I just returned from a fantastic conference, it was a conference for Christian Bloggers who also homeschool. I did not get what I was expecting from a blogging conference… NOT at all! This article, Just 18 Summers: A Homeschool Mom Reflects on the Time Investment, is a direct result of this conference… but it is much more than just an article!
I had not been feeling well … in the battle to tame my hedges, apparently my boxwoods won because I pulled my back. I had just missed the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati convention was one that, as one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms (HHM), was an opportunity to meet many of our clients and spend time with many of our followers. And I missed THAT one. So not going to a blogging conference would not be a big deal… but it was. It was a very. big. deal. Ten members of the Hip Homeschool Moms’ team were going to be there. I could not miss that opportunity to meet them. And I promise, they did not disappoint! What fantastic, fun-loving, God-filled, and beautiful women they are. I am honored to be on a team with them!
I met so many fantastic women there. Women that I have been rubbing elbows with, bumping into, and seeing around the blogosphere. A few I had just met at Teach Them Diligently in Nashville. That was nice to see some familiar faces that actually knew me as well 🙂 You see, in the blogosphere, it is easy to recognize bloggers you have followed, but most of them don’t know you or realize you even follow them (especially the bigger bloggers).
Heidi Ciravola hosted the Mentoring Moms show with me right after we returned from Chicago. We were talking in the “green room” about what we took away from the conference. Ironically, nothing either one of us mentioned was about blogging… our lists were about parenting, homeschooling and family. Heidi mentioned a book she is reviewing that she finished on her way to the conference and how it really touched her deeply. I haven’t read the book yet (but I can assure you, I will), but the title really summarizes what I took away from the conference. Where I am and what I am feeling about our lives, our homeschool, our family, and our focus… the title of the book is “Just 18 Summers“.
What does that title say to me?
Just 18 Summers…
to guide our children to be strong, faith-filled young men. Men whose walk clearly exemplifies that they live for Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name). Men who understand their role in their family, community and world. Men who understand their role as change agents for this Godless world we live in. Not by preaching beautiful words (that so often ring hollow today), but just by their daily life speaking to those around them that they live for our Messiah… and without one word being spoken others can recognize it.
Just 18 Summers…
to help them find their passions, their inspirations, their talents. To help them explore what they want to do in life. What talents they have and what those talents naturally lead to career-wise. I have always believed if you love what you do, it will never feel like work. I want my children to not only understand that, but to live it.
Just 18 Summers…
to show them how to learn and that it is a life-long endeavor. Yes, there are subjects that they have to learn and will, but what is the rush? We have been on the dual-enrollment, clep out of college classes route and I suddenly wondered why. Why are we in such a rush? Who developed this timeline? I am really rethinking everything about how we homeschool.
Just 18 Summers…
to show them what a healthy family looks like. Balanced. Focused. Loving. Where Mom and Dad work through problems instead of ignoring them. A family where struggles bring the family closer to each other and God. A family where we always have each other’s back. A family that doesn’t tear down. A family that is a role model for their future family. Am I demonstrating the type of woman I want them to seek for a wife? Is my husband modeling the role of Dad and husband he wants them to mimic?
As you see… big questions arose from my weekend in Chicago. If we only have Just 18 Summers (and that is something else I am challenging… why is our society driving children to leave at 18), do I want that time to be only focused on homeschool? Yes, homeschool is a lifestyle. But everything we do does not have to be a lesson. I. KNOW. THIS.
What am I doing?
How am I investing this precious time?
It’s time to reevaluate our lifestyle and throw out the clutter. Literally and figuratively.
This is the beginning of a journey … a journey of downsizing, realigning and refocus. I’ll be sharing this journey as we live it. One of the presentations I attended at 2to1 was Linda Delfino‘s and she spoke about blogging as a ministry. Linda encouraged us to write that post that we didn’t want to write because chances are it will minister to someone. I’m doing just that… except it won’t fit in one post, so it will be a new series on Live and Learn Farm… Just 18 Summers.
A blogging conference? Don’t let it fool you! It’s a homeschool moms’ renewal retreat that masquerades as a blogging conference! I never expected that. It wears the mask well. Yes, there were blogging presentations and I actually learned a lot from them. But all that pales in comparison to what I brought home that will change how I parent, how I homeschool and how I honor my husband.
Thanks Cheryl… A job well done!
Next year the conference will be in Kitty Hawk, NC. I’m from the coast of NC. Good Lord Willing… I’ll be there!