Homeschool Convention Notes 2017

I was like a kid in a candy store when I walked into that exhibit hall 🙌🏻 & the night before was my Christmas Eve. So I guess you could say I was a tad bit excited about my very first convention for homeschool.

The main speaker was one of my favorite people, Sarah Mackenzie. She’s like the Beyoncé of homeschooling. Her book changed my whole way of thinking.

It started at 8:30 and me and Lydia arrived at 7am because I’m crazy. But Sarah was the first speaker and I didn’t want to miss a minute.

One of the first questions she asked us was to think of how we want our kids to describe being homeschooled 20 years from now. Like imagine your kids are 25 years old and out to dinner with friends, what will they say?

We all shouted out things like loving, fun you know all the sweet adjectives we could think of.

She starts laughing and says oh you mean you don’t want them to say that they knew all their letters by 2.5 years old or that they completed their entire geometry curriculum on time?

That really got me to thinking. Even as a public school student, how I describe my school years has zero to do with what information I learned when and do I even remember half the things they tried to shove down our throats so that we could finish our workbooks by June… 

When I think back to school I remember my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Phillips, who was so wacky & fun. I remember Show & Tell and the sand & water tables. I remember Mrs. Rhinehardt who read Corduroy to me for the first time and sent me home with the ragged old bear to take care of for the weekend. I remember Miss Dunn who lived with her parents on my street. She was so sweet and probably not older than 25. She had us do a project where we designed a restaurant making blueprints and then we had to create a menu. I loved that and at the time thought I for sure wanted to open my own restaurant. I remember mean Mrs. Maine. Nobody liked her but I don’t know why. She read to us Little House on the Praire. My family moved mid way through the year and we hadn’t yet finished the book. She knew I loved it and bought me my own copy. Its on my bookshelf to this day. Its still my favorite book. 

In the later years I remember Mr. Navetta. The absolute best. He taught me Algebra and he worked so hard to make sure I understood. If you made lower than a C on a test he would have you come in a relearn what you missed. He was available before school and after school for free tutoring. He always made time for me. He was obsessed with the book “How to Kill a Mockingbird” and he was a math teacher, go figure. He had the quotes from the book all over his classroom. I visited him every year after I left middle school until I graduated high school. 

I only have 1 memorable teacher past middle school and I can’t remember his name but I can see his face and his balding red hair. He taught AP English at my high school. It was the morning of 9/11. We were all very confused by everything that was happening. We had the news on the tv and when people started jumping from the buildings he turned off the tv and said y’all bow your heads. Now I don’t remember his exact words but he said a beautiful prayer. This was public school and he was a Jewish man. But that day it did not matter. He did what he knew to be right on that scary day and I’ll never forget it.

So when I think about what I want my own children to say about their homeschool experience, I want them to remember all the books, the feeling of being snuggled up to mom, the laughter from playing with their siblings. I want them to know that if I saw they were interested in something that I tried to give them all the opportunity I could to learn all about it. I want them to know how much I cherished the short time I was given to fill them with Gods truth and His love. 

Another important comment that Sarah made was about an airplane and a hammer. Sounded weird to me at first too. But here’s the deal. We buy curriculum because well it’s pretty and organized and we are all excited about teaching the lessons. Come January we are hardly half way through and we are not sure if it’s really going to get finished. And the curriculum stares at us with its not so real eyes and judges us from the shelf. Well Sarah says curriculum is a tool, much like a hammer. Its useful only when you need it and want to use it. You don’t buy a hammer and say well I better use this hammer everyday or I’m a failure. You don’t just go along hammering holes in the wall just to say you used it. Use your curriculum to your benefit, when it suits you and your children. Don’t feel like you have to check it off a to do list. You are the ruler of your school day, the curriculum is only a tool to help. 

And so the airplane… the pilot has a flight path all mapped out. He has a plan. You don’t just board a plane and say ok let’s wing this, where we headed? Bermuda? So you see, the curriculum is your flight path. The plan for the year, so nice and orderly. But just like most flights, there’s bad weather and we have to adjust the path. There are going to be events and sick babies that slow down your pace. Don’t panic, just adjust your path. Don’t rush through your lessons just to get caught up. Be aware of when Jesus is purposely trying to slow you down. And when all else fails, get a blanket and a book and read to those sweet children. 

& don’t forget to date all your paperwork, work book pages & projects – lol

I am so excited for our very first Kindergarten year with Timmy and a little sad about my last year of Grace being a preschooler. Luckily for me I get to start all over with Lydia and maybe by then I’ll have it all figured out.

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