I had a ticket for the Chicago Apologia Live Retreat, but was unable to attend so I offered it to the first person who responded from our homeschool email group that was willing to do a guest post on their time there…so, without further ado, here is my “winner’s” (Angie) post about her experience last weekend in Chicago:
When I first heard of the Apologia Live retreat a few months ago, I didn’t know what to expect. But I had my suspicions: enthusiasm about their science curriculum, how-tos from veteran homeschoolers, and some hearty go-get-em cheers thrown into the mix. But I’m rather fond of Apologia’s curriculum and I certainly needed the cheerleaders to come beside me, so a weekend away to refuel sounded good to me.
My goal in attending the retreat was to figure out how to bring the fun back into our day. Things had been dragging a bit this school year as my kiddos’ workload increased. There were days that we were entering the homeschool room with less than ideal levels of enthusiasm. Okay, admittedly, there were days I dreaded descending the stairs into homeschool land. Something needed to change.
I registered for the Nuts and Bolts workshops held the morning and afternoon before the main event, hoping for a few tips. Divided into three tracks: Preschool, Elementary, and High School, Nuts and Bolts promised to cover the practical aspects of homeschooling.
Spending half a day in the presence of women like Zan Tyler, Rachael Carman, and Deb Bell blew me away. Forget boring lectures about learning styles, these ladies could teach and inspire! I left those sessions feeling equipped and eager to apply fresh ideas to our lives. And more importantly, to rejoice in discipling my precious children. The heart of the speakers to see my homechool experience with my kids be all it could be set me on fire. Honestly, the conference could have ended after Nuts and Bolts and I would have loved the event and returned home more than satisfied. But the fun had only begun!
Over the next day and a half, the Apologia Live team poured their hearts and lives out before us, encouraged us, made themselves personally available to us, and shared their years of accumulated wisdom. Yes, they gave us some practical tools for success—things like what to do with a reluctant reader and how not to freak out when you get way behind in your curriculum. But more than that, they gave us hope. Hope for good homeschools to become great homeschools and hope for those who were troubled and thinking about quitting to trust in the Lord and press in a little more.
The push for curriculum I had expected to sit through? It never happened. The women weren’t focused on making money; their aim was revealing God in the homeschool journey. In fact, in my former life I helped organize large events like these and it was very apparent by the accommodations and food they provided—yummies like Eggs Benedict, Haagen Daz ice cream bars, freshly baked cookies and milk—that budget wasn’t forefront in their minds. When I mentioned my appreciation of this to organizer Rachael Carman, she just smiled and said she considers Apologia Live a ministry and that they aren’t looking to make money with it. Instead, her great desire is to bring good tools and inspiration into the lives of as many homeschooling moms as possible. I believed her.
They entitled the event, Celebrate the Journey, and did we ever celebrate. They filled us with wisdom, worshipped and prayed with us, and inspired us to go home with purpose and joy. If you are considering attending one of these events, quickly—go register! And leave your expectations at the door.
Wondering where the upcoming retreats are? Here is the list of locations and dates:
Austin ~ October 21 & 22, 2011
Baltimore ~ March 9 & 10, 2012
Atlanta ~ March 23 & 24, 2012