Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Downloading My Thoughts on the Conference

I'm actually sitting here on my bed waiting to fall asleep for a nap.  I have so many thoughts from the conference in my head that I need to get typed out before I start forgetting them.  Here are a few bullet points before I expand on them.

  • I now know why I was inspired to read both of Suzie Andress's books, Latin Centered Curriculum, and purchase Anna Comstock Botsford's A Handbook of Nature Study.  All of these books focus on creating a learning environment where conversations are held frequently to enable learning to happen as it would naturally.  Andrew Pudewa expanded on this idea by saying that reading aloud to children, exposing them to good & beautiful music, and not constraining them to textbook learning is a sure way to let this type of learning happen.

  • I now know why I was led to join a few Yahoo groups.  There's no way I would have sat through all of Andrew's talks and felt an extreme sense of peace if I hadn't been in a conversation with all the lovely women I've met and asked help from in the last month.

  • I now know why Waiting For Superman came this week, and Daddy and I watched it on Thursday night before the homeschool conference.  Andrew spoke about the education system in America so it was nice to have some background and quick references from watching the movie.:)
  • I now know why I was led to blogs belonging to women who have chosen an alternate style of homeschooling for their families over the last 5 months.  Again, there's no way I would have been able to sit through all of Andrew's talks and Martin Cothran's talk with an extreme sense of peace if I had not already been primed by the ideas in these other blogs.
  • I now know why I resist this kind of alternate style of homeschooling and why I worry so much that the kids aren't "learning enough," "as good as...," and why I always feel like "we're behind."  I received the kind of education Andrew described...one where I was told what to think and how to think about it not leaving room for any independent thought.  I would always say, "Tell me what to do, and I'll do it."  It wasn't until I went to an authentic liberal arts college that I was challenged to think, but boy did it freak me out because I didn't know how to.  Fast forward almost 15 years later and now I'm trying to teach my children to be independent thinkers.  It's almost impossible because my ready-reference for teaching grade school comes from "schooling" rather than "thinking."
  • I was affirmed in our decision to start the children taking music lessons at a young age.  Recitals were this evening!  I have also noticed the kids can recognize what kinds of music are true, good, and beautiful.  They can't stand bad music, and they aspire to master the musical arts through choir and learning how to play various instruments.  Now I know why Monica has spent the last month teaching herself how to play the violin.  She loves good music and wants to continue to play it for herself no matter how hard she has to work.

  • I was affirmed in our decision to drop our Spelling and Grammar textbooks and continue with our Math approach.  I heard Martin Cothran say that the best way to learn grammar is to study an inflected language.  So that's why the girls have been getting bored to tears with their grammar books!  We've had the sprinklers on even though it's been raining outside!  The girls have been doing double duty learning both Latin and English grammar at the same time.  Martin likened these two as rain (Latin) and sprinklers (English).  As for Spelling, affording them more time to be read to or to read to themselves instead of filling out workbooks and pursuing their love of languages (Greek, French, and German), may prove to be a better use of our time and a more worthwhile Spelling lesson.

  • I was affirmed in our decision to not have the girls take science classes outside our home, but rather learn science from Daddy and me and from the beautiful surroundings God has given us in our neighborhood.  Daddy told me outright that Science can be learned simply by doing nature studies after he read the introductory chapter of Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study.  This was further affirmed by Andrew Pudewa in his talk Nature Deficit Disorder.  In his talk he emphasized getting out of doors and camping, camping, and more camping with your kids.  Thankfully, Daddy will again this August take all the kids except Nick to the Dads/Kids Camp Trip with the St. Joseph's Covenant Keepers!  

Daddy and I returned from the conference and found the kids had made dinner including a dessert for themselves!  Grandma was truly impressed & amazed she had to do nothing to help them.

  • Consequently, I now know why God gave me the willingness to start getting up early every morning to take a walk/run a couple times around the park and lake (a stones throw from our home!) and see the treasure and beauty we have in our neighborhood.  And I also know why God gave me the inspiration to actually use my IPod for one of the main things it was designed for...downloading music, creating playlists, and using it to help me run.  Who knew that by creating a playlist in my IPod, God would give me the willingness to get up early every morning to walk/run around the park?  Furthermore, I've noticed the nature that's just waiting for us there...skittish deer, hardworking muskrats, protective geese and their goslings, unsuspecting ducks and their ducklings, a couple stately blue herons, a graceful egret, a family of owls, snapping turtles, painted turtles, and plenty of frisky chipmunks and squirrels.   The park and lake truly are a gift to our family.

Now, I'm sleepy so I'm going to take a nap.  The expansion of these bullet points will probably be in a different color so stay tuned for that.:)

Well, there you have it in a light lavender.  I've been meaning to get all of my thoughts down so I can refer to them often.  I know I sound like I idolize Andrew Pudewa, I don't.  However, I do believe that God uses his instruments to speak to us.  I don't think anything in my life happens by chance.  I believe strongly that everything that links together in my life is God's way of speaking to me and gently guiding me to do His will.  I need lots of help to fulfill and love my vocation.  I say often nowadays that I love the kids, and I love homeschooling.  I've never felt so sure of anything else except marrying Daddy.  And the reassurance that our marriage was God's will, too, just keeps getting stronger as we continue to fulfill our vocation as a homeschooling family.  

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