I missed you this past weekend. Seriously, I missed you. There were quite a few people missing this year at the OCHEC Tulsa Convention 2014 — attendees as well as speakers and vendors.
Perhaps the reason attendance was down was because there were fewer speakers and vendors on the agenda. I talked to an OCHEC trustee about this, and he said that the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati was the same weekend this year. I am sure that had an impact on which speakers and vendors could be in Tulsa. I also noticed that the Tulsa convention took place one week prior to the OCHEC Oklahoma City Convention for the first time I can remember. I know that OKC will have some really great speakers, so maybe more families are planning to attend there. If we weren’t traveling to Washington D.C. for the Teach Them Diligently Conference next month, I would be tempted to make the drive to Oklahoma City this weekend myself.
I particularly missed hearing Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, who has spoken every year before this one. I also missed shopping at Rainbow Resource Center, Miller Pads and Paper, J.M. Cremp’s and several other vendors that I have loved to browse and spend my money with in the past.
That being said, I still came away from the OCHEC Tulsa Convention with some encouragement. For starters, this is the first time my husband has attended with me. He enjoyed his time with me, meeting up with other homeschool families we know and attending several of the workshops (Dr. James Wanliss in particular).
It is always an encouraging weekend for me and my sister Elizabeth, and this year was no exception. While we both also enjoyed Dr. Wanliss’ lectures, our favorite session was titled “Stuck” by Sheri Yates. This session gave us the most encouragement both as homeschool mothers but more so as children of God. God gave us each a unique dream and homeschooling should not put a lid on those dreams. Trust God and keep moving forward, Sheri reminded us.
Another session Elizabeth and I attended was about Common Core and why we (as homeschool parents) should be concerned about it. We watched the HSLDA documentary “Building the Machine,” and then Linda Murphy spoke about the legal fight in Oklahoma. When Ms. Murphy was introduced, Elizabeth and I realized that we had heard our parents talk about her: They have been fellow education freedom fighters with her since the 80s when my parents started homeschooling us in Tulsa. After her talk, we went up and introduced ourselves.
My biggest take away this year was an experience of God confirming the dreams He has placed in my heart. I have always dreamed of being a writer. Lately that dream has started to really push its way forward in my life.
Twice this weekend, that dream has been encouraged. First in the “Stuck” session, and then again in a quick conversation with the OCHEC trustee mentioned above, who saw my name tag and knew who I was because he had read some of my NextGen Homeschool posts. He said I was a good writer — a simple thing he probably didn’t think much of later, but it meant so much to me.
I’m looking forward to our next convention — Teach Them Diligently Conference in Washington D.C. — to see what messages God has in store for us there!
Did you go to a homeschool convention this year? What was your take-away? If you haven’t been to one, I highly recommend you go. You will be encouraged and inspired!