Monday, May 26, 2008

April Homeschool Conference

Right before my move in April I attended a homeschool conference in Kelowna BC. I went because it was basically free (thanks Hes!). I am not a seminar type person especially if I don't know who is speaking. This conference was exclusively Christian therefore more worth the risk. The main speaker at the conference was Debra Bell. Come to find out, she attends a Sovereign Grace church in Pennsylvania. We attend one in our local area. It was such a blessing to attend a homeschool conference where the gospel was at the center and not method, ideology or the best curriculum. It was refreshing to say the least.
I was deeply effected by many of the things she said. Her opening message was entitled "Homeschooling from a Foundation of Grace. She so freshly reminded me that grace (not my works) and the gospel must be the center of what I am doing at home with my kids regardless of curriculum or methods.....it's about the gospel and the great price he paid for our salvation. How am I bringing grace into our day? How am I living in front of my kids as we school? Am I dependant on Jesus and the gospel to carry me through the day or my self sufficient tendencies? Am I embracing my weakness and grateful for them as his method to teach me HIS all sufficiency and my great need? All questions that I can and do so easily let fall to the wayside. She challenged us to live in awareness of the grace that is available every minute of everyday and to build faith into our kids lives with our words and actions. Pointing them to his kindnesses and purpose in things and not just getting things done.
She talked about discouragement. And defined it very simply yet powerfully as unbelief. When we get down about homeschooling or overwhelmed (at the time I was....baby, moving, behaviour struggles with my son etc) it is because we lack faith to believe that God is at work and has a plan even in those times. It comes down to his sovereignty. Every season and circumstance has a place in his perfect plan. It helped me relax about all we weren't doing related to education at the time.
She went on to talk about family relationships and how homeschooling is a tool used by God to sanctify us and how it brings sin to the surface. Ain't that the truth!. She made it very clear that family relationships have to take priority over academics....which I think we all know because that's why we have our kids at home right. But how many times have you said or thought "We just need to get this done now, no matter what!"...I have found myself there many times...this is when I tend to sin against my kids trying to get it done when really the priority is their heart and mine before God...not the last 10 math problems. I also felt very convicted about my relationship with my husband. We have had a long season of much change and challenging circumstances. I have maintained our homeschooling, keeping the kids on track but listening to Debra made me realize there were areas I wasn't maintaining in my marriage, in all the chaos. It was pointed out that we have only a season for family discipleship and influence with our kids but they have a life time to continue learning and pursuing academics. She covered many other practical tips too but these were the most memorable to me.

This conference has made an impact on how we will be homeschooling this coming year. First our year will be very relaxed and low key. We are changing who we enroll with to simplify things. I have dropped doing Latin next year (gasp :) and have a very loose kindergarten planned for my soon to be 5 year old son. We have a baby arriving in the fall and we have had a very demanding year on our family (actually about 6 years). I want our homeschool day and method to support our family life and not the other way around. I want to have limited activities so my husband and I can get back in to dating again and having time to just hang (partly why the TV went). In order to add a new family member and work on some current dynamics in our family....school has to not be the center of our world but simply apart of it. I feel God's mercy and grace in seeing these things. It's not about method nor curriculum...it's about the gospel and educating our kids for his glory. It is through my weakness that I will learn better how to do this.

I hope to post soon what we are doing next year as a family to educate our kids.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Our Little Experiment II

A while ago we as a family tried a little experiment. We are still living without the big black box and can't imagine it any other way. When we moved into our new place we had cable free for four days. It was a clear reminder of why we are better off without TV. I was VERY exhausted which contributed to my desire to do nothing. I was so easily sucked into the couch potato...please let me veg mentality.
It has been roughly three months without TV and we as a family have found many other things to do with our time. We have been reading much more, getting outside, playing way more games and most importantly talking together more. The last change has been so great for all of us. There are other activities the adults in our family have increased participating in too ;0).
The lack of TV has created time. Time to "be" together without some other voice making noise. I am listening to my kids talk about their ideas and interest, even those wacky four-year old boy thoughts...which can be a little strange at times. I really like the changes. I know that not everyone needs to get rid of their TV in order to accomplish these things. I just know I did. We lacked the self control especially in those moments of exhaustion and laziness.


The new obsession in our home of late is:

My 7 year old loves to play and has for along time. We have recently discovered how to get our four year old, very active boy engaged longer then one round.


He plays with a team. He calls them his "boys".

He lines them up and they take turns playing the cards each round. He is reinforcing colors and numbers while having a good time with his family...the stuffed and real variety.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here's the (long overdue) scoop

We are slowly getting settled into our new house. Pictures to follow :o). I lack a bit of motivation in getting unpacked. After almost three weeks I still haven't unpacked my bedroom. I don't seem to care all that much about it. I'd rather be outside gardening. Moving several times in the last 18 months could be part of it too....ya think!

Onto more exciting things......baby is doing well. I am 17 weeks and I heard the little heart beat this past Monday at my midwife appt. I also have been getting a few internal jabs and kicks :o) Physical evidence of life is so reassuring. My latest food addiction is spicy black olives and greek salad. I truly could eat it for breakfast. On June 2 I have my 20 week ultrasound and hope to find out what we are having! I have come off the "puke meds" and feel much better.

On the homeschool front....we are slowly getting back to daily work but at a lighter load. My homeschooling adventure looks so much different then I thought it ever would when I got started and I have only been doing it for three years. We are doing a few things through the summer because come fall I will have a newborn and a c-section. I am trying to wrap my head around schooling three children 4 and 5 years apart. There is time to work out those details. I will post at some point my plans for summer and fall....once I figure them out.

We are going shopping tomorrow to buy supplies to start our container garden. We are doing themed containers like "Salad in a planter". This is a post all of it's own.


Pictures of our living room.
Still working on most other rooms :o)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I started my blogging adventure on Mother's day two years ago. Where does the time go?
I have so much to be thankful for this year. The two kids in the living room, the one growing in my belly and the three that are waiting for me with Jesus. What a privilege it is to be a mom!

Happy Mother's Day!

I will update on our move and other stuff this week.