Wednesday

A Morning Meeting Espresso Shot

I myself am not a coffee drinker, but most of my friends and my spouse are. From what I understand, there is nothing more necessary enjoyable than starting your day with a hot cup of your favorite blend. Especially if you can really savor and linger over it in the quiet stillness of the morning. This is how I view our normal Morning Meeting routine; it’s an hour to an hour and a half of savoring and lingering over truth, beauty, and goodness. But let’s face it. Just like a coffee drinker, sometimes we don’t have the time or ability to linger over our Morning Meeting time. For those days we might just need an espresso shot to get us through.

Morning Meeting Espresso Shot

The need for a quick, but power-packed version of Morning Meeting came from my annoying perfectionist tendency to not do things if I can’t do them perfectly. I would skip Morning Meeting because we didn’t have time to do the full lingering cup. However, I noticed that our days seemed to not run as well when we don’t take the time for at least some of that truth, beauty, and goodness diet.

Which led me to ask, “If I had to do the bare minimum of our Morning Meeting time, what things would I include to make it power-packed and effective?”

Hymn

Prayer

Bible Reading

Bible Memory Work

I kept all of these parts of Morning Meeting and didn’t cut any of our Bible time because it’s definitely the number one thing we do in our Morning Meeting and our family culture.

History Timeline Song

Academic Memory Work

I kept these two items because I wanted to make sure we do our memory work as much as possible and because my kids love the history timeline song and it doesn’t take very long at all.

Art or Music Appreciation

Poetry Reading

Poetry Memory Work

So much beauty and goodness in these three items that they had to stay in my espresso shot approach. We love to linger here and contemplate even on shortened days.

Content Subject Focus

I kept this one for a matter of expediency. When we get to Table Time later in the day I want to make sure we’ve already covered our content reading earlier in the day during Morning Meeting.

Now that I had my bare minimum of things I wanted to cover, I had to make sure I hadn’t totally nullified my intentions: to make Morning Meeting quicker.

I had to figure out, “How long does all of this take?”

This was the simplest part; I timed it while we were using our quick version one morning. It came in at 30-35 minutes which was perfect. If it had been any longer I would have looked at my list and tried to cut something else until I got it in the 30 minute range.

Making sure that we kept a Morning Meeting time in our homeschool day was super important to me. I didn’t want to write off that special time just because I didn’t have time to do it perfectly. Now I’ve got the best of both worlds. We can enjoy a long, lingering cup of Morning Meeting when we have time or we can fit a super quick espresso shot of Morning Meeting when it’s necessary.

This is the second part of the Everyday Scholé blog linkup about Morning Meeting. You can find the first post about Morning Meeting resources here.

Everyday Schole Final Image

And of course you must check out my fellow Everyday Scholé bloggers, Tonia and Sara as they share their Morning Meeting scheduling tips as well:

only child homeschooling morning meeting  Morning Time Schedule

Making Morning Meeting small, but powerful in the tree house,

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Tuesday

What Inspired Me at the Great Homeschool Convention

I’ve been back from Fort Worth for a few days now, and I’m still processing all of the amazing talks and encouragement I received over the three days I was there. Because I’m a generous soul, I wanted to share the highlights of each speaker I heard. I spent most of my time listening to lectures about a classical liberal arts education (since that’s our focus), but I also sat in on some lectures about problem based learning (since that’s something I want to add).

Inspiration from the Great Homeschool Convention

The Encouragement: Probably the most encouraging part of going to a homeschool convention is to see the huge amounts of parents and families that are homeschooling. Some people are just beginning, some people are in the thick of it, and some are finishing up their journey. I met one mom who had come all the way from California to investigate homeschooling because she had realized that the public schools were not doing an adequate job of educating her son. I happened to run into her on the last day and she had been so equipped that she was returning to California feeling that this was something she could do. It’s always beneficial to be surrounded by people of a like mind when it comes to educational decisions that can remind you why you started and where you will end.

The Challenge: I’ve got two words when it comes to the challenge of a homeschool convention: vendor hall. So much awesome homeschool curriculum all right there for you to peruse and purchase. It’s difficult to keep your wits and your wallet about you when the new and the shiny calls to you. I was proud of myself. I held myself to only one purchase (although it was relatively costly), but considering I had about five things on my list that I wanted to purchase, I was pleased with my self-restraint.

The Fun: I love meeting people that I only know from the internet in person! I had a great time meeting Sarah Mackenzie from Amongst Lovely Things. She has inspired me with her writings about teaching from rest and schole. In case you are curious, she’s just as lovely in person as she seems online. I wish we’d had the chance to sit down and just chat for a couple of hours, but she was busy and so was I. I also got to meet a lot of the writers of curriculum that my kids use. They were all wonderful people who truly are passionate and knowledgeable about their subjects.

The Surprising: I don’t know if it’s because I’m in my seventh year homeschooling or if maybe I’ve found our perfect niche, but the most surprising thing I realized is that we’re doing pretty good. Our curriculum line up, our daily schedule, our reading lists are all in perfect alignment for the most part with the speakers I heard. I found myself nodding my head many times as the advice they gave is the same tools and tips that I’d already learned and implemented. While this was surprising, it was also affirming that we are on a good path for our family and our goals.

The Inspirational: And now for some quotes from the lectures I attended at the Great Homeschool Convention in Fort Worth.

Truth isn’t just a Christian monopoly. Truth can be found in almost any culture because it’s God’s world so truth is there for anyone to find.

~ Martin Cothran

Our job is to provide meaningful education for an unimaginable future. The old model of plateauing in your knowledge has moved to continuous cycles of learning. You cannot memorize your way into problem-solving.

~from Problem-Based Learning Studies for One

We need to cut (subjects) to be more fruitful (in our homeschool).

~ Dr. Christopher Perrin applying John 15:2 to our homeschools

Classical education is messy but the beautiful table (results) that you set will not reflect that. 

~ Classical Education Panel Session 1

The modern mind says life is a scientific experiment. The classical mind says life is a work of art. Your children are images (of God).

~ Classical Education Panel Session 1

Rigor is instruction that requires students to construct meaning for themselves at the outer edge of their abilities and apply what they learn in more than one context.

~ from Adding Intellectual Rigor to Your Homeschool

Listen to and respect the opinions of your child. Give permission to think. Teach them to respect their own opinion and provide the tools to support it.

~ Andrew Kern

In answering the question what are the liberal arts….

Liber means free. Art is the way of making something.

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Hopefully you can make your way to a homeschool conference in your area. The inspiration to be found there can be life changing for both you and your students.

Thank you Great Homeschool Convention from all of us in the tree house,

Chelli

Monday

How a Homeschool Crisis Restored My Sanity

A couple of years ago I had a panic attack about homeschooling. A storm of uncertainty and despair rained down on me. Doubts began to take over my thoughts. Fear began to paralyze me.

“Will my children be prepared for college?”

 “What if they don’t go to college will they be prepared for that possibility?”

 “What if I forget to teach them something they needed to know and it ruins their life?”

“What if we should be studying Chinese like that other homeschool family is?”

“Should I add five more subjects to our day? It seems like we do too little.”

“Should I get rid of some subjects? Our day seems too long.”

Doubts and fear about our homeschool led me to look for new curriculum, imitating other homeschoolers, defaulting to a public school mindset, and questioning everything as not good enough.

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Finally I couldn’t take it anymore; this line of thinking was driving me insane. Like a dog chasing its tail or a cork bobbing on the water, I had no direction for our homeschool. I had no clear cut goals. I had nothing to direct our studies except external curriculum and comparisons to what others were doing. What do I do now?