As a homeschool mom, I spend a lot of time with children – mostly my children, but on occasion, other people’s children as well. I try to take some time to myself, but usually, that ends up being sucked up by laundry, or dishes, or work of some sort. That’s why when a homeschool mom retreat came up in a neighboring state, I thought it might be a great time to do something that would give me that little boost of energy I needed to get through the rest of the school year.
But, as the homeschool mom that I am, I had to add in a couple of field trips and bring the whole family with me. The kids, Dad, and the grandparents all headed out for some touring of the great city of Louisville while I met with other homeschooling moms for refreshments of the mind and soul. Here are some of my reflections from the COCHE retreat, Journey to Joy.
Being able to gather wisdom from other homeschool moms who have been in the trenches is invaluable. They have been where you are. They know where you are going. And, they can sympathize when you get lost and start to lose your mind. The speakers for Journey to Joy were these moms – moms who are just like you…or me. These women spoke from the heart about what it was to guide your children in love on, not only an educational journey, but a journey of love and joy. I can’t possibly write about everything at the retreat, but I can leave you with some highlights.
Finding Joy in the Journey
Shanna Anderson of Life In The CleftShanna Anderson is a homeschooling mom who has already graduated three of her four children. The title of her talk, Finding Joy in the Journey, helps us to realize what we are seeking as homeschoolers and why we are doing it. She broke the sentence down into four parts:
- Finding, verb, implying action.
First, we must do something as the verb implies. In this case, we are seeking something.
- Joy, noun, meaning well-being.
Next, we determine what is “joy” – not the temporary happiness we so often find, but pure joy. Reflect back to why you began homeschooling. What were your reasons? What would you decide is a genuine success in your homeschool?
- Journey, noun, travel.
Then, you must remember that a journey is just traveling. Sometimes that path is the simplest path of least distraction. Other times you meander along the path taking detours into the woods to pick the flowers. But, always you are on the road to reach the final destruction.
- The, adjective, shows a specific noun is coming up.
And, lastly, we can’t forget the tiny word “the.” “The” implies that something specific is coming up. We are taking OUR journey, not someone else’s. We must stay true to ourselves and to our children.
Joy is when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.Shanna Anderson
Teaching From Rest ~ Practical Steps
Chelli Guthrie of The Planted Trees
Last year, Chelli gave a talk about Teaching from Rest. Though, I wasn’t able to attend last year’s retreat I have read many of her blog posts on this topic. I’ve linked a few for you.
Please Don’t Take My Scholé Away! How to Keep Restful Teaching in Your Homeschool
Home-Scholé Transformation 5 Benefits Teaching from Rest Brought to Our Homeschool
In her talk, Chelli pointed out that Teaching with Rest starts with the Teacher – specifically Mom and her relationship with God. It’s important for the homeschool mom to realize that she is the facilitator for her children’s education. Don’t let fear push and pull you, but let love lead and guide you. We must step out of our children’s way and help them to find their path to success.
Some practical steps for guiding your children is to help them set goals all the way to adulthood.
- What do my kids need to be successful? What would be considered success for them?
- She suggests yearly reassessments with the children.
- It is important in goal planning not to compare. You are NOT other homeschoolers. One child is NOT their sibling.
- Pursue leisure. Don’t be stressed over every moment. Lighten up, and your children will follow suit. Enjoy the learning with them and watching them learn.
- Remember the good things. You will have bad days, but instead of cataloging all the things you DIDN’T get done, write down the thing you ACCOMPLISHED.
She also mentioned some practical steps for your curriculum.
- Think about your curriculum choices. Do these options bring you joy? Are they stressful to teach or learn from? Are they time-consuming?
- Think outside the “curriculum box.” Make the curriculum work for you, not the other way around.
- Rotate your focus. Drop subjects for a while, if you need a break.
- And, a personal favorite of mine, use one curriculum to teach more than one subject.
Lastly, here are some practical steps for your schedule.
- Start with a morning meeting. Take this time to come together as a family and start your day together. We start our day with Bible, History and Read Alouds. Your morning might start differently, but coming together for a “power hour” helps get everyone on the same page.
- Use block scheduling and/or loop scheduling. In our home, we use both. I love block scheduling because there isn’t a clock keeping us to a particular time. We work on a subject and then move to the next. Loop scheduling is terrific for those subjects that you want to fit in, but not every day. Just pick up where you left off the previous loop day and keep going.
- Time your subjects. Now, at first, this made me cringe. Time? Time is my enemy. Ugg. But, then Chelli expounded. Give your child a timer for some of those subjects they don’t really care for and tell them they can stop after X minutes. This will help them to be less anxious and not so stressed.
- Finally, school year round. This doesn’t mean not to take breaks. Heck, around here we took the entire month of December off. It means to keep learning year round. This eliminates all the review and keeps us all from getting a bit too lazy with a 3-month summer break.
Building Blocks to Personal Bible Study
Personal Bible study is an area I have a hard time being consistent. It seems everything else comes before my own personal time. But, it’s important to find time to rejuvenate yourself first. Vicky gave us some great resources to use to help us moms in our personal Bible study. Here are a few of them:
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There were many other wonderful speakers at the retreat with words of wisdom, but I simply can’t write all of it in one blog post. But, I encourage you to find a retreat near you. I was able to meet some awesome women from around the country who are sharing similar journeys to me. Take a moment to find other moms whenever you can, only if it’s just online. We need to find others to connect with on our Journey to Joy.