Where to start: The Denver fair was really a great one, for several reasons.  Tyler, Dan, and I manned the booth. Zachary smiled at people. And we made several really great contacts, including two, maybe three, potential counselors.

There wasn’t a lot of traffic to our booth at first, in spite of the T-Shirts hanging up… and the couches. People laughed at the shirts but they didn’t seem to “come on in.” So on day two of three we started trying to think of new hooks to get folks to engage us some more. Since I had two suit cases full of shirts I started thinking about giving them away or marking them way down. So I went to the front and asked the CHEC (Christian Home Educators of Colorado) workers if they would consider making an announcement. She couldn’t but they did help print some signs reading, “Conference Special $5.” After attaching the signs we did sell a few more shirts than we would have, but just not enough traffic to the booth. So I decided to start giving out the Parent-Teacher bumper stickers with a brochure. Then it got fun.

As people would walk by (we were in one of those locals which was “on the way” to a couple big book vendors in the corner) I would walk up and say, “Hi, we’re giving away these free stickers.” Then I wait for it. … Wait for it…. And BAM!  They laughed their heads off every-time. I’m still amazed how many people have not heard that quote. So once they caught they’re breath, and if it felt ok to proceed, I would tell them a little about HLA, and most of the time they were very interested.

We learned two very important things on this trip:  

  1. CHEC has their very own cover school, which is pretty large. This would be like THEA or FPEA running their own cover school. Just imagine. I noticed this time we were the ONLY cover school booth in the entire place. Now we know why. CHEC is super friendly of course, and I’m sure their letting us come and setup a booth is a message that they are open to more cover schools. There are several cover schools, in fact. But none of them had booths and people told us they were all pretty small. People also told us that the majority of the cover schools, including CHEC, require testing because “it’s the law.” This leads to number two. 
  2. We learned that most of the cover schools, including CHEC, require testing in 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11th grades in accordance with the state homeschool laws. On Friday morning I was talking to a mom and told her we did not require testing and she asked, “How do you get away with that.” “Oh, it’s not required by law for Independent Schools,” I replied. “It most certainly is,” she responded. So then we had to go find proof. After a few more moms suggested the same thing I decided to find the HSLDA lawer over CO and ask for myself. Sure enough, it is NOT required, just as in TN and FL. But still the vast majority of folks seem to think it IS required. So we spent the rest of the fair pretty much showing people the print out of the law and then watching their excitement as they came to believe they did not have to test.

So with the stickers drawing people in and the hook being set with the no testing point of interest we did really great and stayed pretty busy. Then it got really neat. Not one, but two solid families showed interest in counseling after I felt God was opening some doors.

One of the moms has had her family with us since last year. I remembered talking to her about her daughter’s “diagnosed extreme dyslexia.” A few years ago she was in tears as she prepared to yank her daughter from the clutches of public school special needs. This year she was smiling ear to ear. As we talked I was so impressed I began to ask her questions and finally suggested she might make a great counselor. Although her kids are younger, two girls 8 and 5, she has been through so much in a short time that it’s seasoned her and taught her so much. So we talked at length about the idea and exchanged contact information.

The second family came to us in a really funny set of circumstances. The sticker had drawn them in and as was my custom I began to ask questions about their family. “So, how many kids do you guys have?” “Six,” she replied. “Oh, neat, we have six as well.” I continued, “What do you have?” “Five boys and one girl,” she replied. Her husband watched as my eyes widened. “Wow! We have five boys and one girl.” Then I asked the obvious next question, “Ok, ok, what is the birth order?” We were all smiling at this point. “The girl is number four,” she responded. “NO WAY!” I exclaimed. Well, we just laughed and laughed. Their kids ages are even similar in spread although they are all about five years older. I said, “You’ve got to meet my wife.” Anyway, they are both really wonderful. I’m not biased here. We talked and talked and they are dug into support groups, co-ops, church homeschoolers, and more. She would make a terrific counselor, I think.

Another third potential counselor has graduated three and has two more in high school. Her kids and husband hung around on our couches all weekend and we just laughed and laughed. I talked to her husband on the last day about her helping and he said they would consider it. So the next step is probably to do a house visit in the fall some time and then get Lynn and Lani to go out and train some like we did with Ana. I think it might be feasible to get them going by Jan. 1st like we did with Ana. Ana is doing so incredible that I am feeling pretty confident with this idea of having counselors in other states now. 

So that’s the fair in a nutshell. We had to run and get a mountain fix on Sunday and were able to see some Elk and climb to the top of Sundance Peak, at 12,466 ft. Of course we drove up to 11,890 feet first and got out of the car and climbed the rest. That air is much thinner than it used to be when I climbed mountains in my 20s! Not sure what happened there. 

Can’t wait to be back in the office later today. J