Monday, June 16, 2008

Road Trip Weekend

Friday afternoon, my fabulous five family members packed and piled into the minivan (yes, I drive a minivan) and we hit the road for a micro road trip to our neighbor state to the north. For the past several months, I had been looking forward to attending the WHO Convention. No, I'm not a music groupie ... although I think The WHO was an awesome band. This convention was the Washington Homeschool Organization annual conference in Puyallup, WA (that's pronounced "pew-ALL-up"). It is the largest conference on the West Coast and was well worth the 3 hour drive to get there.

The convention was so well organized and much meatier than any conference I've attended to date. Kudos to whoever put this baby together because it had something for everybody. There were awesome speakers giving talks on everything from getting started in homeschooling to preparing your highschooler for college. Great workshops on lapbooking, learning styles, writing, literature, curriculum choices, gifted children, and struggling learners were just a few of the offering available. One of the biggest hits was the physical science demonstrations that grabbed the attention of parents and students alike.

There were over 150 booths to peruse in a no-pressure atmosphere. I was able to inspect textbooks, workbooks, audio/video, paper supplies, novels, instruction guides, curriculum packages, games, foreign language offerings, etc. Also present were some of my existing suppliers such as Rainbow Resource as well as The Critical Thinking Company. It was an AWESOME day. The kids even enjoyed it. The organizers had life size chess games set up ... so fun to watch the kids lift and move pieces. They had multiple regular chess games set up as well. The humane society was there with little kittens and rabbits for the kids to pet, and there were these remote control racing boat games the kids enjoyed. My littlest peanut did her Rembrandt impersonation in the art corner where she painted a lovely ceramic tile.

The WHO did make some money off of me. I was so excited to find the Latin/Greek root word workbooks that I want to use next year. Oh, now stop. I can hear your groans! It's not bad at all; actually, it's really interesting stuff. My son is a whiz speller, actually all three offspring are, and this will be a nice, little, turn-on-your-brain supplement to our spelling program. I also picked up a keyboarding practice book as well as a couple history books.

I walked out of the exhibit hall feeling elated. Not just because I had a good time, which I certainly did. I was on cloud nine because after looking at what seemed like hundreds of programs, books, and curriculum providers, I found that I remain committed to the curriculum that we selected two years ago -- Calvert. Oh sure, I could probably piece something together myself or go with a more affordable curriculum provider, but Calvert works for us. It's a well rounded, full curriculum that will provide my student with a fantastic education experience. Ah, I love it when a plan comes together!

So, after spending all morning and early afternoon with me at the fair, it was time to take the kidlin's to Seattle. Seattle is a lovely city ... very cosmopolitan, shiny, and clean, yet smaller than other major metro areas on the west coast. We did the touristy stuff ... Space Needle, views of Puget Sound, drove across the floating bridge, etc. The kids (I include my husband in that word) enjoyed the Museum of Rock and Roll that is adjacent to the Space Needle. Inside the same building is a Science Fiction Museum that housed cool stuff from movies and TV series including the original robot from the Lost In Space series. You know, the one that waved it's accordion type arms saying in monotones, "Danger, Will Robinson", over and over. There is a mini amusement park there as well, and the kids enjoyed the log ride.

If you look closely at this view of the Space Needle, you can see the copper colored elevator ascending the structure. To give you a perspective, about 20 people can fit in that elevator. Makes you feel kind of puny riding up there.

All in all, this micro road trip gets two big thumbs up from every member of the family. Fun time, fun trip!


Marjie said...

Sounds like a great trip. Don't be too hard on the ol' minivan. One of these days I'll post on the van I had to drive for 8 years, and you'll realize that yours is a hot little number! What are the Latin & Greek root word workbooks you selected? Are you bringing the girls home next year? Loved the pics of the kids and Mr. Paula on the mountain too. Lucky you didn't get flip flop frostbite, although your older daughter out there in the snow in shorts was livin' on the edge!

Paula said...

Hi Marjie,
I purchased a book titled "English from the Roots Up" by Joegil Lundquist, and also a smaller application type workbook titled "Word Roots level B1" by Cherie Blanchard. The first one is very much like the Calvert program, and there are reviews of it on Amazon. It's quite good. The second one is more of a workbook/work sheet type thing from the Critical Thinking Company.

Marjie said...

I just posted a picture of my former van. It should make you laugh!

Paula said...

Ha! Love the Marjie Bus! So, did the boys elbow each other to sit in the coveted "shot gun" seat, or did they have their own assigned territory? I'm still giggling picturing you wielding that loaded beast of a vehicle around town!