It’s still dark outside as I leave my sleeping family snug in their warm beds and sneak outside into the cold to begin my drive. It feels so strange to be leaving them. Even if only for a day. I turn on my podcast playlist and begin driving.
Three hours and one pit stop later I arrive. I walk from my car to the Hotel. The waves are thundering on the beach across the road. I walk up the stairs and join a long line of women waiting to go in. I’m feeling nervous. Out of place. I make small talk with some lovely ladies around me and start to feel more comfortable. And then, I get lost in the crowd. A sea of women. Of mums just like me.
I see someone who looks familiar, she’s smiling at me. She introduces herself. She knows who I am and invites me to sit with her. The room is full of beautiful flowers. A live musician plays magical music. The first speaker gets up and prays.
What a joyous experience it was. A conference for Christian homeschooling mums. It was refreshing. Food for my soul. It was inspiring. It was encouraging.
I made new friends. I met mums who get it. Mums who have gone before me and can offer wisdom and encouragement.
Someone commented to me at one point, “no one here asks you what you do for work.” It was nice to feel normal. To feel like one of a crowd. A lovely, real crowd. Full of jeans and joggers. Of mum buns and grey hairs. No one was there to be someone they’re not.
We studied God’s word. Abide in me. John 15.
Alice Burke had us laughing and sobering. “God doesn’t give me strength,” she said. “He leaves me weak and gives me himself.”
“My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Carol Hudson shared her soul. We cried with her. She pointed us to Christ’s grace.
Barb Somervaille shared her flowers and her wisdom.
“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long. So do not expect yourself to do so.”
As a homeschooling veteran of eight (homeschoolers have big families!!) she encouraged us. “Investing the best years of your life to choose this career… is worth it,” she says with her beautiful smile. It’s not without challenges. It’s not without doubts. But it’s worth it.
We looked at books, books, and more books (I took copious amounts of notes!) We talked curriculums. We discussed taking care of yourself first.
And then, the graduates panel. I nearly didn’t stay for this because I had a long drive home, but I am so very glad I did.
The young adults were so articulate, so eloquent, so hilariously funny and so very thankful to their families for homeschooling them. There were university students (business, medicine, and one very complicated degree that I didn’t quite catch – major + 2 minors). There were entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses, following their passions. There were siblings. Siblings on the panel. Siblings who came to watch. One was a cricket rep (my husband loves cricket). He said he loved homeschooling because it meant he didn’t have to go to school. That he had more time with his family. That he had more time for sport. They gave us tips, advice, insight. They poked fun at themselves. One shared her experience of a year in high school where she went to a local school. “I never knew that in a room of people I knew I could have no friends.” Homeschooled kids, she said, have less acquaintances, but instead they have close friends. They were wonderful adults.
I said goodbye, I drove (a long way) home. I pulled in the driveway 18 hours after I left disappointed I was only able to attend the first day but needing to be home with my family.
People have asked me how it was. I don’t really know how to answer. It was so much.
It was needed.