For the Love of Books

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Midwest Parent Educators Conference.  By the time the conference rolls around every year, I'm usually exhausted and questioning why we ever decided to homeschool in the first place.  This year happened to be no exception, which is exactly why I make it a priority to attend.  It's empowering!  I always walk away with a plethora of tools for making our year more successful.  Sometimes, those tools are tangible in the form of books or educational games.  Other times, those tools are birthed out of a concept or conviction.  The book that I want to share, with you all, for this month's For the Love of Books pick is derived from both.

Heidi St. John was the keynote speaker at this year's conference; and y'all, she's just amazing!  Truly.  Don't ever hesitate to attend one of her conferences.  Anyway, I had the privilege of being in her REAL LIFE Homeschooling workshop.  Briefly, each letter from the title gave way to a list of challenges for homeschooling success.
  • R = Remember the goal is to teach God's material and His standard.
  • E = Expect opposition both spiritually and culturally and from family and friends.
  • A = Adjust for life.  Successful homeschoolers are flexible.
  • L = Let go of legalism.  Legalism chokes our ability to hear from the Lord and makes us judgmental of one another.
  • I = Invest in what matters most.
    1. Growing relationships with God
    2. Nurturing marriages
    3. Discipling our children
    4. Leading by example
  • F = Follow the leader.  Be yoked with Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30).  Learn from Him (Psalm 34:4).
  • E = Expect to be victorious!  "For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does."  Psalm 33:4
One of the things that stood out the most for me was her discussion on discipling our children.  She stated, "The goal of education is discipleship, and discipleship begins at home."  At this point, conviction set in for me.  One of the reasons we decided to homeschool our children many years ago was to have the opportunity to be the main shapers of our children's beliefs both spiritually and educationally.  We even chose the curriculum we did for its success in weaving God's truth and character into all its subject areas.  While I still stand by that decision wholeheartedly, somewhere along the line, I began letting the curriculum do all the work.  I forgot that me, myself, and I, along with my husband's input of course, was the main shaper.
We were still spending time in God's Word and praying together every morning, but I had failed to teach my children and forgotten myself, amidst all of life's disappointments and struggles, how to listen for the voice of the Lord.  One of the ways I felt the Lord was leading me to remedy that loss was for us to take time every day to hand write the scriptures, along with what the specific words, for each particular day, meant to us or what the Lord was trying to tell us, at that exact moment in our lives, through those words.  As you can imagine, sometimes, this takes us to completely opposite ends of the spectrum, especially with such a wide range of ages and abilities in my home.  But that's the beauty of each individual's walk with the Lord, and I cannot tell you how much we have enjoyed doing this!
I feel like it is teaching us that the Bible is more than just inspirational words or historical stories.  It is living and active and a reflection of who and what the Lord desires us to be and do both today and in the future.  I feel like it is giving us opportunities to share how the Lord has moved and is still moving in our own lives through lessons learned and lessons still being learned.  And most importantly, I feel like it is training us not only to listen for God's voice but also to just be still and know that He is God, which, finally, leads me to today's book pick.  It is written for children ages three to six and introduced to me by Heidi herself.
Be Still, written by Kathryn O'Brien and illustrated by Gillian Flint, not only makes Bible memorization fun but also creates meaning, through lasting connections with real-life experiences, out of every single word in the scripture "Be still, and know that I am God!"  Psalm 46:10

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by today, friends.  Happy reading!


Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Sounds like an amazing conference!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria said...

Happy to hear that you were inspired by attending the conference! I'm sure you're an excellent teacher for your children, Jinny! My nephew's wife, Rebecca, home schools her children, also. And, Be still and know that I am God is one of my favorite verses! The book looks like a great one for little ones!

Debbi Tehrani said...

How lucky are your children!