Words on Wednesday – GHC Thoughts

This past weekend I attended all three days of the Midwest Great Homeschool Convention (GHC). Every year, this is a time of renewal and inspiration for me, even though I’m exhausted by the end of it!

Rather than share a quote from my reading today (although there are a lot I have in my commonplace book), I thought I’d share a few quotes that I wrote down at the GHC.

inspiration from the great homeschool conventionOn Thursday I heard S.D. Smith: From Critic to Curator or Creator

This wasn’t about how we should never criticize or be discerning. He specified his terms:

Critic: someone whose life is oriented around criticism
Creator: someone who makes things
Curator: someone who supports or shares good things

I don’t want to be an accuser, I want to be an advocate.

If criticism is a country, it’s way over-populated.

I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.

I believe Mr. Smith said that was a Marcus Tullius Cicero quote, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, the point for Mr. Smith was that instead of simply criticizing what’s wrong (although there is a place for that), he creates things that are his response. (In his case thus far, literature for children that is wholesome AND exciting.)

A homeschool mom is an artist. Your kids are your art.

Shaping your family culture and life is creative work.

Mr. Smith, author of the Green Ember series of books, took questions at the end of his session.

Someone asked about the fear of creating and the fear of criticism for what we create. Here’s what he said:

It’s a scary war and I think you should sign up.

I walked out of that session ready to go home and WRITE.

(My oldest daughters had the chance to sit in one of his later sessions and they were both inspired. They had the chance to meet him in the vendor hall and he was gracious, kind, and encouraging. I’m pretty sure the time he spent talking with them was their favorite memory of the entire convention. They bought paperback copies of his books, even though we already own them digitally, and got them signed.)

Thursday evening ended with an Andrew Peterson concert. My husband and I attended this together which made for a rare “date night” type convention evening.

Friday morning I first sat in on Sarah Mackenzie’s Restful Teaching, Restful Learning

Homeschooling is all about trade-offs.

Not a direct quote but she also said that social media causes us to create a composite homeschool mom or family that we cannot possibly live up to.

Next my girls and I heard Andrew Peterson’s Creating to Emulate our Creator

You’re always building a kingdom – God’s or your own.

Routine is the writer’s best friend.

This may have been my favorite session, but it was more narrative than pithy, “tweetable” statements. I’m particularly thankful my girls heard it too.

From there I moved on to Dr. Christopher Perrin’s The Tradition of Scholé

This session added the most books to my “must read list”.

The main takeaway I focused on (thanks to one of the slides) was:

  • Don’t distort the restful life into boredom (meaninglessness)
  • Don’t distort the active life into anxiety (overwhelm)

From there I moved on to Anthony Esolen’s The Free Making Arts

(Friday was a busy day and our lunch got pushed way into the afternoon in order to be in all the sessions we wanted to attend!)

Modern men believe freedom is extrinsic – something outside of ourselves. It reduces freedom to consumption. Consumption leads to compulsion.

Leisure is not the same thing as time off. We have more time off and less leisure because leisure is a spiritual condition.

Beauty is received as a gift, or not at all.

After a quick break for a late lunch, my girls and I headed back to the sessions.

Sarah Mackenzie’s Awake: Loving Your Life as a Homeschool Mom

The best gift we can give our kids is a joyful, content homeschool mom.

Then it was on to my favorite GHC tradition: The Classical Panel

(I missed the first one this year because I was working the registration desk.)

The panel answered questions such as: when did classical education find you? And: what is classical education?

This panel also emphasized the importance of community to classical homeschoolers. One quote that made me laugh:

You’re part of a community but they might not know it yet.

I heard three S things repeatedly in this session:

  • Simplify (mentioned by Martin Cothran)
  • Sing (mentioned by Carol Reynolds)
  • See beautiful things (everyone!)

After that we went home to rest before Saturday.

Saturday for me started with Anthony Esolen: The Ultimate Freedom of Worship

I didn’t take many notes in this session but I did note that Esolen’s family didn’t own many books when he was a child. But his parents bought a set of World Book encyclopedias and a set of Childcraft books when he was young. The only other book he remembered them owning was a Bible.

That reminded me of my own family. My paternal grandparents didn’t have a lot of money, but they also bought World Book and Childcraft and my dad read them all cover to cover. (My maternal grandparents did, too, now that I think about it.)

Childcraft, for the win!

I moved on to Andrew Kern’s Truth and Harmony

I probably shouldn’t have a favorite from the classical panel but if I do it’s Andrew Kern. He’s nonlinear and the first few times I heard him I thought, “He will never get to the point. Does he even have a point?”

He does. And he is brilliant. (In the classical panel Carol Reynolds said something like, “Can you imagine trying to raise Andrew Kern?” To which he replied, “It wasn’t attempted.”)

So, anyway, I’m never sure what path his sessions will take and I try to hear as many of them as possible. (I actually broke down and bought a session on CD this year, something I NEVER do, because I couldn’t get to one of his.)

Memorization is planting seeds in the soul.

I am not an adequate principle of harmony for my family; Christ is the Logos (the harmony) of my family.

Language is both logical and mystical.

Grammar connects your mind to the world outside of it.

I can’t make direct quotations of most of my notes because I was writing so fast, but this rich session inspired me.

Next: Sarah Mackenzie’s Connecting With Our Kids Through Books

Reading aloud inspires an inside family secret language.

I hope book covers will remind my children who they are and where they came from.

Off to Professor Carol Reynold’s The Digital Dulling of Our Children

Want to foster imagination? Give your kids boredom.

Reality doesn’t give anyone “safe spaces”.

Previous generations of mothers didn’t worry about what their children “wanted” but they cared immensely about what their children needed.

I finished with Christopher Perrin’s The Lighter Side of Education

(In my mind they mistitled this session!)

This sermon, really a call to repentance, was the perfect way to end.

Peace comes from proper perspective.

To know the best from the good is the walk of wisdom.

We can rest when we travel together: find your homeschooling community.

What are you anxious about? What are you proud of? Repent of both.

I love the ideas and inspiration I receive at the GHC each year. I’ve already added next year’s convention to my calendar. And you may see some of these ideas showing up in future blog posts, because my notebook is full of post ideas I was jotting down while listening to these sessions!
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