Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Theme for 2017

The long-awaited theme of this year is...


“With all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7)
Learning (noun) the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught.

With Kate turning 5 this summer (and therefore being school-age) we have thought a lot about what her education (and ours!) would look like going forward for the rest of forever.

This is a different theme for us than any we've tried before, but will be an absolute adventure for our WHOLE family!

For many years we have discussed ideas regarding formal education and homeschooling, college degrees and trade skills, public settings for socialization, and core learning at home that involves the four of us working together. But up until now it has all been "maybe someday" and "eventually" talk. This year we are finally taking steps to put it all into action!

While many may not know this yet, Jon was accepted into a PhD program remotely through a University in England which would begin this Fall 2017. Putting together his proposal and going through the interview and acceptance process was definitely a joint effort. This 3-year program would allow us to continue living in the states while Jon works on his research and creative writing work and gain a doctorate degree. Now, with waiting on the word about funding to come through, we are anticipating changes ahead and how our family dynamic might adjust during this process!

In the meantime January has been an exciting month of really talking about what our ideal learning experience would look like for our family and children as they head into elementary years. A blend of homeschool, charter programs, and extracurricular (music, dance, and sport) activities which our kids could lead the direction on seemed perfect for us. We've asked friends and family how they have done it, what they wished they had done differently, and how we should approach it now. We've weighed many options and researched many schools. Our next step for February is to tour a few resources and prepare for our first set of enrollments in March! :D eeeee!

Along with the more structured look of our plan, we are majorly changing things at home. Steph has been working two jobs since we moved back to California, and is gradually changing those schedules to meet our family needs. In addition, Steph and Jon are working on designing a home routine that includes better emotional communication, and daily core activities to promote family work and discussion, while letting the kids lead the day and still making sure things get done ;) haha.

Learning is also important to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and as eternally progressing beings. A talk given in recent years to the youth of the church by President Gordon B. Hinckley stresses the importance of fulfilling our potential and acquiring as much education as we can. It is an excellent guide and one that we hope to refer back to throughout the year. You can read more of that here.

We are VERY excited about this year's theme and what it means all around. As with many of our themes, there are varied layers underneath the obvious plan. While schooling and education in that manner has certainly been at the forefront of our minds, learning in general is an ongoing process. Jon and Steph have been working on learning more about each other and effective ways to communicate as a couple. We have been attending weekly marriage counseling together, and reading more together again, which has been a very eye-opening process. Jon is also learning more about publishing and bookmaking, being a better bread-maker, and learning more about clothes making. Steph has been attempting some new sewing and quilt projects this month, and considering eventual ways to complete her college degree and start a business or two down the road. ;) Kate's current obsession is counting (which she can do up to 20 all on her own) and she is very interested in learning how to use our DSLR camera. Edwin is a whiz with his colors and getting better with his letters every day. Both of them ask questions CONSTANTLY, explore the world through play, and have a few special books memorized that they "read" to us on a daily basis! :) Our biggest goal right now is to foster and continue promoting that love of learning.

"Look, mom! An airplane!"

It's been really great to see our family grow and have the focus of our year be LEARNING. Learning new skills, learning about each other, and learning how to see the world differently.

We hope that you'll join us and seek out some new learning and understanding of your own this year!

No comments: