I’ll be completely honest: This past year has been a season of real brokenness for me, and I have mostly been in hiding. But when a friend asked me to attend the Oklahoma Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit with her, I felt “seen” and I thought, “Why not?” I had never even considered attending the summit, but I had heard that this was a weekend of encouragement and fellowship, so I was nervously interested.
Friday morning before we left, I stopped at one of the donut shops we own to check in. As I was crossing the road, which is currently under construction, I failed to see a wire across the road at about calf height and blindly tripped over it — falling hard on my left hand. Embarrassed, I dragged myself up off the road and ducked inside the shop to lick my wounds out of the construction workers’ view. For the next few hours, I vacillated between going home, curling up in bed, and hiding for the rest of the weekend, or carrying on with my plans to go to the summit. In the end, I determined to press on and keep my plans.
I caught a ride with some fellow homeschool moms, two of whom I knew already. And although I was in pain, their company was enjoyable and I started to relax. The Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit was about two hours from my home at the Embassy Suites in Norman, which was a beautiful venue.
I quickly discovered why God had given me the opportunity to attend and prodded me to accept my friend’s invitation — and also why Satan had tried to keep me home. Words can’t sufficiently describe why the summit was so therapeutic: It was a weekend of being open and honest with other homeschool mothers, sharing our brokenness, fellowshipping together, and encouraging one another. Worshiping God in beautiful harmony with my sisters in Christ was a highlight for me.
Friday night was a time of worship and a general session with speaker Greg Gunn of Family iD. He spoke about the importance of a family mission. Saturday morning after breakfast, there was a general session with speaker and Summit Director Roxanne Parks. Her focus was about encouragement and fellowship within the homeschooling community, and she quoted from the book “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker.
After the general session, we broke up into different workshops. I chose to go to a workshop called “Mama Needs a Do Over: Simple Steps for Turning a Hard Day Around” with Lisa Pennington. She shared some fun and silly ideas to help turn difficult days into productive ones. After a beautiful catered lunch, there were two more session times, but I ended up resting my aching arm up in my room, then meeting with my friend in the prayer room so we could pray together.
During the last general session, there was more worship time and door prizes awarded — I won a beautiful vase for my mantle. We were then released to go find our own dinner, so I enjoyed a relaxing dinner with my new friends and travel buddies.
Later that evening, there was a pajama party for those that remained at the hotel. It was a much smaller group, and the party began with dancing. Then we were broken up into 12 groups, given a recognizable tune, and told to come up with new lyrics to turn the song into a homeschool commercial.
My group was given the music from “The Adams Family,” and although the we didn’t have a chance to practice the song we came up with before we went on stage, we won first place! Here’s the song we came up with:
“We are so very tired,
The kids are always wired,
Sleeping in’s desired —
The work of homeschool moms.
We never get to spelling,
But our children are excelling,
The results are always telling —
The work of homeschool moms.
So join us if you dare,
When you’re pulling out your hair,
We’ll show you that we care —
The work of homeschool moms.”
After the fun and games, there was a time of open question and answer with a panel of four experienced homeschool moms. No questions were too personal: It was raw, open, and honest — and lighthearted all at the same time. I greatly appreciate these pioneering homeschool moms for being willing to mentor the next generation.
The weekend brought me much-needed encouragement: I made new friends and strengthened other friendships. It was an important reminder that we’re all broken in our own way, and that only by sticking together, holding each other up in friendship and prayer, can we really grow in God’s grace.
Within an hour of returning home, I went to a walk-in clinic and learned that I had a broken elbow. However, I am very thankful that the physical pain didn’t keep me from such an emotionally and spiritually healing weekend!
Where do you go when you need encouragement & fellowship with other homeschooling moms? Do you have a local homeschool support group? Have you attended any refreshing retreats or workshops that you’d recommend to others? Share your thoughts in the comments below.