Sunday April 11, 2010

Yesterday at church I attended a homeschool forum for moms. There were about 18 ladies total, I believe, and it was exciting to go and represent a second generation homeschooler. The women were quick to acknowledge that not only do I plan on home educating long term, but I have already been doing so for two years. It was a blessing to glean wisdom and encouragement from the other homeschooling ladies there, enjoy lunch, and simply fellowship. It was a true blessing. There are always moments at those types of things where I want to hide in the corner and cry for a minute, but then there are also beautiful moments where I feel content and thankful and encouraged. Overall, it was a great time, and I am thankful that I was able to participate.

Three moms, experienced in the home educating field, gave “sessions” in addition to our group conversations and Q&A. Here are some of the bullet points I gleaned from them. Not necessarily new ideas altogether, but great reminders!

~Mrs. B spoke (and shared lots of books) on biblical home-life in the midst of homeschooling:

  • Don’t neglect the church due to homeschooling. Incorporate the two.
  • Teach the “3 Rs” from a biblical worldview.
  • Face the enemy of unbelief head-on.
  • The method of schooling will not produce belief, but it can shape & disciple belief.
  • Prepare your children to surpass you in love & good works.
  • Honesty is the first step in proper idol-smashing.
  • Homeschooling can be the biggest sanctifying tool in a woman’s life.
  • Confess quickly your desire to appear perfect.
  • Fight problems, not people.
  • Don’t be afraid to learn from one another. Glean from your sisters, don’t compete with them.
  • Home education is a natural preservative of family identity.
  • Nurture family identity while individually nurturing children & their identities.
  • Treat sons with dignity.
  • Train daughters & sons differently.
  • Reward your headmaster (your husband).

~Mrs. K spoke on objective objectives:

  • HSLDA membership is key.
  • “Home educate” is not equal to “home school” in that we are not trying to recreate government schools at home.
  • Don’t get caught up in curriculum.
  • The obvious objective is for our kids to love God with all their soul, mind, heart, & strength; and to love their neighbors as themselves.
  • Different families have different academic objectives.
  • Don’t educate your kids so as to limit their opportunities (especially sons).
  • Highly educate your daughters (prepare them for college, too) so they are equipped to teach your grandkids.
  • Never compare other kids’ public behavior with your kids’ private behavior.
  • Your objectives are never set in stone; reevaluate frequently with your husband.
  • Shelter yourself under your husband and his authority.

~Mrs. S spoke on how to provide a quality education at home:

  • Regardless of curriculum, be consistent and strong in faithful educational foundations, especially through 8th grade.
  • Let each child have a bookcase for their own “library seeds” as their book collections grow; give them books for Christmas and birthdays and other celebrations.
  • To encourage ownership, give a “belongs to” stamp/engraver to each child.
  • Have a file cabinet (or drawer, or file) for each child’s school history.
  • Family-to-family fellowship and camaraderie is huge and can be lifelong.
  • “Enriching activities” are excellent — sports, music, chess, debate team, etc.
  • Think outside the box and be creative.
  • Model curiosity for your children. Pursue your interests as an example for your children.
  • Let your children see you reading and learning.
  • Continue discussing — with hubby, with kids, with peers. Discuss and learn and be curious.
  • Beware becoming the “uber homeschooler.”

~When I asked what a mom (like myself) of a toddler can do now to work on pursuing good home education long-term, I was told that Legos are an excellent teaching and learning tool, teaching tactile things (building, stacking, counting, colors, etc) while also working on lengthening a child’s attention span. Bible study is (obviously) great, beginning with the child from infancy; practicing sitting, again expanding the attention span, reading, listening, etc. One mom told me “I have gotten a lot more out of my toddlers with ten jelly beans sometimes than I ever do with a hundred spankings.” 😉

I enjoyed being able to tuck away some of these things for the future, as well as knowing some things to currently begin incorporating. I’m looking forward to continuing dipping my toes in with this wonderful group of Christian homeschooling moms!