Saturday, 4 February 2012

Equip Academy 2012

Our youngest child Samuel started "away" school last week, registered as a Pre-Primary student.For those who don't live in WA, that means his education is not legally mandated (although PP will become compulsory from 2013, I understand) but the schools run a full-time (5 days a week) program, rather than a part-time program as for Kindergarten. So Equip Academy - as a homeschool - does not exist any more. We decided several years ago to begin enrolling our children in a carefully chosen "away" school, and after moving Joshua from our first choice Christian school to a smaller, nearer - and better - one after his first term, we enrolled Anna and Abigail from the last term of Pre-Primary, to give them a taste of school before it became compulsory for them. Since Samuel was born at a time of the year that means he would be at home for 6+ months longer than his siblings, we decided to enrol him from the beginning of PP, rather than the end. All of these decisions took time and prayer. Some of them I have written about on this blog, but others have happened at a time when I wasn't blogging much.

So what will happen to Equip Academy in 2012, since there is no longer any Equip Academy Homeschool? Well, I'm going to keep this blog because Equip Academy, as a concept, is still well and truly up and running. It's just changed what it looks like. Now, Equip Academy involves away-school, after-schooling, and added-to-schooling (aka "extracurricula activities") for the kids:

Jeff has been reading the Bible with the kids each morning, using Amy's Lenten devotional (yes, we got a few week's early start).

I am about to embark on remedial spelling work (using LEM Phonics materials) each weekday with Joshua. That is in addition to the homework for all four kids, which I am committed to supervising more diligently and closely this year than last.

Anna is practising the recorder under my supervision each weekday morning as I eat breakfast, working towards a promised reward of piano lessons if she can keep recorder practice up for an entire year.

Both Anna and Abigail have been studying Italian in free after-school classes since they started school, and they'll continue in 2012.

Samuel is going to join his siblings at Brigades this year.

We've been reading to the kids after dinner most nights. This year to our regular novel reading (currently The Borrowers Afield) Jeff is adding some World History reading. Once a week he'll read from The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer, while I'm off studying Church History.

And this morning we went to our first family karate class in over three years. We've chosen to take up karate lessons - for the second time - because it's a sport for the whole family that requires discipline and rewards improvement. (Jeff and I would both love to take up archery as well, but for now that is just a dream.)

In addition, the Equip Academy blog has also always been about me and "how God has been equipping me for the life He has planned for me". Nowadays, that also looks different. I have attended BSF, an international, inter-denominational Bible Study that is run in over 1000 classes in 38 nations on six continents, for the last 7 years, but now I am taking a break from that. So I'm reading my Bible alone daily, following my own plan for reading, which is a learning experience of its own since I have studied with the BSF questions for so long. While Jeff was studying full-time at Trinity, I was studying the Certificate III in Christian Studies via their Trinity@night courses. Now, it's my turn to study for my Graduate Diploma of Divinity, and I'm doing that part-time, studying 2 subjects this semester. My lectures in Church History and Old Testament begin this week.

I have also planned a "12 books in 2012" reading program to take me through some of the practical theology, godliness and autobiography books I've had on my shelves waiting to be read for years, reading at least one book a month. Here's the list:

The Trellis and the Vine by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne.
(also The Story of Christianity Volume 1 by Justo L Gonzalez, pre-reading for Church History, and the whole Old Testament of the Bible, pre-reading for Old Testament).
February: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.
On Becoming Childwise and On Becoming Preteenwise by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam.
March: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, which I began reading last year with my friend Shelley, but never finished.
April: Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.
May: Gunning for God: Why the New Athiests are missing the target
 and God and Stephen Hawking: Whose design is it anyway? by John C Lennox, whom I heard at the Oxygen11 conference and was deeply impressed by.
June: The Shaping of a Christian Family: How my parents nurtured my faith by Elisabeth Elliot.
(June/July: The Story of Christianity Volume 2 by Justo C Gonzalez, pre-reading for second semester.)
July: Desiring God by John Piper - a Christian classic, I read the first few chapters of this at the time of the Oxygen11 conference, and I'm eager to read the rest. It was on my To Read list for last year, so I really hope I get through it this time!
August: Leading Women to the Heart of God edited by Lysa TerKeurst. I bought this in Singapore six years ago and read it then. With my possibilities horizon opening up now that all four kids are in school, I think it is a good time to re-read this practical book.
September: A Call to Spiritual Reformation by Don Carson, which I began several years ago and deeply appreciated, even though I only read half. This time I am looking forward to reading the whole book!
October: "Don't Make Me Count to Three!" by Ginger Plowman.
November: God is the Gospel by John Piper and Helping Children Understand the Gospel by Sally Michael, Jill Nelson and Bud Burk, from Children Desiring God ministries.
December: The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards.

I'll be reading one more book in December as well: Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore and Janelle Bradshaw. I read this book in December 2011, because it's a great December book. It gives practical suggestions for evaluating the way you use your time, and how to make better use of it. I have to admit that the first time I read this book, I didn't apply much of what I read. That was several years ago. The second time I read it, I was determined to put into practice what I read, and it helped me to formulate my New Year's Resolutions for 2012. One month into 2012, and I'm actually keeping up with them so far. It did help that I put them into my iPhone Notes App, rather than publicising them on this blog, so I can re-read and be reminded of them frequently. Downloading and using the Due App helps heaps as well (Hat Tip: Amy). The biggest differences have been getting up consistently at 6am and beginning my day with reading the Bible instead of leaving it till later. I've also begun exercising 6 days a week with Jillian Michaels' Biggest Winner DVDs before breakfast. And kept up with the laundry for a family of six. There's no way I could have have consistently done all that without reading Shopping for Time first!

So that's what 2012 looks like for Equip Academy. God willing, I'll share some of it with you as I go, starting with that book review of The Trellis and the Vine...


Mrs. Edwards said...

You read the Tiger Mother book? I haven't read it, but read the articles and excerpts when she first released it. It sure was interesting.

I'm looking forward to your review of the Trellis and the Vine. I'd like to read that book one day, too.

I love what you said about Equip Academy as a concept continuing on. So true!

Sharon said...

Yes, I just finished it. It was a very quick, easy read, so I am glad I borrowed it from my library, rather than buying it. I read all the stuff in the newspapers and it even got to Time magazine's cover as well. So I put it on my To Read mental list and finally got around to seeing if my library had a copy.

I love internet catalogues! I can browse and order what I want the just drop past the borrowing desk to pick up the books a few days later. It really helps me focus my reading on what I plan to read rather than what I see on the shelves and borrow on a whim.

I'm working on a book review post on Battle Hymn now, actually. A bit out of order, but I'll get back to Trellis and Vine.