homeschool conference withdrawal

 [cp_dropcaps]E[/cp_dropcaps]ach April, for the last ten years, a highlight for us has been the annual Christian Heritage Family Discipleship & Homeschooling Conference—this year, particularly so—for so many reasons.

When I awoke this morning, I realized I’d been processing the conference in my dreams all night long.  I wondered how many other’s night’s sleep were filled with screen images, books, papers, faces, admonitions and beautiful music.  Through the day today, I’ve recounted conversations, in addition to important talks given by various teachers, I see and hear, in the theater of my mind, the beautiful performances and music that blessed us all — thousands of voices lifted in praise for what God has done.

But I also pondered, as I went about the dailies this morning, that there are probably countless others who’ve come away from the annual conference feeling overwhelmed and maybe even defeated — defeated in their home, homeschooling, family, marriage or homemaking — before they even put on Monday’s running shoes.  They may have arrived at the conference feeling that way, too.  But at the conference, they were uplifted, encouraged, cheered on!  At the conference, they were inspired to tackle the responsibilities that lay before them, to seize the opportunities set before them, and with gusto and fervent desire, to grasp the gold ring, so to speak.

And today they’re experiencing conference withdrawal.   Our kids talk about this sort of withdrawal when we drive away from an annual Bible conference weekend at the river in eastern Washington or from our annual family reunion gathering—mountaintop experiences that make normal, daily life seem ever so mundane.  And flawed.  I experience it, too.  Even though I predetermine not to.

I didn’t buy a thing at the conference this year — not even the cute commemorative coffee mug.  I didn’t order the whole conference on CD or mp3 (and not bcz it wouldn’t be totally worth buying!).   I didn’t feel compelled for even a moment to look for the key to homeschooling or the latest and best math or writing curriculum.  I didn’t even wonder what I was missing.  For the first time ever at a homeschool conference or convention.

No, I haven’t arrived and no, I don’t feel like I’ve got it. Surely not! I just finally know that I know: there is no key out there.  There is no magic homeschool: bling! you’re done!  There is no one-size-fits-all, success-in-a-box, homeschool  program.  All that, and if I live to be one hundred, I could not fully utilize, read, implement all the stuff I already have.  Seriously.

But there’s withdrawal… even still.  One thing I believe is common to us all is that we’re all seeking to do well, to finish well.

I wish I could convey that to others who are feeling inadequate as they come down from the past weekend.   Especially those who looked around all weekend and saw all the perfect mothers, perfect children, perfect curriculum packages, perfect books and perfect manuals… and are feeling like this mom:

homeschooler cartoon

And what I’d like to say to this mom: take it easy.  Do the next right thing. Stop collecting stuff and start using what you’ve got.  Study the Word to know the Lord.  Read aloud.  Hone in on the basics.  Talk & listen.  Listen and talk.  And take it easy.  Major on the majors and not on the minors.  In the end, it’s really all about God:  loving Him, knowing Him — what He has said, who He is, what He has done and what He will do — trusting Him, following Him, hearing Him, obeying His voice and doing His will.  Stay in the race with your children.

The race is shorter than you think.

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