Attending the GHC* has always helped me get back in touch with my heart.
Why am I here?
Why do I want to teach my kids?
What are we even doing this for?
It’s a concrete time where I can really address what I’m doing and who I’m becoming. The first day or two of sessions can be ugly, revealing, and breaking – but as I’ve experienced each year – God speaks gently and directly to my heart. And I take a lot of notes.
I try to go with one main relationship goal, one main educational goal, and one main resource to seek out in the exhibit hall.
This year my goals were: learn better communication skills, research learning styles and determine if a classical education would be right for my kids, and check out My Father’s World 3rd grade.
Here is the list of sessions:
- Building a Legacy: Pursuing the Homeschool Path by Sarita Holzmann of Sonlight.com
- From my notes: God has chosen me to raise the specific children He has given me. He will equip me for the task. The important things in life come with resistance.
- Homeschooling is Heart Work by Dr. Scott Turansky & Joanne Miller of the National Center for Biblical Parenting
- From my notes: When faced with an ongoing problem behavior in a child, take the time to consider what the solution (often a good character quality the child lacks) and in dealing with the child work from the solution backwards. Don’t push from the problem toward the solution. A person who operates with a focus on character thinks differently than a problem focused person.
- Created to Be by Kathy Koch, PhD of Celebrate Kids (CD)
- “Help, I’m Drowning in Curriculum Choices! How Do I Choose the Right One?” by Tina Hollenbeck of Celebrate Kids (CD)
- Ignite a Love for Learning: Teach Students the Way They are Designed by Shawna Howell of Classical Conversations (CD)
- Becoming Your Child’s Favorite Teacher by Steve Lambert of Five in a Row
- From my notes: I wrote a whole post on this one. One thought not in that post is: Homeschooling isn’t a “new” thing. Sure it’s gaining popularity, but giving a tutorial education has always been around. It is the most natural and personal way to teach and learn. Don’t turn homeschooling into a “classroom” style education.
- The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters by Michael Gurian of The Gurian Institute (Rob went to this one and we bought the CD)
- Classic Literature for Little Folks by Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books
- From my notes: 2 things in life will change you: the people you meet and the books you read. Good books will develop a moral imagination which leads to empathy and compassion. C.S. Lewis said “[when you read you can] see with another’s eyes” and through the process of reading “[I come outside myself] to become more myself.”
- Understanding the Constitution: Three Things Your Children Must Learn to Save Their Freedoms in the Future by Attorney David Gibbs, III of The National Center for Life and Liberty (Rob attended this one and we also bought the book)
- The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Daylight by Heidi St. John of The Busy Mom
- From my notes: To stop wasting time I must realize that I don’t need “time management, [I need] me management.” Also learn to discern the voice of conviction versus the voice of condemnation. That’s the only way I will operate out of my priorities with freedom.
- Helping Perfectionistic Kids by Kathy Koch, PhD of Celebrate Kids (CD)
- Classical Education, Unit Study, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling? What Approach Should I Use? By Cathy Duffy
- From my notes: Most homeschooling is eclectic, combining multiple styles. Know yourself as a teacher and start from a point where you can be accountable. (Much more to come on this session in the series Educational Theories Defined.)
- The Wonder of Boys: Protecting the Emotional Lives of Our Sons by Michael Gurian of The Gurian Institute
- From my notes: (His sessions were highly scientific and focused on interpreting research of the differences in the brain between men and women.) Hormones increase during stressful situations. In women, it’s the hormone oxytocin. When oxytocin goes up, it creates a need for words and feelings – “tend and befriend.” In men, it’s the hormone testosterone. When testosterone goes up, it creates a need to “fight or flight.” When men are in a stressful situation, they may respond to their hormonal inclinations by distancing from the situation in order to calm their response down. It may take them up to 24 hours to attach words to their feelings, and forced eye contact can increase the stimulation of their “fight or flight” reflex.
- Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World by Kathy Koch, PhD of Celebrate Kids (CD)
- Strong Roots, Strong Marriage by Heidi St. John of The Busy Mom
- From my notes: Heidi’s main call to action was to cultivate a “Fearless Marriage.” She quoted Ephesians 6 often in her points to draw our attention to the need to recognize that we were born on a battle field. We live in a constant state of spiritual war. She showed a clip from Oprah interviewing the Bells, Rob and Kristen. In that clip, Kristen read from their latest book which promotes homosexual marriage. Rob Bell’s argument for accepting homosexuality in the church was that because loneliness lies in the bones of every human being we as a culture should celebrate anyone who finds a cure for their loneliness. Besides, the church needs to stop “quoting letters from 2,000 years ago” for their reasons not to support this. Heidi St. John’s response to this was “you can’t fight a spiritual battle with emotional arguments.” Loneliness does not justify what God’s word calls sin. Not only as a marriage do we need to be strong, but we must also be strong as individuals in our faith, for our God, and for our children.
- The Case for Christian Education by Lee Strobel (CD)
- You CAN Do Unit Study by Steve Lambert of Five in a Row
- From my notes: A unit study can be taught to the widest range of ages and customized to educate the widest range of subjects. Take Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel as an example. In just the first few sentences he drew out enough information from the story to set a 4-, 7-, 10-, and 17-year old on an engaging mission to understand personification. The 4-year old was assigned an oral report to personify their bike and create a story about it, and the older children were assigned the same thing but required to write their reports with standards created to fit their abilities. So why unit studies? “It’s holistic. You start anywhere and end up everywhere. Compared to the traditional model of education: texts allow you to know what your children will learn, books allow you to know who your children are.”
- Learning Styles: Choosing and Using Curriculum to Fit Each Child by Cathy Duffy (CD)
- Charlotte Mason Meets Plato: Restoring the Joy of Education in Your Home by Rea Berg of Beautiful Feet Books
- From my notes: “Knowledge obtained on compulsion has no hold on the mind.” Mason said, “the only real education is self-education.” Not that we are to be self-absorbed or only focused on ourselves, but rather the one who is able to learn on their own and one who loves to do so. Self-educated giants for our example are: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, and Phyllis Wheatley.
Here’s the list of resources we purchased:
- Beautiful Feet Books: Early American History Primary (K-3rd)
- Five in a Row vol. 4 for 7-8yr olds
- Literature pack for Five in a Row vol. 4
- Horizons Math 2 – Workbooks 1 & 2* (for both older kids) and the teacher’s guide
- My Book of Cursive Writing* (2)
- The Ultimate Dot-to-Dot Book* (2)
- Spot the Bird* (For the nature lover)
- Treasure Hunt Mazes*(For the logic lover)
- Timberdoodle’s Farmland Math Mat Bundle (For the toddler)
- Scrunch Map of the USA*
- Heidi St. John’s “The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance”*
- Heidi St. John’s “Lapbooking Made Simple” eBook
- Attorney David Gibb’s, III “Understanding the Constitution”*
As He’s done every year, God taught me more than I could have expected about His heart for my kids, His heart for me, how I should change my patterns in parenting, and how we should move forward. If you noticed, my goal for researching My Father’s World for 3rd grade did not result in the purchase of that curriculum. Not because it isn’t a good resource. But after praying and trusting that the Lord would lead us, we chose Five in a Row and Beautiful Feet Books instead. Unit studies and lots of read alouds, creativity and interest-led learning. It’s going to stretch me greatly, but I’m confident that this tutorial model of education will serve my children well.
I can’t wait to dive into these resources! The kids can’t wait either! 🙂
The purpose of this post is to inspire, not recommend any one resource as universally useful. I hope my learning journey inspires you to take the next step in your unique learning journey. All links in this post marked with an "*" are affiliate links. All other links are for reference only. Thanks again for reading!