Saturday, August 06, 2005

Homeschool Day 2005: Memories and Musings

We just got back from Mississippi Homeschool Day 2005 in Jackson. It was a blast.

After a long drive to Jackson we stopped by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science to see "Sue" the T-Rex. Brighteyes loved the T-Rex exhibit, but Sunshine found it too scary and stuck to the aquariums. I didn't realize they had aquariums at the Natural Science Museum. The place is so big we missed some of the permanent exhibits. We'll have to come back in cooler weather.

We stopped by New Vibrations a Jackson store which carries our jewelry, then when on to the Edison Walthall Hotel a lovely Edwardian building in downtown Jackson. It was wonderful to meet all the folks who showed up for the poolside reception, even if the pool was out of use. Saturday was even more fun. It was wonderful to see all the people I had met online and even more that I hadn't. We had a chance to share our dreams with other people about homeschooling in Mississippi, and to listen and learn from their dreams. My husband privately paid many of the people we met one of his very highest compliments, "They have not forgotten their own childhoods."

When the girls needed a break we took them outside to show them downtown Jackson. It was amazingly quiet, almost as quiet as downtown Tupelo on a Saturday. The whole area needs to be revitalized, starting with the old King Edward Hotel I've heard the city is working on it's restoration. That's good news.

For me the strangest moment of the conference occurred during Jeanne Falconjer's keynote speach, "Swimming Out of the Mainstream". Jeanne gave an excellent speech whose theme was, "Yes, homeschooling is a step outside the mainstream but that's okay. It's not going to do you any harm." only she phrased it much, much better than that. Judging from the relieved looks on the faces of the rest of the audience it was just what they needed to hear, too. But for me it was incredibly weird, because I and most of the people I know couldn't step into the "mainstream" if you held a gun to our heads and made us. It's not an affection. For us, the "mainstream" is a foreign language. After years of hearing it we can understand a few of the words, but the grammar and syntax are beyond us. I'll be posting more about this in upcoming blogs. But it seemed very strange to be among people who could step into or out of the "mainstream" at will. Strange, but heartening that they should find it worthwhile to take that step for the sakes of their children.

After things wound down that afternoon we made the long drive back home. I say "we" but the girls and I all passed out, and my poor husband was reduced to talking to the birds on the side of the road to stay awake. We're all very, very glad we went and looking forward to next year.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

It was so nice to meet you Debbie (and Robert and Brighteyes and Sunshine).

Jeanne's Mainstream speech was great. I spent so much time (in my youth and at the beginning of my career) to BE mainstream and always had such difficulty figuring out just what that was.

Since then, I've learned to be who I am. Homeschooling has become an extension of that. I hope my children grow up to be thinking individuals who don't default to popular opinion.

Take care and get well.