Bedrest and stillborn twins completely threw askance my plans for the school year. On the upswing of one of those great waves of grief that swell up every now and then, I realized that we were trying to cram too much in and there was no restful learning happening. The pace was frenetic. There was no time, it seemed, for anything but school – no time, even, for snuggling. And I desperately needed hours to snuggle my precious children. I knew I had to go to a homeschool convention this year, not only as getaway, but to be re-inspired for homeschooling.
I actually didn’t even attend as many lectures as I thought I would. I spent an enormous proportion of time in the vendor hall talking to curriculum authors and vendors. As I sat in on those few lectures and talked to many vendors, the things I had come to realize were confirmed, and most everything I thought I was going to need to buy, I suddenly no longer needed at all!
God is not calling me to “easy,” and homeschooling will not save my children are the messages I kept hearing all through the convention.
I attended 6 sessions: Heidi St. John, Kirk Martin (Calm Parenting), Monica Irvine (the Etiquette Factory), two by John Stonestreet, and of course, the ever-so popular Matt Walsh. I also talked with Dr. Perrin for a long time (and gained wise counsel), and met Mary Prather of Homegrown Learners (and the SQUILT music curriculum).
Inspiration from Matt Walsh:
“Public school is microwaving our children…”
Yes, public schools are cooking the children’s learning too quickly, stripping the nutrients from their subjects, and just leaving limp students with no gumption for learning. Of course, there are children who come out of that system just fine, but who knows what greatness they might have had if they hadn’t been put in the microwave?
“Homeschooling is a marathon…”
I am in this for the long haul and it isn’t going to be easy. But God isn’t calling me to “easy,” so I just have to persevere at this through His strength. A marathon needs pacing. You can’t just go full speed from the start line. I need to pace our homeschool. Slow and steady like the tortoise.
“Homeschooling is not bulletproof…be vigilant…your kids are not impervious…”
I realized that we are not focusing on virtues and character enough. It’s not enough to just sprinkle a dash of virtues on the side; I want it infused in our day. My husband and I decided we wanted to read aloud numerous stories involving virtuous characters. We wanted to be able to refer back to those stories when it was time to discipline. You need to watch this video of Jenny Rallens and how we can use educational practices to reach our children better. (Minute 18:32 or so talks about truth being poetic and not about following a list of rules.)
Wisdom from Heidi St. John:
“Homeschooling will not save your children,” rather, “it is a gift of time in which you can influence your children. Jesus saves. Use the time to draw them to Jesus.”
This goes in line with Sarah Mackenzie’s posts on restful learning. She mentions several times (not just in that series – I especially love this recent one and wish I could write that eloquently) that it isn’t about getting those boxes checked off on your daily schedule, but pursuing the relationship you have with your children so you can know their hearts and cherish and love them fully.
Wisdom from Dr. Christopher Perrin:
I wish I had taken notes during our conversation at the Classical Academic Press booth (and taken a photo!) but here is what stuck with me. We were discussing Bear and how advanced she is and how I wanted to slow her down – not to keep her behind, but to actually teach her to think. Hence, why I am looking at curriculum like Beast Academy, Life of Fred, and MCT Language Arts. I also feel there is no point to rushing her ahead, even if she grasps the work, unless she is also growing in character.
My kids can’t grow in character unless we all have scholé – time to talk and discuss ideas, time to just be still to ruminate on ideas, time to let those ideas get to their hearts. They also can’t deepen their learning without it. Dr. Perrin talked at length about making haste slowly (about which he has a video, but I haven’t watched the lecture yet). Additionally, he emphasized how Bear needed to really have her Latin vocabulary engrained before moving ahead, so I decided not to purchase the next level of Latin, and just reuse Song School Latin 2 and Prima Latina for another year, with a focus on memory work from both books.
Want to know what I bought at convention? It’ll be in a post soon. : )