I have a looooong history with the Texas Homeschool Convention in Arlington. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and my 21 year old was FOUR, I began homeschooling. That was back in 2001. Shut up. I know. I’m older than I look.
So, I was saying… I started homeschooling back in ancient times, but the Arlington Book Fair pre-dated me. There were denim jumper moms already forging the convention path back then, creating all that yummy curriculum you now have available from SCRATCH. I was one of their first guinea pig moms, hanging on their every word… drooling on the products in the vendor halls… wondering if I was going to mess my kids up beyond recognition. I know you’ve done the same. Be real, ok?
I probably went to the convention in Arlington in 2002 for the first time. There’s no way of knowing now. I’ve slept a few times since then, and if child birth takes a large percentage of your brain cells with each kid, I don’t even want to THINK about what homeschooling said children does.
But, I digress…
So I thought I would share with you a brief history of my blogging mentions specifically about the Arlington Homeschool Convention. Here they are by order of year:
A match made in heaven. I wrote about the Arlington Book Fair in my earliest blogging days and mentioned how I loved it because it was the same week as Six Flags Over Texas Homeschool Day. That was back before roller coasters decided they wanted to friend-zone me. I have no idea if they are still doing Six Flags Homeschool Day… but you might check in to it if you are a thrill junkie. It used to always fall on the Thursday prior to convention – but now THSC starts on Thursday, so I’m pretty sure it would conflict for me either way.
Oh, lawdy, this post needed to stay in perpetual storage back in the deep, dark archives of my blog. I can’t believe I’m even sharing it. I wrote about a trip I took to the Arlington Book Fair back when my 9 year old was an infant and shared all sorts of grainy, dark images from before I upgraded my camera. For shame that it ever saw the light of day… but hey – 9 years ago, most of you weren’t even homeschooling, right?! Some of you were still in high school. That was back when the internet was invented by Al Gore. THSC didn’t own the Arlington Fair back then… but I sure loved seeing Jessica and Wade Hulcy there that day! They are homeschool rock-stars. Those were some of my favorite homeschool days ever… and I thought I was the most fun, amazing, creative, fantastic, awesome homeschool mom with all kinds of energy and hope for the future. KONOS for the win!
Now I have adult children. That tends to humble you. However, I hear from my 9 and 7 year old that I am still fun, creative, fantastic, and awesome, … and I do have hope that they will love homeschooling as much as their older siblings did back then (minus the energy).
I’m not sure why it took so long to mention Arlington again… but I did move away to Arkansas for a while, and I went to some Austin conventions back when CHEACT put them on. I also used to go to a lot of blogging conventions, so I may have just fizzled out for a while on the homeschool ones. Not a great idea, since homeschool conventions always give me an extra push to stick to the goal and stay the course each year. Even as a photographer, they are a huge inspiration to me. Something about being in one place with that many other parents who are standing in the gap for their kids… it’s so humbling and grounding!
But before I wax poetic, though, here are the more recent Arlington posts on Sprittibee.com:
In 2015, I introduced the THSC take-over of the Arlington Book Fair on my blog to let my readers know I was going to attend…
And then I wrote about the convention after I got home:
This is a review of THSC Arlington’s debut year. I started taking photos for THSC in 2011 at their Woodlands Convention, so this was my fifth year to be the THSC photographer, but the first time I had done the Arlington Fair as a paid photographer. Of course, I took pictures at the Book Fair back in the day, but it was all for personal use.
If you want to know what the convention in Arlington is like… click the link on the underlined title ‘Are Texas Homeschool Conventions for You?’… this is your post!
In 2016, they did a fancy homeschool blogger program to reach out to all the social-media savvy homeschool moms who come to the Arlington fair and get the word out about the convention. I enjoyed being a part of that and shared about it on my blog for them in addition to being their event photographer.
The week following THSC Arlington 2017, my mama went home to be with Jesus. She loved coming with me to conventions and helping with the boys. In fact, the last place she went with me was to Arlington last year. I was so happy to have her with me on Mother’s Day weekend. This year will be a bittersweet pill, but I know she would have wanted me to go and she loved seeing the boys having so much fun in the kid programs.
Here we are… convention season has begun again… and I’m off to Arlington at the end of this week. My tiny guys are now 9 and 7, and they are diggin’ the kid-program, which by the way is sold out this convention! Better hop on that Woodlands train before they sell out, too. They are counting the moments before they get to come hang out with the kid staff, who won their hearts last year. I know they will miss my mama, but it will be good to have time with just the little guys (my big kids are both working and taking college exams this week, so it will be my first year WITHOUT A HELPER – send prayers up for the photographer).
I really do love the Texas homeschool conventions I go to. I’m partial to THSC, yes – because I have worked them for nearly 8 years now, and I have gone to them since dirt was invented… (I’d have to kill you if I told you). I have been to so many conventions put on by so many people in so many cities… and I will say to you the same thing that I say to photographers who tell me they wish they had my gear – a nicer camera, yada yada yada…
The best camera is the one in your hand. Just GO TO CONVENTION. Find a way. Go to all the ones you can. Go to more than one a year. Get out and GO. They are invaluable tools to grow your knowledge, deepen your understanding, network with other like-minded moms, find friends that understand you, see curriculum up close before buying it, get advice, learn tips to save your sanity, etc. etc. etc.!
Homeschool conventions are the bomb diggity. They might not all be THSC, or even the one you like the best – where-ever that is – but they are all FOR YOU. Imagine what those homeschool lone rangers in other countries where it isn’t a freedom or right feel like. They would give their right arm to attend something like THSC Arlington.
I can hear myself channeling my mother about how I need to eat what’s on my plate because kids in Africa are starving and they would love to have what I’ve got.
Well, she was right – in principle. We’ve got first world problems… and we’re too busy and stressed out by choice a lot of the time. We have a lot of amazing things in America that we should be taking advantage of to the fullest or they might not be available down the road. Homeschool conventions are one of them!
So get out and go. If you don’t go to Arlington, come to Woodlands! If you don’t go there, go someplace! Find a way to recharge and get your tank filled, mama! Those kids are worth it. You are worth it.
I’ll step off the soap box now. Thanks for letting me rant down memory lane and step on your toes a little.
See you in Arlington?
That’s me on the right in the photo above… and Stephanie – the behind the scenes event organizer for THSC. She and her team put their heart in to it.
I’ll be wearing my button bling lanyard and cowgirl boots for most of the weekend. Probably the denim jacket, too. I’ll be busy chasing down the happy convention goers for THSC in Arlington this year – your very own paparazzi. Hope I get a photo of your smiling face this weekend.