Saturday Session Information
S1.2 Developmentally Appropriate Kindergarten: What It Is and How to Do It
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L
We will explore the roots of kindergarten, how it was designed to provide a foundation for further learning, and where it is today. “Kindergarten has become the new first grade” is something we hear now, but what happened to having a good kindergarten year of playful learning? The advantages of a developmentally appropriate education are clear. Session will include advice on what your home kindergarten should include to help your child develop verbal, cognitive, and fine motor skills needed for future success, along with an explanation of why jumping into reading and writing too soon results in no advantage at all.
In this session, Sarah will interweave family stories with advice about hosting foreign students and sending your child abroad to stay with another family. Over the past 11 years, the Zmick family has hosted six exchange students for summer homestays. Last summer, their 14-year-old participated in a homestay with a French family and visited a former student-guest and her family in Spain.
S1.4 Beginning Homeschooling, Part 1: Navigating Paperwork and Legalities
Thinking about homeschooling but feeling a bit overwhelmed? New to homeschooling and wondering what you got yourself into? Cindy 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. This session is similar in content to the Beginning Homeschooling session on Friday (F1.5).
S1.5 Building Your Chemistry Curriculum from Grade 2 Through Middle School
In this session, we will conduct some of the hands-on activities and experiments that you can do with your kids while building their knowledge of chemistry. Plus, we will cover/review some of the terms and topics you will be exploring with your kids as they get older (e.g., shells, valence electrons, ionic and covalent bonds).
S1.6 From Visual to Verbal
Nathan M. Richardson
Poet, author, and teaching artist Nathan M. Richardson facilitates a workshop exploring writing inspired by art. This workshop is designed for children and adults to create Ekphrastic poems and prose inspired by classical and contemporary works of art and photography. Through discussion and practical exercise, students will learn how to approach writing about art from various perspectives such as writing about the scene, writing in the voice of the artist, and personification of subjects in the work of art.
S1.7 Math Strategies for the Learning Challenged
Is your child facing learning challenges? Does your child have math anxiety? Children with learning challenges must truly understand in order to remember. The traditional approach of teaching mathematics does not work for them. In this workshop, you will learn some teaching strategies and techniques that will help children with learning challenges reduce their math anxiety, and debunk the myths that make your task harder than it needs to be.
Keynote Address—“Preparing Our Children for a Future We Can’t Predict”
Why a Classical Education—Focused on History, Science, and Language Arts—Is Still the Best Route We Know (Subtitle: Beware of Gimmickry in New Clothes)
It’s difficult to anticipate or predict what your child will need during their educational career or what will be needed for a successful future. Join Joy as she discusses the merits and timelessness of a classical education.
When you don’t have a science background, it can be intimidating to teach even the basics to your students. “The Story of Science” trilogy has been called the “gold standard” in this field. Starting with ancient Greece and Aristotle, these narrative tales enchant the reader and encourage a comprehensive learning. Have you used these books? Do you want to? Join us while we share ideas and techniques you can use when you are teaching science to your family or co-op. Come share your ideas, too!
S3.2 Engaging Teen Homeschoolers
What approaches can you use to help teen homeschoolers become or remain engaged in learning during their high school years? How does engagement translate into helping teens with their future plans for college or work? What if your teen is just going through the motions (or less) and is not engaged in the curriculum you have picked out for high school? How does homeschooling through a lens of engagement benefit academically advanced teens? Join Jeanne for a discussion of these questions and a look at how focusing on engagement could make learning more meaningful for the teens in your family.
S3.3 Learning Accommodations
Kenneth R. Westcott, O.D.
According to the National Parent Teaching Association, over 10 million children have undiagnosed vision problems that interfere with their school work. Vision is more than the ability to see 20/20. The eyes must effortlessly work together as a team, accurately jumping from word to word, and the brain must understand and remember what is seen in order to excel in school. Dr. Westcott will discuss how vision impacts learning and how to work around these problems in a homeschool setting.
S3.4 Critical Thinking Through Chess
Numerous studies prove that chess helps children do better in school through improvement of focus, impulse control, pattern recognition, decision making, planning, calculating, and critical and creative thinking. Chess is also proven to improve self-esteem and reduce anxiety, and it can level the playing field for children with disabilities. These benefits are best achieved through a systematic study and pursuit of chess in a structured environment, rather than simply casual play. Learn about resources and opportunities for your child to pursue the study of chess individually or in a club setting, and to compete in tournaments at the local, state, regional, and national levels.
S3.5 Service Learning for Middle Schoolers
If you have a student aged 11–13, service learning is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal. In this session, Sarah explains how your student can build confidence, develop workplace skills, and explore their values and interests while nurturing a spirit of service. Find out why 12 is Sarah’s “magic number” when it comes to service learning. Discuss how placements are identified and responsibilities defined. Real-life examples demonstrate the benefits of service learning.
S3.6 Spend Time With Frederick Douglass
Nathan M. Richardson as Frederick Douglass
A 45-minute presentation designed for students in grades K–12 in which Frederick Douglass speaks for 20 minutes about his life as a slave; his escape to freedom; and his rise as a great writer, orator, and abolitionist. Mr. Douglass will place an emphasis on reading and writing, learning history, and developing a strong sense of civic responsibility. Mr.Douglass will recite an excerpt from his most famous speech “What to the Slave is the 4th of July,” followed by a 15-minute unscripted Q&A session between students and Mr. Douglass.
S3.7 Mapping Out Your Teen’s Spanish Language Journey for Middle and High School Years
Help your teen start learning Spanish and support their learning throughout the secondary years by creating a roadmap for success. Learn the necessary language skills your student needs to speak the language: the why, when, what, and how of the language learning journey!
The 10-volume series, “A History of US,” has been used by homeschoolers for years. Study guides, teaching guides, worksheets, field trips, and projects have been based on the contents of these award-winning texts. Join us while we share ideas and techniques you can use when you are teaching U.S. history to your family or co-op. Come share your ideas, too!
S4.2 Writerly Writing: A Writer’s Approach
How does a writer help kids learn to write? Join writer-mom Jeanne Faulconer as she describes some of the techniques she has used in her own family, in homeschool co-ops, in writing groups, in workshops, and in college classes. Markedly different from the usual “howto- write” books and curricula, these techniques help many reluctant writers become more willing, help kids find and value their writing voice, and inspire talented young writers to write more and better. Jeanne encourages wordplay and a process-oriented approach to writing, with an emphasis on the benefit of helping young writers connect their thoughts to putting words on paper. This session will emphasize elementary through early high school years. It is not a session about teaching the five paragraph essay, sentence structure, or mechanics; however, don’t be surprised if your kids eventually learn them, partly as a result of this approach.
S4.3 Secret Strategies for Successful Spelling
Kenneth R. Westcott, O.D.
What differentiates a great speller from a struggling speller? What piece is missing when a child spells words by how they sound, cannot remember the spelling words they have been practicing over and over again, or struggles to pass a spelling test? Join us as Dr. Westcott addresses all of these questions and how they relate to vision! He will discuss the perceptual tools necessary to be a successful speller and will review specific strategies to make use of them in a homeschool setting.
S4.4 Teaching Math to Gifted and 2e Kids
How do I keep up with my child’s math needs? Why does he or she understand complex algebra but struggle with basic computation? What curriculum options are available to help? Does my gifted child really need to do the entire page of practice problems? If you have asked yourself these questions, please join us as we discuss how learning styles, gifted intensities, and overexcitabilities affect learning math. Finally, Sherry will share some ways to make math fun, relate it to real life, and methods to stress important skills like critical thinking and problem solving with our gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) kids.
S4.5 Building a Homeschool Community
Brooke Scott Greenstreet
Many become homeschoolers to escape “the village” and then feel isolated. Building a homeschool community is about how to break out and find “your people.” Join Brooke and hear how she found her community by stepping out of her comfort zone and finding her group, and how you can, too.
S4.6 Dual Enrollment
Sherene (Shez) Silverberg
Join Sherene as she explains how you can use dual enrollment classes for high school and college credit. She will explore how to choose wisely and utilize more than just community college. This will be a great session for high schoolers and those looking to brainstorm ideas.
S4.7 Middle School Mania: How We’re Transitioning to Homeschool Middle School
Homeschooling middle school can be a challenging time. Puberty! Brain Growth! Homeschool friends heading off to public school! Homeschool parents can feel like they are running out of steam or won’t be able to tackle the middle school years. In this session, I will walk through how we’re tackling homeschooling with three middle schoolers (yes, at once) with a bit of structure, lots of interest-led learning, activities, coops, and all the hot tea and chocolate for mom. I want to show families that homeschooling middle school doesn’t need to look like traditional school, and by following your goals and your children’s goals and interests, they can thrive at home; even during middle school.
S5.1 Flipped Classrooms, Homeschool Style
Flipped classrooms are all the rage, ever since Sal Khan and Sugatra Mitra galvanized the educational world with their TED Talks and Wired interviews. It makes sense to have kids in the same space as a live expert, while absorbing passive content at home. But does that apply to homeschooled children, where student and teacher live in the same place? Karen has been experimenting with the flipped classroom, and she’d like to posit that our community is well suited to this mode of learning. First using email, and now Google Classroom, she creates assignments for students to complete on their own, while opening her home once a week for labs and dialogue. With other parents, she has created a homegrown co-op for human geography, science, and Latin at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Come listen to Karen’s experiences and learn how to apply this teaching model to your homeschool.
S5.2 Beginning Homeschooling, Part 2: But What Do I Do Monday?
This second talk in the Beginning Homeschooling series covers options for the day-to-day aspects of homeschooling: finding resources, knowing what to teach, exploring different homeschool approaches, structuring your day, and finding local groups. While no one can tell you what will work best for your family, Cindy provides you with resources for figuring it all out. Gain the knowledge and the confidence you need to get started on your homeschooling journey.
S5.3 Homeschooling Teens (and Beyond) With Special Needs
Sarah Zmick, an active homeschooling parent who continues to assist her adult children with special needs, will share up-to-date information that is relevant to parents in similar situations. Topics may include education, social skills, health concerns, financial planning, sibling and family relationships, skills for independent living, government services, and more. Attendees are welcome to share their questions, concerns, and knowledge in this discussion-based session.
S5.4 Why You Can’t Do It All (and Why You Shouldn’t Even Try)
This sounds kind of negative when you first hear it—I shouldn’t even try? “Wait a minute,” I hear you saying, “these are my kids. My most precious cargo. And you’re saying that I shouldn’t even try to give them everything?” But here’s the thing: Our goal is to keep homeschooling sustainable, right? We’re in this for years, not weeks. And I promise you, if we try to do it all, we will burn out. In this session, we’ll talk about expectations for ourselves and our children and how to prioritize when we want to give our kids all we can.
S5.5 Making the Most of Your Summers!
This hands-on workshop will help you and your student identify some areas of interest you may have overlooked during your academic year, and we will uncover the most effective avenues to pursue those interests during the summer!
S5.6 Tips and Tricks for Homeschooling the Atypical Child
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L
Get some ideas from an occupational therapist on how to structure your homeschool to work when your child has ADHD, SPD, ASD, or other challenges. Learn tricks for making a sensory diet work with your day and get some ideas for keeping your school days on track. Laura will detail practical ways to take sensory breaks and explain why things like posting a calendar and schedule will help your days go better.
S5.7 Finding Your Homeschool F.L.O.W.
Homeschooling is a way of life. When you follow your homeschool F.L.O.W., you can create a rhythm that works for both you and your kids.
F: Faithfully cultivate what matters most;
L: Love yourself so that you can love others well;
O: Own it—your time, health, boundaries;
W: Weed out what’s not working for you and your homeschool.
Go with your F.L.O.W. no matter what season of homeschooling you’re in right now.