|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
Refreshment & Encouragement in Wales
By Colin Slater
BSc MB BS DCH
Around 250 homeschoolers met for four days in bright spring sunshine at the delightfully situated Cefn Lea leisure and conference center in mid-Wales. Families came from all parts of the British Isles, Europe, and beyond.
“Redeeming the Times” was the theme of the weeklong conference. Sessions included exposition of Bible passages related to Ephesians 5:31 and Colossians 4:5; the history of humanism, “The Christian Revolution and the Humanist Delusion” by Henry Vyner-Brooks; managing family finances, “Owe no Man Anything,” and the global financial meltdown in “Treasure in Heaven” by Mark Lloydbottom of Crown Ministries; “Destinations” for homeschool graduates led by Mr. John Allen; “Redeeming the Time in the Homeschool Day” by Sheila White; and “Tot Times” for parents of kindergarten and children learning to read. Arthur Roderick of Christian Education Europe gave a keynote address: “The Signs of the Times.”
Visitors included Alastair Kirk, a former homeschooler from Barnabas Fund who led a session on “Returning Britain to its Christian Path,” Randall Hardy of Creation Research, and Ben Bell from Creation Ministries International, another former homeschool graduate. A local education adviser provided a helpful local education authority perspective. There was also “Mother’s Time” and “Father’s Time” led by experienced homeschool parents from Above Rubies, a family-encouragement ministry. All our visitors gave presentations and were available to meet delegates and interact with families and children.
Presentations on the progress of former homeschoolers and the activities of current homeschoolers in video format provided interest during evening meetings.
Younger children enjoyed lively activities of sport, science, art and craft and music.
Older young people were encouraged to engage in the parents’ sessions, but also had their own late-night activities which sounded boisterous enough to be enjoyed by all.
The only significant rainfall in the week occurred before the sports day (we enjoy an oceanic climate), canceling that option. But even that did not dampen the enthusiasm of the young people, some of whom engaged in a vigorous tournament of indoor five-a-side soccer. Of course, families enjoyed the opportunity to meet, network and make friends. Counsel from fellow homeschoolers was a valued resource at the conference.
Our responsibility to the society in which we live was illustrated further to the presentations above by a well-stocked display area provided by Family Youth Concern, the Christian Institute, Home Service, and all the agencies directly involved with the conference program.
In addition to the materials available from Christian Education Europe and the agencies mentioned, other resources included Rosetta Stone language learning, T-Boxx (formerly Future Kids) and Readmaster, all of which were demonstrated or available to sample.
Quiz nights and video presentations provided fun for all the family. But the highlight of our time together was a concert evening when the young people of all ages gave performances of drama, music and song. This was a moving occasion when we all saw families being what only families can be. The fleeting time of their youth will remain a treasured memory for all who were at our annual conference.
We returned home—despite many adventures finding our way to remote, central Wales—rejoicing in what we had done. We look forward to our next annual conference on July 9–13, 2012.
Colin Slater is Principal at TEACH, the European Academy for Christian Homeschooling, in Shrivenham, United Kingdom.
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