Greetings Peoria area homeschoolers. Everything is changing… and it’s happening at what seems to be break-neck speed. I keep looking around thinking, “Hey, can we stop for a second? I need to breathe and process and catch up.” Alas, the world continues barreling onward, uncaring that I just cannot keep up. At times, I grow frustrated and overwhelmed as I watch division infiltrating the church just as quickly. Personal convictions have become more important than relationships. Brothers and sisters in Christ who used to carry one another’s burdens are now accusing one another and pushing them away. Many have lost focus on who we represent and what we are supposed to be doing in His name. Even so, God is in control and I can have confidence in His work and trust that He is always drawing me closer. I may not understand what He is doing, but I know He works all things together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28) I want to approach the topics of division and change, and I will try to do so lovingly and respectfully.
Let me start with the division I see happening within the church and the homeschool community. To our shame, masks have become “the great divider” amongst us. People on both sides of this chasm have become so convinced of their personal conviction that we assume anyone on the other side must be wrong and therefore in sin. Paul spends a whole chapter in Romans guiding us on how we should be handling situations just like this. Perhaps right now the Holy Spirit is urging you to take a moment to refresh yourself by reading chapter 14. Paul lays out the path before us this way: Welcome the one who is weaker in the faith but don’t quarrel over opinions (v.1) - Don’t pass judgement on your brother (v.4) - Be fully convinced in your own mind of what God is telling YOU to do (v.5) - Live out your conviction in honor of the Lord (v.6) - Trust in God’s sovereignty (v.8), Don’t pass judgement on your brother (v.10) - Be accountable to God for yourself (v.12) - Decide never to put a stumbling block in your brother’s path (v.13) - Focus on the kingdom of God (v. 17) - Pursue making peace with and building up your brother (v. 19) - Keep your conviction between you and God (v. 22). Peter communicates this path a little more succinctly in 1 Peter 1:22, Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.
Jesus knew unity would be a struggle for us. In John 17, His high priestly prayer, He prayed for all those who would believe in Him, that they may all be one… so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (v.20-21) Jesus clearly states that everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35) This is why Paul urged the churches to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3) Our divisions soil the name of Christ because they testify against Him. Brothers and sisters, we are called to carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2) You know the law don’t you? Love one another, even as I have loved you. (John 13:34) As the church, I feel we are not doing a good job loving one another. As homeschoolers, we must remember that our children learn the most by our example. Allow me to toss out a few questions for you to challenge yourself on how well you are doing. Have I searched scripture and become fully convinced of my convictions and am I living them out consistently and gracefully? How do I treat those who disagree with me? Do I judge them and put a stumbling block in their path, or do I look for ways to encourage and build them up in their faith? Am I really putting others before myself or am I deceiving myself? Am I trusting in God’s sovereignty or am I walking in fear?
Now, let me say a few words about change while attempting to lighten your mood and maybe even give you something to get excited about. FACT: Most people don’t like change. FACT: Change is always happening. FACT: People know change is always happening and they still don’t like it. FACT: I am one of those people. Chuckle and chill for a minute. Most of the changes happening are completely out of our control and we need constant reminding that God is still in control. We can also be encouraged that God uses change in our lives to help us let go of the past and keep us moving forward. I believe change is a constant that God uses to draw us toward Him and help us to rely on Him. Sometimes God even directly instructs us to make changes. We can be sure that when God directs the change, that change is inevitable. And sometimes, God may simply tell us to bury the hatchet.
See you at convention!
APACHE subscribers, registration for 2021 APACHE achievement testing is now open. Cost is $40 per child. Make sure you're logged in to the APACHE website, then go to Events to select your dates. Hurry... space is limited!
Are you a new homeschooler or considering home education? Join us the night before Convention for a FREE New to Homeschooling Night hosted by Kirk Smith, Executive Director for Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE). Learn what home education is all about, get encouragement, meet seasoned homeschoolers, talk to vendors and curriculum reps, and more!
Spread the word... Registration for the 2021 APACHE Homeschool Convention opens today. This year, we have two Convention options... in person or online a week later, where you can view our pre-recorded convention workshops. Register by March 1, 2021 to take advantage of our early registration pricing!
Greetings Peoria area homeschoolers! I hope this Christmas season finds your family well as you prepare for your Christmas celebrations. This time of year brings its own challenges and difficulties every year, but this year has already been challenging for so many. As much as we may long for this year to be over and to start a fresh new year, this is not the real hope that we have. Two thousand years ago an angel announced to a few shepherds “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people!” and told them where to find their Savior. Then a whole multitude of angels appeared in the sky and sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2)
Today we can still experience the joy of the good news that Christ has come. He has redeemed us and called us His own. Have you taken the time to ponder the wonder of this great news? Where might I be if He had not called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light? (I Peter 2:9) I find myself asking the same question as David: "Who am I that you are mindful of me?" (Psalm 8:2) And yet He has seen some value in me that I cannot seem to fathom. He has celebrated me like a lost coin that has been found (Luke 15) and sings over me with joy and gladness. (Zephaniah 3:17) How can my soul not rejoice in a God who delights in me so much that He sings over me?! This realization gives us good reason to sing with the angels “Glory to God in the Highest!” This Christmas season is another chance to celebrate the coming of Christ, who humbled Himself to be Emmanuel: God with us. This is where we find the peace that the angels sang about. Peace that transcends all the difficulties of the days and the pain of broken families and empty chairs. He who rejoices over us because He is pleased with us… He who loves us and wants to be with us… He is our peace because He is also our hope.
Do you celebrate advent with your children? Are you teaching them how to anticipate Christ’s coming? Are you teaching them where to find real peace? Are you teaching them about true hope that will never disappoint? The world will tell you and your children that Christmas is about so many things; like family, feasts, or presents… While these things are good things, they pale in comparison to the real reason for our celebration, our hope, our loving and gracious Savior who has come to be with us. I want to encourage you to make this Christmas a great one. Show your children that even amidst hard times, we have the greatest reason of all to celebrate.
We on the APACHE board want to wish your family the Merriest Christmas and a Happy New Year. We pray that you find both joy and peace this holiday season as you continue to trust in the Lord and remember that He is with you.
Glory to God in the Highest!
APACHE Board President
This month our APACHE family spotlight is the Matarelli family. Meet Jessamy and Dominic Matarelli who live in East Peoria and are raising five kids. Dominic is our APACHE website manager. Find out a little bit about their homeschooling journey and where it has led them.
If you're interested in being featured as a spotlight family, please email us at email@example.com.
The APACHE convention committee has been busy preparing and planning the upcoming 2021 APACHE Homeschool Convention - Stand Firm. This month, the committee labeled and stamped 700 postcards to be mailed out at the beginning of the year, in preparation for convention. Registration will open on our website January 11, 2021. If you would like a paper registration form please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to send one out to you.
This year we have a great line up of speakers including: Todd Wilson (Familyman Ministries), Terry Mortenson (Answers in Genesis), Durenda Wilson, Kirk Smith, Cindy West and more. We also have some fantastic local speakers: Hope Ware, Carla Estell, James Ware and others. We have not forgotten the kids! We plan to have Chris Kallal back with his animals. We are also including some Red Cross classes and teen workshops. New this year is a workshop for preschoolers with their moms for make and take busy bags.
Along with some great speakers, we are excited about our new location this year at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Groveland, five minutes from Morton. This year COVID has brought some challenging times. We want to provide a safe convention and will rely on families to make the best choice for them. This year we will be also providing an online convention for those who choose to stay home. Same great convention, two choices, in person or online.
Please continue to keep APACHE convention committee in your prayers as we continue to plan for the 2021 convention. We want to be led by Christ in all we do.
Meet our November Family Spotlight of the month. We sat down with Micah and Johanna Repke and learned more about their homeschool life.
For Young Adults 18 and older along with their parents! This fabulous day will include challenging sessions, opportunities to meet other families and young adults and plenty of games and FUN! Come join other Christian homeschooling families and worship and play together. Our featured speaker with be ICHE's Executive Director, Kirk Smith.
For more information visit: iche.org. Registration closes at midnight on November 11, 2020.
The ICHE Legislative Task Force has designated October 19 -23 as "Greet and Treat” week. We want to inundate our state officials to tell them thanks for protecting homeschooling rights. (You may also consider reaching out to local law enforcement and first responders.) This is a fall version of Cherry Pie Day.
Due to COVID restrictions at the capitol, we encourage you to call or email or snail mail versus showing up in person. Your children may color or draw pictures, write poems, or send an essay on politics as a physical way of demonstrating your appreciation for Illinois protecting our rights. You may also consider sending a family picture as a way to make the contact more personal. The ICHE LTF will be preparing additional thoughts and creative ideas as we get closer.
This time is unique in American homeschooling history. Now more than ever, we need to establish good relationships in Springfield on both sides of the political aisles. This outreach is not to be a comment on the state’s response to COVID or any other personal issue. Our legislators need to hear some good news and words of appreciation from their constituents rather than griping; after all, Illinois is one of, if not the best, state in which to homeschool.
CONTACT: Kirk Smith - email@example.com
For questions regarding newsletter submissions, the Homeschool Convention or home education in general, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A Board member will respond as soon as possible.
Mailing Address: PAACH | P.O. Box 5203 | Peoria, IL 61601