Reflections of a Rookie

This weekend I attended my first ever home schooling conference.  I went with a friend from church who has been home schooling for a few years now.  The second day of the conference, she turned to me and asked me, “How do you like the conference? Is this what you expected?” Frankly, I really did not know how to answer.    Perhaps, it is because, I have not yet started home schooling. Or more likely, it is because I had such a hectic week prior to the conference, I really did not take the time to think about my expectations. 

Now, that I am home, I have been thinking about my expectations and experience of the conference so I have entitled this post “Reflections of a Rookie”, here they are:

1. Inspiration NOT instruction:  My original expectation of the conference was to seek knowledge, and find out tips, techniques and instruction on home schooling.  However,  the speakers whose lectures I remember the most were not on the “how” or mechanics of home schooling, but on the “why” or goal of educating children at home.  This is encouraging, because since I have started sharing my plan of home schooling with family, friends, and our church community, I have encountered surprise, interest, but also a stony silence. 

2. Faith AND Reason:  Faith and a personal relationship with God are of vital importance, however faith without reason will not give my children  the tools they need to combat the outside world. I would like my girls to be well-rounded individuals who can read, think, and reason.  For the most part the speakers were encouraging, engaging and entertaining.  In their approach, they valued goodness, truth, and beauty. Their lectures whet my appetite to rediscover the classics of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine and Shakespeare. However, one of speakers offered faith devoid of reason.  My friend and I ended up walking out of that talk.

3.  Advice NOT Ultimatums (a.k.a. What works for you): One of the benefits of home schooling is you can avoid the “one size fits all” approach to instruction and teaching, and can custom tailor the pace and curriculum to your child’s ability.  So I was taken aback by one speaker, who peppered her talk by a litany of things I must do and buy as a Catholic home schooling mother.   However, I must say the vast majority of speakers, did not dictate and direct, but offered helpful advice.  

4. Discernment: All in all, I enjoyed the conference, and learned a lot.  Like most of life, discernment is needed to make the right choices for my family.  I am excited and terrified about my new job as not only full-time mother, but also as full-time teacher to my children.  The conference allowed me the opportunity and time, to think critically on an intellectual level, something I have not done in a very long time.

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About Mary @ a simple twist of faith

I am: a rookie at blogging, just started my blog in May 2010 when I became a full-time Mom. a child of God, a follower of Jesus Christ, a listener of the Holy Spirit, and a Catholic. Pro-Life, , Pro-Woman and an adoption advocate wife to a wonderful husband for 12 years proud and grateful mother to two beautiful daughters ages 5 and 3. a coffee drinking fool, so I can keep up with my little girls a home schooling novice using my kindergartener as a guinea pig a runner, it keeps me sane and in my size 8 pants an avid reader , now of Beatrix Potter's books a former workaholic & fashion follower a lover of chocolate, and wine, and the finer things in life, although I cannot afford them anymore!
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7 Responses to Reflections of a Rookie

  1. Kyooty says:

    I’d be interested to hear what that Catholic speaker had to say. I find there is a difference between what Canadian Catholics “do” and what US Catholics “do”. I’ve lived in both places, it was amazing to me the differences. I’d love to find some homeschooling for Catechism vs regular school. So far I like what my boys are learning in school here and find it a good fit for us. (OK truthfully? they get to leave the house, and I get to clean :P)

    • Well, there were actually three Catholic home schooling mothers I heard speak at the conference. One discussed in humor and acceptance the importance of a personal prayer time ( including journaling), healthy eating habits, and exercise as ways of overcoming stress. Another spoke of the important of religion as the first subject of the day, scheduling “busy work” for your children so you can teach more than one children at a time, and the scheduling of subjects during the day. The third one had a long list of “TO DOs” that most mothers could never achieve even if they did not home school to include daily family rosary, and daily mass (try that with two pre-schoolers), and buying a bunch of books and sacramental objects (that her company sold), so much so that she did not even have time to address the topic.

  2. Bettina says:

    Don’t worry so much Mary. You are a wonderful mother, wife and friend and I know with everything you do in life you will be a wonderful and commited teacher to your girls. Look at you now you already are. Our family was blessed beyond measure when you married Rick.

  3. Tish says:

    What a good idea to go to a conference to get to know some fellow home schoolers and get some good perspectives. I think my daughter and her DH also encountered some of that “stony silence” when they first told people that they planned to home school, but they found that there was a wonderful home school network in her community. Did you get any closer to choosing a curriculum?

  4. Stephanie says:

    I also would like to know if you have decided on a curriculum after attending the conference. I was waiting to sign up because I wanted to hear your insights on it after the conference. I understand the stoney silence thing. You know me, so you could just imagine what some people are saying about me making that decision. I never saw myself doing it, but then I realized that I needed to do what is best for my kids. I know there are great schools out there, but in our case, even with a good school, my kids are not able to achieve their potential. I am also so concerned about the bad social influences in the schools now. Our job as parents is not only to teach them how to be successful and moral adults, but to lead them to Jesus so they will have eternal salvation. The way society is going now, I worry so much about my children being sucked into all the lies and losing faith in the Lord. I am so glad you are doing this too Mary.

  5. For the most part, I have chosen Seton curriculum. Since my oldest will be in Kindergarten, I am focusing phonics, reading, and Math. I will so be teaching Catechism, which is religion or faith formation. My daughter is already reading short words however, when met with her teacher, I was surprised to hear that they had not covered all of the short vowels yet. A friend introduced me to Progressive Phonics, and we are already started going through the vowels. This phonics program is on-line, and is free, although you do have to print the books on your own printer.

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