I had the privilege of attending the ApologiaLive Homeschool Mom’s Retreat in Baltimore March 12-13, 2010.
It was a time for firsts: my first-time to go to Baltimore, my first-time to be away by myself from Jesse and the girls for more than a night, and my first-time to go to a homeschool mom’s retreat. I never would have picked one so far away, but when Apologia contacted me months ago and asked me if they could give me a complimentary ticket and pay for my airfare, Jesse thought it was a great idea. So I went.
Truth be told, it was hard to be away from my family; I missed them so much! And it was hard traveling by myself with an active 10-month-old–especially because our flight home got canceled and we ended up spending a lot of extra time at the airport and then were stuck in a hotel for an extra day.
But it was also a good experience, too. I loved the opportunity to get to hang out with Toni from The Happy Housewife and Crystal Collins from The Thrifty Mama, bloggers who also attended the retreat. Toni was so gracious to open her home for us to stay at and it was fun getting to meet her husband and children.
And the retreat was wonderful! From the moment I walked into the registration area until I walked out of the door at the end of the retreat, I was met with smiling faces and servant’s hearts. All of the staff made it their goal to see to it that everyone attending not only was being spiritually encouraged and edified, but that our physical needs were met, as well.
From the chocolates and candles on the tables, to the fresh-baked yummy chocolate chip cookie bars, to the delicious lunch, to the comfortable nursing area they’d set up for moms like me, it seemed a single detail hadn’t been left undone.
The messages were timely and uplifting, as was the time of singing and praying. The women who spoke were authentic, down-to-earth, humble, and engaging. I especially appreciated that all the speakers were very experienced homeschoolers–each of them having graduated at least one or more of their children. But at the same time, they talked about the early years–the season I’m in–when there’s diapers, nursing, pregnancies, potty-training, crying, child-training, and little children who are still learning to do basic things on your own.
My favorite session was the Q&A panel with the speakers. The wealth of wisdom and practical knowledge shared was incredibly encouraging.
The only thing I was disappointed about the conference was that there were no breakout or small-group sessions. I would have loved to have had the chance to ask questions of some of the women at my table or gotten to share prayer requests and pray for the women there. I’d love to see this added to future ApologiaLive Retreats.
Toni had the opportunity to interview each of the keynote speakers and she shared some of what she gleaned over on her blog. Go read it and check out the adorable picture she posted of my Silas.
Apologia has another Homeschool Mom’s Retreat planned in Chicago in October, so if you live in that area, it’s definitely something to consider. In addition, they already have conferences planned in 2011 for Baltimore and Atlanta.
photo credit: VisioPhotography