A Fresh Start

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We just got our first big snow of the winter and it was so beautiful!

I love how the ground gets covered by a shimmering blanket of white.  Everything seems to sparkle and look so clean and fresh.  The colors of the birds seem more vibrant and the sky seems be a brighter shade of blue.

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And then, it happens.

The plows come through and drop dirt and salt all over the road.  The kids trample though the snow drifts and leave dirty footprints.  The sled goes down the hill over and over until the mud and grass show through.  The dogs go outside to do their business, and well…enough said 🙂 . It makes me wish for another quick layer of fresh powder to cover the dirt again.

Homeschooling can feel like this sometimes too.  We start off with so much excitement and enthusiasm.  The new pencils are freshly sharpened and the notebooks look pristine.  Our lesson plans are ready and several fun field trips are scheduled.  The kids may even be ready for a change of pace and a regular routine after the long days of summer.

And then, it happens.

The first pencil tip is broken in frustration over a difficult math lesson.

 

 The notebooks now have eraser marks and get tossed around until they are ragged.  Not everything on the lesson plan gets done and a sickness interrupts the scheduled field trip.  The kids are already counting down the days until next summer.

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As homeschool moms, our “dirt” may start to show too.  We get grumpy when things don’t go as we planned.  Our patience starts wearing thin.  We get tired and homeschooling seems like a long, unending road.  We long for a fresh start.

We need to “renew our joy”!!!

One of the best ways to get a fresh start is to attend a homeschool convention.  The HEAV Convention is one of my favorite weekends every year!  I always leave refreshed, full of excitement, encouraged, re-energized, and ready (with God’s help 🙂 ) to tackle another year of school.

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2015 Virginia Homeschool Convention

Greater Richmond Convention Center

June 11-13, 2015

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Do you need a time of renewal? 

Would you like to attend this year’s HEAV Convention for FREE?

Today is your last chance to enter my giveaway (deadline is 11:59 pm EST)!

To enter the random drawing,  comment on today’s post by leaving your name and telling me what brings you the greatest joy in your life 🙂 !

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Tomorrow I will announce the BIG WINNER

TRUE LOVE!

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I hope that everybody had a nice Valentine’s Day!

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 Have you ever thought about all of the ways God loves us?

I mean, really ever stopped to think about how very much He really loves us?

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One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 103.  Here’s a quick summary of what it says:

Our Father forgives us, heals us, redeems us, crowns us with love and compassion, satisfies our desires with good things, and renews our strength. 

He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, and is abounding in love. 

God will not always accuse, he doesn’t harbor anger, doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor does he repay us according to our sin.

But guess what?  That’s not it!

He loves us as high as the heavens are above the earth and he has forgiven our sins as far as the east is from the west!

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Just STOP and think about that for a minute…absolutely amazing!!!

You can read the full chapter by clicking here.

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Ok, so sticking with the “theme” of the day, today’s giveaway question has to do with LOVE (of course) 🙂 .  Here’s a sneak pic of the fabulous prize…

…and here’s the question:

Leave a comment on today’s post telling me your name and although not every day is easy (or fun 🙂 ), tell me why one reason you love homeschooling!

Survival Tips

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Welcome to the third installment of my HEAV Convention Giveaway!  Only 9 more days and 2 more blog posts until the big day!

Most of the readers who have entered the drawing have been to a HEAV convention before, but there are a few people who have never attended one.  Those of us who have been probably understand how overwhelming the convention can be for first-timers….there are just so many amazing sessions to attend, so many vendors to visit, and so much to see and do!  It helps to have some “survival tips” 🙂 .

These are some tips that I shared last year, but I think they are worth repeating:

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1.  First, take the time to pray.  Pray about how God is directing your plans.  Pray for wisdom and guidance as you and your spouse make decisions about the upcoming year.  Pray for your children.  Just pray!

2.  Wear comfortable shoes.  You will be doing a lot of walking!  Bring a sweater or jacket as many of the conference rooms are chilly.

3.  Take a few minutes to look over the map and schedule after you check in.  Circle or highlight the sessions that you don’t want to miss and plan other activities such as shopping, meals, etc. around those sessions.  Many times there are way too many wonderful sessions that I want to go to and not enough time, so I usually purchase HEAV’s Convention MP3 while I’m at the convention for a discounted price.  Then I don’t feel rushed or stressed out because I’m missing an amazing speaker!

4.  Bring a notebook and pen to take notes.  I actually carry a binder with notebook paper, folders, pens, highlighter, paperclips, Post-It notes, and rubber bands.  I also print off my registration confirmation, map of vendor hall, etc.

5.  Bring a rolling cart to carry all of the wonderful goodies that you’ll be buying!

6.  Decide on a budget and stick to it!  Try not to make any purchases on the first day (unless you are 100% sure it’s something you need).  Take time to shop around at different vendors to find the best price, or even better – see if you can find the item you’re looking for at the Used Curriculum Sale!

7.  Print off labels with your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.  Many vendors offer prizes or the chance to sign up for more information…instead of filling out all of those forms by hand, you can just stick a label on it and move on saving yourself lots of time!

8.  Take inventory of what items you already have at home, what products/curriculum that you need, and a wish list a few weeks before the convention.  I usually research items online beforehand and write down prices so I have a basic idea of how much things cost.

9.  Drink lots of water and eat healthy meals and snacks to help keep your energy up.

10. Enjoy your time at the convention!  Soak up lots of encouragement, make new friends, be inspired, gain wisdom, feel uplifted, get prepared for next year, and HAVE FUN 🙂 !!!

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*** Now for your third chance to enter the 2015 HEAV Convention giveaway:

Comment on today’s post by sharing your name and which speaker or session you are most looking forward to hearing at this years convention.  You can view the speakers and their session descriptions by clicking here.

There are many sessions that I’m interested in attending, but I’m especially looking forward to hearing Ken Ham speak!  We visited the Creation Museum a few years ago and use many of the Answers in Genesis books in our homeschool.  You can read about our visit to the Creation Museum by clicking here.  It was a AWESOME trip!

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(LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Bible verses that were shared from my post on 2/9!  If you have a chance, please go back and read what scriptures are an encouragement to other homeschooling moms – you  will be blessed!)