Welcome to Quest4Hope

Here you will find my personal quests that give my life meaning. As I have searched for purpose, it is my hope that my life becomes everything it was destined for- first for my family and then for my friends that God has been so gracious to send to me.

***Names and places have been changed for internet security.

The 5 Chaps

The 5 Chaps

Friday, January 25, 2008



"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."- William Butler Yeats

This has to be one of my most favorite quotes. I discovered it while reading on www.courageousbeings.com , a site that helps turn homeschooling from boring to being highly motivating. I have not participated in any of their EPIC units, but I do love their philosophy!

In a nutshell-- It is understood that there are dendrites in your brain that help "fire off" information and make connections, will reproduce themselves when a child is immersed in multisensory experiences. These type of experiences promote the best learning. That is why I love field trips so much.

It is not enough to sit at a table and do a worksheet--BORING! It has also been found that these dendrites begin to die after 4 days of boredom. Thus, when we stop looking at educating as completing a lesson or curriculum as success and begin to find ways to immerse our children into valuable learning experiences; the dendrites reproduce themselves and the brain is "firing" up!

For me, it has been a reminder that as an educator my main goal is to teach my children to become life long learners. If I can develop a spirit of inquiry in my children I have ultimately accomplished the main goal of education! Learning is not something that just stops at age 18 or 21. We all are continually learning. It is a necessity for survival, but it also makes a wonderful and rich life for the one who is learning and for those around him.

This quote has revitalized my outlook on homeschooling and education in general! I hope it sets all educators on fire as we attempt to to raise up a generation of motivated, inquiring, intellectual individuals.

What I would love to explore more is the how of turning a "bored" student into one who is excited about inquiry and learning. Any suggestions?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

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Who says school has to be boring! Enjoy our January learning fun!

Check Out Our Cowpens Field Trip!

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Battle of Cowpens Anniversary

The 5 Chaps took a trip back in time to The Battle of Cowpens. This weekend was the 227th Anniversary Celebration of the victory that Daniel Morgan led the early Americans in.

We learned that this was a great victory for the Patriots and gave them an upward swing in the American Revolution for South Carolina. We witnessed cannons firing, the early militia firing their muskets, and the calvary charging.

We were able to really experience the feel of the day as it was bitter cold similarly as it was 227 years ago.

We walked through the Continental Camp as they prepared for their battle which lasted less than an hour.

Being their on the battleground, I felt history touch me in remembering what the Patriots so dearly fought for. Going home, our family discussed the outcome if there was no revolt.

No America?

We became thankful for what our forefathers sacrificed so many years ago!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Meme- Homeschool Tips and Tricks

HOTM MagazineFriday Homeschool Meme: Tips and Tricks of Homeschooling Our Homeschooling Family

Homeschooling has been a wonderful experience for my family for the last 3 years. However, it does come with the challenges that one must learn how to overcome. I want to attempt to list the top 10 list for The 5 Chaps!

10- Be willing to toss a curriculum or lesson plans when it just is not working- or at least sell it on ebay! We all want to stick it out to the end, but sometimes we just waste our time.
Every child has a different temperate and a different learning style with multiple intelligences. Just because it worked for a sibling or Johnny across the street, doesn't mean that it will fit your child. It took me a year to find the perfect reading curriculum for my daughter. I just couldn't find the fit for her. But when I finally did, we went through the book and found where she was and finished the rest of the book in 12 weeks and now we have moved on at a great pace. We are now sticking with that curriculum because it works for her. Where would she be if I were more willing to experiment?

9- Know your child's temperament and learning style/ multiple intelligences. There are several online resources to find out if your child leans more toward auditory, visual, or kinestetic learning including the multiple intelligences. This helps a teacher know how to zero in on how the child learns best and teach to that strength. Oh the beauty of homeschooling as we play to the strengths of our children. This has been a key for me in connecting with my children in their learning.

8- Make a schedule and stick to it; but be willing to veer from it when needed. I am constantly working at this. I have found that I have very positive days when we stick to our schedule and I don't stop for extra phone calls or errands. But take breaks for those special times, like for us when it snows in SC!!

7- Include field trips in your learning! This is our favorite activity of homeschooling. We try to have at least one a week. Go to the park, nature observatory, science museums, zoos, historical sites, bread companies, plays, etc. We went to our state's visitor center and collected all of the brochures and found some wonderful historical facts of our state and have made plans to tour our local area.

8- When you do tour, include friends! My children love learning with other homeschoolers and I also love having a mom around to have an adult conversation with (about what? of course, our kids!)


7- Squeeze every bit of naptime for what it's worth!!

6- It's okay to let the tv help a little while! At Christmas my little train finatic watch "The Polar Express" 3 or 4 times a week while we worked on school. During the off season, he loves to watch train documentaries. Go figure!

5- Have on hand lots of stickers, markers, and play dough!

4- Let them watch and be involved too. My toddler will watch computer time for my kids, listen in on stories, and try to do the activities they are involved in like shaving cream spelling time.

3- On the days that you have had enough and feel like you need a "calgon" break"; but yet know that is impossible too. STOP- and remind yourself not to be so serious and do something fun with the kids. It helps me and the kids to get refocused.

2- Join a support group of some kind. I cannot recommend this more than anything else! When we isolate ourselves, we feel like we are the only homeschoolers in the world and quitting gets too easy. Being with other moms for support and insights has been invaluable for me and for my children. My support group has activities for kids, moms, couples, and families. It is almost like a second family.

1- PRAY and submit yourself to your Heavenly Father each and every day. Set the atmosphere of your home each and everyday with an uplifting devotional and music of your choice! This makes all the difference in the world!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Igniting Learning at Home

I have run across one of the most intiguing studies on learning and brain development. I found the information from a site that a couple of homeschool veterans hosts using material by Susan Kovalik at http://www.courageousbeings.com/. I highly recommend this site.

It is found that dendrites (the little squiggles that grow from a nueron in the brain) can grow or shrink as children experience boredom or learning. It has been found that boredom can actually change the structure of the brain. However, with rich sensory input, the greater the physiological growth in the brain and thus the greater the learning that will be wired into long-term memory.

It is important to get children to connect emotionally with the material you want to cover. Robert Sylwester has been quoted to say "emotion drives attention, and attention drives learning, memory, problem solving and just about everything else."

This philosophy of education has really sparked something in me. It is not enough to present some information to children and drive it in them. That is not learning. We must engage our students with multi-sensory input to compel their emotions which will in turn spark their brains.

There is sooooo much more to this research, I have only just begun. It certainly has challenged me to set some new goals for my homeschool learning with my children. I am ready for excitement to fill the air when it comes to learning encouraging my children to make inquiries and contributions from what they are learning.

I hope to write more on this subject as we begin our own EPIC with a "Little House" Study. In closing, I do believe that William Butler Yeats summed up what education- whether homeschooling or traditional education- should be--

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."
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Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Like most people, the new year has brought many thoughts on the upcoming year and what it has in store. I would have to say that this year has a very different feel than others. My dh and I have a strong family focus this year. For the last 13 years, our lives have been about full time ministry but this year it is about The5chaps. Serving others in ministry has been very rewarding and fulfilling, but I allowed it to consume me to the point that I lost myself. This year is about finding me. I don't mean in a selfish way. I have no plans of trekking my own pursuits and serving up a piece of life for me and mine. I simply want to find myself in "beauty of the Lord... as he establishes the work of my hands" just as David pens in Psalm 90:17. (Thanks Rachel Anne @ http://www.homesanctuary.com/!)

With all of my heart, I believe God brought my husband and I out of full-time ministry to bless us and to show favor to our family as we learn to walk with Him in a new context. I am not sure where God is taking us ultimately, but I am okay with it as long as He remains in control. I hope to pen more about this journey along the next year.

So with that I have fashioned a blueprint for the new year called
"2008 Revolution"

1. Faith: Establish a fresh pattern of reading, studying, and serving God just because I really, really desire to and not out the responsibility of being in ministry.

2. Family: Rediscover and fall in love with my husband again! Share lots of family fun times with my children. LAUGH TOGETHER OFTEN!!

3. Friends: Develop new relationships with others that can add and multiply into our lives and purpose to reciprocate that back.

4. Fitness: Learn to love running. 5k here I come!

5. Finances: Become more generous. But not just with my money-- with my words, my thoughts, my time, my effort.

6. Fun: Being a choleric-type personality; I have determined that this year is a year to let go and just have loads of fun and do some things I have never done! Bottom line-- ENJOY THE LIFE GOD HAS GIVEN ME!

Here's to '08!! Ready or not, here I come!