view from our airbnb overlooking the Oakanagan Lake in Kelowna, BC
Two weeks ago our family was able to head up to Kelowna for the annual Christian home school conference, BC CHEC, hosted by our school, Heritage Christian. We attended back in 2015, and with this being our second time up, everyone had a bit more fun than last time since we knew what to expect.
The kids had friends in their 'kids' conference' area, and were able to do fun and educational things all weekend. Stefan got a much-needed rest from work, and he took the dog on multiple hikes through the beautiful area we were staying. I got to absorb wisdom, knowledge, research, and encouragement from some lovely speakers and past homeschoolers, and do a bit of 'free shopping' for our school year coming up. Add a wonderful airbnb experience to the list and a visit with Stefan's grandparents, and the weekend was such a nice time.
The funding I had leftover from the year was able to pay for the kids' conference, my entry fee, the books I purchased there, and MP3 recordings of all the speakers. What a gift! We won't be attending next year, but will every other year feels like good timing.
|The kids enjoying our airbnb's hot tub!|
The kids loved our airbnb just as much as we did. They had their own room with separate beds, bedding laid down for Copper right in between them, and a hot tub to play in for at least an hour per night. We enjoyed it for the last evening there, after we put them to bed. The tub sits right on the deck that overlooks the lake and city below (they live on a large hill)...what a great find. Add a giant TV with cable and they didn't want to leave!
While at the kids' conference, they were able to connect with local friends, have lunch every day with both Stefan and I, have worship time with the Perry Springman family band (which they loved), play team games like Capture the Flag, and even squeeze a bit of crafts and educational activities in with a "Passport Around Canada" program on the last day.
During the day I am occupied from roughly 9-4 with going back and forth to different sessions including (usually) a keynote at the beginning and end of every day. I really enjoy conferences and although sometimes I pick a dud or two that doesn't necessarily apply to me or our homeschool situation, 90% of the time they are so helpful. I learn new things, I get confirmation that we're on the right track, and I get fresh ideas and inspiration.
Our fun haul from BC CHEC
I don't usually buy too many things at home school conferences unless I see something I'd otherwise have to pay international fees for (like buying from Amazon) and shipping. Luckily, I did find a few books (the Interactive Math books below) that I would have spent more money on later, at the conference from one of my favorite vendors, Homeschool Canada. I often reserve any purchases for spontaneous games I see or just 'fun' things I see that I'd never heard of before; hopefully reigniting that love of learning while we are dragging towards the end of the school year.
The items up top fit this bill. I used to sell Usborne books and I still love them just as much as my kids. These two sticker books, Georgian Doll's House and the Country Garden were two I'd never seen before but I knew my daughter would love them (yes, she was done with them by the time the weekend was over!). I also hadn't seen the "See Inside: Famous Palaces" but knew she'd enjoy reading that one, too.
My son has read his Action Bible no less than 7 times, and so when I saw this "handbook" (reference book), I remembered to ask Lukka if he might enjoy reading that, and he said yes. I also got Mathable, a card game, and Solitaire Chess, a way for Lukka to practice his chess skills with levels beginner to master. He has really enjoyed time spent with that activity, though we have yet to play Mathable.
Second fun haul from BC CHEC
This pile is slightly more academic but hopefully some of them will be worthwhile and enjoyable because many are different than what we've used in the past. I'd noticed that Vancouver Kids (nonfiction series) at local stores before and it always looked interesting to me. It's a collection of true stories (historical through present day) of children from Vancouver and surrounding areas. We're going to read it aloud over the summer.
The book, Revolution of Mercy, by Bonnie Landry was an extension of the seminar I went to called "Carrots and Sticks" and I loved the session so much I bought the book. I've read it and though I don't intend to keep it, I'm going to donate it to my local homeschooling chapter so anyone can check it out and borrow it. I also bought "Great Books to Study Canadian History" by Landry as a help to me. I just don't know what's considered 'good' material when studying Canadian history (and I don't really want to do it through trial and error), and so will rely on Landry's expertise here.
My daughter is quite ahead in her math and that Singapore 3B workbook is her next up in line. We'll probably start that around December, but it saves me a trip out to the store I'd regularly buy it from, since they were at the conference. This book covers 1/2 of a school year, as there are A and B versions in one 'grade level'. She's already halfway through 3A. The last two items, Interactive Math Notebooks (gr 3 and 5) are going to be new to the kids but I hope helpful in that they are different, more tactile, and will reiterate those concepts that they need to get a solid grasp of before moving on. I had researched these on Amazon and was just going to assume I'd have to wait until September to have my school purchase them for me, but lo and behold my favorite vendor carried them (and for much cheaper!). The kids are mildly intrigued by these-mildly because it's math after all, but intrigued because anything lapbook-y or decorative-or that they can use their scissors for -is usually quite fun for them.
There you have it. An enjoyable weekend away for all of us-kids with friends, playtime, and fun events, dad with lots of rest, a hike the last day, and a built-up mom who can do it one more year and some of the fun items that will help reinvigorate the passion!
Do you attend a local homeschool conference? What has been your experience?