2010 Texas Home School Book Fair: Part 1
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Last week, I attended the 2010 Texas Home School Book Fair in Arlington, Texas. It was a great experience visiting the vendors, looking at products and attending workshops.
The convention was organized by Hearth and Home Ministries at the Arlington Convention Center. It grew out of one homeschooling mother’s frustration. She wanted the opportunity to shop for curriculum for her children all in one place.
“As a new home school mom, I was frustrated that I couldn’t go any place and shop for curriculum,” said Hearth and Home Ministries co-founder Beverly McCord. “Few publishers would sell directly to us because the majority of them thought we were incompetent to teach our own children.”
Much to her surprise, that first convention drew 1450 homeschooling parents. A decade later, that number grew to 6000 homeschool families. And, it continues to grow today.
A few things struck me about this convention. First was the efficiency and graciousness of the volunteers. I hadn’t pre-registered, so I had the pleasure of standing in a long line. Actually, my husband stood in line while I tended to our baby. The volunteer at the front of the line efficiently, yet kindly, moved everyone through the line.
As we entered the convention floor, volunteers greeted us with bags and smiles. Many of these volunteers were young people who took their jobs seriously and worked with a professionalism that is sometimes rare among those their age.
The hardest part of the convention for our family was that no strollers or wheeled bags were allowed. We had no choice but to carry our 20+pound baby through the convention. You can imagine that doing this for several hours can be challenging. So that was disappointing, however, the nursing mother’s room was comfortable and stocked with water, mints and two baby changing areas. And although I didn’t use it, many patrons checked their purchases in the Check Room so they wouldn’t have to schlep heavy packages around all day or make multiple trips to their cars.
It’s also important to point out that the day before the convention began was Homeschool Day at Six Flags Over Texas. The park was closed to outside visitors, so homeschool families could combine the convention with the amusement part to make a short family vacation. That alone makes the Texas Home School Book Fair a real treat.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow I’ll share what I found with the workshops.