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Homeschool Gathering 2013

From February 19 – 22, Schäfer and I were invited to attend a Homeschool Gathering.

Yep. This trip to Thailand was about medical checks + vacation + homeschool. We try to squeeze in as much as we can when buying 5 plane tickets.

Last year, I attended the Homeschool Gathering as a Mom rising into homeschooling. Selah and I both went because she was still nursing. (Schäfer was not invited because he had not officially started school.)

While away from Hubs, Schäfer and Sianna for 8 days, I unexpectedly saw many friends and learned a lot about curriculum options, but I had a difficult time processing exactly how homeschooling was going to look for our family.

Almost a year later, I can say that going back to the conference was beneficial. Schäfer and I haven’t had an easy year of homeschool mostly because of an exhausting pregnancy but also because of local commitments to Chinese school and the Learning Center.

Schäfer loves to learn and is always willing to do math… and sometimes even phonics with joy, but I have had a difficult time maintaining momentum because of all of our commitments elsewhere.

Here’s how I would sum up the 2013 Homeschool Gathering:

The Varsity.
My entire Varsity Team was in the room. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more giddy. Remember, The Varsity doesn’t know their on the team, but it was so great to talk with each of them face-to-face as opposed to e-mail or Skype.

On day one, two Varsity Mom’s spoke into my life and it was surreal to receive because they are so much further along on this journey.   I loved being around these ladies.

I like the curriculum we’re using. I like where we’re going. I met several others who are on the same path.

new ideas.
There are a couple of items that I would like to add to our first grade curriculum. Otherwise, we’re staying the course.

What it was not:

Whew. We started bright and early each morning and rolled on into evening activities. By day 3, I was so exhausted that I had a teary phone conversation with Hubs. I felt much better after talking with him.

My word. I was so prego tired. I went to bed by 9pm almost every night. I never turned on my computer or edited photos or checked e-mail.

a personal retreat.
Yes, I got to see a bunch of friends and feel some love from The Varsity, but solitude was not part of the schedule. I adore solitude and wished I could slip away just to think.

chocolate enriched.
You’d think a meeting with a bunch of women would have bowls of chocolate everywhere.
The entire week, I craved sauerkraut, German sausages, Nacho Cheese Doritos and dark chocolate. Yet, the entire week, I ate Thai food. Don’t get me wrong – Thai food is delicious except for when you are 8 months pregnant and craving sausages – not papaya.

Some highlights from the week included:

One night, there was a Storybook Character Parade. Schäfer dressed as Fritz from The Swiss Family Robinson. (We modified a pirate costume and Hubs made a musket out of cardboard and electrical tape.) Schäfer seemed pleased with the costume.

Each child who participated in the Storybook Parade got to go on stage and say their name, character name, and book title. Schäfer wanted to go on stage by himself, but he wanted me to go after him.

I introduced myself as the Zebra from Swiss Family Robinson.

Fritz & Zebra. Participating in this Storybook Parade is something that Schäfer has been looking forward to for months.

The next night, each child put their costume on again and presented their Quilt Square.

Schäfer’s quilt square is a picture of Fritz hunting a leopard with a seagull flying above.

On this evening, all the kids shared their quilt squares and read a portion of their book. Since we did not have an “easy reader” for Swiss Family Robinson, I read from the original.

Each afternoon, Schäfer went swimming to work out some energy after sitting in a classroom all day. The poor child has never done so many worksheets in his entire life!

At the end of our gathering, Schäfer received a certificate for participating in the Storybook Parade.

We were thankful to attend this Homeschool Gathering. It was good for me to meet other Mom’s who are on the same path. It was good for Schäfer to meet other kids who also learn at home.

Back to Bangkok to see Hubs and my baby girls…

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