Finding Encouragement at a Homeschool Convention

Blog, She Wrote: Finding Encouragement at at Homeschool Convention

I’ve partnered with GHC this year to bring you convention news and announcements throughout the year.

Great Homeschool Conventions is gearing up for three conventions in California, South Carolina, and Ohio. The speaker line up and vendor hall is sure to equip you for a new season of homeshcooling. How do you find encouragement at a homeschool convention?

Seeking Encouragement at a Homeschool Convention

Find Speaker Sessions That Will Speak to Your Homeschooling Heart- My homeschool heroes will be at GHC and it would be my great pleasure to meet them both and enjoy their sessions. Being a loyal Five in a Row user for our core homeschool curriculum for the last 8 years, I would love to meet Steve and Jane Lambert. Whether or not you can actually have a conversation with your homeschool hero, doesn’t diminish the opportunity to hear them in person and to be fed by the words they bring that day. Take the time to be a part of talks that will fill you up.

Engage in Sessions that Challenge You- Make sure you look over the schedule to see which speakers and topics are what you need for this season in your homeschool. I love to sit in on sessions which I know will stretch me or help me to think of a topic in a new way. I take notes and think about how I will apply what I’ve heard to our homeschool. I’m a pragmatic thinker, so you’ll find me in sessions which are very practical in their application. Which ones are your favorite?

Visit the Shops- Homeschool conventions are a fantastic venue for browsing and picking out items you haven’t seen before and getting a closer look at something you’ve thought about for a long time. Sometimes you want recommendations from others and to see something in person. GHC has many exhibitors planned for each location. Be sure to check them out for your location.

Seek out Vendors- Make a list of the exhibitors you want to be sure to connect with. You can see beforehand who will be attending each convention location. More than just browsing and shopping, specific companies can help you discern whether their product is for you. I reached my final conclusion about purchasing Math on the Level after attending a convention and talking with the authors myself- asking questions and looking closely at their materials.

Go with A Friend and/or Find Time to Relax- Whichever sounds more rejuvenating to you! It’s great to make the convention a time to get away and enjoy friendships. It can also be a time to enjoy on your own as you think and plan for the following school year. I like a bit of both- time to hang out with a friend and bounce ideas off of each other on what we’ve heard and some time to myself to reflect on things I’ve seen and heard during the weekend.

Blog, She Wrote: Finding Encouragment at a Homeschool ConventionJoin other bloggers from the iHomeschool Network to find out how they will spend their time at convention this year. It’s going to be an amazing experience all in one spot!

Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention for Professional Development

Blog, She Wrote: Attending Homeschool Conventions for Professional Development

I have partnered with Great Homeschool Conventions to bring you news and announcements from throughout the year.

We are rounding the corner into the homeschool convention season and some of you may be wondering whether or not a convention fits into your homeschooling goals and plans. Having attended and spoken at many conventions, I’d like to share with you tips for using a homeschool convention as a place for professional development.

Tips for Attending a Homeschool Convention for Professional Development

One of the many reasons to participate in a homeschool convention is to use it as a time for professional development. After all, you are a full time teacher who needs some inservice time. Use it wisely! You can attend a homeschool convention to:

  • Find Curriculum- Not only can you lay your hands on items you’ve been dying to see, but you can come across vendors with product you haven’t seen that will fill a need in your homeschool. Of course you have to be cautious about random purchases, but sometimes the perfect thing will be there when you need it.
  • Be Encouraged- I love to attend just to hear some of my homeschooling mentors and heroes speak into my homeschooling life.
  • Get Answers to Questions- About curriculum or a problem you are trying to address generally in your homeschool. Take a look at the speakers and sessions to see who and what topics will fill that need.
  • Transition to a New Level- If you are going to be teaching middle or high school in the immediate or near future, conventions can help to unlock those secret planning doors and help you to see what’s ahead. There are always sessions on planning for the high school years. Take advantage of them.
  • Get Help for Your Student’s Specific Needs- Many times speakers who address particular types of students or situations will give you a new perspective on your child’s issue. You might even get the chance to speak with someone directly who specializes in your situation.
  • Refocus- Sometimes we need to redirect our energies or get a new perspective on our homeschooling in general. Certainly being among like-minded families and surrounded by the best of what homeschooling speakers and vendors have to offer will help you to readjust goals and reorient yourself to your homeschooling mission.

Do you have plans to attend a homeschool convention this season? I hope you will consider it the perfect time to engage in professional development.

Great Homeschool Conventions registration is open and they have three locations in South Carolina, California, and Ohio. With a cast of amazing speakers including Ben Carson, Steve Lambert, Matt Walsh, Heidi St. John, and Todd Wilson to name a few, there is sure to be the chance for encouragement and refocus. What an exciting place to be!

Still not sure? Join other bloggers from the iHomeschool Network for Tips & Reasons to attend a Homeschool Convention.

Reasons to Attend a Homeschool Convention

Ten Reasons to Use a Kindle in Your Homeschool {Part 2- The Kindle Fire}

Blog, She Wrote: 10 Reasons to Use a Kindle in Your Homeschool Part 2- Kindle Fire

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Last week I shared the Ten Reason to Use a Kindle in Your Homeschool Part 1. That was all about the Kindle eReader such as the Paperwhite. Part 2 is focused on the Kindle Fire tablet.

5 Compelling Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire in Your Homeschool


  • The Fire has an HD video capability which gives a great picture for things like You Tube
  • and Netflix.
  • I’m excited for the possibility of also viewing what’s on our satellite dish on the Kindle Fire. With Dish Anywhere we can do this- so our recorded school related shows we could see on the go if we needed to fill time.
  • Record video and take pictures if you have the Kindle Fire HDX models.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire in Your Homeschool


  • You can download all your favorite stories and mp3 files onto the Fire
  • Listen to Audible books.
  • Did you know that Whispersync is available for the Fire? If you own the Kindle book and the Aubible file, you can play the audio and follow the highlighted text as you go with the Kindle. This has a lot of possibilities for students with reading disabilities.
  • Even better if you decide to listen only, the next time you open your Fire you can choose to start where the audio left off or where you stopped reading. Pretty clever.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire in Your Homeschool


  • If you’d like to play in the world of tablets, the Kindle Fire is a very cost effective way to do so.
  • There are different models of the Fire from a basic 8G wifi with no camera or mic all the way up to a 3G plus camera and mic and the works. There is a Kindle Fire to fit your needs and your budget.


  • The Kindle Fire is primarily a Kindle after all, so the reading screen is lovely.
  • Best yet, it reads PDF files nicely as well. In fact, it’s the best Kindle for viewing PDF ebooks if you have any of those.
  • In addition, the Fire lets you easily view books which are graphic heavy.
  • Our cK-12 textbooks look great on the Kindle Fire and make it easy for my high schooler to read and interact with the text (like following embedded video links) all while at a table to do written work at the same time. Win.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire in Your Homeschool

Games/Apps/Web Browsing

  • The Silk web browser is very functional- fast and easy to use.
  • We can access homeschooling blogs and tutorials and use them right at our work surface which is a lot less cumbersome than even a laptop.
  • There are some popular games/apps for the Kindle Fire, but don’t expect the same selection as iTunes or Google Play.
  • Follow news articles or links from email and other sources.

Blog, She Wrote: Ten Reasons to Use a Kindle Fire in Your Homeschool

All in all, I love my new Kindle Fire. It’s been a great addition to our homeschool for all these reasons and more. I’ve only had it for about a month, but it’s already proven to be useful on many occasions. In fact, I’d love to have more of them for our students. From reading books in the public domain to using online texts and doing research, tablets are very handy homeschool tools.

Win a Kindle Fire for Your Homeschool

Fortuigence is giving away a Kindle Fire HD and you still have time to enter. The giveaway ends Friday, December 20, 2013. Sign up for the newsletter and be entered into a drawing for a Kindle Fire for you homeschool.


Typical Days at Blog, She Wrote

Typical Days

It’s hard to believe this is the last week of the Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop hosted by iHomeschool Network! Today’s hop is all about the “Day in the Life”. I’m taking the opportunity to share our typical day with some links to past posts and a few highlights.

Our typical day really is captured in Ten Things That Make a Great Homeschool Day. I was tempted to repost it! Instead, please take a moment to click over and read those Ten Things.

Typical DaysOur typical day wouldn’t be complete without a look at our Morning Basket. It’s taken on a different feel, but we try to begin our day with some prayer and a story.

Typical DayAnother hallmark of our homeschool day is reading aloud. We read together subject related things and something for pure enjoyment- mostly books qualify for both. Do you read aloud in your homeschool?

Here are a few posts to encourage you to read aloud with your family. Don’t hesitate to get started.

Thank you for joining us in this year’s Not-Back-to-School Hop with iHomeschool Network. I’m eager to see what other homeschoolers do in their day.

Not Back to School Hop

Homeschool Curriculum 2013-2014

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum 2013-2014

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

It’s August and it’s time to get busy putting plans in place for the new homeschool year. We are not official year-round homeschoolers, so we use the summer to enjoy the good weather and rest- though are there really any homeschoolers who have no scholarly pursuits in the summertime?

In NY State we must turn in an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) for every school aged child. So, this Not-Back-to-School Hop is just in time to help me complete this necessary task.

You’ll see that we try to ride the wave of interest these days and less so on keeping everyone together. We have a lot of independent learners even if I do need to help them find motivation now and then.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum 2013-201410th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Ancient Studies- this course will use Greenleaf materials along with Mystery of History as a guide, TruthQuest, and Story of the World. We’ll use a stack of literature and special projects to create a great course in Ancient History. Included will be ancient civilizations from all over the world.

Geometry/Trigonometry- E14 started Life of Fred Geometry last March so he will finish the course before the end of the school year. He’ll be starting Trigonometry in late winter.

Arabic- using iTalki lessons and other resources

Greek- He will continue Biblical Greek with Hey Andrew Teach me Some Greek Level 5.

Biology- Combined with finishing up Chemistry, E14 will be doing biology using CK12 which is an open source text book. It’s free textbook materials online. We use the Calibre reader so it’s easier to read on the pc. We’ll be doing a four day schedule with the text. On Fridays he will be doing indepth nature studies along with reading and writing abstracts from current research. Biology is my area of certification and I have a BS in biological sciences. How can this not be fun?

Excellence in Literature- selections to match his Ancient Studies course work plus others if he needs a change.

Other Worlds- this is the next step after One Year Adventure Novel. Ethan is dying to do this one and I agreed as long as he would do other writing as well. This one focuses on fantasy and science fiction. He’s very excited for this.

Essay Rockstar- he will be completing the modules for this writing mentoring program. I’ll be sharing our experience with this in a few weeks.

First LEGO League- this is E’s last year as a team member since he will age out of the program after this season. However, he’ll be returning as a team mentor.

Project Time- E14 enjoys making custom LEGO Star Wars minifigs and he spends free time writing. Some of his project time will be devoted to writing his new novel. Stay tuned for details on this after Other Worlds arrives and he begins.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum 2013-20148th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

World History- Renaissance & Reformation using materials from WinterPromise and Greenleaf Press. We’ll be reading a lot together and R13 will focus on fashion of the time and making reproductions along the way.

Above & Beyond Five in a Row- Hitty the First Hundred Years

Pre-Algebra with Life of Fred Physics and Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology

Cover Story- this is the new curriculum for middle schoolers by One Year Adventure Novel in which the kids will author a magazine during the course of the year. We are all very excited about it!

Physics/Biology/History of Science- R13 will be doing some science along with her math this year. We will focus on concepts as we meet them in her math books.

Art/Nature Study- using Harmony Art Plans and garden/wildflower studies

Project Time- R13 loves to sew (that can’t be news to regular readers!) and she will be working on any number of ideas during her project time.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum 2013-20146th Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Beyond Five in a Row- literature based unit studies with chapter books

Time Travelers- America in World War II CD, I11 is still into WWII planes and is very eager to do this study.

Other Unit Studies- for example a unit on exploration and colonization.

Life of Fred Fractions & Decimals and Percents- he started fractions in the spring so we’ll just continue. We’ll also being doing Math on the Level adventures.

History of Science- a literature based introduction to Scientific Principles and their Discoverers.

Cover Story- we are looking forward to this format after using One Year Adventure Novel with our oldest.

Project Time- mostly devoted his hobbies of flight. I can’t wait to see what he chooses to construct and learn this year.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum 2013-20143rd Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Five in a Row- literature based unit studies using picture books

Beyond Five in a Row- literature based unit studies using chapter books

Life of Fred – finish up Goldfish and move on to Honey and beyond. He’ll also be doing lots of concepts using Math on the Level instruction.

Language Arts- focus on paragraph writing and research/book reports. He will probably tag along with Cover Story.

History of Science- we’ll stop at those listed and those not listed this year I’m sure.

Entomology Club- J8 has joined a 4H entomology club and we’ll get to do serious collecting with other kids who love insects. It’s a pretty big commitment, but he is beyond excited. We’ll learn how to preserve and pin from an entomologist!

Project Time- J8 will have entomology work to do at home, but he is never without a project. Full of ideas and always ready to see them come to life, our engineer will keep pressing the limits of 3rd grade invention.

Whole Family, Multi-Aged Homeschool Time

We try to come together at least once a day to do something together as a family. We usually do art and nature together along with reading aloud. This year I’m going to add in Geography. We’ll pick a way we want to tackle it together and then we’ll set out to reach our goal using the resources we already have on hand.

Nature Studies- we use the Handbook of Nature Study and Barb’s plans for those, NaturExplorers (we have a new creek study to enjoy), FIAR nature studies among other resources. We also just study what we observe.

Art- Harmony Art plans to be incorporated some with their history studies, Chalk pastels from Hodgepodge, Artistic Pursuits, blogs, etc.

Geography- to be honest, our kids are pretty good with geography. Our 10th grader used to pour over geography constantly when he was about 6 or 7. There’s not a lot I can teach them that will be new. Some of our favorite resources include WonderMaps, Trail Guides to Geography, Google Earth, atlases, The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide  and Hands on Geography to name a few.

Everyone will be busy this year. We have homeschool co-op for two hours each Monday for ten sessions each semester. Otherwise, we try to stay home!

If you are not already an email subscriber, sign up today and don’t miss any of the rest of the hop or Geography Quests this month!

Join us at the iHN for the August Not-Back-to-School Hop. Each week you can link up to see how everyone else is gearing up. See you next week for School Room Week!

Not Back to School Hop