We are having a fabulous time. We left home a week ago, and began this Ross Adventure by attending the Walking with Dinosaurs show in Regina. If you remember, we had won tickets to this event back in December. Many thanks to Colton’s giant brain for knowing the answer to the radio contest question which resulted in this opportunity. It really was a lot of fun. The boys loved it. Carter was a little nervous about it all, and it was pretty loud, but it was well done. My favourite dino was, of course, the T Rex, who made her appearance at the very end of the show. We spent that night in a hotel in Moose Jaw, and headed west the next morning.

We have learned over the years of travelling with our family that the trip goes more smoothly if we take the time to stop now and then. So, we stopped in Medicine Hat at the mall for some lunch and a stroll. The kids had been bickering in the truck and the break was welcomed by everyone. The boys bought a couple of books at Coles, and I found a Vinyl Cafe on cd that we had not heard before. I also picked up The Five People You Meet in Heaven on cd. We shared a candy apple, threw some pennies in the fountain, and then we were good to go.

The rest of the trip was much more enjoyable. The boys browsed through their new books, we listened to and laughed with Stuart McLean, we got as far as the meeting with the Blue Man on the Heaven cd, and were at Mom and Dad’s before we knew it. Just in time for supper. A little laundry, a little visiting, a fairly early night, and then up early the next morning to drive to Red Deer for the Homeschool Conference.

I thoroughly enjoyed Friday and Saturday in Red Deer. The conference was bigger than our Saskatchewan conference. I’m not sure how I would compare the two. The venues are very different. Saskatchewan’s conference is always held in a hotel. Cushy chairs, nice atmosphere, catered lunch. The Red Deer conference is held in an arena complex, so I didn’t feel quite as pampered. And you had to buy food from the arena concession. The content, however, is the main thing and I would say that in that respect the conferences are very comparable. The keynote speaker in Red Deer this year was Kevin Swan. He presented, I think, a total of seven times. I sat in on three of his sessions. Very energetic, dramatic, enthusiastic speaker. The main thrust of his lessons was that, basically, character is key. The main reason for homeschooling (according to Swan) is to teach kids character. I didn’t hear anything that was really new, but it was an encouragement to be reminded of some of those foundational ideas. It’s easy to get caught up in curriculum and to forget (or maybe misplace) the basic philosophical reasons why we decided to do this in the first place. Anyway, Kevin Swan has a website where he offers lots of things, including a daily online audio message, if anyone is interested in checking him out.

I did spend a lot of time at the curriculum fair. I was happy to see a Teaching Textbooks booth, as that is the math program I am considering going with for the older boys next year. I didn’t purchase it as there was no financial benefit offered to buy at the conference, and I know they ship for free if you order online. It was good to see it and try it out a bit, though. I did buy The Mystery of History, as well as several literature books, including some G.A. Henty, which we have not read before. I looked at Runkle Geography for a long time, but ended up not getting it. It is so expensive. I need to think about that one a bit, and decide if it is really something we would use. I also found a Larry Burkett Money Matters for Teens Workbook for Tyson. I told him that once he had finished it and we felt confident that he understood some basic money management, we would talk about some Work for Pay projects. And, I bought a “mom” book. I always buy something that is an encouragement for me when I am at a conference.

The best thing about the conference, though, was reconnecting with a friend of mine. Margaret and I lived together years ago in Edmonton when we were both in college. I have seen her the odd time over the years, but have never really visited with her much since our Edmonton days. She is a homeschooling mom of six children. Lyndon and I went to Margaret’s home for supper Friday night and had a wonderful visit with her family, as well as some other old friends that they invited over. So, so, so fun.

Okay, long enough post for now. More adventures to come…

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