Saturday, March 3, 2012

Starlight Workshop Tea Debut

Too many ducks - not a straight enough row!  That's how I felt waking this morning with far too much to accomplish before greeting the attendees of our first Starlight Workshop held this afternoon from 1:00pm to 3:30pm.

"Be anxious for nothing . . . " I could hear the Lord whisper to my heart as I coaxed my desktop printer to "hurry - hurry" with so many last minute handouts to get printed up since I didn't get a chance to run them off at Staples earlier in the week.

Details . . . details . . . teacups . . . check . . . tablecloths . . . check . . . BREAD PUDDING!  Mix and pour and open the oven door . . . what next?

It was a busy morning.  But, all the prep was worth it and I only needed to send my husband back to the house for three things once we arrived to set up in the lovely conference room at the Vineland Public Library.

All of our "network stars" - Nikkole, Beth, Adrienne, Kathy, Erin, and Bethany - arrived on time to help, and many hands made light work.  The tea things were set out . . .

And, the bread pudding was joined by a fruit bowl, vegis tray, and cookies . . .

Bustling about the head table I arranged and re-arranged a book display of study tools in Principle Approach Education, along with my own notes and handouts.

Plenty of stars dotted the room and we were ready for our guests.

Kathy greeted the moms as they arrived and made sure they had their information packets and a Constellation Academy pen to take notes.

Tea was served and introductions were made.

Here we are, from left to right:  Our Advisory Council, veteran homeschoolers, Erin Vasquez and Kathy Coyle providing invaluable under-girding support and specialized wisdom in finding strength and resources to home school special needs children; our high school level grammar and writing tutor, Bethany Finn; CA Director/tutor/class instructor, Kathryn Ross; Beth Robertson, consultant and one of our speakers today; Nikkole Hollenwenger, our Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) Liaison and devotions speaker; and Adrienne Richardson, our Solutions Consultant and the founder and editor of South Jersey MOM Magazine helping women to realize their fullest potential by nurturing their unique gifts.

We're all just on the threshold of this adventure and are eager to see how God will grow us and mold us to shine for Him in this work.


Nikkole opened with a short devotional involving her afternoon home school teatimes with her children which have become a cherished time of the day as she guides her children to know how to seek the Lord in a quiet time.  She has been collecting a series of "tea" words and today spoke of making the most of our "opportuni-tea" to home school by developing our "abiliti-teas" in the Lord.  He is the one who makes us able to fulfill our call as homeschool parents.  She used an excellent visual with a teabag - noting that our children are like those teabags . . .

Full of potential but unless the hot water is poured onto them, their rich flavor and goodness cannot be released.  Our challenge is to seek the Lord's strength in our lives and use every "opportuni-tea" and "abiliti-tea" the Lord places before us to be hot water poured onto and into the tea leaves of our children's lives.  Great metaphor worthy of further reflection, Nikkole!

Beth brought the opening workshop session titled, Our Call:  It's All About Me, where she shared the battle it has been for her to be renewed in her mind over the last two years since she began to homeschool her six year old daughter.  When challenged to face a number of issues in her own walk with the Lord, He led her to a fresh perspective of what living life from a Biblical Worldview really looked like in practice.  She found her greatest hurdle was a fear of failure - something with which all homeschool parents grapple.  When hearing the Lord call her to homeschool, she started - not with her children - but, with herself:

 "Yes, it became about me.  It was my mind . . . it is such the problem.  I desperately wanted to be obedient, but I didn’t know how I could teach my kid “school” and she would still be a productive citizen . . . I didn’t want to go back to school . . . after all, they taught so differently now and I’d have to learn it first . . . and I wasn’t that “kind” of mom.  Still not sure what kind of mom I thought I was, but definitely not the kind I was envisioning a home school mom to be.  And, of course, there was my biggest hurdle of all . . . I might fail!"

 "Failure defined means to become deficient; to be insufficient to cease to be abundant for supply or entirely wanting.  Yes, that’s exactly what I was afraid of causing in my girls.  But, definition #2 says:  To decay; to decline; to sink to be diminished.  But, wait a minute - isn’t that what is happening in our society today?  Isn’t it the world that is decaying and becoming more and more deficient?  Are we really witnessing prosperity and success in the culture around us?"

 "So what was it that I was afraid of failing?  The world's standard of success.  The standard of success I was fearful of failing in isn’t real success to God.  What is more important to me - God’s definition of terms or those who may not agree with God's definition of terms? I never thought of using my Bible to teach my kid, but if I intended to help my kids see the truth of God in the midst of the lies of the world . . . I was going to have to."  

Beth is an energetic and lively speaker who shared a couple dramatic - if not entertaining - examples of how the Lord continued to reveal her "whirled views" regarding a Biblical worldview.  Her transparency in sharing her struggles connected with struggles we all face daily.  Beth's workshop session will be the subject of future posts here so stay tuned for an upcoming three part series on this topic.

After a tea break, I dipped our toes in the water of a very deep subject which will be the topic of more continued teachings at subsequent workshops - and blog posts here.  My remarks built on Beth's personal experience of colliding worldviews and how that can impact not only the decision to homeschool - but the TRUE PURPOSE behind the homeschool choice:  Developing a Philosophy of Education.

Prepared with more material than there was time to explore, Miss Kathy shared from experience in confronting a Biblical worldview - or lack thereof.  Learning how to think and reason Biblically in all areas of life - especially academics - was paramount to developing my Biblical philosophy of education - markedly different from the secular popular culture's take on it.  Defining terms Biblically is the first step.  Noah Webster's 1828 of the American English Language Dictionary was introduced.

 Mr. Webster spent over twenty years of his life researching every word in his dictionary, discerning the Biblical definition and usage of a word and, in fact, the defined term as understood and utilized by our Founding Fathers.  Webster asked the question:  "How does God define this word?"

Well, according to Noah Webster's findings:

 EDUCA'TION, n.  The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

 Wow!  Look that up today in a modern dictionary and you'll find there's been some revision of this.

 EDUCATION, n.  A system of learning. 

Handouts consisted of worksheets with food for thoughtful reflection including the above 1828 definition of "education" compared with this familiar verse from 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The worksheet broke this down word by word in comparison with Webster's definition encouraging one and all to consider and ponder - and in light of this, to write a mission statement - a personal philosophy of education - for their own children.  

In addition, the stark contrast between the Christian Idea of Man and the Pagan Idea of Man were touched upon. Our nation's Founding Fathers possessed an inherent grasp of these Biblical truths - being largely homeschooled with the Bible as the leading textbook of their studies.  This Principle Approach to education uniquely fitted them in their thinking and reasoning skills, producing a generation of men and women who were able to make the sacrifices they made and craft documents of true liberty founded on Biblical principles. 

 The Principle Approach.

 Closing out the session with a favorite quote on education by firebrand patriot, Samuel Adams . . .

 "Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity and universal philanthropy, and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country; of instructing them in the art of self-government, without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies, great or small; in short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system . . ."
 Samuel Adams, Boston, October 4, 1790

 I could only lament that I didn't have a full day of workshop sessions to explore the materials at hand on this subject.  Ah, but, there’ll be another workshop in just one month:

 Starlight Workshop Tea #2 - Saturday, April 7, 12:30pm to 3:30pm - $10 per person
Vineland Public Library
Starlight Workshop Tea #3 - Saturday, June 2, 12:30pm to 3:30pm - $10 per person
Vineland Public Library

 ALSO - Don't miss these upcoming events in March:

Constellation Academy Recommended Event:
Using God’s Word for the World’s Questions

Location:  Calvary Chapel Vineland, 4630 Mays Landing Road, Vineland
Contact:  Daniel Vasquez, 856 696-9409

 Note: Any overlapping times indicate multiple, simultaneous sessions

Sun, Mar 11
9 a.m.
Creation vs Evolution: Why It Matters
11 a.m.
Creation vs Evolution: Why It Matters
5 p.m.
Genesis: Key to Evangelism Today?
6:30 p.m.
Noah`s Flood: Washing Away Millions of Years

Mon, Mar 12
9 a.m. -10 a.m.
The Seven C's of History (Children)
10:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
How to Think About Origins (Teens)
6:30 p.m.
Origins of Species: Was Darwin Right?
8 p.m.
Ape-men: The Grand Illusion

All sessions will have interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Event Sponsored by: 
Calvary Chapel Vineland  -  Go to for directions & info.


RSVP for the Star Gazing Night using the "Contact" tab above!

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