I came away from the homeschool convention with a few nuggets of wisdom.
#1. Children need laps, not apps.
#2. Our goal is not to raise smart children. Our goal is to raise Godly parents for the next generation.
#3. The purpose of school is not to train our kids for more school. The purpose of school is to train kids for life.
#4. Find the way your child is smart. Then cultivate it into greatness.
We do some pretty cool science stuff around here, but we’ve never made homemade bouncy balls. Well, now we have! We visited a mobile science lab that travels around introducing students to ag related science concepts. This time the students were working with cornstarch and water and a couple drops of corn oil. While ooblek is a common item around my house, I never knew that if you microwaved it for just a minute, it would turn into a bouncy ball. Well, it will after a few hours of molding, and molding, and molding. Such a fun experience in the back of a fifth wheel cargo trailer!
It’s been years since we have been to a War Between the States reenactment. So everyone was very excited to head out to the Belmont-Columbus park for an afternoon history lesson. This was the smallest encampment I’ve been to. But the interpreters were phenomenal. I was moved to tears listening to the Irish Bishop tell his tale. General Lee gave us an intimate glimpse into the relationships between the Union generals and the Confederate generals, many of whom were life long friends and comrades whom had the utmost respect for one another. We learned some dances and learned about shot-shell cannons as opposed to rifled cannons. The kids are pictured on a 36 pounder that was recovered from the river, after having collapsed from an overlooking bluff. These are the stories that bring history to life. Dates and places are meaningless without the stories.
Traditionally our first day of school begins with oatmeal, ice cream and peaches. However, due to muntiny of the troops, this year we welcomed in the 2016-17 school year with peaches and ice cream, sans oatmeal. Healthy homemade ice cream sweetened with honey. Home canned peaches. A sweet beginning to what I hope is a fabulous school year!
To start thinking about this next school year. We are starting later than usual this year. We usually start after our Family camp trip. But then came the fair. Then came horse lessons and painting class. Then came robotics and then co-op classes. The weeks get away from me. But I’ve been snatching up used books, going through my own shelves, putting together an idea of what I’d like to study this year. Finding books for subjects the kids want to study this year. Oh, it will be a fun year! Public speaking! Pre-calc! Uncle Eric! Evangelism! Do I homeschool because I love learning or do I love learning because I homeschool??!!
We are back from Family Camp 2016. As always it was an epic adventure. Full of good times, laughter, fires and hugs. Every year I am stretched as I visit with friends, old and new, and we toss around ideas and experiences and wisdom. Last year it seemed the focus was building intentional community. This year I came away with this admonition on my heart. Wait On The Lord. My, how I can get busy planning and ordering my days, my life. My children’s days, my children’s lives. But oh, how sweet it is to know that my days are already planned. That my life is already ordered. That God has a good future in store for my children. That He has a plan when I only have questions. All too often I am in a rush to “get to the next thing”. To execute my well-ordered plan. But God doesn’t work that way. If I force things, I will miss the beautiful things He has for me. I can rest easy. I don’t need to stress college plans. Or career paths. Or finding a spouse. Wait on the Lord.
Most of the crew in our finished tye-dye shirts from Family camp
This journey called life is exhausting, isn’t it? Sometimes just waking up requires super-human strength. And on top of the daily list of unending to-dos, adding in educating 10 children??? Every year is we put in the time and effort to attend the Illinois Christian Home Educators convention. Because what we as home-educators do is important. It is the most important. And we need to be refreshed and revived and renewed! ICHE is special in the homeschooling world because they understand that home education is not about academics. It’s about home-discipleship. Now that’s a whole ‘nother ball game. With one, a simple scope and sequence will get you there. With the other, blisters on the knees as you kneel in prayer is how you spend your time. One is short-sighted. The other is a vision for multi-generational faithfulness. Teaching your child to read is exciting. Watching your child learn about the Greatness of God is beyond. Jeremie took the older kids to the convention this year. As the leader in our home, if his vision is cloudy, dreary or dying, so is ours. He is the one to ignite us, excite us and inspire us! There are just as many dads who attend convention as there are moms. This is no longer a denim jumper wearing mom’s movement! The keynote speaker was a man who encourages dads in the journey. It was precious time together. And it was wonderful for me to get to spend the week with my other children, focusing on them. Missing a few kids always changes the dynamics here at home and it was fun to witness. But I am glad that we are all back together after all that traveling.
Lately my kids have been delighting in making little boats to float in the pond. It’s been a great lesson, figuring out why some boats float better than others, why some boats flip over in the water, why some sink. The kids have made little people as sailors out of wooden beads and have decorated sails out of scrap fabric. What a fun activity..even more so when it’s time to take them out to the pond for their maiden voyage.
Mia was pulled over. Her sobriety was questioned. She was asked to “walk the line”. She was ‘cuffed. What!!!??? A sweet girl like Mia?? Truly, it all happened today at our homeschool gym day. The Henry Co. Sheriff came out with his K9 to do a little demonstration for us. Mia was the volunteer of the day. So funny to watch her put on the funny goggles that make everything appear to be blurry and spinning. So funny to watch her try to walk heel to toe on the line. Sheriff Monte Belew did a fantastic job of engaging the children and we were all thrilled to watch Sy sniff around and identify the drug’s location. The kids got to try on some super heavy swat team gear. Thanks to our public service workers and their willingness to come on out to our homeschool gym day!