My family recently spent a weekend at our state homeschool conference (NCHE Annual Conference.)
Oh, I wish you coulda been there.
Our five children
The bookfair at the conference was big. Really big. It was homeschool-heaven. My younger ones could've spent the whole time at the bookfair and been content. There was every book we've ever loved, and many more I browsed through and would like to have brought home, and lots of educational toys, puzzles, games, videos, tshirts, homemade soaps, medeival helmets and swords, and more.
Then there was the talent show for entertainment. It was made up of students, and they were so fun to watch. We were all duly impressed. One young lady sang a broadway tune in a broadway voice, and we were blown away. The next day she sang again, this time Pie Jesu-Requiem, and we were speechless. NC's got talent, that's for sure!
We also got the chance to see, hear, and meet some of our favorite curriculum writers, apologetics experts, and speakers. It was a good dose of inspiration and information, all rolled up into one weekend. Amazingly, each session had the same resounding theme: it's the relationships, the day by day, the little things that matter. We tend to want to make sure we're doing everything right. Do my children know all their math facts? No. Have we memorized enough scripture this month? No. (Especially since we seem to be eternally stuck learning the ones about obedience and getting along with others. Hmmm.) Did my son eat enough vegetables today? Definitely not. What about algebra? Some get it; some don't. Have I been the perfectly patient mother? Not gonna answer that one. (Alright, no.) In the words of one of the keynote speakers, Mr.Todd Wilson of Familyman ministries, worrying too much about all those things (and they are good things) can put us in a cloud of fog, and make us forget why we do what we do.
And as I see it, those worries can also make us forget where we are going. It's not Harvard or Yale, or even Patrick Henry College, (although it's wonderful!) that is our ultimate goal. We are trying to train them up in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. We are trying to equip them as best we can, so that they will be ready to do whatever work God has for them. We are trying to lay for them a firm foundation on which they can build their futures. And reading and math, and certainly scripture, are all part of that. But it is matters of the heart which matter most.
Another keynote speaker emphasized that we need to convey this message to our children, too. They should do the right thing, because it's the right thing, and not do the right thing because it will impress their pastor, their friends, or their parents' friends. ;) The message of our culture is, "You have to do something special to be good enough. Go do something amazing. Save Africa." (Dr. Anthony B. Bradley of The King's College) But it's not true, said Dr. Bradley. The truth is, "it is in the ordinary things that God does amazing things." He reminded us of the scripture, I Thess. 4:11, "that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you." That was comforting to hear. We can live life moment by moment, knowing that God is weaving those tiny threads together into something amazing!
If you would like to see and hear these excellent keynote speakers, (3 keynote speeches for $25) you can order the speeches on dvd at www.avconnectionsusa.com. You'll probably see us in the dvds, since my youngest child requested we sit up front as much as possible, so she could see!
Oh, and my children learned a few things too. They learned that some towns have a lot more hills than ours does, which involves a lot more uphill walking. They also learned that you wait until you're away from the auditorium (far away) before you say things like, "I liked the last speaker a lot better than this one." :/
What I learned (again) and what I'd like to share with you is to remember this: when you get overwhelmed by the big things, and worried about doing the right things, and exhausted from everything, remember...it's the little things.
What has been your greatest encouragement lately? Or your greatest challenge? We can encourage each other. :)