr. Mark Hamby of