Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Preparing for Round 2 (pt. 1)

    The next few posts are going to be my reviews and experiences of a homeschool convention and what came of it for me.  I have included a ton of links this time that I hope you will find helpful.
Two weeks ago my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the THSC Homeschool Convention and Book Fair in Arlington, TX.  While there, we attended a few workshops, checked out the different exhibitors, and perused the numerous vendors for a bit of shopping.   By the way, if you are new to homeschooling or even an old pro, and haven't yet attended a homeschool convention, I would highly recommend finding one near you and attending.  It is a wealth of information and a great way to meet like-minded families.  If you're in the southern portion of Texas, check out the one at The Woodlands, just north of Houston.

    The first workshop I attended was titled "Preparing High Schoolers for STEM futures" by Embry-Riddle College's David Hernandez, where the speaker talked about what STEM is, what programs and activities use STEM, and what career fields STEM can lead to.  This gentleman was gracious enough to email us the power-point he used in case we missed something in our notes.  My oldest is part of a robotics team, which turns out is a great start toward a STEM career, plus he's really great at math.  I think we may finally be finding his path.  It's funny, neither of us had really considered that until now.  It had always been ministry or archeology or something.

    The second was "Breathing Life into Language Arts" with Rosie Watson, and highlighted Total Language Plus, a language arts program that is fully literature based.  I really liked this one.  The way the program is set up is, you pick three to four books for the year, reading one at a time.  Instead of rush reading the book, you break it down into six to eight units (weeks) and really break it down.  All of your grammar, writing, vocabulary, spelling, critical thinking is based on the book.  This curriculum starts at the 3rd grade level and goes up to 12th grade, with books like Charlotte's Web, The Whipping Boy, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Hiding Place, etc.  At one point Rosie talked about an assignment she had given for the book "The Bronze Bow".  The assignment was to write a letter to the main character.  The response from one of her students was absolutely beautiful and inspiring.  One of the things about this program that really appeals to me is that each book covers two to four grade levels, which means that I can use the same book and study guide with more than one child at a time.

    The third workshop was one my husband attended, called "Limited Language - Limited Mind" with Jean Burk, author of College Prep Genius. This one focused on preparing students for college SAT.  Although it wasn't quite what he thought it would be based on the title of the class, he did say the concept made sense.  Sadly, as my husband is not the best at relaying information, I do not have much I can offer on this one.

    After attending the desired workshops and parting ways for a bit (he needed to do a little shopping of his own), I went on to explore all the fantastic vendors that were set up.  But that adventure will have to wait for another post.   So visit again soon to find out what I saw and what I ended up purchasing.