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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Random seems to be what I do best

I've reviewed my last product for this year's TOS Crew.  I got some great stuff this year, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get around to a favorites list, but for now let me just say IEW ROCKS!!!

Our homeschool year has come to an end...which should not be confused with the idea that we have finished our work in every subject (just to be clear).  Em and TJ DID finish their math, which was a phenomenal accomplishment.  And I have to keep reminding myself that even though we did not finish Botany, they DID also complete Anatomy and Physiology via a co-op this year, so really they've done one and a half sciences.  We made great progress in Grammar, and they kids did well in spelling.  History on the other hand we are only about half way done with, but I am choosing to be good with that :-).

This summer holds some really big projects for me.  And I came home today to find several boxes (in their flat form) sitting on our bed.  Nothing like a not-so-subtle "hint hint, nudge, nudge" from the hubs!

Speaking of coming home, I was at the FPEA homeschooling conference Thursday night, Friday, and Saturday.  I have sooooo many random thoughts to share about that...
  • This year was the first time even that I worked for a vendor instead of being a conference attendee.  I calculate that I saved untold amounts of money and actually came out ahead, but it was VERY strange to be there and yet not be participating in the seminars or strolling the vendor hall browsing for the next great thing I can't live without.
  • I think being on the TOS Crew has really changed how I approach the conference and the vendor hall especially, which is why I didn't feel the need to shop 'till I dropped this year.  I get so many different things sent to me over the course of a year that it's like having the best of the vendor hall arriving in my mailbox!  I DID miss the opportunity to visit with this year's vendors and tell them" thank you".  Especially IEW.
  • I love my math curriculum (Right Start).  I've always known and believed it is the BEST curriculum for us.  The focus is on mastery over memorization, and it uses tons of manipulatives and games to teach the concepts instead of "drill and kill".  I have spent the past 2 1/2 days telling others about Right Start and how it works.  It's amazing how many people walked up and said, "We are using XYZ curriculum but my child JUST ISN'T GETTING it...tell me about Right Start because I've heard great things...."
  • Our conference was at one hotel (hotel A) for several years until it moved to a bigger, brand new hotel (hotel B).  We leaders were told that the hotels are booked on multi-year contracts, but that hotel A had booked our convention weekend with someone else for the the next few years after our existing contract expired so we HAD to find somewhere else.  Apparently employees of hotel A were told a different story, but really it's not my concern.  Anyway, the first year at hotel B was rough.  They had not opened on time, and we were their first big event-and they clearly were NOT prepared for 30 thousand people.  The second year was okay, and then the next two were actually really, really good.  The rooms were big, and there was always plenty of seating.  The exhibit hall was larger and so the aisles were wider.  And the layout is just smarter.  But last year was the end of that contract and this year was the return to hotel A...and they were NOT prepared for us.  Their parking lot enters and empties via ONE LANE each way.  The lines were over 30 minutes long to leave the first night!  They ran out of toilet paper in the bathrooms one day, and today totally ran out of hand soap.  They have ONE elevator to get from the exhibit hall to the upstairs conference rooms, and it is small (like two strollers fit on it small) and the line was over and hour to use it.  And the conference rooms are TOO SMALL and people were sitting on the floor or having to stand.  It's funny how great that hotel looked when it was all we knew, but how disappointing it was now that we had seen something else.  We are apparently at that hotel for another 7-8 years...I hope they fix their problems before next year.  There is supposedly a redesign in the works that will address the elevator issue.  I'm hoping they can work out some of the other things too.
  • My son is out of school as of yesterday, and his promotion ceremony is tomorrow night.  I am taking pictures for it.  Between doing that and photographing their prom and doing their senior pictures, I haven't paid tuition in a month.  THAT is a Godsend!
  • Back to the conference, said eldest child went with me Thursday night and enjoyed himself so much he wanted to skip his last day and go with me again.  Instead, he came today, and so did Mimi.  I love that they are old enough to be on their own and just check in with me a few times throughout the day.
  • Yesterday Mimi went and spent the day with my TOS Crew leader's daughter.  They met last year when Heidi was here for the conference and we all went to Disney together, and then again when we stopped up in PA to see them on our way to NY.  So Mimi was there from 8:30AM-9:30 PM compliments of a really long day exhibit hall day and Right Start taking the booth assistants out to dinner...and then even longer because a DELUGE occurred that kept any sane person inside.
  • I think that's it for now because my brain is DEAD!
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Debbie(single;complicated) said... catching up on all this!!! it sounds like you have really found your groove with schooling!!!

Melissa said...

More summer project info. required! What is in the boxes?!