Disclaimer: I will be mentioning my less-than-positive feelings about Creationism in this post. If you are a Creationist - sorry. I sincerely respect your right to have different beliefs from me, but I don't hold any respect for the beliefs themselves. If you have a problem with me having differing beliefs from you, by all means feel free to skip this post.
I am going to Cincinnati. To the ginormous Homeschooling Convention there. The uber-fundie-Christian one. The one I had resolved not to give my money to ever again. What changed my mind? Well, my Uncle - a public school teacher - has a side business and is developing some new kind of software program to help teach kids to read. He has been picking my brain about the homeschool community lately, to ascertain if his product would be good for the homeschooling market as well. I told him that it's probably a bigger market than he thinks and that there are LOTS of people out there, and many of us try many different things to find what works with each kid, so yeah, there probably would be some interest. I told him he should definitely check out the convention to see what's out there, what people are charging, etc. So he invited me to go with him - he's driving me there and paying for our registration... so technically, I am not giving them money from my own pocket... although they will still be receiving money, which does bother me.
I went to this convention 3 years ago with my mom, when my husband and I were considering the idea of homeschooling, to find out what all was "out there". I actually really enjoyed it, and was amazed by how big it was and how many people were there. And all of those people, and especially the kids, were so darn NICE! There's a huge exhibit hall full of vendors of all kinds, from curriculum, to games & toys, books, funny t-shirts, etc. And there were tons of lectures, a few of which we checked out and found to be very useful and informational, as far as learning styles, teaching methods, creative ideas, etc. There was one lecture that was so ridiculous, though, that we had to walk out of it. I can't even remember what it was, but I remember realizing after sitting there that it wasn't simply an informational lecture but a sales pitch, and the guy still hadn't gotten around to telling us exactly what his product was - just that it was *so* amazing.
Anyways, I considered it a pretty good experience overall, except for one thing: Creationism. It was everywhere. Until I attended that convention, I honestly had no idea that it had such a large following. I was blown away. Nearly every science curriculum was Bible-based, and nearly every history curriculum began with Adam and Eve. I remember shushing my mom, when she exclaimed loudly and sarcastically, "Oh yeah! Let's start our history program with mythological characters!" and chuckled. (And she's a Christian!) It is definitely a very fundamentalist Christian event, barely inclusive of any other ideologies. Which quite obviously makes me uncomfortable. I'll definitely have to work extra hard to bite my tongue throughout the day, although there is a small part of me that thinks it would be interesting to show up in a t-shirt with an "A" on it or a photo of Darwin with a heart around it or something. But non-confrontational me would never do that, and it would really serve no purpose.
Each year since, I've thought about going again, just for all of the good stuff that's there - because there *was* quite a bit of good stuff - but just couldn't bring myself to shell out any more money to help further their cause. But my Uncle asked and I said yes, and now I need to get myself to bed so I can get up early for the long drive. It'll be nice to spend some time with him and I'm sure we'll have some interesting chats on the way there & back. Also, I'm sure it will give me plenty to write about here... so wish me luck!