Fall, winter, spring…ahhhh summer. Should your student take a long break from schoolwork or keep learning year-round?
No matter the season, learning never stops.
But some studies have shown that an extended time away from active learning can cause knowledge to wane, especially in math and reading.
To keep these skills sharp, we recommend some fun summer science activities, so your student retains what you’ve taught them and is ready for the next Berean Builders course.
You can find many lists of summer science activities for your students of all ages with a quick online search.
Look for fun projects, natural observations, seasonal crafts, and kitchen chemistry (cooking) that include plenty of reading and math.
Project Based Learning For The Win (PBL FTW!)
Project based learning can be a great summer focus.
Plant a garden,
keep a weather record,
map the moon, stars, and planets each night.
Your student’s interests should lead the list of summer learning. Find what they love, then have a blast incorporating stealth lessons throughout the season.
Why stealth? Because some students balk when it comes to using “vacation” time for learning. Use your best judgement for your particular situation and find the quiet lessons in everyday science.
Most of all, give your student opportunities for critical thinking.
Let them decide what activities will be most effective. Let them do the research and planning.
Once they’re excited about a topic, let it run its course as long as they’re interested. Every moment spent enjoying a project is a moment dedicated to keeping their skills sharp all summer.
Get Out There and Science!
Whether you take a break from lessons or school year-round, summer is a great time to do science experiments in the great outdoors.
Biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science experiments abound, and summer is ideal for observing and interacting with nature and the world around us.
Summer is also a great time to complete any experiments you may have missed during the year.
Berean Builders science courses contain hundreds of hands-on experiments to help students comprehend abstract concepts with concrete actions and observations.
Moderation is the Key
Of course, we know you and your student need time off from teaching and learning to reboot, relax, and refresh. Summer learning doesn’t have to be every day! A couple of activities per week is plenty to make sure math and reading stay at level and learned science concepts stay in your student’s knowledge base.
Your future self will thank you for encouraging your student to practice what they’ve learned so you don’t have to reteach concepts or rehash last year’s lessons.
Make this summer one to remember with plenty of interesting science experiences. Then get ready to start a whole new science adventure in the fall!
It is quite surprising to know that many parents, who homeschool their kids, are of the view that audiobooks or listening to a book isn’t really beneficial for their kids, especially in comparison to silent reading. There is no evidence in support of this argument. As a matter of fact, audiobooks are considered beneficial for all listeners, especially for those kids who struggle with reading books. In this blog, our aim is to help parents understand that there is no harm in using audiobooks. They will only help your kid learn better. We have listed some benefits of audiobooks. Let’s take a look at them. Continue reading The Value Of Using Audiobooks In Your Homeschool
Berean Builders Science courses offer a complete learning experience for your student.
We understand students learn differently. Visual students gain their information from reading our textbooks. Students who take in new ideas by hearing them enjoy the audiobooks of our courses. And our hands-on experiments help those kinetic learners solidify concepts.
We also understand the value of live instruction, which is why Berean Builders offers online course lessons as well.
Once per week in a 90-minute videoconference call, Dr. Wile covers material from our chemistry and physics courses, and Mrs. Lori McKeeman instructs students in general science, physical science, and biology.
Online science classes can provide several benefits for your homeschooled students. Let’s explore some of these.
Since students have unique learning styles and needs, participating in our online courses addresses individual needs and provides personalized instruction and immediate feedback. These live lessons are engaging and conversational.
“It has been encouraging for me to notice [my daughter] giggling during Physics sessions with you. She tries so hard to keep up with her studies in your class. From my vantage point, it is a blessing to see her enjoying your sense of humor within the rigorous study of Honors Physics. Thank you so much for making her learning experience a joy.”
Speaking of engaging, our online course lessons allow students to ask their questions and get real-time answers from the instructors, taking the textbook information to a broader, yet more personal, level. The students can grasp concepts quicker and build on them as the course progresses.
“I really enjoyed class this year. Your instruction has been the highlight of my entire time in high school. I read several of your other texts throughout high school and loved them, but this class with the live teaching has been incredible.”
Online science classes can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easy for homeschool students to fit them into their schedule. This flexibility is particularly useful for homeschool families who have busy schedules or who travel frequently. Science on-the-go!
“I’m so sad that this class is almost over! You are one of the best teachers I’ve ever had! I’ll miss seeing you (even if it’s only over the Internet)!”
Access to quality instruction
Homeschool parents aren’t required to be experts in all the subjects. If the thought of teaching science gives you pause, our online classes are the solution. Dr. Wile and Mrs. McKeeman offer students access to high-quality instruction from educators who are passionate about science.
“My daughter is loving your Biology course this year. It’s the only day of the week she jumps out of bed excited for school. It has improved not only her science knowledge, but her work ethic, scheduling skills, and study skills. Please keep offering these!”
Preparation for college
If your student is college-bound, you understand the importance of high school preparation. Dr. Wile is a university professor and introduces students to college-level instruction through our online classes. Attendees get a first-hand look at how college classes can be structured, and our online courses prepare your students for university-level science. This can help students develop the skills they will need to transition and succeed in college.
“I wanted to thank you for being such an amazing Physics teacher to [my son] this school year. I rest easy knowing he is in phenomenal hands and is being thoroughly challenged in preparation for college. He thinks so highly of you and enjoys your classes very much. Thank you again!”
Access to a wider range of courses
Online science classes can provide homeschooling parents with access to a broader range of courses than they might be able to offer on their own. This can be especially helpful for parents who are not experts in science or who are unable to teach advanced courses.
“…my daughter, who did not want to take Chemistry, developed a strong appreciation for it because you made the concepts so understandable and the content so interesting. So much so that she told her sister she had to take Chemistry from you because she now believes Chemistry is not a have to take class, but a must take class. Every week she excitedly shared about some new concept she learned…Thanks for taking the subject she dreaded most and making it the subject she became the most excited about this year!”
Science is just one facet of homeschool learning. At Berean Builders, we live by our name. We want your students to examine their world and ask deep questions. Through our live online classes, we offer opportunities for them to do just that.
“Your year-long Honors Physics class has been challenging, demanding, and wonderful. I think the struggles and demands it placed on [my son] helped him grow in many good ways. I particularly loved your invitation at the end of classes to discuss theological or other matters. Students at this age (and especially right now) face deep, important questions about God and our culture, and to have a godly, intelligent, and wise teacher/mentor to safely ask questions has been a huge godsend.”
For science this year, take a look at our online classes to see if Berean Builders Online is a good fit for your student. With all these benefits, we believe online science is a winner.
It’s no secret Berean Builders courses prepare your student for university level science. You’re ready for science at home! But what about homeschool science labs?
Does the word lab conjure up a large room full of strange equipment and unknown substances?
Does this image make you doubt your ability to give your kids lab experiences equal to public school?
Don’t worry, we have you covered with labs, too.
The Value Of Science Labs In Your Homeschool
You may be surprised to learn that Berean Builders science labs are even more real than classroom labs.
In a rigid school setting, the teacher prepares the labs and offers his or her experience as the students encounter roadblocks as they proceed. This sounds great right?
If a student is relying on an experienced teacher to think for them, they aren’t thinking for themselves. And that’s what we’re doing here at Berean Builders…helping students become critical thinkers.
A homeschool student conducting a lab on the kitchen counter doesn’t have the luxury of raising their hand to ask trifling questions. They really have to think through the problem on their own.
Of course, we’re here for any insurmountable difficulties!
But what we really want is for your student to think about the problem and come to their own conclusions before escalating their questions.
Even better, since they are not restricted by a set classroom time, they can keep playing with the experiment until it works.
This is actual science, not spoon-fed predictions and outcomes.
Your student can work on their own to find flaws in their processes.
Plus, they’ll have the opportunity to do their own troubleshooting.
Frustrating for them?
But your homeschool science will have better labs for their efforts.
Your children can enjoy having figured it out on their own.
College Prep Science Labs In Your Homeschool
Another wonderful result of experiencing labs at home is that your student will be better prepared for college labs.
In Dr. Wile’s opinion, the best of his university science students were homeschool grads! These students were better at thinking through issues in labs and didn’t need handholding to accomplish the day’s goals.
Fortunately for you, the associated equipment for today’s labs is much more readily available, much better, and much more affordable.
You also have a new realm of experiments available. You are now able to recreate public school labs right at home.
With non-toxic chemicals and first-class equipment that you can access affordably, your homeschool labs will be equal to the “real” labs you may remember.
And your students will benefit from university level science labs along with the first-rate science courses from Berean Builders.
Homeschool Science Lab Resources From Berean Builders
Take a look at some of the extensive lab kits we have available to accompany our science courses:
This means you aren’t literally teaching science, but instead are introducing concepts and allowing your student to make observations, form opinions, and reach conclusions.
The comprehension questions at the end of each chapter will show you how well they absorbed the information.
With our Science Through HIStory courses, you can present information as slowly or rapidly as your student desires.
Each course includes enough lessons for you to schedule science every other day or twice per week and cover the entire course in a standard school year.
If you have a science fan in your family, you can go even faster!
IMPORTANT: We encourage you to provide a notebook for each student each year to record observations, questions, answers, and to draw, paint, color, or otherwise illustrate the ideas they learn.
For an every-other-day science schedule, let’s say you plan a science lesson on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The elementary lessons should only take a few minutes. You’ll introduce the topic and the hands-on experiment, then allow your student to make observations.
Encourage your homeschooler to add what they’ve learned in their notebook.
The review questions will uncover any areas you may need to explain.
And that’s it! You’ve covered science for the day.
Of course, if your student enjoys the topic and wants to explore more, let them! Offer library books or science videos on the topic, head out for a related field trip, or just sit back and see what activity they design on their own.
Elementary homeschool science can be enjoyable for the whole family when you keep lessons light and spend plenty of time allowing pure observation to build enthusiasm.
Junior High Homeschool Science
As your homeschooler moves into junior high, you can move forward with confidence using our courses designed for them.
One thing you’ll need to stress is good math skills as they progress into more difficult topics. This will prepare your student for higher level science, which of course, requires higher level math.
Typically, you’ll cover one course per year unless your student needs to go at a slower or faster pace. You’ll also provide a clean notebook for each course as a repository for concepts and observations throughout the year.
Since junior high science lessons are a bit more in-depth than earlier courses, you may need to schedule time for science every day, including hands-on experiments.
Experiments can become the highlight of the science lesson since your homeschooler will have an opportunity to see the concept as a concrete activity.
Help your student maintain their enthusiasm for science by allowing them to think critically and make their own observations and connections, building on what they learned in earlier years.
Fun topical books, videos, and activities will make science enjoyable for the whole family.
We also offer online classes and self-paced recorded classes for a customizable science experience.
The review and comprehension questions at the end of each chapter will help you and them know what they’ve grasped and what may still need to be investigated.
High School Homeschool Science
Some homeschool parents get nervous when their student reaches high school and is ready for higher level sciences.
We’re here to help with that!
Continue to stress higher math skills. These are crucial to understanding the concepts taught in biology, chemistry, and physics.
Notebooks will also be quite useful to help your student corral all the information they are receiving during their science lessons.
To cover a high school science course in a year, you may need daily science lessons unless your student grasps a concept quickly and wants to move on.
Chapter review and comprehension questions are critical to helping both you and your high schooler understand what material is clear and what is not.
For students who learn better by listening, we offer audio courses. In addition, we have online courses for those who prefer an in-person science experience.
In your school year, also plan to include additional books, documentaries, field trips, or other learning experiences to help your student make the most of their homeschool science adventure.
Homeschool Science With Berean Builders
We’re confident you and your student will enjoy our science courses. With Dr. Wile’s conversational manner of introducing a topic, the straight-forward experiments offered, and the gentle review questions at the end of each chapter, Berean Builders will help your student become a critical thinker in science, and in life.
And as always, if you have questions or need resources or reassurance, we are more than happy to assist as you and your student explore God’s creation with Berean Builders.
Notebooking may seem like a recent invention for homeschoolers, but did you know natural philosophers and scientists from long ago used notebooks? Just look at Leonardo da Vinci’s wonderful collection of pages he used to capture his thoughts and ideas!
The term notebooking is another way of describing journaling. If you’ve ever written your thoughts down in a blank book or dabbled in scrapbooking, you understand the concept of notebooking.
What notebooking is not: a stack of worksheets in a binder. Busy work may seem like a learning tool, but lessons presented in a boring, rigid format don’t allow for free thinking and creativity.
How does notebooking work as a learning tool?
Just like scrapbooking creates a visual representation of the memories you had of an event, notebooking helps your child organize and process what they’re learning to turn their working knowledge into a concrete, visual representation of what they remember from their lessons.
In addition, science tells us that writing down questions and answers creates synapses in the brain that help learners retain information longer. This hands-on approach makes learning personal and fun.
When should students begin using notebooks for science?
Any student can use a notebook to help them record what they see and experience while learning new concepts in science.
Even elementary students can draw pictures or create designs with pieces of paper and glue, just like scrapbooking.
For those students who think faster than they can write, you can take dictation and record their thoughts on pages they can illustrate.
As students move up through more difficult sciences, they can use their notebooks to help them think through ideas and record their theories and the outcomes of their research and lab experiments.
Our preference is for each child to have their own blank, lined, spiralbound notebook for each of our textbooks. This notebook would be used to record study notes as they’re reading/doing activities, copy any questions asked and their answers (lesson review, comprehension checks, chapter review, and practice problems).
Unstructured notebooks offer plenty of room for your student to draw pictures or diagrams, paste in cutouts, or write their own personal thoughts which will further their understanding of a topic.
A blank notebook allows them the freedom to write as much or as little as they want (or make a drawing as big or as little as they want) rather than being constrained by a preprinted box or number of lines or feeling inadequate because they didn’t use all the space available.
But don’t let us restrict creativity! An artist’s sketchbook, a scrapbook, or any other creative journal can be the perfect repository for your student’s science adventure.
Remember, students don’t have to be creative writers to jot down what they observe. But if sometimes the “blank page syndrome” rears its ugly head, and you prefer a preprinted notebook experience, Berean offers free PDFs you can download and print.
Students who use notebooks for questions, answers, diagrams, sketches, and random thoughts recall more about the topic and remember it longer than students who use worksheets or other passive learning tools.
Students can use notebooks as a place to capture out-of-the-box trains of thought when they are investigating a new topic.
Students hone their skills through notebooking. Creative writing, technical writing, capturing their thoughts into words, realistic drawing, and recording observations are all skills that will develop or improve within the pages of a science notebook.
Creating a personalized documentary of their progression through a science course complete with their writing and drawing helps students own their learning experience.
Review and Study
Notebooks contain the knowledge your student has gained during the course organized in the way they best understand it. This becomes a valuable tool for review and study.
When a topic causes your student to think of a random unrelated question, the notebook is there to help them record their query to prevent it from interfering with their current point of study.
Follow Up and Evaluation
You will be able to look through notebooks to gauge your student’s comprehension of covered topics. If there is a clear issue, you can review that topic, or pass on the notebook page to someone else for their opinion.
Bonus Benefit: Memories
Avid notebookers have amassed libraries of their thoughts and sketches. How wonderful for your student to have a collection of everything they’ve learned in homeschool science.
How to get started notebooking
The good news is there’s no one right way to use notebooks in your homeschool. Your kids can write, draw, paste, cut, fold, paint, and color their way through their science lessons. All of this creativity and self-expression leads to learning and understanding.
When your student begins a new science course, provide them with a fresh, clean notebook. You can help them decide how they will keep their notes by offering suggestions, then let them continue with their own ideas.
Encourage them to copy comprehension and review questions from each chapter into their notebooks followed by their answers.
Your student can also use the notebooks to study for the tests at the end of each chapter, or a year-end review if you wish.
These notebooks will document science lessons throughout the years and will not only help for standardized test review but may offer fond recollections of their favorite topics.
Get creative! Maybe your student wants to keep a scrapbook-type binder or create fancy folded mini-books. Whatever helps them learn should be encouraged.
If they have an artistic streak, their drawings may become framed decorations for your walls!
No matter how your student proceeds, you and they will find notebooking to be an outstanding way to learn science.
When your homeschool graduate gets to college, will they be ready for science?
How can you be sure?
Most of us remember science classes and labs in school. The smells, the jars and bottles of strange and wonderful substances and all those instruments! Plus mounds of new and exciting information.
Our teachers guided us through the systems and methods of high school science and lab work, and some of us took that to college where we realized…
We didn’t really know all that much about post-secondary science OR labs.
Our professors had to toss in some remedial instruction so we could succeed without blowing up the chemistry lab or cross-contaminating our petri dishes in the biology lab.
Not to mention the basic stuff we should have brought with us from high school.
And honestly, the last thing a college professor wants to do is fill in the blanks left by a high school teacher, no matter how talented that teacher was.
If you remember those days, or if you are concerned that you can’t possibly prepare your homeschooler for science in college, we’re here for you.
One of the most common homeschool parent worries is how to be sure their student is ready for college. And it’s a legitimate worry.
However, if you are presenting science courses from Berean Builders at home, your homeschooler is already getting college-prep science training.
How Can Your Homeschool Student Receive College Prep Science At Home?
First of all, Dr. Wile is a university professor.
He already knows the skills your student needs to be successful in college-level science.
Not only can Dr. Wile pass on this knowledge through the detailed material and extensive labs included in each Berean Builders science course, but he also helps students hone their critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is vital, not only in science but in other subjects, as well as life after college.
Secondly, high school science is intended to give students a solid knowledge base on which they can build once they reach college.
This knowledge base is imperative.
In Dr. Wile’s words,
“You can’t stop to Google every time you have a problem.”
Some facts and processes need to be readily available in the quick access section of a student’s memory.
Berean Builders science courses build that base.
Your homeschool graduate will have the body of knowledge in their head that a university professor expects them to know.
So how do the science courses from Berean Builders prepare students for college?
The method behind our science courses combines comprehension checks throughout each lesson with reviews and knowledge tests at the end.
The reviews and tests help your student understand the facts presented, and the comprehension checks train your student how to think like a scientist.
These checks and reviews are balanced to help your student gain the facts they need and the thinking skills to apply them.
Why does this matter?
In order for your student to get the most out of college-level science courses and their associated labs, they can’t have facts at the exclusion of thinking skills, and vice versa.
Rote memorization may result in good grades in high school, but facts without critical thinking skills won’t help them advance in higher learning.
Conversely, thinking skills without facts won’t help them much either. Remember the Google comment above?
With Berean Builders, you can be confident you’ve provided your homeschool student the same level of instruction they would receive from high school college prep courses…if not better.
After all, they’ll be getting their high school education from a university professor. Which means your homeschool students will already be learning science skills at a college prep level.
University Professor On Standby
Not only that, Dr. Wile is easily accessible if your student has questions.
He’s only an email away, and he is eager to help his science students comprehend the concepts he presents in the courses.
Berean Builders brings science to your homeschool with professional labs designed to be conducted right at home.
To be sure your homeschool graduate has a well-rounded science education, include Berean Builders science courses in your planning for next year.
With each passing year, increasing number of parents are deciding to homeschool their kids. Usually, there are two groups of parents when it comes to homeschooling. The first group of parents are excited to teach their kids in the comfort of their home and spend time with them. The other group of parents feel nervous and worried as to whether they will be able to teach their kids properly. In either case, parents want to make sure that they do not make any mistakes while homeschooling their beloved kids.
In this blog, we will share with you some common mistakes that parents tend to make. Try your best to steer clear of the below-mentioned mistakes when homeschooling your kid.
No matter how long you have been homeschooling, or if you’re brand new to home education, you should attend an annual in-person homeschool convention this year.
Are you a homeschooling parent or interested in one day making the jump into home education? The decision to educate your children at home is not new. Parents today are seeking a more personalized learning approach for their children.
Homeschooling is quickly gaining a large following due to the freedom and flexibility it provides both parents and their children.
What is the best way to learn more about homeschooling?
The best way to learn more about home education is to attend a homeschool convention.
This guide will help you pick the best convention for your family. Plus, you’ll get some help with getting the most out of your experience. Using this guide, you can achieve the goal of a successful and rewarding homeschooling convention trip.
Attending an in-person homeschool convention is like earning an unofficial “crash course in home education” certificate.
To renew this unofficial certification, attend each year to keep your knowledge of laws, requirements, and the latest curriculum! You will learn much from attending whether you’re a new homeschooler or a veteran.
First Things First: Research Conventions In Your Area
Do a little research. Read over what conventions are offered in your area. The state you reside in may have one or more homeschool organizations which offer annual events. There are also conventions put on by groups specializing in multiple conventions across the country.
Take a look at the list of speakers and workshops to see if the topics seem interesting. Do any of the session summaries tackle your burning questions?
Once you determine which convention is your best fit, buy your tickets. Make hotel reservations and travel arrangements if needed.
Most home educators benefit from a general homeschool convention, preferably in their home state.
A state-sponsored convention will keep you updated on current state laws about homeschooling. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to meet new homeschooling families from your area.
Budgeting Both Time and Money at the Convention
Conventions cost extra money and time. You may need to set aside an entire weekend to attend. Hotel reservations, travel, and dining out can be expensive.
In this world of streaming entertainment and one-day shipping, is it worth it to use your valuable time away from home?
The short answer is yes.
You will have greater success as a home educator if you carve out enough time to attend a convention in person.
Remember, most businesses provide training to their employees.
If you treat the responsibility of educating your children as a career, you will need some instruction and camaraderie as well!
Investing in your training is easy to overlook as a homeschool parent, but neglecting your education leads to Burnout City. You don’t want to end up discouraged and frustrated living there with your children!
Scholarships and Volunteer Opportunities
For many families, money is a struggle, but there are many ways to attend a homeschool convention without paying a cent!
If money is a concern, including a convention in your budget may seem out of reach. Yet, the discounts and further education you receive make the experience worth the expense.
There are attendance scholarships available for parents who need further help to homeschool their children. Another option? Volunteer a few hours at most conventions.
State organizations often offer discounts or free attendance if you are a member of the organization.
There’s So Much Information At A Homeschool Convention! What Should Be My Focus?
An essential list of your state’s homeschool guidelines can determine what you will need for each child for your school year.
This is the most valuable piece of information to keep in mind as you prepare for the homeschool convention.
The required courses will provide structure around which you can plan the rest of your student’s studies.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed By Comparing Yourself To Others
In the words of a wise homeschooling mom, keep your eyes on your own homeschool.
Don’t try to keep up with the homeschooling Joneses.
Grab some paper and begin by brainstorming. Describe your ideal homeschool day.
Remember, no two families are alike. In the same way, no homeschool will look precisely like yours.
Using a clean piece of paper for each child, list the subjects they will be studying next year with curriculum ideas. It’s time to take some notes while you learn about your kids and their preferences.
Study Your Children Before Attending A Homeschool Convention
Time to watch your students.
What motivates them?
Look at their favorite subjects and books. Are they colorful? Is the text easy to read and visually stimulating? Ask your kids! You know they have an opinion, so use their honesty to benefit your research.
Why is their favorite subject their absolute favorite? If you are willing to ask, be ready to completely change your mind if necessary if you learn something new about your child. It won’t be the first time your child teaches you something new.
After talking with your students, go back to your papers and then to the internet for research.
Is there a curriculum that presents your student’s least favorite subject information in a manner similar to their favorite topic? Write down your findings.
The more you educate yourself on your students’ needs, the more effective a home educator you will be.
Open-minded and curious teachers create lifelong learners.
I Found A Great Curriculum, But I Want To Look At It In Person
Is there a curriculum choice that you keep returning to online but were hesitant to purchase because you couldn’t interact with the curriculum before deciding?
When you get to the convention, make visiting these booths a priority.
The perfect way to decide which curriculum will benefit your students the most is by holding it in real life.
Look through the table of contents.
Check the topics covered in the book. Are the illustrations engaging or distracting?
Did the publisher leave enough visual white space for your child to process the information presented?
These questions may seem trivial, but all play a vital role in the curriculum’s usability for your student.
The greatest reward of a well-planned convention trip is a smooth sailing school year.
If you were online, you would probably stick to your original plan. A slight deviation from your plan and discovery as you shop for listed items is an excellent balance.
In-Person Conventions: Better By Far Than Virtual
While it may be more convenient to seek online assistance, using the internet as a general research tool before attending an in-person convention will be a much better use of your time than trying to answer all your homeschool questions online.
Save some time. Take your questions to the convention and seek out the people that can quickly clarify your questions and help you plan your best school year yet!
It’s hard for most people to feel the friendliness and solidarity of an in-person convention behind a computer screen.
Face-to-face interaction levels the playing field between you, the homeschool consumer, and them, the homeschool suppliers and experts.
Virtual interaction can be highly one-sided as it unintentionally positions the speaker to appear superior to the audience due to the limitations of a virtual teaching platform.
This vertical approach limits the engagement between the speaker and the listener. Also, the mind wanders or can get caught up in the inevitable distractions no matter how entertaining the speaker may be!
There is less wiggle room to bounce ideas around or ask a speaker questions virtually with time delays, technology glitches, and presentation-focused instruction.
Dr. Wile’s Opinion Of In-Person Conventions
Dr. Wile speaks passionately about the importance of in-person conventions.
As a scientist, he understands the value collaboration plays in reaching a deeper understanding of any topic. Meeting real people in person makes your home education journey so rich.
It seems obvious, but with the online world connecting us so well virtually, we often forget the tremendous benefit of face-to-face interaction.
The Value of Organic In-Person Conversations
The conversation is not organic online. Tone and inflection are challenging to interpret via the world wide web.
Dr. Wile believes spontaneous conversations between families, vendors, and students are the most valuable part of any homeschool conference.
“You meet the most interesting people face-to-face.” Dr. Jay Wile
These horizontal conversations offer excellent opportunities for the student interactions he’s enjoyed over the years. Conversations outside the online classroom are enriching for both instructors and students alike.
Often, these interactions uncover an interest or fresh idea the student has that the instructor would not have known without this in-person exchange.
Conversations overheard around café tables often reward the new homeschooler with golden nuggets of information from veteran homeschoolers.
These opportunities are the perfect time to ask questions and get answers real-time. Remember, networking is a two-way street.
In-Person Conventions Can Foster Lasting Friendships
Do you want to meet other homeschool mothers? Online conventions are not the best place to foster lasting local friendships.
While online support bridges the gap during the long school year for home educators, relying primarily upon it year-round is not ideal.
Use the yearly in-person homeschooling convention to make local connections for your family.
While you’re there, ask about local co-ops and regular gatherings.
If you have homeschool acquaintances, attend the convention together for even more direct support.
Making the Most of Speakers and Classes At A Homeschool Convention
There will be descriptions in the program guide next to every seminar, session, workshop, demonstration, or class offered during the homeschooling convention.
Take advantage of these experts and gather the information you need from the learning opportunities available.
However, be flexible. You will not be able to attend all the exciting sessions because there are simply not enough hours in the day, nor duplicates of you.
Prioritize The Sessions You Most Want To Attend
Then, attend the sessions you have prioritized.
Things to remember:
Focus on keynote speakers and anything of serious interest to you.
Build your schedule around the speakers that are the best fit for your needs.
Ask yourself: Which sessions do you think will foster the most interaction between speaker and listener?
Think about the speakers you would most enjoy having a conversation with.
If you and a friend want to attend similar sessions and workshops, divide and conquer. Attend separate sessions, then trade notes at the end of the day.
And remember, most sessions are recorded and will be available for purchase. You can listen at your leisure after the convention, but you won’t have the advantage of in-person follow-up questions.
If there is any speaker you want to interact with, make a point to go to their session.
Even if they do not open the floor up for questions, often they will remain at the front for those wishing to continue the conversation.
If they must hurry back to their vendor booth, follow them! (At an appropriate distance, no stalking.)
When they are available at their booth, ask your burning questions. They will be excited that you attended their session and want to chat more.
Convention Sessions Or Vendor Hall?
Also, be willing to walk away from a session if you need more vendor hall time. The hall will be less crowded during daytime speaking engagements.
If you need quiet time to think and shop:
Use this time and purchase the mp3 recordings of the sessions to listen to at your convenience at home.
Use this precious time to speak with vendors about your concerns and questions.
Give yourself time to learn, digest information, and make informed decisions.
Lighten Up At Night
The nightly entertainment is light on information but heavy on entertaining!
The convention reserves one night as a mom’s night out, and the other night is a family fun night.
Both nights are equally enjoyable. The nightly entertainment is usually an additional cost, but it is worth the price to relax at the end of a day chock full of information and learning.
Let your mind rest, sit back, laugh, and relax.
Mom’s night out can be the first or second official night of the convention.
The most inspirational of the keynote speakers will deliver a message directed at homeschooling or motherhood.
Sometimes chocolate is involved, but there is no guarantee every convention will have chocolate. Bring your own if necessary.
You will most assuredly find laughter, encouragement, and time to visit with other homeschooling mothers. Take the time to strike up a conversation with another mom.
Finding A Community Of Likeminded Friends At A Homeschool Convention
Finding a community of friends is essential at every stage of our lives, and the season of homeschooling our children is no different.
It is always better to have others walking alongside you.
What you haven’t discovered in your never-ending pursuit of the perfect curriculum, another mother might have discovered.
But keep it in perspective. There is no perfect curriculum.
There are always more beneficial choices and less helpful choices based on your student’s learning style.
Women who attend these “extra cost” break-out sessions to meet friends and hang with the girls always come back laughing!
The other night of the convention will be a night to bring the kids or bring the whole family.
All ages will enjoy a comedian who keeps you in stitches with good clean humor.
Other conventions will feature a children’s storyteller. No matter what your literary preference, these talented performers will astound you. You will be on the edge of your seat, captivated by their fascinating tales.
Some conventions open the stage up to family talent as well. The amount of hidden talent in the audience at a homeschool convention is impressive. Bring your talented family, or come ready to enjoy the talent of other newfound family friends!
Bringing The Kids To A Homeschool Convention
If your children travel to the convention with you, they will have a fabulous time.
There are programs for children, teens, and some have childcare available.
If you have babies, they are welcome as long as they are not disruptive.
But there is no need to fret; these parents know the challenge you face.
Smile and look around.
Get your babies settled.
Have your items organized during the session in case you need to make a quick escape.
Rest assured, most of the moms there have been exactly where you are now.
Children’s Programs At Homeschool Conventions
The volunteers and convention staff organize the children’s program to run like a well-oiled machine.
Vacation Bible School-style learning units will fill your elementary student’s day as you take care of needed planning.
Teens are encouraged to volunteer to help out during the convention if there is no set program for them.
Assisting at the convention is beneficial to both your student and the convention. These service hours can be logged as volunteer hours for their transcript!
If you have a child with special needs, choosing a large convention will give you the option of assistance during set times of the convention. You can attend sessions or shop knowing that your children are cared for by well-trained volunteers.
Remembering Why You Homeschool
A refreshed mindset will allow you to approach your school time with renewed energy and perspective.
Attending a convention gives home educators the confidence to approach another year without fear.
They find continued excitement planning the year ahead.
Some years are plain hard, and it is difficult to cross the finish line at the end of the school year.
A weekend away will benefit your children’s future education and bring you headfirst into an exciting adventure of learning together with your children!
You should take the time to attend a conference if your plans for the next year include homeschooling your children.
Bring a flexible attitude, a smile, a friend, and something to carry your purchases- rolling is best.