Connecting Home and Church – Jennifer Hock

I was blessed with the opportunity to interview Jennifer Hock, the founder, president, and author of Illumination Learning.  You have most likely heard of it or used it in your home or ministry, but just in case you haven’t; the website http://illuminationlearning.ning.com/ is an amazing online Orthodox education resource.  They have regular webinars, as well as a ton of resources you can use in your classrooms and homes.

She also has a wonderful blog http://www.illumination-learning.com/blog/ where she shares stories, ideas, and projects you can use with your family.  Through her beautiful photographs and words, she makes Orthodoxy accessible in our homes and classrooms.  I am honored that I had the opportunity to interview her, and want to thank Jennifer for her amazing ministry.  We are truly blessed to have these wonderful resources to turn to, and I am so excited for what’s in store at Illumination Learning in the future!

My Name is: Jennifer Hock

My patron saint is: Saint Zenobia and she is commemorated on October 30th. Saint Zenobia was a martyr who helped her brother tend to the sick and needy in the third century.

My favorite Children’s Books is: “Mary Mother of God” by Dorrie Papademetriou. I adore the illustrations in this book and it has always spoken to me personally about the longing and prayerful waiting of a child’s arrival.

My job is: First and foremost I am a mom to four wonderful children and pregnant with another due this summer. My background is in elementary education and I have taught in a daycare, public school classrooms as well as in several religious education programs. These days, you’ll find me homeschooling three of my kids during the day while my fourth just started her first year of college. In the evenings when my kids are tucked peacefully in bed, I work on Illumination Learning, writing a book, and also planning projects and lessons.

What I love about my job: I love that I get to see the “aha moments” in my child’s eyes when they grasp a concept for the first time. I love snuggling on the couch and reading books together on cold winter days and exploring nature with my husband and kids while on hikes in warmer weather. I love that I can work on a concept with my child until they completely understand it before they have to move on to the next one and also the opportunity to explore their interests with great depth. My faith is the center of who I am. My parents always taught us that God was the number one priority in our lives over anything else and I work hard everyday to teach this to my children as well. One of the reasons why I started Illumination Learning in 2009, was to provide a place for other parents and teachers to find the resources available to us to teach our children about their faith. Along the way, I developed a deep love of writing and find it relaxes me especially in the dim light of a quiet evening. Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a mom and a teacher. I feel that I have blended the two into a perfect harmony for me and enjoy each and every day.

If I could tell our youth one thing, it would be: Embrace the everyday opportunities to grow closer to God. Are you facing a stressful or rough day? Arm yourself with a short prayer that you can memorize to calm yourself and find strength through God. Does someone in your family need help – a ride to the doctor; cleaning their home because they have a hard time moving and bending; a warm meal because they are sick, out of work, just had a baby; need a babysitter; etc. Is there someone in your parish that can no longer drive themselves to church? Offer to pick them up and take them to Liturgy on Sunday mornings or organize a group of people to take turns bringing this person to church. God provides us with opportunities to grow closer to Him every single day. We choose whether to accept those opportunities or turn away from them. Orthodoxy is about living our faith every single day of the week, not just Sunday morning when we attend Liturgy.

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