Saturday, June 11, 2011

IHM Homeschooling Conference -- Remembering & Starting Again

Yesterday and today, I attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschooling Conference. It was BIG; this conference has grown since I last attended. That was about  7 years ago or so, I can't remember.

It started out at the same hotel, but fit nicely at the time. This year, the conference was slated to be in the Dulles Expo Center; unfortunately, that venue was sold in January, leaving the IHM Conference having to quickly maneuver to find a new place to hold their National Conference. And the new place they chose was the old place they had been.

It was a little confusing to find all the vendors; some like my friend Marion were stuck in the basement -- far, far away from the crowd. I managed to find her and buy a Latin program. But, I wonder how many others simply couldn't figure out the map. (I have to admit being frustrated with the map was a little discouraging to someone who will be teaching map skills next year!)

But, even with the challenge of navigating the variety of rooms that housed speakers and vendors, I couldn't help but get energized to start this process with my girls. There was so many books to look through, curricula to explore. It was exhausting, but fun.

I've made some decisions about which program we will do with some slight modifications to meet each child's strengths and challenges. I bought some texts and will receive a majority of my course syllabi in a few weeks. This will be a summer of planning, reading and preparing -- and I just can't wait to get started.

Each child got a lesson planner. I intended to write out their daily lessons in each of their books so that they will be able to see their assignments, write them on their white boards and prepare for their day. History, Science and Literature will be combined subjects with individualized assignments for each child's abilities.

I have high expectations for myself. Pray I can live up to them. It's going to be different homeschooling three. When I did this before I only had one that I homeschooled elementary grades, one preschooler, an infant, and my son with special needs who attended the local school. It was easy figuring it all out for one child, but three seems a bit more daunting to me. And I'm not as young as I used to be; that's a little daunting, too.

But, on the bright side, I have done this before. I know that with my husband's help and the encouragement of other homeschoolers, we will do just fine. I simply need to trust and listen to the Lord's guidance.

And, that's the beautiful thing about all of this is that God is the First Teacher. While my expectations of myself may be high, I will be able to do all things in and through Our Lord, with the help of His Blessed Mother interceding with her Son to help me meet my goals.

After all, it's written in the teachings of the faith:
Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2223)

We're ready to start again to "instill the preconditions of all true freedom" at St. Philomena Homeschool Academy. Bring it on!

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