Conference Day 1
One of my favorite things so far about this conference is that it almost seems the adult programming is secondary to the children’s. In other words, where as normally, kids’ programs and schedules are organized to get the kids out of the adults’ way, this conference seems to revolve around the kids’ needs and programs.
The kids start at 8:30, which means we’re up at 6:30 and down to breakfast at 7:30. There are two buffet lines set up in two dining areas to accommodate what I would guess would be 300 conference-goers. Sliced meats and cheeses, various kinds of bread, cereals, scrambled eggs, boiled hot dogs and sausages, fruit, juice, and coffee. So far, we’ve definitely felt like ‘noobs’. We mostly eat as a family though we are slowly meeting people and the kids are making friends. It seems like most of the people are pretty tight and have been coming for years – it’s neat to see so many TCK’s running around reuniting with friends from conferences past.
After breakfast, we took the three big kids into the main conference room. Each child was shown to the rows marked off for their age group and introduced to their teachers. They were given name tags and seated with their peers. (Upstairs the teens have an entire program of their own.) After a warm-up worship time, a magician (oops, illusionist) did some tricks.
They then all filed out to their respective rooms (Harrison on the 4th floor, Haven on the 6th and Jacob on the 8th) and we took Jenova to the nursery on the 2nd floor. The theme for the kids this week is ‘Space’ and everything, literally, revolves around it.
The adult session starts at 9:00 with a worship time led by a lay worship leader from Iowa followed by some challenging thoughts by former missionary to Taiwan Jeff Whittaker based on a prayer in Isaiah. Then there was a quick coffee break followed by a time of introducing all the SHARE and conference staff, including the workshop speakers who gave a quick promo for their class. Very helpful. This included a medical doctor there to help and give advice, people offering vision and hearing screenings, counselors and various experts in educational areas. The last to be introduced was the main speaker for the morning, Dr. Dan Egeler. He spoke on
Daniel and modern day heroes, sharing some of his own stories from growing up a TCK on an island on Lake Victoria.
After picking up the kids on their various floors, we headed down to lunch. Harrison had been taken out of his class to be given an Early Reader’s Assessment. He said he did ‘great!’. We meet with someone on Wednesday for a consultation to see how he did. Lunch was buffet style – lots of variety to choose from. I had some authentic Hungarian goulash. Yum.
At 13:30 we met with Sonja Bowden who whisked Jacob away for his first of two 3 hour assessment sessions. At 14:00, the other kids’ classes met up again for the afternoon sessions. Heather and I attended a workshop entitled, ‘Let’s Go Play Trucks: How Preschoolers Learn’
by Wendy Stafford – really good stuff. We then split up and I went to ‘Developing a Family Education Plan’ by Cynthia Shigo and Heather went to ‘Developing Creative and Critical Thinking Skills’ by Debra Bell (the home-school guru).
We picked up the kids at 16:30 and asked Jacob how his went. He said, ‘Fine.’ He didn’t elaborate much. He has his second session on Wednesday and we have his consultation on Thursday morning. We hopped in the car and ran to Tesco – a WalMart type store and bought some more things to eat dinner in our room to save a little money. Found some American goodies (including Cookie Crunch cereal and cheddar cheese). Heather took the kids down for a quick dip and we then had summer sausage and cheese sandwiches.
Afterwards we were able to call Heather’s mom who had just gotten home
from gallbladder surgery. It was good for them to talk – she’s doing fine. They are supposed to fly over in about 10 days to see us! My mom, instead, is recovering from a fall and some cracked ribs…haven’t seen them on Skype though. To bed early again…
Just some of the books and resources we've gotten free or very cheaply!