NGHS Journal: Bring on the Summer Camps!

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HMJ-SUMMER-logo-landscapeIn my life this week… I completed the third week in a four-week weight-loss and exercise program at my local fitness studio, Hot Fitness. It’s a cross-training program with a nutrition component that requires a one-hour combined strength and cardio class four days per week, plus whatever optional classes I can fit in at the studio (no more than 2hrs per day). In many ways, this is my “summer camp” for 2013.

I love to exercise and had been taking one-hour fitness classes 3-4x per week since last December. Although I felt great and was enjoying myself (and getting some mommy time), I wasn’t losing any weight. So I decided to give this program a try, specifically because it also addresses the nutrition and diet side of losing weight.

The first two weeks were a jolt to my system. I thought I was working out “hard” before, but I wasn’t! I found out I was pretty weak in the muscle department. I also thought I was eating healthy. However, as I began to enter my meals into the app “My Fitness Pal,” I learned otherwise. You can’t hide from the facts — the numbers — and my numbers (especially carbs and sodium) were way off for anyone hoping to lose weight.

This week I began following my instructor’s “clean” eating, low sugar/sodium/carb suggested diet. I won’t sugar-coat it (ha ha) — It was a tough week to resist my cravings! My weaknesses are fruits (especially now), raw sugar & whole milk in my coffee, and wine at dinner. Plus I was used to loading up on carbs at night (pasta, rice, etc.) However, I stuck it out. Guess what? By Friday, I had lost six pounds in one week!

In our homeschool this week… we kicked off our first week of summer programs! My 12- and 10-year-old daughters did Track Camp with our favorite PE Plus program, my six-year-old did VBS (Vacation Bible School) everyday with a neighbor friend, and somehow between shuttling them all back and forth, I also made it to all my fitness classes for this week. And took the girls to the pool several times to cool off from the 90s-plus dry heat. Good times!

SummerHomeschoolCamps

However, all the busyness and driving around was very worthwhile! My six-year-old Elise is a very auditory/kinesthetic learner, so I don’t always expect things to “stick” when she attends enrichment programs. However, I was amazed each day how much of God’s truth and scripture she remembered and shared with me. Whatever they were doing for three hours a day was really working for her! I was really blessed to hear how much she enjoyed herself and what she learned.

Track Camp was also very fruitful for my tween girls. Although they are very different in personality, they both thrived physically and spiritually this week, thanks to the bible-centered environment created by Coach Dave at PE Plus. During the school year, we participate in the weekly classes offered by PE Plus, and this was our first time doing a summer camp. It was also my girls’ first time learning anything about track — and I have to admit I was surprised that they chose it. However, it proved to be a perfect choice that blessed them on several levels.

Track Camp

My eldest really does not like to run (REALLY), and yet on the final day’s track meet, when her team was short one person for the long-distance relay, she sacrificed her feelings and exhaustion to fill in the last spot for her team. My 10-year-old, who does like to run, was one of only a few 11-and-younger kids who braved the one-mile run — and she ran a 9.5 minute mile! I feel so blessed to live in close proximity to PE Plus and the amazing couple that run it. We will definitely be sticking with them for summer programs in the future!

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I’m working on… a new bible study with Beth Moore called, “The Law of Love: Lessons from the Pages of Deuteronomy.” Well, I wish I was actually working on it with the dynamic, passionate Beth Moore (wouldn’t that be awesome?)… I guess what I should say is that I’m viewing Beth Moore’s DVDs on this series with other women at my church and reading Deuteronomy at the same time. This week was our second session, and I am already deeply drawn in to this study!

Who would have thought the book of Deuteronomy was about God’s love? I sure didn’t! But it’s true. And the best part is that the truths that Beth Moore is helping us uncover are things I really need to hear in my own life right now and share with a friend who needs the same light shone in her life. Isn’t God awesome that way?

This week’s take-away for me was based on Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We’re so familiar with this passage as Christian homeschoolers — especially the whole “teach them diligently to your children” section. However Beth pointed out that before the “living” (living out God’s instructions) comes the “loving” (you shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength). The loving comes before the living. I don’t know about you, but that speaks to me big time. If we don’t love God with everything that we are first, the “living” part (following the laws/rules) doesn’t come naturally to us or make any sense  — and it doesn’t matter to God. Think about that for a minute…

My favorite photo of this week… is a drawing that my little Elise made me yesterday. Oh, how I love to get a glimpse into the hearts of my girls and see the world through their eyes! Drawings like this melt my heart…

EliseDrawing

Next week will be yet another week of summer camp: Worship Dance camp this time. Stay tuned!

This post is part of The Homeschool Mother’s Journal weekly link-up at So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler.

How was your first official week of summer? Are your children participating in any summer camps or programs? How are you balancing these activities with your family’s schedule? Let us know how your summer is going in the comments section below.

Renée Gotcher is a wife, writer, editorial consultant, and home-educating mother of three daughters. She has been married for 26 years to her best friend Kenny, whom she met while attending Oral Roberts University in the early 90s. Renée was homeschooled during her last two years of high school and started homeschooling in 2010. A former journalist, she is currently editor of NextGen Homeschool and blogs on personal topics at A New Chapter. Her family lives in Castle Rock, Colorado.