Back from the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo!
Since I returned home from the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo, life has been a whirlwind of getting caught up on my sleep, appointments and more appointments, a death in the family, a funeral, doing tax preparation (yep, we waited until the last minute), and still more appointments. That’s why this post is long overdue, although I’ve been bubbling over with things to tell you since I got off the plane!
First of all, the Expo board has done a wonderful job of making a huge event seem small and cozy feeling. The locale is a large church that does not have the usual “vendor hall” feel. We were spread out all over the building, which made the whole shopping experience seem less overwhelming, and people stopped and talked more—just chatting with vendors and other participants as they walked through the hallways. The way the church is laid out also spreads out the 2000+ people who are on-site, so I never got the panicky feeling that I sometimes get in very large crowds of people. In short, it’s a good-sized conference with a small conference feel.
The speakers and vendors were amazing. There were many speakers and vendors whose names and products I recognized. I felt very blessed to be included in their number. So much great information was shared in the sessions that I saw many moms and dads walking around with glazed looks on their faces, trying to process it all. I have been there!
The Expo board members and volunteers are a talented and hard-working bunch of folks! They communicated with me from the time they asked me to speak until I got back on the plane, and I’ve emailed or texted with a few of them since I got home. They treated me like royalty during all of our interactions, and I’m so blessed to have met them all! My only regret is that we were all so busy during the Expo that we didn’t really have time to sit down and visit!
The people from the Greater St. Louis Area are very warm and friendly. They admitted to enjoying hearing my accent (which is nonexistent 😉 ), but other than some good-natured teasing about the way I talk—and the fact that we all got a lot of mileage out of a misprint in the Expo’s program that changed my children’s ages and declared my husband’s name is Andrew (it’s actually Jeremy)—I felt just as comfortable as I do in my own community. What a blessing!
I also enjoyed the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo because I got to spend the weekend with Bill and Kristen Eckenwiler and their sons. They’re the family behind The Struggling Reader. They were my sponsors to Teach Them Diligently Convention in Nashville last year, and I enjoyed the time I spent with them there. It was great to reconnect and to get to know one another better at the Expo, even though Bill and Isaiah kept pulling pranks on me when I had to leave my booth to speak! We had a lot of fun together.
And Kristen and I got to do a session together!
On Friday night, I had supper with Melanie Wilson. I’m always looking for online friends to turn into IRL friends when I travel, and this time Melanie was the only taker! We had a great meal, and she even took me shopping for souvenirs for my family. It was nice to be able to talk through some of the homeschooling/blogging issues we’ve both been dealing with and how God is ministering to us and teaching us in those areas. Melanie is both authentic and transparent. I hope we can connect again soon!
I guess I wrote all of this to say: I had a great time at the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo. If you get a chance to go next year, GO!
Photo credits: Jennifer A. Janes