Quinne recently asked me about out church's Homeschool Encouragement Day, and we thought sharing the format with you all could be both an encouragement to you as well as perhaps help to start something similar where you are.
We began with a theme: "Embracing Faith, Virtue, and Knowledge". Lisa designed name tags and programs with a pretty logo of a hand-drawn lavender bouquet and we both set to work mapping out what we wanted the day to look like and who we would ask to help. With 14 children between us (plus Lisa was pregnant and I had a newborn), we knew we could not pull this off by ourselves. We asked for the Elder Board's approval, and they in turn saw this as a fantastic way to bless the women of our church. They gave us a generous budget and continue to do so.
As it turned out, I was speaking for a homeschooling group several hours from our home, and the flier I was sent put forth a program that was exactly what Lisa and I were thinking. I copied (and the coordinator knows I did :) ) many of their plans-- why reinvent the wheel? I thanked God for providing so many helpful things right at the get-go.
The flier we sent out read:
What: A one-day event for moms. Come and be refreshed, inspired, and encouraged. The day will include informal workshops, a question-and-answer panel of some of our own homeschooling moms, a mini-curriculum faire, lunch, and plenty of time to visit with homeschooling moms.
When: Saturday June 30th, 2007, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: Absolutely free! Lunch is provided.
• Your Bible and a notebook
• A box of your favorite curriculum resources to display in our Mini-Curriculum Faire. Ideas: books for kids, curriculum, books for moms, learning games, manipulatives, software, or whatever you think other moms might be interested in seeing. Bring as many or as few as you are willing to haul.
• Items to give away on our “freebies” table. Any homeschool-related items you are ready to pass along. Bring them and perhaps they will bless someone else. Give something, take something!
We began the day with three short presentations by three moms: Cheryl spoke on Learning for Life with Living Books, Cindy spoke on Homeschooling Through Chaos, and Wendy spoke on Educating the Heart and Mind. These were pep-talk type presentations, a way to set the tone for the day.
Next we had a door prize provided by Daisy Fields Basket Company, which is owned and created by Heather Davis. We wanted to utilize the talent and resources abundant in our own church body. We also had someone make a run to Starbucks for lattes- too fun!
Morning break-out sessions began shortly after the break. The workshops we were able to offer from the women in our church were:
- Homeschooling High School and Beyond
- Building a Heritage Library
- Practical Ways to Build Buffed Brains and Spiritual Beauty
- Strategies for Preschoolers (guess who did that one???)
After the workshops, we had a lunch outside on tables beautifully decorated by another woman at church. Because we have a small church body with about 40 women in attendance at the Homeschool Encouragement Day and a generous budget for the event, we were able to have lunch catered. But you could certainly have women bring salads and rolls or do something similarly simple.
Another door prize followed lunch, then we had all the workshop presenters form a panel that could then answer questions asked by the women in attendance. We ended the day with a stroll through the used curriculum faire, a lot of chatter, and a last door prize. Every mom left with a favor of yummy smelling cream or shower gel.
Our goal was to bless the homeschooling moms at church, and I think we pulled it off. Lisa had made a questionnaire for after the event so we could get an idea of where we might improve. The consensus was that most everyone wanted to do it again, possibly mid-winter. Next post I'll write about how we scaled down for a mid-winter shot-in-the-arm Homeschool Encouragement Day.