On Friday and Saturday, my good friend Kristen and I attended the MACHE homeschooling conference in Duluth. It is two days filled full of speakers. There are speakers on many topics. Such as renewing yourself as a mom, wife, teacher. Some speakers spoke on educational philosophies like Charlotte Mason, Classical education, unit studies and more. Several speakers this year focused on homeschooling in high school. It is truly a chance to gain more education and become renewed.
I particularly enjoy looking at curriculum. There is a huge used book sale with many vendors, which can be VERY dangerous. I have a severe addiction to books and had to restrain myself from buying too many. Also, there was an exhibit hall, that had many vendors selling curriculum. Also very dangerous! My favorite new vendor this year was JM Cremp's Adventure Store for Boys. They are an online company that sells amazing products geared for boys~so they can BE boys. Absolutely wonderful! I visited my standby favorites as well: Rainbow Resource, My Father's World, Covenant Games, The Nature Store, and a few more.
This year I was extremely well prepared. You might even call me a pro. I had an excel spreadsheet with all the things I wanted to buy. I listed the items, prices at a few vendors, and order numbers for Rainbow Resource. I also printed off a quick list so I could reference it for the used book section. My last "pro" tip is that this year I brought a wheeled suitcase. MACHE does not allow wheeled bags for liability issues, but you can check it in the coat check area. As I made my purchases, I would bring a huge stack to coat check and fill up my bag. When it was time to leave for the day, I just pulled my suitcase behind me. MUCH easier then the year before when I carried everything and was sore for days!
Another fabulous aspect for me this year, was how many wonderful friends I saw. Christian HOPE (our support group, previously called CHOW) met for lunch one day. Throughout the conference I saw many friends and each time it refreshed my soul to know how many people I know who are taking this same journey as me!
One of the BEST parts was being able to chat with my friend Kristen uninterrupted for hours. We drove up together and roomed together. One night we even splurged on dinner at the JJ Astor restaurant. It is located at the top of the Radisson and rotates. As it spins you have a 360 degree view of Duluth and the Harbor. What a treat!!!! It was extreme wind conditions and we watched the waves crash over the pier.
In all, it was a very special time and I am already counting down to next year. However, it will be at the River Center which is local... so it won't be a getaway, but it is still wonderful!