Friday, December 8, 2017

Yankee Doodle Homeschool Extravaganza 2017

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving we were up early traveling to the airport to catch a flight to Virginia.  We were off to attend a homeschool conference with several other IMB missionary families that serve in Central and South America.

waiting for our flight out of Jackson

they were excited about the week ahead

They love riding "the train" in the airport.  Here they are in Atlanta.  This time they got to sit in the front and watch as we went from terminal to terminal.  They were pretending to drive as you will see in the video below.

We had a wonderful time at the conference.  Our days were scheduled from 8:30- 3:30 and then 5:30- 8:30 each night.  For the adults most of our time was spent in training and break-out sessions.  Some of my favorite topics included sensory processing, fun ideas for teaching history, elementary art ideas, balancing homeschool and ministry, and  making lapbooks.  We also had a session on speech and language development that was very helpful.  We had our member care consultants (counselors) there to lead a few sessions.  Their topics included helping your child cope with cross cultural stress and modeling resilience- helping your child by taking care of yourself.

One afternoon we had a curriculum fair where several vendors were on hand to show us their products.  For the older students and parents there was also a college fair where many schools sent representatives to talk about programs and scholarships available to the TCK's.  It was a full week packed with lots of great information and helpful advice.

The kids had classes each day as well.   For the 1st- 8th graders much of their week was spent taking the Iowa Assessment Test.  At the end of the week we all met with our homeschool consultant and went over the grades.  It gave us a good idea of where our children are and what areas we need to focus more on as we go forward.  That was very beneficial to me.

Ben spent his week with a few other kindergartners doing a study of America.  Every day when we picked him up he would have a craft or something he had made about the States.   He learned a lot and had a fun time each day.

We had an excellent group of volunteers come to lead our children for the week.  I am thankful for kind people like this who give of their time to minister to our families.  They were a blessing to all!

the boys with some of their teachers for the week

Our conference theme was on America.  A few months prior we had a contest to name the conference and the entry that received the most votes was Yankee Doodle Homeschool Extravaganza.  That is the entry our family voted on.  It just sounded so fun.  Each student had to do an oral presentation before the group.  The K- 2nd graders had to memorize a patriotic poem or song.  Ben chose to say the Pledge of Allegiance and a poem about the flag.  Cruz recited the Star Spangled Banner.  Here they are giving their presentations.  They were a little nervous to do it before a group but it was good public speaking practice for them.  I thought they did an excellent job.

My boys favorite part of the whole week was getting to be with the other missionary kids.  Many they had met back in July at our mission meeting in Mexico and they were looking forward to seeing them again.  Here are two they were especially looking forward to seeing. 

Cruz and Sophia became instant buddies in Mexico and he could not wait to see her again in Virginia.  They spent the whole week side by side. 

sweet friends

Ben and Sam (Sophia's little brother)

Their mom was my roommate at the last homeschool conference I attended in Lima, Peru.  We love that our kids are now friends.

On our last night before the session ended the kids were presented with certificates.  We then all headed outside (in the freezing cold) to enjoy a bonfire and celebrate the completion of a great week.  There were plenty of supplies on hand for making s'mores.  It was a really fun way to wrap up our week and a great memory for the kids to have.

We had an early shuttle to the airport the next morning to catch our flight back home.  We got to see a beautiful sunrise from the airport windows. 

rise and shine and give God the glory

I left feeling a lot better equipped to teach my boys.  I felt more confident and determined to do it well.  I am thankful for the way the IMB supports us in all aspects of life and ministry.  We have a great homeschool support system and I consider myself blessed to be a part of it.

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