When we decided to homeschool last year, I felt pretty overwhelmed with all of the choices and all of the responsibilities and the fact that I had to be my OWN boss & motivate MYSELF to get up every morning and inspire my own boys to learn. Luckily, we found a wonderful co-op, Cottage Garden, and that dictated some of the courses Evan took. Cottage Garden and my friends, Kim and Jennifer, were God-sends because they provided much needed wisdom and support. And then I met even more wonderful moms from church and the co-op and we were settling into quite a nice routine.
But then it all changed when God provided a “divine interruption.” (This is what I learned to call it through my summer Bible study on Jonah by Priscilla Shirer.)
God called Eric to a new church in Center, TX, so we moved in the middle of the school year. Luckily, school and my job were not issues because we were homeschooling. But soon after we moved they became HUGE issues to me because I did not have my support group that I had grown to love and depend on so much! We worked out a way to travel to Tyler once a month to finish our year at Cottage Garden, but to say this move was not a struggle would be dishonest.
It certainly disrupted our nice routine which was the topic of this post. Sorry I’ve digressed, but it also helps me to process all of the changes to get to where I am today.
After months of trying to get settled and searching for a new homeschool group to join, we did find one in Nacogdoches. Once again, it’s about a 45 minute drive, but everyone seems to be really friendly and we are SLOWLY assimilating into the group. Evan has even joined the Boy Scout Troop that is sponsored by NACHEA (Nacogdoches Home Educators Association). This has turned out to be a great Daddy/Son time every two weeks, and Eric is enjoying getting to know the other dads and learning ways he can help as well. We’ve also joined the NACHEA 4-H group. We’ve decided this is for Ethan because he loves being a part of the Clover group for the younger children. His leaders are awesome & he comes away with a little project every month!
We are also going to be a part of a much smaller co-op this year, but we are really excited about it! Evan will taking Apologia General Science & Starting Points Biblical Worldview /Writing classes there, and one of the moms has graciously agreed to work with Ethan and her 5-year old son each week. They should have a blast together!
As a school teacher, I also learned the importance of attending CONFERENCES to learn HOW to do my job better. My husband and I were fortunate enough to attend two this summer! We attended the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington in May and then the THSC Family Homeschool Conference in July. Both of these conferences motivated us to examine how, what, and why we are teaching our boys at home. The speakers were SO encouraging and full of practical ideas that we can implement, and the exhibit halls were so much fun to explore the diverse curricula available for any and every subject.
We had the opportunity to learn from Sally Clarkson (Whole Heart Ministries), Andrew Pudewa (Institute for Excellence in Writing), Steve Demme (Math-U-See), Jim Weiss (Greathall Productions), and many others!
A few observations that I have made from the few homeschool conferences I have attended…
1. The homeschool community does NOT seem to be out to get your money! There were many times that I wanted to attend math teacher conferences or any other educational conference over the years, but they were very expensive. I finally resorted to writing grants to be able to attend. However, these conferences are fairly inexpensive…the Book Fair in May only cost $20/person for the 2-day conference and the THSC conference was FREE to members! Wow!
2. These experts are tried and true normal parents just like us but with a lot more experience and a lot more wisdom! The ones I’ve met so far are all very godly Christians seeking to raise a godly generation of young people to change the world for Christ!
3. As I am learning, I have really had to question my motives and methods for teaching. I have to constantly remind myself of my priorities—to raise godly young men—and not just complete a checklist of learning outcomes each day. This process will take much more TIME and PATIENCE, but I truly believe the result will be a much better product!
4. I have learned the importance of READING good quality “living” books!
5. Audiobooks are awesome and the public library has so many of them! They are an answer to prayer for a dyslexic child.
This post is a little disjointed but it helped me think through some things this week & take a little break from cleaning that JUNKY school room/Ethan's room/office. (That post will come as soon as I finish cleaning!)
Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear how you are getting ready for the new school year!
Finding JOY in the Journey,