I have never homeschooled before. It would make sense then that I have never attended a homeschool conference OR a blogging conference for homeschool parents. Conference types I have attended include Early Education, Digital Marketing and Women in Business. Each one focused on a single topic with many sub topics for sure, but nothing like the FPEA Convention! This conference addresses all the aspects of my life. This to me was not a homeschool conference, but a life conference. I left with insights and practical actions I can take to make pretty much every aspect of my life pretty darn awesome.
So my point is: When you homeschool, you are incorporating education into raising your children. You have more opportunities to raise the whole child. Every aspect of your life impacts your children no matter what school they go to, but this convention was the first I have seen that actually addresses that fact.
This was a consistent message weaved throughout the conference. Don’t compare. Your homeschool will not look like your neighbors. Your child will not have the same focus as the kid learning chemistry at age 9. It’s okay if you buy bread, instead of baking your own. It’s fine if your house isn’t as put together as the rest. When you feel that disappointed pang of comparison, stop yourself in your tracks. Give yourself grace. Just breathe. Be happy that whatever you are comparing is going well for the other person. You may become a master baker next month, but today you are you and that is just great.Commitment
Homeschool isn’t as unheard of as it once was. Most people do not look at you cross eyed when you mention that you homeschool. To homeschool takes commitment on a level that most have not experienced before. You need to make the commitment to your child and your family. It will not be easy. You will have unimaginable successes and days that you wished the school bus would stop at your house.
Solution? Hide under a blanket on the couch and start the day over. Scrap the curriculum that is creating havoc in your day and choose another one. Go outside.
My favorite piece of advice for staying true to your commitment was simply this.
Create a place whether it is a folder, notebook or a binder and record the reasons why you have made the commitment to homeschool your family. Write down your initial reasons. Write down your successes. Write down the encouraging success of others. On your way to hide under your blanket, grab the folder. After a minute you will be able to read what is inside and you will remember. You will remember why you are doing this and why is is still so very worth it even in the moment that you are under the blanket.Friendship
Having the true support from real friends will be a life line.
REAL friends. The ones you have make a verbal commitment to. Where trust, grace and honesty are present. Learn the difference between the truth and gossip. Do not welcome gossip into your conversations.
I will never forget the day I heard Maya Angelou say those words on Oprah. It has resonated with me for decades. This one act will save you lots of heartache down the road. Take these words with you and use them as a guide. You will not be sorry. Finding and sticking with valuable friends may not be the easy route at first. Be bold, and find people that align with your core values.Family Values
It’s key that you sit down with your husband and determine what your family values are. My suggestion is that you try to keep to around 5 or 6. If you have twice that written down, you will find that you can condense a few into one umbrella value. I have included a blank Our Family Values printable for you to download and use in your home. We have ours in a sheet protector on the side of the fridge we can see from the kitchen table. That way, it is easy to reference.
I absolutely love that this was a widely talked about topic during the conference. Put your marriage into your daily routine. Meaning take a few minutes to flirt, write a note, text, help out with a chore, give a compliment and sometimes, just sit together on the couch. Remember that it is little things like leaving notes, flirting and using your dating manors that keep the spark alive. Think you are too busy? Set an alarm on your phone.Raising Boys
Let’s get to the advice shall we?
Separate the annoying vs. the incorrect.
Give them a chance to practice life.
Show them real life heros. When you talk about what makes that man a hero, talk about the story behind the action.
No time out for boys. Deal with the issue straight away and explain that they have earned a consequence. Push ups or chores are a great outlet for boys during a punishment.
I think the most important lesson that was reaffirmed in these sessions is that you are parenting a future adult. Embrace your child’s personality, character traits and challenges. Boldness looks different in a six year old than it does in an adult. Hal and Melanie Young were inspirational during their presentations. Here is a link to their book if you are interested in what they have to say. Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating BoysGod
Invite God into your daily life. Spend some quiet time with Him every day. Can’t find time alone? Include your family and show them what it is like to pray and connect. Start small if you need to. Get in the habit of sitting for five minutes. Be still and listen. God is giving you a path if you take the time to listen and follow it, you will be astonished at where it leads you.BONUS LESSON!
Teach your child the love of learning. That learning lasts a lifetime. You are never done. Nobody leaves any school knowing everything. When a gap appears in their knowledge, they will fill the gap.
As a newby I was very impressed by this convention. Have you ever attended? Are you an experienced homeschool parent? I would love to know what your best tips and tricks are in the comments below!