Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homeschool Community

Sword of Freedom (American Civil War) class Awards Night

The last few months have been full of great reminders as to why I love my local homeschool community!

Mom Nights

In January, I attended two Mom's Night homeschool discussions that refreshed and inspired me. And I was able to help out a couple of moms with some words of reassurance, as well. I came away from both evenings feeling a new strength and determination to improve our homeschooling efforts, and also to seek more inspiration from the Holy Spirit and the scriptures in our family's education

Key things that stuck with me:
  • Pray EVERY morning for inspiration on what I need to teach my kids THAT DAY. (Thank you, Toni!)
  • Teach my children how to use the scriptures-- especially the Book of Mormon-- to find the inspiration they need for their studies EACH DAY
  • At the end of every day, I need to sit down and record all the things we did that day. If I do this, I will be able to better see what we've actually accomplished. (Like Fly Lady's "Ta-Da" list!)
  • The definition of success, according to the "Preach My Gospel" handbook is: "Teach with the Spirit, and Love Those You Serve." This was BIG for me. It keeps my perspective where it needs to be.
  • We need to help one another to know how to start clubs and smaller groups our kids need.
  • Our kids need to be connected, and in order for that to happen regularly is to keep the moms and dads connected with one another.
  • Homeschoolers in our area can help each other better by being more unified. Two mom nights a month was too much time away from my family-- can't we combine the two???

Homeschooling Teens' Classes

First Semester
In the Fall, our Lliam and Bonny joined with friends from our weekly classes last year (Remember the ones we held in our house every Thursday?) to take the next class in the LEMI series from their mentor last year, Susan J.. Our Brennan had already taken the course, but he was asked to be the assistant mentor. The next class is called "Sword of Freedom" and is an in-depth study of the American Civil War. They read books about the war, wrote papers about what they learned, wrote a big paper on their favorite Civil War Hero, memorized battles, scriptures, and the Gettysburg Address, and participated in a battle simulation out in the desert. 

At the end of the semester, if they had fulfilled every requirement, they earned a Civil War replica sword and kepi hat. The picture at the beginning of the post shows the kids with their swords. (Brennan earned his sword as a surprise from the mentor. Since he had earned a Confederate sword last year, sweet Susan got him a Union sword for his help this year. Wasn't that so kind?

Second Semester

In January, our kids joined back up with the existing commonwealth school group that has been offering classes for the last few years. (I used to teach Shakespeare with that group.) I also stepped in to mentor the drama class and direct their production for this year. Since the kids my older children used to hang out with have all scattered, it was a bit difficult for them at first. But  they have since made new friends and have grown to appreciate them.

The other day, a call went out among us to help one of the families in the group. They had received notice that they had to be out of their rental home within 24 hours, and they needed HELP. My two big boys, ages 16 and 15, were immediately ready to go. They spent the day doing all they could to get this dear family's belongings safely out of their home. At least 3 or four other homeschool families responded to the call, moms, dads, kids. (I would have gone if I wasn't dealing with my own issues.) It was wonderful to see how quickly and immediately our little homeschool group responded to help!

And then last Friday evening, we held a Parents' Night where the mentors and students presented each class's purpose and showed a bit of what they have been studying. It began with the little ones in the Joy School and Core groups, went through all the Love of Learning classes, and then each Scholar age class. The last presentation was our Fiddler on the Roof class. We stood together and sang "Tradition." and the crowd went wild! (It's really going to be a great show!)

Looking around that night, I felt such joy and happiness, seeing all the families who actively participate and contribute to our Commonwealth classes. Unlike a regular school, we meet only once a week, and EVERY FAMILY must contribute in some way, whether it's teaching a little kids' class, mentoring a Scholar or Love of Learning class, or serving on the governing board. And because each family is heavily invested in the group, it runs smoothly and with high energy. It's different than just a bunch of moms that drop their kids off to someone's house or school to be taught by someone else. It's a feeling of belonging, of community, of family.

We had something similar with our tiny group in my home last year, and it was so wonderful! (I sure miss those other families! *sniff*) Intimately knowing who is influencing and teaching one's children is such a blessed thing! Our big kids get the time they need with other youth who have high standards and good study habits. And we get the support and encouragement we homeschooling moms so desperately need. (Well, I need it, anyhow...)

Community. Isn't it wonderful? :)

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy (and quite jealous) you have that type of community. I've learned that community is more important than MANY other things. We hope to be joining in next year!


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