Peter and I had different objectives in going to the conference.
Mine were pretty basic
- I didn’t want to miss out!
- I wanted to meet people I had met online
- I knew I would be encouraged by Sally Clarkson
- I knew Jay Wile was a timely speaker for us to listen to.
Peter’s were a lot more “proper!”
- He wanted to learn about the home-schooler and further education
- He wanted to know options for Joshua’s Science studies.
Both our goals were met – and more besides.
One of my social highlights was to meet some Homeschoolbloggers that I had often visited online (here is a photo of us all!). Susan, Rebekah, Pam and Lisa. God was so good. We hadn’t caught up with each other – other than in passing or in the course of business and the conference was suddenly over. We grabbed each other for a cuppa before Dinner on Sunday night and spent the early evening before dinner talking, we spent dinner time talking, we found ourselves talking after dinner, we had to move on so the dinner tables could be packed up so we found somewhere else where we could spend the night time talking too!
I grabbed a little time with Sally Clarkson (who happened to be sitting all alone at her booth!) and that was very encouraging. As we talked about read-alouds her comments were the first comments I had ever heard about transitioning your children from read-alouds to independent learning/reading. (I have since heard Cindy Rushton say a similar thing so may be I just haven’t had the right ears on but at the time Sally Clarkson’s words were very much what I needed to hear.) Her other comments were confirmation to the things that were stirring in my heart (more on that in a moment).
The expo (homeschool resource shopping!) was amazing to see but I showed great constraint and only bought a book each for each of our children. Mind you I now have a shopping list!
As for the content of the conference – It seems like a lifetime away that we were in Sydney. I have read my notes and would love to give a thorough account of all that I was challenged with but with all that has happened between then and now I am really left with impressions. In a sense these impressions are the real challenge I bring home – not necessarily carried by the enthusiasm of such a gathering.
I have two words in my mind – Relationship and Inspire.
I feel that we give our children plenty of time and opportunity for knowledge but not so much for original thoughts and ideas. I feel we don’t “inspire to greatness”.
I feel that we need more relational time with our children. We spend our days together but we are often focused on knowledge not ideas, not inspiration, not relationship.
I actually see these two words, relationship and inspire, tangled up together. We so often talk facts and don’t give enough time to converse things through to come pass the facts to ideas, to original ideas, to moments of WOW.
Time is a huge constraint. The sheer volume of work that I want to get through – which is often dictated by curriculum choices, is a factor in the time pressure. If I truly want to build relationship with my children I need to talk through the things that fascinate them, the things that they ponder upon, the things that make them ask questions. I also need to build a relationship in such a way that they know the things that make my heart beat, the things that I ponder on, the things that prompt me to ask questions.
Are there any changes that are coming because of these challenges? The overall changes could be summarised by say we are making changes that reduces the work load so we have time for relationship, so that we have time for the important things in our life.
First change is read-alouds. I have always struggled for various reasons with the concepts of family read-alouds. Listening to Sally Clarkson though I was left thinking I really need to give it a go. At this point I am seeing that the concept of reading and talking will provide an education/knowledge, but more importantly, it will provide a platform for talking and discussions as a family – consequently building both relationships and giving room for ideas.
Secondly, Jessica and Nomi will join together and work on History using, Mystery of History, a new curriculum choice for us.
Thirdly, Jessica, Nomi and Daniel will work together with a Science family read-aloud using Living Books for Science as our guide.
Fourthly, Daniel will continue with FIAR by himself (and me of course!) I want to continue with FIAR because of how important I am seeing reading aloud is, plus giving Daniel plenty of opportunity for oral narration and focus time. I really need to up the reading to Daniel.
Joshua will continue with his History using a reading list and some written assignments from Diana Waring’s curriculum. He will be starting Apologia Science term 2.
Books I have now put on my own to read list:
- “Ministry of Motherhood” by Sally Clarkson
- “Educating the Whole Hearted Child” by Clay Clarkson
- “What is the Family?” by Edith Schaeffer