This past week I was able to go to the FPEA convention in Orlando with a friend of mine. We had such a great time. This is my thrid year going to the convention, and I confess, I spend all day in the exhibit hall. The lectures and encouragment are great, and if I could afford to stay over for a night, I would definitely attend those, but as it is, I have to do a day-trip and the exhibit hall takes all my time. My friend and I do plan to order audio recordings of some of the lectures for us to listen to at home.
Being in the exhibit hall is such a great experience. First, you really get a picture of just how big homeschooling is. Sometimes I feel like I am on a very small island as a homeschooling mom, just because you don’t see a TON of people like you around. But, at the convention, my friend and I were talking about how many people were there, and just how different they all are. Homeschooling really does represent people from all walks of life!
I LOVE getting the chance to see products first hand! I am one of those people who has such a hard time choosing curriculum. I spend HOURS online at this time of the year doing research, then I make a decision, and then proceed to spend more hours second-guessing that decision and doing more research!! It drives me crazy (but I know there are many of you out there who can relate! 🙂 ) Getting to see curriculum first hand makes it much easier for me to decide what I want, plus, I get to see new things I never even thought of!! (which can also be a problem sometimes….too many choices is not always a good thing!)
We are lucky that our convention is pretty big, with lots of vendors, both well-known and not-so-well known). This year Heart of Dakota was even there! I’ve been wanting to see them in person for a long time, and this is the first time they’ve come to Orlando so that was exciting. The FPEA also hosts a yearly homeschool graduation ceremony for seniors during the convention which is really cool. We got to see all these kids (many of whom have grown up homeschooling), and it’s just reassuring to relatively new homeschoolers like us that there are so many people who complete this journey successfully! It’s also cool that they make it so fun for the kids. The seniors have events going on all weekend, culminating in the graduation ceremony the whole family can attend!
It was also nice to get away for a day and spend some time just hanging out and talking with my friend. I love to be with my kids, but every once and a while, it’s refreshing to spend some time with another mom just sharing your thoughts, ideas, and frustrations. It’s nice to be around someone else who can understand what it’s like to be in your position.
In short, it was a great trip, and I am looking forward to next year.