Today was the first day of the Texas Home School Coalition convention in Arlington, Texas.
There was a leader conference earlier in the day as well as some workshops talking specifically to new homeschoolers plus the vendor exhibit area was open for shopping. General admissions is free on Thursday night for shopping and general workshops so it is a great time to check it out.
I only attended the two evening workshops. First, I heard Kathy Koch talk about "Cultivating a Christian 'Willing Good Behavior' ".
Here are some highlights from Dr. Kathy's presentation:
We have to teach and disciple our children in what it means to have character, not just tell them what to do.
Good character means
1. They know what to do
2. They want to do it
3. They are willing to do it
4. …even when the burden is heavy and no one is looking
If they are obedient just to win a prize or avoid punishment then they will only be obedient when you are present.
In order to raise children with good character, the home should have
1. God-centeredness, not just God-knowledge - The Bible is our life letter, our love letter – not just another homeschool textbook.
2. Consistent Joy - Consistent joy is based on ones character, heart, and beliefs, not circumstances. Relies on a personal relationship with Christ for if you don’t have the One in your heart who gives joy then you can’t wake up each day feeling joy. We need to trust in God. We need to believe that His best really is the best for us. God is the author of my life and I will trust him amidst any circumstance.
3. Consistent Gratitude - Based on personal relationship with Jesus Christ – grateful for His sacrifice. Grateful that God made you in His likeness. The word thankfulness comes from an old Saxon word which means thinkfulness. Thankfulness should be stimulated by the things we are thinking about. God is enough. We have to discern between wants and needs.
4. Self-Efficacy - Children have to believe they can make a difference. Our children need to know that who they are is who they are supposed to be for the glory of God. They need to know that they are change agents.
Next, I attended Todd Wilson's workshop "This We Believe". Todd is a homeschool dad to 8 children. He is a great speaker and a funny guy. His talk gave me goosebumps one time and tears another, with a lot of laughter in between.
Here are a few highlights from his workshop:
When we think about homeschooling, it is not just the “how to” but the “why to”. We need to remember the reason we do this and the joy in the journey.
1. Home is the best place for my kids. Learning takes place 365 days a year. It's more than just 180 days of "school work". Those are not the important things. You won’t see an adult in tears because that they don’t know the Pythagorean Theorem. It just doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things.
2. Parents are the best teachers of their children. You may not be the smartest but YOU are the best teacher for YOUR children. God gave your children exactly the mother they need. Most moms don’t believe this. They don’t feel adequate. They worry about skipping days and not getting as much done or doing too much and taking the fun out of learning. Even those qualities are perfect for your child. You are exactly the kind of mother God thinks they need. You know what’s best for them. You lie away at night thinking of your child. There is no better educator for your child.
3. Every child is a masterpiece – "Experts" disagree. They say there needs to be standards then we’ll measure everyone against those standards and give them a letter grade of A,B,C,D, or F. Those are powerful letters but they really don’t mean anything. They aren’t an accurate measure of anything. Don’t keep grades. If you have to, at least don’t show them to your children. Grades aren’t really about the kid but a measure of how well the teacher did. You should feel good no matter how they did. Each child is a masterpiece – a piece made by the Master.
Todd's book – Lies Homeschool Moms Believe (I need to buy this!)
Children will become exactly what God created them to be regardless of what you do (and in spite of you). It isn’t because you are a great teacher or use an awesome curriculum.
4. Relationship first. We let homeschooling get in the way of relationships. We plow through the day with kids crying and carnage everywhere but we got that school work done! We’ve been hijacked and told that what matters is the subject but what really matters is the child who happens to be doing the subject.
Mary and Martha – Jesus said what Mary has chosen to do will not be taken away from her. Mary chose relationship, to be still and listen. What does your homeschool day look like? Maybe we need more time sitting and listening to our children and less time accomplishing.
I can't wait for more great speakers tomorrow and especially the mom's night event, Encouragement by Chocolate hosted by the Trim Healthy Mama team of Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett!
About the THSC Convention: The convention takes place at the Arlington Convention Center, from Thursday, May 11 - Saturday, May 13. If you did not pre-register with an early bird discount, general admission is $50 and that gets you and a spouse (or grandparent) into everything for all three days - vendor shopping AND the workshops. If you want to come just to shop then you can get a Shopping Only pass for $15. Of course, admission is free for THSC primary member adults. For more information about the convention, please check out the website.