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
Greetings Peoria area homeschoolers! I hope the learning that is taking place in your home has been full of joy and wonder. Few things are more satisfying than watching a child learn something new and get excited about it. That kind of excitement is contagious and can be very motivating. On the flip side of this coin, it can be very frustrating and even disheartening when those same children struggle to understand a new idea. I hope to encourage you today in two areas. First, I want to address how important that it is to handle both our successes and our failures well. Second, I want to remind you of the importance of community and encourage you to connect with other homeschoolers. 1 Peter 4:8 can guide us in both of these areas: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (NIV)
Let me start by reminding you that failure is an opportunity for learning. One of the most important questions I have learned to ask is “What can I learn from this?” This question can be applied to any situation, in success or in failure. The importance of learning to handle both our successes and our failures well can be learned from the examples of those throughout history who have handled one or the other poorly and caused a great deal of damage to themselves and others. Remember also that we are not just educating our children for the sake of meeting someone’s requirements. Rather we are training them for life. Our children will have both successes and failures, and they need to learn how to handle both wisely. We all have flaws and weaknesses that cause us to stumble and struggle in our walk as Christians. Our imperfections make failures more likely and happen more frequently that we like to admit, but Paul reminds us in Romans 5 that we stand in grace (v. 2) and that those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness will reign in life through Jesus Christ (v. 17). When we fail, grace abounds (v. 20) and even reigns (v.21) as we continue to place our faith in Him. God’s grace is an amazing benefit of being His child and we want our children to experience that same grace through our interactions with them. What a wonderful opportunity we have not only to walk in the grace shown by God in our lives every day, but to share that grace with our children so they may “taste and see” His goodness (Psalm 34:8).
But how can we do this through such difficulties and struggles? That is a good question. Peter’s admonition to love each other is key. We are all sinners who need our sins covered. This should keep us humble when dealing with others, especially our children. My pastor spoke recently on the importance of humility. In 1 Peter 5:5, Peter urges us to “clothe ourselves with humility toward one another… because God gives grace to the humble.” Like clothing covers our nakedness, so can humility cover us with grace. We must remain humble as we lead our children. Remember that our job is not to perfect our children, that is an unattainably high expectation. Instead we are better prepared to help them when we anticipate their failures and lovingly help them get back up and prepare for the next attempt. The eventual successes in each small victory can then be felt and celebrated together with joy and gratitude. Our ultimate goal should be to teach them who God is and help nurture them into a personal relationship with Him. Since it is His loving kindness that drew us to Him, we can be a part of that draw for our children as well.
Moving to a slightly bigger picture, we can also apply these things to our community. We are designed for relationship, which means we all have that innate desire to connect with others in meaningful ways. What if we apply the same ideas about love, grace, and humility towards others in the homeschool community? I want to encourage you to reach out to other homeschoolers because we need each other. If you are new, look for those who are seasoned and share your excitement for your new adventure. Learn as much as you can from their failures and successes. If you are a seasoned homeschooler, then look for someone new to take under your wing and walk with them sharing the wisdom you have gained from your experiences over the years. This is what we are told to do in church community, and it should be the same within the homeschooling community. Paul charges us in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 to “encourage one another and build each other up.” Why? Because life is hard, especially the Christian life. And homeschooling life is hard too. We need regular encouragement, and fellowship opens us up to other perspectives and inspires fresh ideas.
Your homeschooling journey doesn’t have to be your own personal nightmare, rather it can be an incredible adventure and a dream come true when done well. At APACHE, we hope and pray for your family to experience all of the life-giving benefits of a job well done. We strive to help you in any way we can by providing the support, tools, and opportunities that will grow and encourage you. We are currently in the process of making many exciting changes and upgrades to our organization. The latest upgrade has been our very outdated website at apachecentralillinois.org. It is new and fresh, so go check it out!
I hope you have been blessed, refreshed, and encouraged as you seek the blessings that God has in store for your family.
We had a nice cool evening for our annual Fall Kickoff, Friday September, 18th at Detweiller Park Moose Shelter. We had 9 to 10 families join us for great fellowship. This year due to COVID it was bring your own picnic dinner, and pizza was a favorite for many families. Some of us split into two teams and played a high-spirited game of kickball. There were moms, dads and kids cheering each other on. The game was really close, and everyone had a good time. As things cooled down there were pockets of "getting to know each other" moments among the many families. Many of the kids enjoyed playing on the jungle gym and a game of tag quickly sprung up. One family stated “they were glad to get out of the house and were looking forward to other APACHE events.”
One thing COVID has taught us is that things may look different this year but to enjoy the moments we can create. We look forward to hosting our Apache Kickoff again next year at Detweiller Park, and we hope to see you there!
In Illinois, we enjoy the freedom to shape the school day and curriculum to each child's specific needs and talents. Illinois government does not require testing, evaluation or specific oversight. Parents are not required to administer standardized testing, but you may choose to do so. We are not required to register or follow any documentation with the state or local school district, but each family may choose to do so. Check out the link below for more info...
Information and sample letters for withdrawing children from public schools
With all the confusion that is going on in our nation and state over the Coronavirus, homeschooling is the direct beneficiary, offering parents a sense of solidity and control in the midst of tremendous instability and upheaval. We could very well be looking at one of the greatest seasons of growth for the homeschooling movement, but this doesn’t mean it won’t be without challenges and growing pains.
As I interact with people across the state, read numerous blogs, and listen to various doctors and nutritionists, I have come to realize how immersed we are in statism and how quickly we question our own abilities when pitted against the self-proclaimed expertise of various governmental agencies or representatives. It is happening with COVID and it is happening with homeschooling. Even though numerous organizations—including ICHE—instruct new homeschoolers that they do not need to register with the state to legally homeschool, many parents are still intimidated because of public school administrators who are either ignorant of the law or have a certain degree of animosity towards it.
This self-doubt clearly exemplifies that one of our biggest obstacles to overcome is our tendency to stay tightly tucked within the confines of the box which society and statism imposes upon us. As public-school teachers, it took my wife and I several years to lay down some of our institutional training and trust the walk along talk along model of education as described in Deuteronomy 6. It wasn’t that we didn’t believe in the scriptures, but rather we had been so immersed in the system for so long we had forgotten to think for ourselves with the benchmark of that thinking being the Word of God. I don’t think we are alone in that mindset.
Our socialistic culture inundates us with the message, “Don’t try this at home. Leave it to the state.” As one who was trained within the system, I know better. I was a high school English teacher and coach. My alma mater had a national reputation at the time for being a great school for training future educators. And while I did have some wonderful professors, I really did not learn how to teach until I actually taught. I didn’t even know how to fill out a grade book and had to learn that on my own. As with all other school districts, I was given a pre-selected curriculum, and all I had to do was to follow the teacher’s guide. Sound familiar?
The point is there is not magic pill that trained educators take to become professional teachers. you learn how to teach simply by teaching, just like homeschooling parents. Unlike you, however, as soon as they get to know how some of their students—by no means all of them—learn, these pupils pass on to the next grade level, and the entire process starts all over. In homeschooling, the parent/teacher has the privilege of walking along side of his or her children all the way through. y get to know their children’s academic strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, they get to know their character strengths and weaknesses. By the time they pass your level of expertise in a given subject, they have learned how to learn on their own. To a great extent , they will now teach themselves, not just for the remainder of the school year but for the rest of their lives. No wonder employers and colleges are recruiting homeschoolers.
For those of us who hold to a Christian worldview, we also know that we have a Heavenly Father who opens up opportunities that we never could on our own. It may be an older neighbor that is gifted in something our child is interested in or someone in a support group that is getting rid of something that is perfect for us. The bottom line is we can trust God and His grace in us.
For those who are new to homeschooling, the voices of statism speak loudly because they try to drown out the volume of facts and statistics of homeschooling success. According to Dr. Brian Ray, homeschoolers score between the 80th to 87th percentile in achievement tests compared to the public-school’s results of the 50th percentile. More encouraging yet, there is almost no statistical difference between how well a homeschooling child does whose parents hold a PhD. versus a child whose parents have only a GED. I realize this is counter intuitive to a culture built upon experts, but these are the facts of a homeschooling family that is built upon caring parents.
As the old saying goes, God gave your children to you, not to the public-school system. You are the expert of your child. You need to trust yourself, not the state.
Executive Director, ICHE
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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