A Life-Changing Convention
We moved to Virginia, the unofficial homeschool capital of the east coast, in 2016. I worked at the public school that both of my children attended for two years. We joke that we all quit school together.
Guys! I saw some things. I heard some things. None of which lined up with what we wanted for our family. Great! Now what?! Even though God had surrounded me with homeschoolers (I was legitimately surrounded. I worked with them; went to church with them; lived next to them. I went from zero exposure to homeschooling to seeing them at every turn), I suggested we switch to a private Christian school. Captain Obvious, much? We toured the school at which time I was asked to submit an application to teach there too. Perfect, right?
But then those pesky homeschoolers pounced (they blended in with all the regular people, so I was caught completely unaware). Every time I turned around someone was encouraging me to go to the upcoming Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) Convention. “Okay, guys, I’ll go but there is no way I can homeschool my kids. I don’t have the patience and I have to work. I’m pretty sure my kids would hate it.” I had all the reasons why not to homeschool. Even if we ever did decide to homeschool, it wouldn’t be anytime soon.
Fast-forward to the convention. I went to the intro class by myself. It was very informative and I was feverishly taking notes because that’s what I do - even though we’ll probably never homeschool. Then the speaker started talking about how the average family with kids in public school spends their time - Only 15 minutes of uninterrupted, distraction-free time together every day! That’s the statistic! After school and work and homework and housework and eating and showers, that’s all that’s left. Throw in baseball and dance and all the other extracurriculars and fifteen minutes per day is a stretch.
Cue the waterworks! This is where I started crying (I am NOT a crier). My first thought was where do they get fifteen whole minutes every day?! Remember, I worked at my kids’ school. We went there together every morning. They came to my classroom every afternoon. We drove home together. My husband and I went from 2-hour and 1-hour commutes, respectively, to between 2 and 15-minute commutes and we still couldn’t muster up 15 minutes of daily family time! How did this happen without my knowing it? Oh, the enemy is crafty and subtle!
I came home excited about the information I had learned. Blubbering to my very patient husband about the absence of family time in our life, I asked him to please consider homeschooling over private schooling. Now, I’m not saying that my darling Mack isn’t considerate and open-minded. He is my biggest encourager and supportive in every way, but he also has a bit of experience with my emotionally-driven impulsivity. He basically said maybe someday, but homeschooling is weird, so probably not.
Day two of the convention and I am on fire. I’m ready. Terrified, but ready! I come home and projectile vomit all that I’ve learned all over my husband and ask him to please just come to the last day of the convention with me. He agrees. When the huge convention hall was not filled with people who looked like they just stepped out of Little House on the Prairie, he began to consider the idea more closely. Then he made his way down to the part of the convention center that is lined with several name-drop-worthy colleges all vying for the attention of these homeschool families and recent graduates. We chatted about it a bit more at the convention and left with HEAV’s Homeschool Start-up kit. We were unofficially, official homeschoolers