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Author Archives: Dan

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Crafting a Homeschool Vision Statement

How is your summer going? Have you been able to get out and enjoy the sunshine?

With a busy baseball spring over and ocean temps back to within reason for this spoiled Hawai’i girl, the beauty of God’s creation calls. Once again, this summer I’ve made it a personal goal to get myself to the beach at least once a week. Something about the steady crashing of the waves blows away the chaff of my mind and helps me surrender my thoughts more fully to the Lord.

Yet, embarrassingly, this is not the first year I’ve attempted a weekly trek to Kailua’s white sands. Sure, we go to the beach, but with all the extra sports camps, church camps, VBS, etc., it’s sadly far less than it should be for anyone within a fifteen-minute drive.

But different from the past couple years, this summer I’ve made it every week!

What changed? A clear and precise mission. I will go to the beach once a week, in the morning, taking as little with me as possible. I will hustle my kids out the door, beach toys fiercely limited and good attitudes expected (the occasional reward of malasadas or shave ice is possible). Defining my goal has helped me accomplish it. 😊

We all know how this works, but let’s apply it to homeschooling. A dear mentor recently challenged me with making a Homeschool Vision Statement. My husband and I have talked over our goals throughout the years, but we’ve never made it official in writing. As homeschoolers, we constantly face a myriad of curriculum, classes, and clubs, to choose from as many of you saw at our recent Resource Fair. A vision statement (with prayer!) can help guide us in the endless weighing out of options. This summer, I’m going to take the time to make one, and I’m challenging you to do the same.

Whatever your reasons for homeschooling, discuss with your family what your endgame is. Successful businesses all have a mission statement, and you will see others flail in the wind without one. Do you hope to develop your children’s communication skills? How about their advocacy for important issues? Are you a sports family or do you value STEM learning? As Christian homeschoolers, we want our children to have a biblical foundation and be able to defend their faith. You can make it as broad or specific as you like and adjust it as the years pass by. Ask the Lord to direct you and lay your hopes and dreams for your family at His feet.

Then share it! I’d love to hear what you come up with! Hit reply and label it with CHOH Community Connects. We’d love to share it in next month’s newsletter.

Until next time, happy homeschooling!

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Words of Encouragement

This section of the website will feature words of encouragement about homeschooling. That is what Olelo Paipai means.

Follow along as we journey together discipling our keiki.

— Dan Mather

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Standing in Solidarity from Generation to Generation

It has been said, but let’s say it again!

Thank you to everyone who emailed, sent letters, made phone calls, testified, and sent alerts out to parents and friends regarding the Senate resolutions. The battle against our homeschooling freedoms will continue, but it is good to rejoice and reflect in the recent win.
The homeschool movement is growing in Hawaii and across the country, and it sure is wonderful to see parents as a child’s primary educator becoming normalized. I want to encourage you to stay involved and aware of what is going on in the political process, especially when it comes to our rights regarding how to educate our children.

Teach your children about the political process, educate them as to the why’s of what we do, and get them involved. Parents, do you know a homeschooling mom who has graduated her kids? Is there an auntie in your church who used to homeschool? Talk with them and find out what it was like when they first started homeschooling. We need to be aware of our past to appreciate our present freedoms.

Hawaii is a transient community, made up of locals, military, and those trying to make it work in paradise. Wherever you come from, do get involved and take a stand for the sake of your neighbors, co-op groups, and church ohana. I have often heard it said from travelers that Hawaii is a great place to raise a family, and one reason for that is the way we get behind each other to support and cheer one another on. It is easy for us to think “someone else can do it” or “that’s just not for me.” I encourage you to pray about what you can do to help homeschooling in Hawaii continue to flourish. Maybe you can get involved in the political process, neighborhood board, or organize a rally. Maybe your role to is to show up to your local co-op group prepared and ready to pour into your students. Maybe it’s been on your heart to start a prayer group to pray for Hawaii’s youth. There are a myriad of things to be done, and God knows how He wants to use each and every one of us. But we must be willing.

I recently spoke with a sweet family visiting from Germany and we talked about how it is illegal to homeschool in their country. If you’ve been an HSLDA supporter, you have likely heard about the Romike family who left Germany to seek asylum in the US, so they could homeschool their children. How blessed is our current generation to have had homeschooling rights handed to us on a silver platter? But our state homeschooling laws were hard fought, and the future of homeschooling in Hawaii carries no guarantees. Let’s stay united and vigilant. We must pass on the torch to our children, standing in solidarity from generation to generation.

~~ Melissa Scott

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Easter Traditions

Easter, like Christmas, is a holiday filled with expectation. I find myself piling up my plate of to-do’s just like my Easter Sunday potluck plate. A day set aside to celebrate our risen Lord should not add to the chaos of our lives, but sometimes it does. Why? Some of it is self-inflicted, much stems from a heart of wanting to bless others, but a lot of the stress and mayhem comes from the enemy of our souls. I do not have this down, I promise you, but a couple changes to our family rhythm have brought about much peace.

I am blessed to be forced, in a way, to start praying over Easter Sunday all the way back in January. I lead our church’s hula ministry and I start prepping our keiki and ladies for the day early in the year. This brings a unique set of commitments on an already busy weekend, but over the years, it has become a huge way of blessing our church body and inviting visitors into the worship and message and it has challenged me with the necessity of prayer. Our hula sisters pray fervently over each other as the weeks tick by, for protection and peace against the inevitable spiritual warfare that is sure to come. Stepping out in ministry often puts a target on us as believers, and prayer is one of the main ways we do battle against the enemy. I encourage you to begin praying over this year’s March 31st. Let’s not give the enemy a foothold on such a powerful day.

Another means we try to bring peace to a busy day is by shifting our timing. While special, it’s hard to keep up with all the traditions every year, but two things have lasted the test of time. Both take place the day before Easter, so Sunday is all about Jesus. Friday, I bake enough Easter crown bread to last for a couple days. Eating it together marks a special time where we can talk about and pray over the next day. The second thing (some of you may think we’re so carnal, lol) is our Easter egg hunt. We do the whole thing: dyed eggs, plastic eggs with jelly beans, golden eggs with money, and a small basket with a few special treats. Either I’ve lost you right now or you’re loving the idea of doing this the day before Sunday. All the questions of “Is it time yet?” are laid aside and “He is risen! He is risen indeed!” take their place.

These two key changes have helped our family not get through, but rather celebrate and relish the joy of Christ’s resurrection power and God’s amazing love for us on the most special of holidays in a Christian’s life. Start praying over your family, your church staff and friends who need to hear about Jesus. Ask the Lord to reveal family rhythms that need change or an adjustment. Remember the big picture: we are soldiers engaged in a war and this March 31st is the day we proclaim victory over the armies of darkness. Christ reigns and He is worthy. From all of us at CHOH, we pray you have a truly blessed Resurrection Sunday.

He is risen,
Melissa Scott

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Winter is fading – Spring is coming!

How are you doing homeschoolers? You’ve made it to the second half of the school year! Whether you’re where you want to be in your school calendar or not, you’ve made it to the beginning of the end.

For my family, the month of February starts a long stretch of time without many breaks. Coming off the holidays, we’re finally back into the groove and I hate to mess up our rhythm with an extended vacation again. But as the days grow longer and the sun grows warmer, it signals “outside fun” to my brain, and I am the one feeling the strain of a long school day. Tugging the kids outdoors to play for extended recesses and pretending I know how to garden are ways I keep myself going in this stretch of time between Christmas and Easter vacation.

What my kids look forward to during this time of year, however, may shock you. Or maybe you too have figured out the sneaky trick I have learned to employ: TESTING. I know. It sounds crazy, and, honestly, it came as happenstance, but my kids really look forward to their testing week.

For the Scotts, I choose to test my kids every year and use their standardized test scores, rather than a portfolio of work, to turn in to our local public school for their records. And the best part? My dad was the one who proctored my kids’ test week for years. Their choice of lunch with “Apa”, special snacks, and break times that included trying on my brother’s Air Force pilot training jet mask made testing week a memorable occasion.

As happens in life, circumstances change, and this year, my dad is unable to enjoy his testing weeks with the grandkids. But I am determined to make their testing week a fun and rewarding time anyways.
Maybe you could come up with your own ideas to transform a normally mundane, anxious time into a treasured one-on-one occasion your kiddos look forward to every year. A lunch date, a new pencil case or eraser, or maybe a trip to a park are things that could lighten the mood.

On the days my kids test, they get an early start and finish around lunch time. Then they get the rest of the day off from school. Could we get a few more hours of work in after lunch? Yes. Could we really use those hours to “catch up” on subjects we’ve left behind in the dust? Yes. But it’s their sigh of relief after a long morning and I want them to be able to fill-up their creative think tanks doing something that interests them.

If you haven’t already scheduled your standardized tests, don’t worry! You have lots of time, but I would encourage you to schedule them ASAP. Life gets busy and you don’t want to find yourself in the summer months competing with salty breezes and splash pads. Head over to CHOH’s website and click the tab “Kumu Waiwai”, then “Standardized Achievement Tests” for a great list of testing resources and answers to common questions.

Do you have any ideas for jazzing up testing week? What are some out-of-the-box ideas that have excited your kids? Let me know! We love to hear from our homeschooling families and stay connected to our CHOH ohana.

~~Melissa Scott