Check out our 2014 Conference Session Line-Up!

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2014 Conference Sessions

Friday: Session 1  | Session 2  | Session 3 |
Satuday: Session 1  | Session 2  | Session 3 | Session 4 | Session 5 |

Whether your homeschooling style is structured, relaxed or eclectic, whether your children are babies or high schoolers or somewhere in between, you’ll find sessions to achieve an education like no other for your homeschoolers. All sessions are held at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen.

This year for the first time, we offer a slate of Friday sessions, kicking off at 1:00 p.m. on March 21 with Susan Wise Bauer’s dynamic keynote address. The Friday schedule also includes our time-honored free sessions for non-homeschoolers and beginning homeschooling families. Sessions continue on Saturday, March 22, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Full registrants may attend one session per session block. Limited registrants may attend one session on each day. Shop-for-Free attendees may only attend the free sessions offered Friday afternoon. All sessions are first-come, first-served. Sessions close as they fill, so register early!

Note: Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by someone 13 years or older at all times. Each person entering the conference areas, including children, must be registered. 

For more information about registration options, see Conference Registration.

Friday Session 1 1:00–2:00 p.m.

Homeschooling the Second Time
Susan Wise Bauer

After being educated at home for almost all of her elementary and secondary school years, Susan Wise Bauer went on to college and graduate school and now teaches at the university level and homeschools her own four children. With her eldest having graduated from high school and attending the University of Virginia, the time is ripe for retrospection. As Susan looks back over all those years of home education, hers and her children’s, she considers which elements were most valuable to her in her adult life, which techniques and programs she has chosen to reproduce with her own children—and even which aspects of her own education were mistakes.

F1.2 FREE Session
Homeschooling 101: Homeschooling for Non-Homeschoolers
Jeanne Faulconer

This session is an introduction to homeschooling for the media, businesses, educators, librarians, researchers, legislators, grandparents, childcare 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. Homeschooling parents are encouraged to bring their family members and babysitters and to spread the word about the availability of this free session to librarians, local reporters, school administrators, businesses and nonprofits interested in serving the homeschooling community.

Registration is required. Please indicate on your registration form if you will attend this session. This session does not count against the number of sessions allowed in full or limited registrations.

Please note: This is not a how-to-homeschool session. To learn more about how to homeschool, please attend a Beginning Homeschooling session.

Friday Session 2 2:30–3:30 p.m.

F2.1 Beginning Homeschooling
Stephanie Elms

Thinking about homeschooling but feeling overwhelmed? New to homeschooling and wondering what you got yourself into? Join us for this free session by VaHomeschoolers Board Member Stephanie Elms. Stephanie gives an overview of the law and answers your questions and concerns about how homeschooling can work for your family. Gain the knowledge and confidence you need to get started on your homeschooling journey.

Registration is required. Please indicate on your registration form if you will attend this session. This session does not count against the number of sessions allowed in full or limited registrations.

Please note: This is the same information given in session S1.3.

F2.2 Note-Taking Basics Using the Cornell System
Anita Simpkins

Summarizing and note-taking are powerful study skills for student achievement. Do your students need an organized way to retain the information they read? How about what they hear during a lecture? Come learn the Cornell Note-Taking system, which combines these powerful tools. Anita includes basic note-taking tips.

F2.3 Teaching Students to Work Independently
Susan Wise Bauer

Susan offers step-by-step guidance for parents and students in helping middle and high school (logic and rhetoric stage) students move towards independent learning. She also gives advice on troubleshooting when the road gets rocky. Students in seventh through twelfth grade are encouraged to attend.

F2.4 Individualized Education: Identifying Learning Styles
Cindy Gaddis

We often hear that homeschooling is the perfect setting in which to truly individualize your child’s education. Cindy has found it has a lot to do with honoring your child’s learning style with regard to how they enjoy discovering and exploring a subject, as well as respecting the timeframes in which they grasp and embrace the subject. How do you identify the learning style of your child? What impacts their learning lives most? Cindy shares with you the characteristics of various learning styles and how these shape learning. She shares examples from her three oldest (now adult) children’s educations and how their different learning styles led to individualized approaches in subjects such as reading, writing, math, science, geography, foreign language, history and spelling.

F2.5 Developing and Implementing a Science Curriculum Web
David Polak

Don’t be intimidated by the challenge of identifying and applying cross-curricular connections to science. David Polak describes the art and significance of creating and implementing a curriculum web and shows you how to do it. David’s presentation focuses on zoology and the ways to implement a curriculum, from basic to complex, but the concepts he shares are tools that can be applied to any discipline.

F2.6 Your Fantasy Homeschool
Julie Bogart

We all have one: that imagined dream homeschool where our children are relaxed, where we are at ease, where learning happens naturally and everyone gets along. Sometimes it seems as though the fantasy homeschool is just that: a dream, never a reality. Yet what if you could create momentum in your homeschool? What if once a month or once a week, you shifted how you saw your life at home and took the risks necessary to foster the home education you long for? This session reveals the principles you need and the practical steps you can take that protect you from too much risk but empower you to trust your hunches and transform your dearest aspirations into reality.

F2.7 Geography: The Who, What and Where of the World
Parrish Mort

Geography is so much more than state capitals! Geography includes the study of cultures, indigenous people, land masses and features and more. Studying geography complements history and science lessons and can bring the two together wonderfully. Parrish shares ideas for teaching all three types of geography—physical, human and environmental—to learners of all ages.

Friday Session 3 4:15–5:15 p.m.

F3.1 Preschool Cognitive Development: Making Learning Fun
Kirby Worthington

A fundamental desire in homeschooling and parenting is to foster a love of learning at an early age. Kirby addresses the cognitive development milestones that guide your preschoolers in exploration of reading, math, critical thinking, creativity and much more. Kirby leads you on a survey of how skills progress as children grow and gain experience, as well as how to build on current abilities to help children gain new skills. This session includes developmentally sound activities that are practical, fun and easy-to-do and that help incorporate learning into all phases of the preschool experience.

F3.2 Organizing for Real World Homeschooling
Marjorie Cole and Gwen Perado McCrea

We’ve all been there: You don’t have the right form for the class, your kids don’t have a snack and you realize that your partner’s work function is this evening and you haven’t even showered today. Organization doesn’t have to involve complicated systems or schedules. Come hear veteran homeschoolers talk about the various ways they organize their homeschools to keep their sanity but still have fun and accomplish their goals—even the ones who don’t actually set goals.

F3.3 Moving from Teaching to Mentoring: How to Help Your Teen Create Meaningful Practice
Pamela Schmidt

At some point in our homeschool careers, we need to accept that we cannot teach our children everything they want to know. Sometimes this means finding a tutor, joining a co-op or doing part-time classes at your high school. Join Pamela Schmidt as she discusses the differences between talking and doing, between learning about and learning how. Discover how can we help our students use their skills or explore their passions in a safe way that builds skills, meets goals and matches your curriculum needs. Identify what makes a good mentor and how to shift gears from teacher to mentor yourself or build and oversee an outside mentoring relationship for your student. Pamela shares resources, her own experiences letting go and letting someone else help in these formative years and how to create goals for the student along the way. You will leave this session with ideas for your teen, practical exercises and ideas for how you too could be a mentor to someone else.

F3.4 Living with the Right-Brained Child
Cindy Gaddis

Does your child need the tags taken out of her clothes, or will he only wear sweatpants? Is change difficult for your child, or are transitions from activity to activity or even life phase to life phase a balancing act? Does your child have a strong sense of fairness, or is everything negotiable? Is the glass always half empty? Cindy discusses the emotional, social and sensorial differences that often accompany the right-brained learner. She offers strategies to facilitate positive experiences, incorporate skill-building tools and adjust our value system to create a balanced approach to living harmoniously with this complex learner.

F3.5 Help for High School Writing
Julie Bogart

When should my student learn to write an essay? Shall I teach the research paper? What if I’ve neglected writing until now? Is it too late? This session deals specifically with all the dynamics of high school writing: the necessary formats, the timing of that instruction, how you can effectively prepare your son or daughter for college and how to evaluate the work they do. Don’t despair! It’s not too late, and you are the right person for the job! (And bring your high school students. Julie would love to meet them.)

F3.6 The Dog Ate My Lesson Plans! Confessions and Encouragement From the Mother of 14 Homeschooled Children
Barbara Smith

In over 20 years of homeschooling experience, Barbara has graduated seven of her 14 children and successfully launched them into the “real” world! In her delightful way, Barbara lifts your spirit and brings you back to why you began homeschooling in the first place. She covers the basics of organization, schedules, chore charts, meal planning and how to breathe life back into your homeschool. Come with your questions!

F3.7 The Joy of Classical Education: An Introduction to Classical Education at Home
Susan Wise Bauer

In this overview of the philosophy of classical education and the ways in which homeschoolers can pursue classical learning at home, Susan covers the distinctive stages of classical education, the benefits to the student of the three stages of classical learning (grades 1–4, 5–8 and 9–12), the subjects taught in each stage and the overall goals of classical education. Susan also discusses the place of delight-led learning and offers ways in which every homeschooler can borrow from the classical tradition.

Saturday Sessions, March 22

Saturday Session 1 9:00–10:00 a.m.

Homeschooling the Second Time
Susan Wise Bauer

After being educated at home for almost all of her elementary and secondary school years, Susan Wise Bauer went on to college and graduate school and now teaches at the university level and homeschools her own four children. With her eldest having graduated from high school and attending the University of Virginia, the time is ripe for retrospection. As Susan looks back over all those years of home education, hers and her children’s, she considers which elements were most valuable to her in her adult life, which techniques and programs she has chosen to reproduce with her own children—and even which aspects of her own education were mistakes.

S1.2 Holistic Learning Through Model United Nations
Joyce Rodgers

While schools around the country relegate Model United Nations to the realm of extracurricular, afterschool activities, homeschoolers can embrace it as a resource for integrative learning. Joyce discusses how students participating in Model UN will not only learn critical analysis and synthesis skills but become proficient in persuasive speaking, persuasive writing, international events, geography and world history. They will do all of this while examining diplomacy, compromise and negotiation. At the same time, they will have fun and make lifelong friends. Joyce also provides information about how students can participate in Model UN individually, as well as suggestions on working cooperatively.

S1.3 Beginning Homeschooling, Part 1: Navigating Paperwork and Legalities
Stephanie Elms

Thinking about homeschooling but feeling a bit overwhelmed? New to homeschooling and wondering what you got yourself into? Stephanie gives an overview of the law and answers your questions and concerns about how homeschooling can work for your family. Gain the knowledge and confidence you need to get started on your homeschooling journey.

S1.4 Community College for the High School Years
Jan Reed, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Is your high schooler ready for college? A great way for students to get a feel for college while still in a familiar environment and living at home is to enroll in community college and begin earning college credit while still in high school. Jan Reed explains how students ages 13 to 17 can take advantage of this means of completing high school and preparing for college. She gives an overview of the process of admissions, including applying, placement testing, academic advising, registration and course selection.

S1.5 Writing Your Homeschool Mission Statement
Pamela Schmidt

No, don’t skip this description! It’s important! I bet you know why you homeschool: You want your kids to get a different education; you can’t stand to make school lunches; your children have special interests; you hate to get up in the morning to catch the bus; or, like Pamela, you want your kids to love to learn. But what about your needs? In this session, Pamela shares how having a mission statement can help us prioritize and organize our day. How it can help us say no to things we might be good at but don’t have the time or passion to do. Creating a mission statement reminds you who you want to be—besides teacher, principal and facilities manager—what your goals are for you and your family and how you can strengthen your base to grow toward those goals. Each participant leaves with a written mission statement, almost suitable for framing, and ready to share this lifesaving technique with others: your teens, family, co-op—yes, even your in-laws.

S1.6 Confessions of a Non-Crafty Mom: Ideas for Growing your Child’s Creativity
Rebecca Esch

Almost every child enjoys making art and doing crafts. What do you do if you want to grow your child’s creative interests but aren’t an artsy person yourself? Rebecca shares her experiences supporting and developing her daughter’s creative and artistic interests during elementary and middle school from the perspective of a parent sorely lacking in artistic talents. She shares suggestions for finding and creating learning opportunities in your community, in addition to ways to develop art skills at home—or simply have fun creating art together. In addition, Rebecca highlights ways you can bring these experiences into other aspects of your homeschooling and help bolster your child’s interest in subjects they find less appealing.

S1.7 Letting Go and Being Free, Trusting Yourself
Demetria Clark

Learning to listen and trust yourself when it comes to your educational path with your children can be hard. Demetria guides you through methods you can use to work toward trusting yourself and your spouse. She explores ways to make homeschooling a family affair and covers trust issues and how to realize what your dreams and goals are and what your ideals for your family and children are. Whether you homeschool, unschool, freeschool or school at home, this session builds your confidence. Exploring how to believe and trust in what you are doing no matter what the world throws at you helps you overcome obstacles to allow for a loving and dynamic homeschool life—and you know your family is worth it.

Saturday Session 2 10:30–11:30 a.m.

S2.1 Coping with Anxiety: Strategies for Parents and Children
DeAnna Hight and Shannon Lee

Is your child visibly stressed, worrying silently or acting out with anxious anger? Fear is a normal human emotion, but when it begins to take over, it can impact your child socially, emotionally, physically and academically. DeAnna and Shannon share strategies for parenting the anxious child, as well as tools that your child can use to cope with fears.

S2.2 Beginning Homeschooling, Part 2: But What Do I Do Monday?
Stephanie Elms

This second segment of the Beginning Homeschooling series covers options for the day-to-day aspects of homeschooling such as finding resources, knowing what to teach, choosing between different homeschool approaches, structuring your day and finding local groups. While no one can tell you what will work best for your family, Stephanie offers resources for figuring it all out. Gain the knowledge and the confidence you need to get started on your homeschooling journey.

S2.3 MOOCs for Homeschooling High School and Middle School: What Are They, How Do I Use Them and Why Would I Want To?
Amy Wilson

Come discover how Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) can enhance homeschooling for your high schooler, middle schooler or young adult taking a gap year. By the time we’re done, you may even want to enroll in one yourself! Lots of people are talking about these Massive Online Open Courses—college courses offered online, generally for free. Many claim that they’re revolutionizing higher education; The New York Times even declared 2012 “The Year of the MOOC.” Find out how MOOCs work, how to find them and enroll in them, the pros and cons of adding them to your homeschooling lifestyle and how to get the most from them. Physics, philosophy, world history, computer programming, cooking and art—all this and more can be found in the world of MOOCs.

S2.4 Engaged Homeschooling
Jeanne Faulconer

What if we created a homeschooling style from scratch, focusing on the secret ingredient that drives learning? We’d call it Engaged Homeschooling, a style of homeschooling emphasizing techniques that create engagement in learners. Join Jeanne Faulconer as she describes the power of engagement and suggests specific methods to help kids maximize their learning potential, grow their critical thinking skills, avoid early burn-out and develop greater motivation to meet their goals and “learn to learn.” Engaged Homeschooling techniques help from preschool through high school, and you can adapt your existing approach to include Engaged Homeschooling practices. Engaged Homeschooling brings aspects of homeschooling methods you know and combines them with the reality of how learning really happens, flying in the face of standardization and creating the dramatic possibility of meaningful, useful education for your children.

S2.5 Sensational Science on a Shoestring: Creative and Engaging Hands-On Projects for $10 or Less
David Polak

David Polak demonstrates low-cost projects like liquid chromatography, solar hot air balloon making, water rockets, liquid density experiments, phases of matter experiments and backyard zoology.

S2.6 It’s Not Just For After School: Organizations That Enhance Your Homeschool
Panel with Amy Angel, Jenny Grove-Bradshaw, Renee Jackson and Kelly Muzzin

Join this panel to see how other homeschoolers have used afterschool and weekend programs to enhance their homeschool learning. Amy, Jenny, Renee and Kelly speak to their experiences with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H and Civil Air Patrol, each offering insight into the unique features that make these organizations work so well for homeschoolers. From aerospace education to zipline activities, these families have incorporated a treasure trove of activities and events directly into their learning and into their family’s lives.

S2.7 The Other Half, a Partner’s Panel
With Rick Gondella, Jessica Mays, Pete Nuwayser and Michael Randers-Pehrson

This panel discussion looks at issues and achievements that relate to being the other half of a homeschooling couple. Rick, Jessica, Pete and Michael present a variety of topics related to our expectations, how we offer and receive support and what our methods of dealing with change are. They also offer varied experiences in management of time and resources—both effective and ineffective. Take this opportunity to hear from a diverse group of homeschool parents who live life as the other half of a homeschooling team.

Lunch & Shopping Break
11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.

Don’t Forget to Pre-Order Lunch!

Having to run out for lunch during the conference might mean missing that great piece of curriculum, the opportunity to meet and talk with one of our vendors or the chance to catch up with old homeschool friends and meet new ones. Eat onsite by ordering a box lunch by Monday, March 10, 2014. While we are offering a snack bar again this year, pre-ordering is the only way to guarantee a full lunch onsite.

Saturday Session 3 1:00–2:00 p.m.

S3.1 Security, Privacy, Anonymity and the Internet:
Arm Yourself and Your Kids With Knowledge on How to Stay Safe Online
Todd Coram

What does it mean to be online in the 21st century? There are rich resources for homeschoolers online, both educational and social. But with these resources come dangers, too. How do you keep yourself and your kids safe and secure on the Internet? What kinds of sites are kids visiting? Are Facebook and Twitter safe? Are kids unknowingly sharing too much information, and how is that information being used? How do we protect ourselves from viruses and password crackers? What can you do to make the Internet a fun and safe place for your kids to explore? Join Todd Coram, an expert in the field of online security, as he addresses your concerns about the online tools your children use for learning and leisure.

S3.2 Homeschooling Styles
Barb Benfante

New to homeschooling or thinking of changing your methods? Barb examines different ways to approach homeschooling, including but not limited to relaxed schooling, classical education, unschooling, eclectic, unit studies, child-led learning, co-ops, boxed curriculum and more. There is no one right way to homeschool, only a best way to homeschool for your family.

S3.3 Online High School Options
Karen Skelton

Choosing an online or distance learning program for high school can be very confusing. The choices expand each year, and the schools vary greatly in terms of academic model, cost, curriculum choices, schedule flexibility and accreditation. Karen helps you navigate through the choices to find a program that’s right for your family’s schedule, budget, learning styles and interests.

S3.4 Dyslexia Awareness, Early Identification, Intervention and Education
Julie Wingfield

How can you help your child with language-based learning differences develop a lifetime of literacy? Julie, an expert staff member from Riverside School, addresses the importance of early identification and the host of community resources available for parents ofyoung children and struggling readers. Julie guides you through the warning signs of dyslexia, how you can use online tools and resources, and some of the appropriate intervention and educational techniques you can use to work with your child in your homeschool learning.

S3.5 Nurturing Your Young Writers
Julie Bogart

Working with a reluctant writer? Wanting to inspire a resilient one? This workshop helps you become an effective writing coach and ally to your children through understanding the writing process. Julie first explores the relationship between how professional writers teach writing and how educators typically instruct students, then looks at the tactics that work—empowering you to sustain and enhance your relationship with your kids while they learn to write. The end result? An eight-week writing plan you can implement right away!

S3.6 You Don’t Wear a Superwoman Cape?
Barbara Smith

Do you ever look around your house at the kids, the books, the projects, the laundry, the pets and the list of to-dos you didn’t begin to tackle and wonder, “What was I thinking?” This is the session for you! Barbara is funny and honest, helpful and down-to-earth as she shares what she’s learned in 20 years of homeschooling 14 children. Superwoman cape optional!

S3.7 Make History Come Alive with Historical Fiction, Films and Field Trips
Maureen Moslow-Benway

Given the vast array of resources today, there is absolutely no reason history needs to be boring. In fact, history could very well be your children’s absolute favorite subject—as well as yours. Maureen is here to show you how you can bring history to life for your children by using quality historical fiction books, documentaries and movies, as well as field trips. Maureen shares a tremendous number of ideas and resources, as well as the syllabi she developed for the U.S. and world history classes she teaches for her weekly homeschool co-op.

Saturday Session 4 2:30–3:30 p.m.

S4.1 Single Parent Homeschooling
Stephanie Kraft and Sheila Stone

Homeschooling comes with numerous challenges and rewards. When you add single parenting into the mix, issues arise that many two partner families never consider. Single homeschooling parents Sheila and Stephanie share their experiences and offer support to those who also face daily issues related to homeschool, health, finances and family life without the support of a partner to offer encouragement and assistance. They address not only the issues related to single parenting while homeschooling but also examine the rewards homeschooling has brought to their families and the support they have found in the communities and friends they have met along the way.

S4.2 Mom is Teacher; Teacher is Mom
Lydia Netzer

As a mother, you always want to be your child’s advocate, cheerleader and biggest fan. As a teacher, sometimes you have to wield the red pen, enforce the deadline, deliver the bad news when work is not good enough. Lydia talks about how to find your identity as mom and teacher and how to set boundaries that make it possible to teach your children fairly even though you think they hung the moon. Can you remove the demands of schoolwork from your identity as mom? What can be done when it all goes awry? Find out how to share goals and create a team with your child rather than living in adversity. Hear personal anecdotes and get some positive advice on setting up a structure that can work.

S4.3 Beyond the Homeschool Kitchen: Chemistry Labs in a Co-op Setting
Robin Martin

You think you can’t teach chemistry, but any motivated parent can teach it in a small group setting even without a college degree. Learn how to plan and implement labs to teach chemistry concepts in small groups or co-ops, with an emphasis on middle and high school. Learn how to create a year-long plan by selecting labs, making a supply list and finding and purchasing appropriate materials to demonstrate and conduct chemistry experiments. With shared labs to anchor the subject, your students can study concepts further at home at their own pace and in their own way. Robin, who does not have a science degree, shows how you can develop an interesting, high-quality chemistry class worthy of high school credit.

S4.4 Recognizing Your Educational Value System
Cindy Gaddis

Whether developed consciously or unconsciously, we all have an educational value system. What’s important to us? What traits, subjects, or strategies do we value over others? How and where did we develop these educational values? Do our educational values strengthen or hinder our children’s homeschooling progress? Once we recognize and begin to verbalize what our educational value system is, we can decide if it needs adjusting or not. Join Cindy in an interactive discussion that helps you begin to recognize your educational value system.

S4.5 Creating a Language-Rich Lifestyle
Julie Bogart

The best way to cultivate writing in your home is to create a language-rich environment. Julie explores the role of nature study, art appreciation, film, poetry, literature and word play in the development of great writers. She looks at the concept of “party school”—how to research a report and turn it into a party! Don’t miss this workshop. It brings the “home” back into your homeschool. Promise!

S4.6 Homeschooling the Real (Distractible, Impatient, Argumentative, Unenthusiastic, Non-Book-Loving, Inattentive, Poky, Vague) Child
Susan Wise Bauer

High academic achievement (and in particular the book-centered kind of achievement recommended by classical educators) often seems designed for one kind of student: the mature, self-directed, disciplined child who loves to read. Susan explores how to deal with the other 90 percent of students. She includes practical strategies for dealing with roadblocks in the way of academic achievement, as well as time-tested advice for teaching to your child’s strengths while still addressing weaknesses.

S4.7 Body of Learning: Phys Ed, Sports and Homeschooling the Athlete
Jeanne Faulconer

We hear a lot about the academic part of homeschooling, but what are you doing for physical education? Physical play and development are important parts of having fun, increasing coordination and skill, improving cognitive ability, growing up healthy and building confidence. Jeanne discusses the benefits for boys and girls and suggests ways you can find or create phys ed and sports opportunities for your kid—whether they’re natural athletes or not. Consider the role of competition, and explore the issues facing more serious homeschooled athletes during their high school years, with a look at how you can support their efforts. Bonus: a few ideas for tying sports to academic learning.

Shopping Break
3:30–4:15 p.m.

Saturday Session 5 4:15–5:15 p.m.

S5.1 Unschooling the Gifted Child
Tara Henry

Tara explores unschooling as a model of learning for the gifted child, beginning with exploring unschooling the gifted child from philosophical and pedagogical perspectives, then moving into the practical application. Through the lens of the unique needs of gifted learners, Tara addresses achievement/performance versus learning/teaching, trusting the child to learn, staging the environment for learning versus presenting material and curriculum, and embracing asynchrony, different learning styles and individual needs.

S5.2 How to Foster a Relationship with Books
Stephanie Elms

Shifting from a mindset of “how do I get my child to read?” to “how can I foster a relationship with books?” can make a huge difference in your homeschooling. Stephanie shares her experiences in ushering her two “late reading” boys (now 13 and 16) along the path to reading. With less focus on the mechanics of reading and more focus on the experience of books, you can help your child develop their own personal relationship with books.

S5.3 The Well-Prepared Student: How to Get Ready for College
Susan Wise Bauer

In this session, learn what and how to teach your child in ninth through twelfth grade—before they fill out those applications and head off for freshman year. What expectations should you have for high school? How can you teach those subjects that stump you? How should you personalize the high school curriculum for your student, while still making sure the basics are covered? What skills will your student need to develop in order to thrive in college? As a college instructor, Susan Wise Bauer has taught scores of college freshmen and knows what they should have learned before freshman year; as a home educating parent, she has graduated one high school student (now at the University of Virginia) and is in the thicket of high school with two more.

S5.4 True Individualized Education: Homeschooling Special Needs
Cindy Gaddis

Special needs covers a host of labels, from what Cindy calls “school-created labels” (those needs associated with learning differences such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, gifted, learning disabled and dysgraphia) to more “traditional labels” (autism, Asperger syndrome, Down syndrome and mental retardation) to those that may or may not affect cognitive ability (cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, Tourette syndrome and obsessivecompulsive disorder). Whatever the special need, it appears that society’s view is one of “less than” or “broken” or a “problem.” Cindy shares her perspective and experiences in interacting with the special needs in her family from a strength/weakness paradigm, which allows children to shine in their gifts while working through difficulties stepby- step in a mentor-supported, successbased environment.

S5.5 Partnership Writing: Becoming Your Child’s Effective Coach and Ally in the Writing Process
Julie Bogart

Your child struggles to get words on the page, yet you feel guilty about offering help. Is it cheating to do the handwriting for him? Shouldn’t you hold back and not interfere with her work? When your child revises a draft, is it okay for you, the parent, to make suggestions or contribute sentences and ideas? What do you do if your child “borrows” original material from another source and passes it off as his own? Partnership Writing is more than transcribing your child’s oral narratives. Partnering with your child in writing means to model, support and guide the writing process by supplying the appropriate amount of help to the evident level of need. Julie explores ways you can partner with your child from kindergarten all the way through the academic writing life of a high schooler. Don’t miss this essential workshop that transforms how you develop your writing-editing partnership with all of your children. Partnership Writing is the most overlooked stage of development in the natural stages of growth in writing. Learn how to be that partner your child needs and deserves.

S5.6 All the World’s a Classroom
Dena Jensen

Have you ever imagined turning lessons into luggage, interests into itineraries and passions into passports? Breathe new life into your homeschool by making travel a part of your curriculum. Dena gets you thinking about ways to incorporate travel into your family’s homeschool experience. Learn how other homeschoolers have used travel in their studies, and find resources to help you get started. Each participant creates a personalized travel vision board to help turn travel dreams into a reality!

S5.7 Preparing Young Learners to Think Mathematically: Logic, Reason and Critical Thinking
Renee Jackson

Many subjects and fields require the application of the principles of logic, reason and critical thinking, and these abilities are critical to higher mathematics such as geometry and calculus. It is not enough to be able to manipulate facts and formulas; a student must also be able to analyze, synthesize, evaluate and apply this knowledge. The process of learning to use logic, reason and critical thinking doesn’t have to wait until the high school years. Renee shares her experience with this topic in her own homeschooling and offers suggestions on how you can incorporate mathematical thinking into your homeschool learning beginning in kindergarten and first and continuing through middle school in progressive stages as your child’s abilities to reason and think logically grows.


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