This year I had the opportunity to attend The Good and The Beautiful convention!!! It was amazing, and I’m going back every single year if I can. Being in a huge room filled with other Christian homeschooling moms (and a few dads too!) was so empowering and reaffirming. I got to hear some amazing women speak, including Jenny Phillips, Ashlee Williams, Syreena Homer, and Mikael Monson. I even got to chat with Mikael for a bit, and tell her how beautiful Kender thinks she is! 😂
The convention was at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. My friend Chelsey and I stayed at an AirBnB in American Fork. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself – I took an Uber, a shuttle, a Lyft, and rode the ferry from Seattle all by myself on this trip! All things I’ve never done before, but can now put on my list of things that aren’t so bad after all.
Thanksgiving Point is a really cool venue. We mostly stayed at the Show Barn, the Museum of Ancient Life, and the Tower Building with the cool water tower (which I didn’t get a picture of).
I was one of the lucky 90 people who got tickets early enough to be able to buy the extra nature and watercolor presentation! It was totally worth it. We learned all the benefits of being in nature, how to spend more time in nature with your kids, and how to paint with watercolors. Plus we got to keep all the watercolor stuff they gave us!
The presentations were all amazing. My biggest takeaways were:
- Consistency and quality are more important than quantity. There’s no need to rush to finish a whole coursebook in one “school year.” Some kids will finish in less than a typical school year, and some will take longer. Just focus on quality and consistent learning.
- I’m not the only one crazy enough to homeschool with a mental illness. It is 100% possible (just hard at times) when we get the help we need and rely on the support of those we love and trust.
- Take care of yourself. Make time to do things you like. You have more to give when your own cup is full.
- Keep it simple. Your homeschool doesn’t need to be fancy.
- Nature is healing, and extremely good for everybody – especially kids!
- Focus on the positive!
So that was the convention in a nutshell! I have pages upon pages of notes, and I thought about writing a blog post about each presentation, but the more I thought about it the more I was able to condense it down to those 5 basic principles. I wish there were more of me so I could attend every single presentation! It was so hard to choose which ones to go to!
A Cool Experience
I had planned on attending a couple of presentations (it was a two part series), but I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to attend the presentation about homeschooling when you suffer from a mental illness. I wasn’t planning on going because I feel like I’ve pretty much come to terms with my anxiety and depression, and I understand how it works, but I just felt the Holy Spirit tugging me there, so I went. It was a really small crowd. So small that I even felt comfortable speaking up and sharing my own thoughts and experiences. Something I was NOT planning on doing.
I don’t remember everything I said. I know I mentioned how hard it can be to feel the spirit when you’re dealing with a mental illness. Sometimes your medication makes you not care about anything. Sometimes the medication doesn’t work and you feel so much fear that you can’t hear that still small voice. What made the difference for me was working with a psychiatrist to find the right medication for me.
Another big difference came from finding a counselor who was Christian. Denomination doesn’t matter as much as I thought it might. I just needed someone who could encourage me to pray and read scripture. Someone who could incorporate those things as part of my treatment.
After the convention, a woman came up to me and hugged me. She told me she really appreciated my comments and that what I had to say really helped her. That meant the world to me! And it felt so good to know that God used me to answer someone’s prayers. I’m glad I followed that nudge to switch presentations last minute.
I can’t wait until next year’s convention!!