Homeschool Conference

I had the great opportunity this weekend to attend the North Carolina Home Educator’s annual conference in Winston-Salem.  My new friend, Megan told me about it a few months ago and I couldn’t wait for it to get here!  She has been homeschooling for about 8 years so she knows all the ins and outs of the different curriculums and what not and she was SUCH a big help to me!  We drove over on Friday (I worked the night shift the night before and functioned on 1 hour of sleep–basically I was up for 30 out of 31 hours!  Not healthy for me or the baby I KNOW and that will be the last time I do that for a long time!  So Friday I was very overwhelmed and tired and nauseated from being up so long and although I did enjoy Friday at the conference I don’t think I got as much out of it as I could have!  (And I really enjoyed our supper at Downtown Thai!).

Saturday was better however.  I attended several really good sessions and was able to spend a lot of time at the massive book fair!  They had almost 100 vendors there with their curriculum available to look over.  I had the chance to ask a lot of questions and I learned so much!  I even bought some of Annagrace’s curriculum for next year.  I attended a session that was taught by the president of My Father’s World.  I was very impressed not only with him as a person but to his dedication to provide Christ centered education for homeschoolers.  He started the company because he could not find a curriculum that encouraged kids to read through the Old Testament.  With his curriculum, kids read from Genesis to Micah in the 9th grade and then start a study of the New Testament in the 10th grade.  But in all the units leading up to that the Bible is integrated throughout.   The Unit Study I bought is all about Countries and Cultures and will include her History, Bible, Social Studies, Science and Art all rolled into one!  We will study different countries and people groups and will learn about missionaries and different cultures.  She has her own “passport” and she will earn a flag sticker for each country that we “visit”.  I think she is really going to love it!

Another session I attended was by the co-founder of  Moving Beyond the Page.   This is a curriculum designed for creative and gifted children–perfect for my smarty pants 7 year old!  He explained that a creative child doesn’t mean a child that can draw–it’s thinking creatively, solving problems creatively, thinking “outside the box”.  This is definitely Annagrace!  I ordered 2 books from this company that I will use to keep her busy this summer and once we start back full throttle in the fall I will use these as her “challenge” studies.

This summer we will use the Little House unit study from Moving Beyond the Page along with the Little House unit study from Progeny Press.  I am hoping that Annagrace enjoys these Little House books as much as I did when I was little.   My plan is that these books will be read aloud books that I will read to her and Madalyn and then we will do the projects together.  I am so excited to start reading these books to them!  I LOVE that Laura Ingalls!  We will also do the States Unit Study from Moving Beyond the Page.  It is an AWESOME book that I recommend to anyone!  It has some great stuff in it and I know Annagrace will enjoy it since she’s going through a ‘geography/states phase” right now!

And finally, I have decided to use Teaching Textbooks for her math.  This comes highly recommended by Megan–so thanks Megan for showing it to me!!!  Annagrace loves doing work on the computer and this is a computer based math program that teaches her the lesson on the computer and then she completes the worksheets on paper.  The videos are well done and since it’s computer based it will help her develop her computer skills as well!  I am going to give her a placement test this week to determine which grade level to place her in.  Judging from the questions, I am pretty confident she is going to place on the 4th grade level.

So I still have to decide on a Language Arts program.  I looked at a lot of stuff at the conference and nothing really jumped out at me so I need to do more research on that.  I have looked into everything from A Beka, to Alpha Omega, to Christian Light to Sonlight and nothing has really stood out to me yet.  The A Beka curriculum is on the top of my list right now but that could change!

I picked up two really good tidbits from the conference that made me have an “a-ha” moment!  One of the presenters encouraged us to start praying daily for God’s will for our children’s lives to be shown to us.  She said that even at a very small age we may begin to see signs of where God is leading our child.  He is the only One who knows what our kids’ future holds and we should pray that He would guide us to discovering their purpose in life.  She also explained that we should not worry whether or not we are teaching our children “enough” or “the right stuff”.  We as Christians have the Holy Spirit guiding us and the Spirit will lead us to teach our children what they need to know to fulfill their purpose in life.  That was a total “a-ha” moment for me!  Honestly we did not make the decision to homeschool based entirely on our Christian beliefs.  We decided to do it because Annagrace was very gifted and was very bored in public school.  I did not want her to ever be embarrassed of being smart and I wanted to challenge her on the level she needed to be challenged on.  But after attending this session I realized that God had lead us to this decision for a reason and that He has a plan for her life that He has entrusted US to nurture and educate her for.  Wow.  What a HUGE responsibility we have!

So that’s my summary of the conference!  I can not wait to go again next year.  It was very encouraging and confirmed that my decision to homeschool her was the right one.  I am anxious to get started with her in the Fall!

Oh–I did buy some fun stuff for the kids too!  I LOVE educational toys and I have to restrain myself because I could buy them so much stuff!  Here are a few things that picked up for them:

For Madalyn I got the My Father’s World Shape and Color Sorter.

This is a great toy for 2-3 year olds and she really enjoys playing with it!  In fact, she’s playing with it right now!

I got them this logic game called Sink or Swim that is similar to Rush Hour–which Annagrace loves:

I got Annagrace this Ocean Card Game that I thought she’d enjoy this summer at the beach:

I also got Annagrace a recorder and a book to teach her how to play it:

I got an Origami set to go along with our Countries and Cultures Unit Study:

And a country flag placemat (also to go with the Unit Study):

This book was highly recommended in one of the session I attended to keep preschoolers and toddlers busy while working with older kids.  It has some really good ideas in it for me to use with Madalyn.

Annagrace loves hangman and this is a scratch and solve book so she can play it by herself:

I also picked up a few books–2 books about Indians for Annagrace’s Indian project, and an Amelia Earhart book for her and a daily planner book for me.

Wow–I bought a LOT of stuff didn’t I?

ETA:   One more book I bought was Aplogia’s Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day.

This company is fantastic.  They provide Creation-based Science education for children of all ages.  I LOVE this.  None of that evolution, the earth is a million years old crap.  Granted, our children will learn about evolution one day but I am happy that there are good resources and teaching materials out there that focus on God’s created earth.  This will help them to be able to defend Creation when they are older!

4 Responses to “Homeschool Conference”

  1. 1 Mom May 24, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    Guess what! I bought Annagrace a book about Amelia Earhart today! She’ll be tired of her! LL!

  2. 2 Jennifer Van Buskirk May 24, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    I teach the ABeka Language curriculum to my fourth and fifth graders at the private school where I work. While I must say that I’m not a fan of their first/second grade language material, I am a pretty big fan of the third/fourth/fifth language curriculum. The fourth and fifth has the normal grammar information, as well as dictionary information, writing reports, book reports, encyclopedia, etc.

    • 3 lsaufley May 25, 2009 at 7:26 am

      Thanks Jennifer for that info! I like the A Beka stuff too and I think Annagrace would. She likes doing worksheets so she’ll like that aspect of it. I was reading about the difference in the 3rd and 4th grade levels and I think that she would be on the 4th grade level. I am going to try to test in the next month to see where she will be.

  3. 4 Alison May 25, 2009 at 7:45 am

    *taking notes, taking notes* 🙂 Is this conference annual? Next year, give me a call! I’d love to go and start researching and stocking up on stuff for Charlotte!

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May 2009

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