When we heard the announcement at the Teach Them Diligently Conference in Spartanburg, S.C last year that Teach Them Diligently was planning to have a conference in Washington, D.C. in 2014, we were thrilled. We had been so blessed by the conference that we were making plans to attend again and the new location was perfect for our family.
We were in the middle of a two-year study of American history and we would be completing the study just one week before the convention in D.C. This would make the location perfect because we could combine the convention with a family tour of D.C and get more bang for our buck. We began making plans to attend and as the year passed, we worked on an itinerary and booked our lodging at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
We also teamed up with another local blogger, Husband of A Homeschooling Mom (shown below) to make the trip together. Having friends to share the homeschooling journey makes life so much more fun! We have grown as friends over the years and have learned that bearing one another’s burdens and sharing adventures in homeschooling has been a great asset to our homeschool. We made a caravan and followed each other up the eastern United States to our destination.
We really enjoyed the beautiful atmosphere of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and the view from the convention center windows was breathtaking. The Potomac River in all its glory surrounded by a beautiful riverfront community was the thing special memories are made of. We arrived early Thursday afternoon and took a walk on the riverfront. We at lunch at local eatery and were thrilled with our chance meetup with the Trim Healthy Mamas (shown below) who would be speaking at the conference. I got to share with them my story of reaching my goal weight through following their plan.
Highlights of the Convention
There were so many great speakers and sessions that I couldn’t possibly hear everything. We ended up purchasing an MP3 download of all the speakers because there was such an awesome lineup we didn’t want to miss out on a single session. That also took the pressure off of us so we could relax and just enjoy the time and not feel like we were missing things.
My husband and I ended up attending most of the sessions separately because I tend to enjoy the encouragement/how to sessions and he typically goes for the more business/father-centered speakers. We enjoyed the evening sessions as a family and our kids attended the children’s program. This was the first year that all three of our kids were old enough to attend the kids program. We were thrilled with the quality of the program and our kids couldn’t wait to go back for more. We felt blessed that our kids were being cared for by loving staff and even our shy youngest stayed in the class the whole time. It was such a blessing for us to attend the sessions unhampered by little ones so we could soak in so much good teaching without distraction. We took our three year old in the sessions with us last year and it worked out, but we enjoyed a new season of life this year.
One of the things I looked forward to most about this year’s convention was the opportunity to meet some of my favorite bloggers and authors. People like Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom, Carisa from 1+1+1=1, Jolanthe Erb from Homeschool Creations, The Trim Healthy Mamas, Josh and Anna Duggar from TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting. This was in addition to my old favorites such as Rachel Carmen, Debra Bell, Ken Ham, Mark Hamby and more. I enjoyed taking my books and having the authors sign the books, but I am always blessed by at least one session that really speaks to me.
This year my personal take away theme was – SIMPLIFY.
I am a type A firstborn, and I tend to take on more than I can handle at times. I have difficulty saying “no” and it doesn’t help that my spiritual gift is serving. Add all of that to my roles as wife, daughter, sister, mother, teacher, RN, AWANA leader and blogger and sometimes I am living in overdrive.
As I sat through session after session, I kept hearing about white space on the calendar, simplifying curricula, decluttering our home, focusing on the most important matters of the heart with our children. This really spoke to me. I felt like I was given the tools to begin this journey of simplifying my life. I don’t want to miss out on the highlights of my life because I am too busy to stop and take a nature walk, stoop down and really listen to my toddler, help my son build a Lego creation or teach my son how to make spaghetti. This season of homeschooling and mothering will pass all too soon and I want to be FULLY present in my life. I want to begin the journey to a calmer, more peaceful home.
If you have been on the fence as to whether you should attend a Teach Them Diligently Convention, don’t contemplate any longer. Make room in your schedule and budget for this life-changing event. My family feels that it has been such an encouragement that we make it an annual priority to attend. There is still an upcoming conference in Dallas, Texas this spring and next year’s lineup includes Atlanta, Ga (that makes this Georgia girl very happy)!
There’s still time to get your ticket to Teach Them Diligently Dallas! Register today!