homeschooling

12 Things I Learned from My Local Homeschool Conference

**Read to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a couples pass to the 2017 OCEANetwork Homeschool Conference!**

When my friend invited me to my first homeschool conference in Portland, Oregon, I didn’t know what to expect.

Having grown up in the homeschool community, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on homeschooling.

I was wrong.

The conference opened up to me not only new curriculum but new ideas about how to approach homeschooling and education.

The first time I heard about deschooling, unschooling, delight-led learning, life schooling, car schooling, relaxed homeschooling, notebooking, or unit studies,  I was sitting in a session or around a table visiting at OCEANetwork’s conference.  

This was around 2005 or 2006, and the internet was not as much a part of my life as it is now.  If this kind of information was available online back then, I was unaware of it. We still had dial-up back then!

I found that my family wasn’t the only ones who didn’t fit the homeschool stereotype: there were other families that did not wear dresses exclusively, didn’t make all their own matching clothing, didn’t have very type-A parents, and didn’t homeschool with a copy-the-public-school mentality.  

I was blown away by the diversity and by the idea that anyone could homeschool if they were dedicated to finding a way to make it work for them.

I’m very grateful for the insight the conference has offered which is why I have agreed to promote the conference here on the blog.

In the interest of full disclosure: OCEANetwork has offered me a free pass to the conference in exchange for helping promote the conference. I’m hoping to go this year as I’ve not been physically well enough to attend the last few years. Due to my health, I am unsure if I’ll be able to attend this year, but even if I can’t attend I consider this event worth promoting because of what a blessing it has been to me.

5112_S86qHwXLQl


Here are 12 things that I learned at the conference which have stayed with me:

1) I don’t have to be type-A to homeschool.

2) Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost me a ton of money.

3) Homeschooling allows me to customize the education to the needs of my children.

4) Homeschooling is a great form of education for special needs kids –and special needs parents, too!

5) I don’t have to worry about getting too far behind if I understand how homeschooling works –that it’s just the start of a life-long learning process and even struggling learners usually catch up if given patience and the time to do so.

6) I am not alone in the crazy journey, and there are tons of moms out there like me fumbling their way through each day hoping and praying they’re doing right by their kids.

7) I can trust my homeschool and my kids to God who is far more invested in them than I am and loves them more than I ever could.

8) Even the struggles my kids and I have can be used for God’s glory, so we just need to trust Him and His timing.

9) There are tons of different methods of homeschooling, there’s not one right way, and I need to keep looking and trying different things until I figured out what works for my family.

10) It’s okay if I have a bad day or a bad week; it doesn’t make me a bad mom or a bad teacher. I learned this from Heidi St. John who is the keynote speaker this year!

11) It’s not helpful or healthy to compare my family and our homeschool to the neighbor or that family at church because each family has unique challenges that they must address in their own way.

12) I answer to God for how I raise and educate my children –not my neighbor, or someone I think is a “super homeschool mom,” not my parents, or even my pastor– so I need to make prayerful choices for my family even if others don’t agree with my choices.

Those are just a few of the many things I’ve taken away from the conference.

I hope that those who are local to Portland will consider attending. I always leave feeling refreshed and encouraged!

There are even scholarships available for families who have young children and are considering homeschooling. Parents who have never attended the conference before and whose oldest child is under the age of six by the conference date may attend the conference for free.

One of the nicest things about OCEANetwork, in my opinion, is that they try to make this conference available to those with limited funds –which is most homeschool families. One year my husband was laid off and money was really tight. We were still able to go to the conference because of one of their scholarships.

See this link for a list of available scholarships.

I hope you’ll consider attending the OCEANetwork conference, and, if you’re not in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps there’s another homeschool conference near you that you could attend.

Teachers go to continuing education; homeschool parents can, too!

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

P.S. for general homeschool posts click here, and for beginning homeschooling posts click here.  

 

Click here for a chance to win a couples pass to the 2017 OCEANetwork Homeschouol Conference!

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homeschooling

12 Things I Learned from My Local Homeschool Conference

**Read to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a couples pass to the 2017 OCEANetwork Homeschool Conference!**

When my friend invited me to my first homeschool conference in Portland, Oregon, I didn’t know what to expect.

Having grown up in the homeschool community, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on homeschooling.

I was wrong.

The conference opened up to me not only new curriculum but new ideas about how to approach homeschooling and education.

The first time I heard about deschooling, unschooling, delight-led learning, life schooling, car schooling, relaxed homeschooling, notebooking, or unit studies,  I was sitting in a session or around a table visiting at OCEANetwork’s conference.  

This was around 2005 or 2006, and the internet was not as much a part of my life as it is now.  If this kind of information was available online back then, I was unaware of it. We still had dial-up back then!

I found that my family wasn’t the only ones who didn’t fit the homeschool stereotype: there were other families that did not wear dresses exclusively, didn’t make all their own matching clothing, didn’t have very type-A parents, and didn’t homeschool with a copy-the-public-school mentality.  

I was blown away by the diversity and by the idea that anyone could homeschool if they were dedicated to finding a way to make it work for them.

I’m very grateful for the insight the conference has offered which is why I have agreed to promote the conference here on the blog.

In the interest of full disclosure: OCEANetwork has offered me a free pass to the conference in exchange for helping promote the conference. I’m hoping to go this year as I’ve not been physically well enough to attend the last few years. Due to my health, I am unsure if I’ll be able to attend this year, but even if I can’t attend I consider this event worth promoting because of what a blessing it has been to me.

5112_S86qHwXLQl


Here are 12 things that I learned at the conference which have stayed with me:

1) I don’t have to be type-A to homeschool.

2) Homeschooling doesn’t have to cost me a ton of money.

3) Homeschooling allows me to customize the education to the needs of my children.

4) Homeschooling is a great form of education for special needs kids –and special needs parents, too!

5) I don’t have to worry about getting too far behind if I understand how homeschooling works –that it’s just the start of a life-long learning process and even struggling learners usually catch up if given patience and the time to do so.

6) I am not alone in the crazy journey, and there are tons of moms out there like me fumbling their way through each day hoping and praying they’re doing right by their kids.

7) I can trust my homeschool and my kids to God who is far more invested in them than I am and loves them more than I ever could.

8) Even the struggles my kids and I have can be used for God’s glory, so we just need to trust Him and His timing.

9) There are tons of different methods of homeschooling, there’s not one right way, and I need to keep looking and trying different things until I figured out what works for my family.

10) It’s okay if I have a bad day or a bad week; it doesn’t make me a bad mom or a bad teacher. I learned this from Heidi St. John who is the keynote speaker this year!

11) It’s not helpful or healthy to compare my family and our homeschool to the neighbor or that family at church because each family has unique challenges that they must address in their own way.

12) I answer to God for how I raise and educate my children –not my neighbor, or someone I think is a “super homeschool mom,” not my parents, or even my pastor– so I need to make prayerful choices for my family even if others don’t agree with my choices.

Those are just a few of the many things I’ve taken away from the conference.

I hope that those who are local to Portland will consider attending. I always leave feeling refreshed and encouraged!

There are even scholarships available for families who have young children and are considering homeschooling. Parents who have never attended the conference before and whose oldest child is under the age of six by the conference date may attend the conference for free.

One of the nicest things about OCEANetwork, in my opinion, is that they try to make this conference available to those with limited funds –which is most homeschool families. One year my husband was laid off and money was really tight. We were still able to go to the conference because of one of their scholarships.

See this link for a list of available scholarships.

I hope you’ll consider attending the OCEANetwork conference, and, if you’re not in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps there’s another homeschool conference near you that you could attend.

Teachers go to continuing education; homeschool parents can, too!

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

P.S. for general homeschool posts click here, and for beginning homeschooling posts click here.  

 

Click here for a chance to win a couples pass to the 2017 OCEANetwork Homeschool Conference!

faith, featured

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen to Good People?

This question came to mind today when I thought of a family friend who was diagnosed with cancer and was given weeks to live.

This is the question posed by Christians and unChristians alike.

For Christians it is a pursuit of understanding how our good God could permit to happen the things we see around us daily.

For the unbelievers,  it is used as a dismissal of the idea of God, as if somehow a truly good God would never let bad things happen.

For those who are in the former category, read on.  For those in the latter category,  I’m not sure they really want the answer, but they’re welcome to read my explanation.

Since even many Christians are not ready for this difficult concept, I feel the need to warn you that I struggled with this concept, wrestled with it until I finally realized that I have no one in heaven but Him and that I choose to throw myself at His mercy regardless of what He does.

It was 1995, and we were traveling all over the USA: a 1970s twelve passenger van, a 24-foot camping trailer, my mom and dad, us three kids, and our border collie lab mix.

We camped outside Washington DC in a quaint little camp ground and made day trips into the city.

One day on our way back –bear with me, this story is going somewhere– we stopped along side the country road to rescue a turtle (tortoise?) from the middle of the road.

No matter how many times we moved it to the side, it would repeatedly, sloooowly plod its way back toward the middle of the double lane country road.

We even tried carrying it to the other side of the road hoping that maybe this was the turtles goal and he’d be out of danger.

I can only guess that he liked the summer heat  on the asphalt and did not understand that danger.

How could he?

His brain is quite small.

He was not created with the ability to understand complex ideas like roads and cars.

Much like a child who does not understand adult concepts, the turtle was unable to see the danger.

I’m sure it struck him as mean (if indeed such a concept was available to his small brain) that I kept removing him from his destination.

I was so unkind and unhelpful.

That’s how I imagine our interaction with God to be.

“But God, I want to be in the middle of the road!”

We cannot see the danger, but He in His loving care protects us from what we cannot even fathom is there.

There are two basic flaws in the argument that God let’s bad things happen to good people.

Flaw number one: the idea that there are good people.

This is the foundation of the argument: that people are good and deserving of good things, that by not giving them only good things God is depriving them of what’s owed to them.

Is that true?

Are people basically good?

Is God depriving people of the good owed them?

What does scripture say?

That there’s no one who is good, not even a single one.

That it is only by God’s grace that any of us see any good things.

It is certainly not because we are owed them.

The only thing we deserve is hell.

Flaw number 2: the idea that what we define as bad things are actually bad things.

Remember the story of the turtle above?

We are like an ant in our understanding of God and what is good.

We only know what is truly good because He is good and He has told is what is good in scripture.

If He is good, if His very essence is good, how could what He does not be good also?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it’s more likely that our understanding of good is skewed.

I remember as a child struggling with the concepts of justice and fairness.

Sometimes justice meant that someone was punished which seemed unfair to my childish understanding of the idea.

What if our understanding of good is just as skewed if not more so than my understanding of justice?

What if our ability to grasp the concept of good is just as low as the turtles ability to understand he was in danger?

The problems with this argument are thus: there are no good people — only people with imputed righteousness if they’re believers– and God never does bad things — we just lack the ability to understand what good is.

This is a hard concept, I think.

It is not readily accepted.

People want God to cater to their whims instead of saying “Thy will be done.”

They want a Jesus who makes them happy, not one who makes them holy.

That’s a false Jesus.

Those who truly follow Christ will embrace whatever comes their way.

Remember what Job said, “Shall we receive the good from God’s hand and not the bad?”

Sometimes God does things that seem bad to us and don’t make sense.

That’s because they don’t make sense yet.

They will one day.

We see like in a dark window, but one day we will see Him face to face.

Then we will know that it was worth it.

Even illness.

Even cancer.

Even death.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

ADHD, featured, homeschooling

17 Things Your ADHD Child Would Tell You if He Could

17 Things Your ADHD Child Would Tell You if He Could:

1) I’m trying way harder than you’ll ever know even though it doesn’t seem like it to you. I really, truly am.

2) Criticizing me or getting angry at me that my brain doesn’t work better doesn’t help me. It makes me hate myself even more.

3) I’m painfully aware of all the areas that I’m not measuring up. Instead of making a big deal about my shortcomings, try to find ways to help me.

4) An accommodation isn’t the same as enabling. If you help me where I’m genuinely struggling, I’m going to be grateful. Don’t assume that I’m manipulating you.

5) I’m not doing this to you; it’s not something I am doing on purpose.

6) If you think it’s hard to live with me, imagine trying to live inside a body that won’t do what you want it to do.

7) My brain doesn’t work right but I don’t know how to tell you that. It makes me angry and unkind, but I’m not trying to be that way.

8) When I’m being horrible, what I really need is for you to tell me you’ll love me no matter what. And maybe hug me, too. I probably believe that I’m unlovable, so prove me wrong.

9) I know that my lack of motivation is frustrating, but pushing harder doesn’t help me do better.

10) My anger and frustration is a result of my brain not processing properly. When I’m overwhelmed and freaking out, don’t escalate by freaking out or getting angry too. I need you to be calm and show me that everything’s going to be fine even when I feel like it’s not.

11) If I get overwhelmed, don’t expect me to sort out the problem all by myself. The part of my brain the controls regulation doesn’t work properly. That’s why I need your help to regulate.

12) Don’t try to break me of things that you see as weaknesses. My sensitivity as a child means I’ll be compassionate as an adult. My stubbornness as a child means I’ll be independent and assertive as an adult. Instead of squashing these characteristics, channel them toward something good that can benefit me when I’m older. Don’t view me as something that needs fixed or toughened-up.

13) Don’t be afraid of labeling me. A label gives me answers and help. If my condition is serious enough to need to be diagnosed, you can guarantee that I’ve noticed something’s wrong and I’m wondering why I’m different too. Unless you tell me what’s going on, I’m likely to grow up angry and confused about why everyone has it all together and I don’t. A label means I can get help; it gives me answers and vindication.

14) I have a real, actual medical condition in my brain. It’s just as real as if I had Type 1 Diabetes. Just like Diabetes, I need help to deal with the condition. No one tells someone with Type 1 Diabetes that they are lazy if they’re tired because their blood sugar is low. They understand that it’s part of the condition. Please, please, please learn about my condition, and don’t blame me for things that are out of my control. Just like leaving Type 1 Diabetes untreated results in serious complications and even death, untreated ADHD can lead to serious complications –potentially including death. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat ADHD (and medication isn’t the only way).

15) My frontal lobe is developing 30% behind normal. Please understand this and don’t put me in situations I’m not ready to handle. If you give me responsibility that’s beyond my developmental age, don’t be angry with me that I do poorly. That’s setting me up for failure, and that’s just cruel.

16) Stop expecting me to be normal. I can’t be. Not for all my trying. Until you accept that, I’ll always be a failure in your eyes, and I’ll always view myself as not good enough.

17) You have the power to make me miserable by how you treat me. Remember to treat me with love and grace. Treat me how you would want to be treated if you were struggling with a problem in your brain. I may make myself miserable sometimes, but don’t add to that by treating me poorly. When in doubt, be kind. Believe me, I need your kindness.

This list has been reviewed and approved by adults with ADHD.

You can find more about ADHD here.

This a reminder that I am not a doctor or a scientist. I am just a writer and author making graphics and posts based on information I have read from leading authorities on ADHD. I encourage you to research these issues yourself and watch the Dr. Barkley videos at the bottom of this post called What You Need to Know About Your ADHD Child for more information about the science behind ADHD.

I hope this information is helpful. If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog and follow me on Facebook.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

faith, featured, illness

Why I Am Not Ashamed of Being Overweight: My Weight is Part of My Story

One of my articles was being published in a magazine, and I needed an updated photo –which I didn’t have.  Due to my weight I’d become a little camera shy. So, I messaged a friend who’s a professional photographer and asked if she’d take some pictures for me.

I voiced my concerns about my weight and my honest trepidation about being photographed at 300 pounds.  

She responded with the probably the most beautiful and humbling thing anyone has ever said about me: “You, my friend, are one of the few people I know who literally shine bright with the Holy Spirit from the inside out. You are gorgeous –don’t ever doubt that.”

With those two sentence she stopped me in my tracks and caused me to completely rethink my approach to my weight.

This is what good friends do: they edify like iron sharpening iron.

We had a lovely photoshoot, and as I drove away one thought played over and over in my head: “My weight is part of my story.”

My weight is part of what God is doing in my life. Continue reading “Why I Am Not Ashamed of Being Overweight: My Weight is Part of My Story”

ADHD, featured, getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

There Is No Behind in Homeschool


Don’t miss the follow-up post Objections to “There’s No Behind in Homeschool” Answered!


I regularly hear homeschool moms lament that their child is behind.

This is public school mentality.  

For most of us it is all we have known, and it’s takes some amount of convincing to consider that it might not be the way we have always been told.

But let’s take a step back.

Someone, somewhere, sometime decided that children should learn certain things at certain times.

Who was it?

No idea.

When was it?

No idea –but it was a long time ago.

Did they know our children?

No.

Does someone you’ve never met, who has never met your children, and probably lived decades ago really truly have a right to decide what’s best for your child?

No! Absolutely not!

Children are all different.  They don’t mature and grow physically, emotionally, or psychologically at the same rate.

Why should we assume they’d be able to learn at the same rate?

This is, quite simply, the foundation of homeschooling. It is the reason homeschooling was revived in the late 1900s: parents wanted to be able to make individualized choices for their own children based on what they believed was best. 

Parents have fought for that right and gained that right in all 50 states.

While the laws in each state vary,  the basic goal of homeschool remains the same: to educate your child as you believe is best for your child.

Some state laws will dictate what must be done when. I am not suggesting that you disobey your state laws, but rather that, as much as it is possible you allow your child to learn at their own pace in as natural and unforced way as you possibly can.  

Do not let the pressure to perform or for your kids to perform to persuade you to push your children beyond what is best.

You will be tempted to push them.

The pressure on homeschool moms to prove that they’re doing a good job is immense.

Remind yourself that it’s not about who finishes first. It’s not even about the acquisition of knowledge.

It’s about preparing this child for adulthood.

Damaging a child by pushing beyond what’s best is not preparing the child for adulthood.

The child’s emotional and psychological well being are so vastly more important than if your child can regurgitate names and dates and facts on cue.

Don’t sacrifice your child’s well being for a schedule, a goal, or a test. And especially not for your pride.

Your child is so much more important!

Let go of what you were told was supposed to happen. Don’t force learning on your child.

Make the child’s well being the highest priority, and make learning fit in with that.

If your child is having a bad day, don’t force learning.  He will learn better when he’s having a good day and no good can come from forcing it on a bad day.

Learning should be enjoyed and not forced –if we can make it that.

School doesn’t have to be fighting and tears and frustration.


”We have a mistaken correlation between grades and years.  We tend to think if our child is 3 grades behind in the acquisition of a subject it will take intensive effort and tons of time to overcome. But time and time again I have seen children go from years behind in a subject to on point or ahead in 6 months to 1 year. Sometimes a change in curricula was involved, but more often the child just matured to the point that they were ready and an understanding of the subject just started clicking into place. Be faithful to love, support, and joyfully teach, and it will come.”  -Joy Bishton


It does not matter how fast they are learning as long as they are learning.

It will all even out in the end.

There is no behind in homeschool; there’s just where we are right now.

Blessings,

Sarah Forbes

For more of my posts on homeschooling, see this blog series. 

This post is my reply to common objections to this post. It delves more indepth into the idea of children learning at their own pace. 

children, Christmas, featured

The Great Cookie Incident of 2013

It was 2013, and I was sick.

Really sick.

Not the kind of sick where you get better, but the kind of sick where you wonder how long you have left on this earth, and you go to bed wondering if you’ll wake up in the morning.  

Sometimes, the pain and depression is so bad you just pray that God will take you Home.

Now, I’ve come a long way from that dark place in the last few years, but this story is about me, right there in the thick of it.

Continue reading “The Great Cookie Incident of 2013”

featured, getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

To the Non-type-A Mom Who Wants to Homeschool

One question I get often is Can I homeschool if I am not a type A mom?

Absolutely!

Although, I have repeatedly been told that children need schedules, plans, and order, the truth is that some children do and some don’t.

11807396_969099883110349_6165725243796846883_o

image from here.

My mom was a great teacher. But, she would get restless. We would wake up one morning, and she would decide that today we were going to the beach. 

I loved beach days!  Continue reading “To the Non-type-A Mom Who Wants to Homeschool”

ADHD, featured, getting started homeschooling, homeschooling

In Defence of a 3-hour Homeschool Day

A question I get a lot is this: how long should a school day last when you’re teaching at home?

First of all, it’s important to note that children have a learning limit. At some point, their brains will shut off, and, after that, time no new information is retained.

So, what’s the point of teaching beyond that point? It’s completely counterproductive.

Continue reading “In Defence of a 3-hour Homeschool Day”

ADHD, children, faith, featured, testimony

The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child

I was THAT child.

You know the one: the explosive, high maintenance, strong willed one. The one that the teachers thought –at first– was really sweet, until something didn’t go my way. Then …watch out world!

I stomped.

Yelled.

Kicked.

And threw things.

I ran away from school.

All this was before 4th grade when my parents brought me home for school. Continue reading “The Testimony of a Strong Willed Child”