We learned SO much at the OCEANetwork conference this weekend. None of the concepts we learned were completely new or revolutionary for us, but there were certain things that adjusted our view of what it will mean to be a homeschooling family.
- It’s about family discipleship: Learning the different subjects of “school” and helping our kids excel in those areas is very important. But even more important is teaching our kids to love the Lord and to love others. I talked about this in a recent post.
- Family discipleship starts early: Practically from birth we will start training our children in the way we want them to go. These are practical, daily activities that lead our children down the right path. Ages 0-5 are the most critical for laying this foundation and will help our children throughout their life. It will also help the teaching of the more formal subjects, once that begins.
- We will focus ALL our daily activities on training: knowing and loving God, loving and serving others, correcting wrong behaviors, positively building character, and teaching life skills. Our kids are 8 months and 2.5 years, and there are many ways we can train them up in these areas right now. There were tons of ideas on how to do this at the conference, which is helping me a great deal.
- We, as parents, will grow right along with our children: Aaron spent most of his time at the conference in a series of workshops led by a firefighter and former SWAT team member. The series was about being and raising courageous, godly men. He learned MUCH from that series and is processing through it all so that he can start implementing the lessons for himself and for Jaron. Among the great workshops I attended was a short series on laying the right foundation during the toddler and preschool years, and I learned a lot that changed my attitude and perspective about my role in teaching our kids.
There’s a lot more to say about everything we learned: teaching our kids to have a heart of service, how to approach issues of purity and body image (boys and girls) from toddlers on up, teaching our toddlers and pre-schoolers scripture and training them in godly character, helping them find real-life living or historical heros instead of cartoons, and on and on. I’m sure I’ll write about many of these issues as I process through all the information and figure out what to apply and how at this stage.
One thing I will mention though: for those friends of mine who have very young children and will be homeschooling (or considering it), I would recommend going to this conference when the oldest is 2 or 3. At the latest 4. I think many assume that there isn’t anything for parents of children this age because “school” doesn’t and shouldn’t start until later. I admit, I wondered the same. But we spent little to no time at the conference learning about curriculum or “formal school”. It was almost all about the 0-5 years and laying a godly foundation for a lifetime of service and learning. EVEN IF YOU ALREADY KNOW ALL THE STUFF I LISTED ABOVE – you will glean wisdom and advice from people who have been there before on how to implement it now in your family. It was fantastic!!!