Jeanne Faulconer, a popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups and parents’ groups, has homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi and Virginia during the past 16 years. She is a former college faculty member, former editor and book reviewer for Home Education Magazine, a long-time editor for VaHomeschoolers Voice and a recent news correspondent for WCVE, an NPR-member station. Jeanne teaches writing and literature for her youngest son’s homeschool co-op, and she is a student of how learning works – at home, in the music room, in small groups, in the college classroom, on the soccer field and in the car to and from practice. Jeanne has a master of arts degree in communication and conducts evidence-of-progress portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschoolers. Jeanne blogs for TheHomeSchoolMom.com and writes at her own blog, At Each Turn.
All presentations approximately 1 hour
Homeschooling 101: Homeschooling for Non-Homeschoolers
This session is an introduction to homeschooling for the media, businesses, educators, librarians, researchers, legislators, grandparents, child-care providers, new-to-the-idea spouses and others who want to know more about homeschooling but don’t homeschool themselves. We’ll cover the status of homeschooling in Virginia, the growth of homeschooling, approaches to homeschooling, why people choose homeschooling, who homeschools, statistics on homeschooling in Virginia, issues that affect homeschooling, and answers to your questions about homeschooling.
Of Time and Tides
What are some ways that homeschoolers organize their days and weeks? How can we manage our time, our multiple-age children, and our many commitments while helping our children learn at home? Consider the balance between productivity and the need for downtime in family life, and explore a range of organizational strategies for varying approaches to homeschooling.
On Homeschooling and Structure
Some of your homeschooling concerns and challenges might be addressed by increasing or reducing the amount of structure involved. Consider the potential impact of tweaking the level of structure in your homeschooling style, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, and home life. Explore the importance of finding the right balance of structure for each child and each family, with an eye toward maximizing learning, reducing stress, meeting family goals, adapting homeschooling to growing children, and providing opportunities for development of self-discipline.
Let Your House Do the Homeschooling
A discussion about setting up your home so it’s conducive to home education, minimizes preparation for learning, and helps children help themselves to learning materials and experiences. Ideas for the reality of having kids “use” your home all the time, coping with wear and tear, and providing a home front that works for your family.
Social Benefits, Social Challenges
Do homeschooled kids have optimal social opportunities, and do they learn necessary social skills? What are the social benefits of homeschooling? What about social challenges in rural areas or when your child’s homeschooled friends begin attending school? How do homeschooled kids get along in the real world? Come explore the social side of homeschooling.
3-D Dealing with Unsupportive People
You’re gonna do WHAT? Homeschooling is something family and friends won’t always agree with. Gain perspective on the challenge of coping with people who are against homeschooling, who question your ability, or who express concern about whether home education is best for your children. Explore techniques for setting appropriate boundaries and communicating positively with people who are negative about homeschooling.
Homeschooling the Hard Stuff
Many of us are more comfortable with homeschooling during children’s early years, but have concerns about more advanced academics. We hear critics of homeschooling say parents aren’t experts in advanced high school subjects and that homeschoolers don’t have access to labs and other resources available in schools. Learn about an approach to homeschooling the hard subjects that allows parents to use innovation, specialized resources, and networking to meet our children’s needs in covering lab sciences, high school language arts, advanced mathematics, foreign language, and computer technology beyond the user level. In spite of our critics’ misunderstandings, homeschoolers regularly learn physics and French, programming and protozoa, calculus and composition. Receive reassurance and resources for covering the “difficult” subjects, as well as perspective on which “hard subjects” your particular children may need to further their goals beyond high school.
Revealing self-directed, interest-based learning as a valid approach to education at home. A discussion of what unschooling is, how it works, and how to cope with parental panic attacks. If you’re seeking support for your unschooling philosophy, exploring unschooling, or wanting to add some of the benefits of natural learning to your traditional homeschool approach, join this discussion. You’ll hear how empowered unschoolers can create their own paths to education, college, and vocation and how loving parents facilitate the process.
Homeschool Tools: Facilitation, Mentorship and Dialogue
Explore these techniques for enriching home education beyond your curriculum. These tools can assist in transforming kids’ interests into larger learning experiences “out in the real world.” They can also assist in developing critical thinking and synthesis in the “world of the mind.” Consider how growing in your role as facilitator, mentor and dialogue leader could be an asset to your children’s education regardless of their age or your approach to homeschooling—and how it might have unintended benefits for you.
Passport to the World: Homeschoolers and International Studies
Homeschoolers can host international exchange students, study foreign language and culture, and travel and live internationally. Hear how and why they’ve done it and learn about resources and possibilities for your own family. Homeschooling Reality: Benefits and Limits Homeschooling does provide real advantages, but many discussions avoid the reality that homeschooling can’t fix everything. In a session meant more as inspiration than information, explore what homeschooling can do and can’t do, and why we homeschool anyway.
E-valuations and Blogfolios
Consider the potential value of developing an electronic portfolio – a blogfolio – of your child’s learning and educational activities. Learn the basics of how a free blog and your quickly entered notes can document homeschooling and create a record of learning sorted by academic subject area and activity type. Blogfolios can capture and quantify natural learning (you’ll be amazed!) or track completion of curriculum and enrichment activities (you’ll feel so satisfied!). Consider further how today’s technology might allow your family to participate in an “e-valuation” to satisfy state Evidence of Progress requirements as an alternative to standardized testing. You and your kids can scan in samples of work, upload photographs of projects, provide online video, create mp3s, share your blogfolio, and Skype with an evaluator as part of your demonstration of academic progress. School divisions, universities, and businesses use online educational and evaluation techniques – homeschoolers can too! (Note: This session will not teach details of the technical aspects of blogging or online communication/documentation. We assume that interested participants have or can learn the necessary skills on their own. WordPress software will be featured in the blogging portion.)
A Homeschool Mom Looks Back
Join Jeanne Faulconer as she reflects on homeschooling her three sons through 14 years, 12 grades, 10 homeschool groups, eight math curricula, seven moves, six guitars, five part-time jobs, four colleges, three states, two Eagle Scouts, one kid left at home – and approximately a thousand soccer games. Jeanne talks about what the journey has been like from the preschool years through transitions to college and includes thoughts on the major themes she’s discovered in her family’s homeschooling and how these themes relate to the community of homeschoolers and society at large. Not a how-to-homeschool session, this look back provides perspective, inspiration and ideas for your homeschool journey going forward.