Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Homeschool Convention

Heidi and I attended the FPEA (Florida Parent Educator Association) Homeschooling Convention last weekend in Orlando and it was a rocking good time.  That could be overstating it a wee bit . . . but we did have fun.  I will be homeschooling Casey in the fall and Heidi's homeschooling future is still up in the air, but we both have been researching like crazy for the past four months or so.  Word to the wise: if you are ever considering homeschooling for the first time, do not let a visit to the annual FPEA Convention be your first glimpse of all the resources available to homeschoolers.  Because if it is, the sight of the Exhibit Hall alone may scare you off the whole thing altogether and you will beat a hasty retreat out into the hot parking lot of the Gaylord Palms Hotel from whence you just came, where you will have to catch the shuttle to take you all the way back to the ESPN Wide World of Sports overflow parking where the Gaylord's employees and others (like me, for example, who arrived a little late in the morning), had to park because there were thousands upon thousands of homeschoolers at the convention:

I took this photo from the very back of the vendor hall so there is no way for you to grasp how many people were at this convention, but it should give you an idea of the number of vendors.  It was very disconcerting to be surrounded by thousands of teenagers and children who walked around as if they had the sense to pull their pants all the way up and did not seem to mind being within five feet of their parents.  I only saw one inappropriately-dressed teenage girl with short shorts on and I assumed she just followed a nice homeschooled boy into the convention hall after he had held a door open for her somewhere else in the hotel.

So we checked out curriculum and I bought timelines and science kits and a Well-Planned Day planner (it took me two full days to get up the nerve to buy that planner -- to actually set myself up for "well-planned" days seemed like a bar under which I was destined to fall short).

There's Heidi buying a box full of Greek and Latin roots.  Wondering why it's relevant? Here's a sample:

Card 1:  Able -- Able means to be possible.
Card 2:  Edible 
Card 3: (cartoon picture of man eating a sandwich on front of card) Edible. Able means to be possible.  Edible means able to be eaten.
Card 4:  Potable 
Card 5: (cartoon picture of drink and lime halves on a tray on front of card) Potable. Able means to be possible.  Potable means able to drink.
Card 6:  Perishable
Card 7:  (cartoon picture of tray with fresh fish beside picture of fish skeleton) Perishable.  Able means to be possible.  Perishable means to be able to become rotten.
Card 8: Navigable
Card 9: (cartoon picture of sailboat on water) Navigable. Able means to be possible.  Navigable means able to navigate or find your way.

You get the idea? How helpful would those cards have been when you studied for the SAT?  If you would like a set of those cards for your very own, go to and I'm sure they'd be happy to send you a box for about $20.  I tried them out on Dez and Shelya the other night and they both stared at me like they were waiting for the punchline, but they're all grown up now and really can't feel the excitement lurking in Greek and Latin roots -- it's a forgivable (able to be forgiven) offense, really.

We also went to several helpful sessions at the convention.  We attended the Orientation to Homeschooling session and there did not appear to be any misspelled words in the Powerpoint presentation.  

Because of our extensive research, Heidi and I pretty much already knew everything presented in the orientation, but we were glad we did the class because then we knew we hadn't missed anything in our research.  And we got to look around the room and see about a hundred other skittish faces, so it was comforting.  

I also attended the "10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Homeschooling" session.  You may be surprised to learn that "you still have to bathe your kids even though they're not going to school the next day" was not on the list.  I was.

During our downtime, we explored the hotel.  The Gaylord Palms is incredible (not able to be believed).

That's the atrium area.  It's ringed by restaurants and shops (and a large movie screen that showed family-friendly movies all weekend) and in the center is a miniature fort, complete with live alligators:

If you wander around long enough in there, you'll also find the Everglades:

(I'm going to stay in that room up in the tree next year -- if the tree is scalable [able to be climbed].)

You'll also wander into Key West if you're not careful and find yourself split in two. 

Heidi's divisible. 

Able to be divided.  

Help me, please, I can't stop myself.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure those cards were more for you than for Casey... and how come the examples on the blog are the same ones you read to us? Is the rest of the box blank cards???


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