Monday, April 29, 2013

HEAV Registration is OPEN...Enter My Convention Family Pass Giveaway!

Fun facts about the upcoming Home Educator's Association of Virginia Convention in Richmond:

Preregistration – $69/member; $79/non-members

  • Thursday's sessions are FREE! for new homeschoolers
  • HEAV Members receive a discounted rate (and support home education in Virginia)...Join NOW!
  • parents of preschoolers who have never attended before may register for FREE!
  • the Used Curriculum Sale is BACK! (of course...we couldn't do without it, could we??)
  • young entrepenuers may rent tables in the vendor hall for $35...nice!
  • experience the largest Exhibit Hall EVER...
  • there are more than 140 workshops (how will you ever choose?)
  • LEGO is coming with hands-on tables for all your architects and builders
  • the Marine Science Consortium is bringing touch tanks for your biologists
  • the Robotics Expo will be there to excite your inventors
  • the Instrument Petting Zoo will be returning to intrigue you
  • there will be hands-on science demonstrations in the Exhibit Hall
  • the BIGGER than ever before chess tournament will challenge and amaze you
  • Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar will be doing a Keynote session (twice, so more folks can attend!)
  • the Duggars will be doing a book signing
  • Michelle and her daughters will be doing a talk with Q and A on Friday
  • Cedric Saunders will do reenactments of George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington
  • Joel Salatin will be conducting four talks this year
  • Miracle Mountain Ranch will be conducting a teen discipleship camp
  • the Children's Program is called Heroes of the Faith
  • there will be a cartooning camp for your budding artists
  • there will be talks for your emerging entrepenuers and filmmakers
  • scholarships are available if you have sincere and severe financial hardship
  • you can register just to SHOP for a lot less (and then buy the MP3 set)
  • and so much more...

You can also enter my giveaway for one free family registration pass to the 2013 HEAV Convention. 

This pass covers mom, dad, kids, and even grandparents! Optional children's and teen programs are not included. 

My giveaway runs from April 29th to midnight on May 5th. 

Click below to enter...the Rafflecopter giveaway.

The blessed winner will be announced Monday, May 6th, 2013.

I hope to see you at the convention!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Godspeed to You

Well, Sunday is not our usual field trip day, but while visiting with the Pastor after church, Hubby heard that the Godspeed was going to be docked nearby and that tours would be FREE!, so we made PBJ sandwiches and grabbed water at home, then set off for the pier.

We arrived close to the end of the afternoon when the crowds were thin, so we were able to ask a lot of homeschooler-ish questions. Have you noticed when you go to demonstrations and activities that people tend to know you're a homeschooler, without you telling them? It could be the denim skirts I and the girls are wearing, but that doesn't account for all the times they've picked up on it when I've worn something else. Instead, I am sure it is all of the very specific and endless questions. Once, Hubby and Tex went to a re-enactment and one of the "soldiers" remarked that he was so glad to talk to homeschoolers because the public school kids didn't even act very interested. That's sad.

In any case, that is the replica of the Godspeed, one of the three ships that sailed to Jamestown in 1607, in the background. It's the "middle" sized ship. The other two are the Discovery and the Susan Constant. All three ships are normally on display at Jamestown Settlement. Today, for a special event, the ship was docked closer to our house. Yay!

On December 26th, 1606, the three vessels left from England for Virginia, spending four months making the transatlantic voyage. This replica of the Godspeed was commissioned in 2006, is 88' long, has a mainmast height of 71'6", carries 2,420 square feet of sail, and a burden tonnage of 40 tons.

According to the costumed interpreters, there were 52 men aboard the Godspeed, all of whom made it to the end of the voyage, except one unfortunate gentleman.

Records tell us that the captain's name was Bartholemew Gosnold. Interpreters told us that there were  13 crew on this voyage and 39 passengers. On some voyages, the captain would act as the navigator, though I am not sure if that was done on the original voyage. This replica of the Godspeed has GPS and other modern tracking systems hiding in the binnacle on deck where they used to keep the compass, a lantern, etc.). 

Other than the Captain, positions on board would have been the Navigator (the man who charted their course, if not the Captain), the Bosun (in charge of all things rigging related), the Cook, the deck hands, and the Ship's Boy (the young man who would turn the half-hour glass and ring the ship's bell every thirty minutes so that people would know when they needed to come on for duty. Each crew member had to work four hours on and four off, so you'd hear the bell ring eight times before your shift was over). 

In the picture above, you can see Boo working the bilge pump, which is actually functional (though they do have electric ones in the cargo area...they have a microwave and full kitchen set up in the galley, too...posh living!) The re-enactors live on board the vessel when she is out of port. We could peek into their berthing area and it didn't look too bad. The gentleman we talked to pointed to his bed and it looked roomier than the rack Hubby used to have when he was on various submarines (more headroom and wider).

Above you can see Cowboy holding up one of the weighted lead lines that helped sailors figure out depth and bottom type. This would allow them to chart the safest course through unknown waters.

 This gentleman also explained the definitions and origins of nautical terminology such as fathom (six feet) and knot (one nautical mile per hour...they originally had an instrument called a traverse board (see above) which was attached to a large spool like contraption with rope. The rope had knots tied in it at regular intervals. When they wanted to know how fast they were going, they would toss out the traverse board and drag it behind the boat. Then they'd use the sand glass to measure time, and the rate at which the rope fed out and the number of knots that were showing when time was up indicated the number of "knots" of speed. Neat, huh? I hope I got that correct.) 

This is a backstaff used for measuring altitude of the sun by sighting the helps you determine your course and location.

Here's Boo wishing someone would fire one of the small cannons on board. No such luck.

This astrolabe was used to determine position of heavenly bodies and to reckon time, before the invention of the sextant.

Here you see a compass, the glass sand timer, and the Chip Log (colorful board on the right). The Chip Board was used to keep track of your measurements over time so you would remain on course.

Here we are gazing in awe at the vast rigging on the ship, wondering how those deck hands possibly managed to hang on at all...especially while the ship was moving, and in possibly rough waters. This is when the camera's memory filled up, so alas, there is no photo of the rigging. 

But there's a picture below of the ship that gives you a good idea of how intimidating it would be to have to climb up top to the crow's nest and be the one on the lookout for land. Not for the faint at heart!
The Godspeed sails into New York Harbor.

Tomorrow the kids will get to color some printables that I found online and write a paragraph, some sentences, or a few words (depending on their level) about their experiences. They will also get to copy some of the vocabulary we learned into their copywork notebooks. 

All in all a great field trip...educational and fun!

Coloring page of the Virginia quarter featuring the Discovery, the Godspeed, and the Susan Constant.
Coloring page from Jamestown featuring the three vessels.
Coloring pages featuring several options for pirate ships...the ship looks very similar to the Godspeed and one of the activities is a customizable printing page. Just color over the one Jolly Rodger's tiny anyway.
One last simple ship coloring page. Again, pirate-y, matey, but it's easy to make that Jolly Rodger into a British Flag, me thinks...arrrr.

Here's a list of some of the vocabulary terms we heard:

traverse board
sand glass 
chip log
trim (the sails)
ship's log
deck hand
mizzen mast

I am going to let the littles choose their favorite ten to copy.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our field trip. We certainly had a great time on a beautiful day. We were very grateful for the kind folks who sponsored the trip and the attentive costumed interpreters. Thank you all!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...The HEAV Convention...Tips for Having the Best Time Ever!

I know, you hear "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." and strains of the Christmas song sung by Andy Williams float through your mind. I do love Christmas, really, I do. It's the celebration of our Savior's birth and a time to be thankful for family and friends, and to be together and acknowledge all of the Lord's blessings. Alas, it is also a LOT of work when you are a mom, and sometimes it can feel a bit hectic and rushed. Ask me my favorite holiday, and I will still say Christmas, and then Easter, but ask me my favorite time of the year, and I will without hesitation say, "Homeschool Convention time!!"

In our state, our convention is in June. That's right at the end of the "school year" (though we often continue on through the summer with special projects and studies) and it's a great way to get a worn out mom and teacher re-energized to take on another year of home education. It's also always right around my birthday, so for me, it's kind of like the most awesome birthday party ever. 

I look forward to heading to our state's convention every year. I've been to conferences run by "the professionals" when I taught in the public school system, and I can without reservation tell you that our state home educator's convention puts anything they ever came up with to shame. I've lived in several other states and also attended other local conferences, but still, the HEAV convention ranks at the top of my "best things to do if you are a home educator" list. I have only missed a few of the conventions since I started attending them thirteen years ago, right after we made the decision to pull Bubba out of public school after third grade, and those were missed only because we lived twenty or so hours away and I was too pregnant to drive myself and the kids to attend. I bought the convention cds/tapes instead and have spent many wonderful hours listening to them. 

Actually, that is one of my top suggestions to folks who attend a big convention like ours: understand that you will NOT be able to attend every session that sounds good to you, so plan to buy the cds/mp3s. Getting everywhere you want to be just won't happen, no matter how organized you are. You will get "lost" in the vendor hall or at the used curriculum sale, or your kids will get wrapped up in the chess tournament, or you will find someone fascinating to talk to and then BAM! you will realize you just missed hearing Tammy Duby talk about GASP! Are You Leaving Gaps? in your home education, and you just KNOW you needed to hear that one. Or you will show up to hear Ken Ham talk about the importance of Genesis and the room will already be full. 

Here's my advice: Don't Panic. You can still get all that great information just by ordering the mp3 set while you are at the convention. It is usually a bit pricey, but it's cheaper to order while there than later AND it will remove the pressure from you to be everywhere you can't possibly be all at the same time. You will relax and enjoy yourself much more if you go ahead and order the set before you even attend the first keynote address. Really. I have learned so much over the years from listening to many years of archived talks. I never mind road tripping because it's not just's an educational opportunity. Even my kids have enjoyed many of the talks and we've had some excellent discussions because of speakers we've liked a lot, or ones we have not quite agreed with.

In any case, I thought that since my giveaway for one complimentary family pass for the Home Educators of Virginia Convention on June 6-8 is just around the corner (it runs from April 29 to May 3rd), I would re-post some tips (with a few new revisions) for attending a convention or curriculum fair. You really do need to make some preparations ahead of time in order to make the most of your time and truly enjoy yourself, especially if it is your first time going to a meeting as big as this one is.

Here are my top tips for making

 the most of your time at a

homeschool convention 

or curriculum fair:

1. Sign up early. Generally conventions offer "Early Bird" specials to members and those who will sign up before a certain date receive a substantial savings. If it is your state homeschooling organization's convention, you will receive a discount for being a member, and I've found that even though the membership fee to join may make your total price a bit higher, it's a good idea to support your state organization because they likely do quite a lot to support how you get to home educate. From helping sponsor bills to allow your kids to access sports activities in the public schools to defending your right to choose your own curriculum, they are a vital part of the freedom to choose home education. Plus, while you can generally sign up at the door and pay a higher fee, you will usually have to wait in a much longer line than those who pre-register, and you won't receive a specially printed-up name tag, either. ;-)

2. If you receive your local convention's emails or publication, then you've probably had an opportunity to check out the speakers and topics already. Mark the ones you are very interested in, maybe using a different color for different family members if more than one person is attending. It helps to plan who you will go see ahead of time, or you might find yourself in a long line to gather your convention tags and schedule with only a few minutes to decide where to head next. But then again, remember, if you purchase the mp3 set, you don't have to worry if you choose a talk that is less than what you hoped for. You can listen to something better later.

3. Make plans ahead of time for what to do with your children. If your husband is not attending, they can stay with him, but really, dad's need to go to conventions, too. Our HEAV Convention has quite a few sessions specially eared towards the men of the family, and since registration cost covers the family (one price for spouses and kids, and grandparents, too!), it's a great way for everyone to learn something and reap some of the rewards that come from homeschooling by seeing the many success stories and realizing that there are so many nice people out there who are walking a similar path. The children's programs at our convention cost extra per day and fill up fast, so early registration is advisable. 

Our convention has several teen programs which also carry an extra cost, but may be just the thing to light a fire for a summer filled with delight-directed learning. Nursing babies, and sometimes even young children, can accompany their mothers if you don't have child care planned, but please remember to plan ahead by taking a bag of quiet playthings and snacks to distract your children. 

Also, please, be courteous and leave a session if your child starts to fuss or even to make happy noises. Usually, sessions are being taped for those mp3 sets and too much noise can ruin them, not to mention the fact that even nice baby coos make it difficult for folks to focus on the speaker. Everyone in the session paid good money to be there, just like you, and they deserve to be able to get the most out of it possible. Sometimes, if you must step out to calm a baby, the session moderator will give you a coupon to get a copy of that session on disk. It never hurts to ask, just as it is better to err on the side of caution with keeping children in a session than to ruin it for everyone else. 

4. Plan where you will park and eat ahead of time. Our convention is in Richmond, VA and there is plentiful parking, but the closer you are to the convention center, the more costly the parking is. Some years there have been benefits to forking out $15 to park for one day, but others, we've driven farther and walked to only pay $5. Of course, Dad can always drop the family at the door, and do the walking alone...but whatever you do, you need to remember that if you keep a cooler of food in the car for lunch or want to drive somewhere to eat, you need to have that car close by, and tired kids at the end of the day will have a difficult time making a long trek back to a far away lot. It also helps to be closer if you plan to do a lot of shopping and will need to unload your bags from time to time. Also, ask around ahead of time if you plan to dine out. Lunchtime is usually the same time for everyone, so you could stand in very long lines if you don't plan ahead, especially if you get lost because you don't know where you are going.

5. Make sure your cell phones are charged and ready to go. Have a plan for where to meet up at certain times, just in case someone in your group can't be reached. You don't want to get stressed out by not being able to find someone from whom you got separated in the crush of onlookers at the Robotics demonstration. Make sure your phones are on vibrate so their ringing does not accidentally disrupt a taped session, please. If you are taking younger children with you, be sure they know to stay with their assigned "buddy" at all times. It might help to have them wear coordinating colors to make it easier to pick out your kids in a crowd, if you have a lot of them. It might sound a bit stereotypical, but it's really just practical.

5. If you are traveling a long distance to be there, you may want to find lodging nearby and stay overnight, at least on Friday night, if it is a two-night weekend conference. We've chosen to drive the hour and a half back and forth each day to save the cost of lodging most years, but the year Bubba was graduating and I had very new baby Boo with us, we secured reservations at the hotel nearest to the convention center and it was quite nice to be able to go rest or change or drop things off in a room just across the street. If you do want to stay in a hotel, the earlier the better. Usually, groups reserve blocks of rooms at a special rate, so don't forget to check if you can get a lower price that way. You can often add a military discount or AAA to that, too. It never hurts to ask. 

6. This one is important, but you may need to wait to implement it for next year, but we've found that budgeting for convention spending ahead of time is a huge relief and makes the whole experience much, much better. It is so much nicer to spend money on what you need (or just want) when you are not causing a shortfall somewhere else. 

Talk it out with your husband and decide a reasonable amount to invest per child and determine how much you will need to set aside monthly to meet your goals. Find creative places to pull the money from, such as the grocery budget, by using coupons and putting the money you saved in the "Curriculum Account" instead. Sell old stuff you didn't like or use and put that money away, too. Clean a neighbor's guesthouse or watch someone's pet and save your pay. Sell used items on Craig's List or your local Facebook Trash or Treasure (online yardsale) forum. Let the kids start their own fund using money they earn doing jobs you want done around the house or by working for trusted friends and family. They'll have more fun shopping in your wake if they can keep their eyes peeled for a bargain, too.

7. Get informed. Do your primary initial curriculum research ahead of time. Do NOT wait until the day of the convention to get ideas on how you want to teach math to your third grader. Ask friends what they use, inquire at co-op or support group meetings, or post a query on a forum online, then take all the suggestions and start looking them up. Many sites offer trial versions, trial periods, or at least sample pages for you to look at. Request catalogs, compare prices, and see how much of any of the supplemental materials you need for any given program are available at your library (the more you can borrow for free, the better). 

You may wish to visit your local homeschool second-hand store (if you have one) or check out Craig's List or e-bay (or any other online vendor) before deciding to pay full-price at a convention. Swap meets, library sales, yard sales, thrift stores, and sometimes even public school discard boxes are good sources of cheaper (or possibly free) materials that may meet the needs you have. See my post on How to Homeschool for FREE (or at least, more inexpensively) before you go to your convention. However, vendors often do offer convention deals and/or free shipping if you buy while visiting the Vendor Hall, so take advantage of those offers, especially on large purchases.

8. Make a list and stick to it. After you have compiled a list of "wants" that you haven't found yet, whittle it down to your actual "needs." Don't discard the "want" list. Just keep in mind that every bank account has a limit and even the strongest-willed person in the world can be sorely tempted to go overboard in a super-packed Vendor Hall. It all looks so GOOD! Go to the fair armed with your two lists, shop for the "needs" first, then with what is left of your budget, HAVE FUN! 

You might consider splitting the leftovers between the kids and let each child make a delight-directed selection, such as some Adventures in Odyssey tapes, some chess teaching software, or a special sketch pad and pencils. You never know what new talents or joys you might discover.

9. I HIGHLY recommend taking a rolling suitcase or rolling basket to carry your purchases so you don't break your back (or the back of your teenager) toting all your finds around. Empty out your big scrapbook rolling bag and give it a new function. I've seen many folks load up the stroller and carry the baby! LOL. Last year our convention had a booth that for a low fee would box up your stuff and hold it for you to pick up later. I thought that was pretty nifty. Whatever you do to handle your new acquisitions, please make sure your conveyance is not too difficult to maneuver or too bulky to find a place to "park it" during a lecture, otherwise it will make your day less pleasant.

10. Also, remember to take a bottle of is thirsty work...and maybe a snack or two (convention prices for refreshments do not tend to be cheap...they were charging three bucks for a soda at ours and two bucks for a small bag of chips). Energy or granola bars are good ideas, or snack mix, but avoid snacks that are messy or have noisy wrappers as there are enough distractions and messes to deal with already.

11. Wear comfortable clothing and good walking shoes or your little doggies will be worn out by the end of day one, let alone day two. My mom recommends taking a sweater, even if it is sweltering outside, because they often turn down the air conditioning very low to compensate for the volume of people in the room and it can get quite chilly. 

And this isn't a requirement, so much as a request, but while I do not subscribe to the stereotype that homeschool moms should be wearing skirts all the time, remember that there are folks with varying levels of conservativism attending the convention, so if your rules are a bit on the looser side, give the folks who might be on the more conservative side a bit of a break and dress in your nicer, comfortable, yet modest clothes. 

Over the years as more folks have entered the homeschooling trend, I've seen the dress code take a nosedive (especially for girls), and it's especially difficult for moms of teenaged boys when young ladies, or even moms, are wearing strapless tops and too short skirts. Be yourself, but be yourself with modesty, please. Thank you. 

12. Take a notebook. You may meet folks and want to exchange addresses. You may want to take notes at a very riveting lecture...having a composition book or legal pad to write on always comes in handy, and it's very annoying when you want one and don't have one. Speaking of meeting people, if you have family or business cards, you might want to take a stack to hand out to the many fascinating folks you will meet. It's so much quicker than writing the same information down again and again. I find that Vistaprint is a good source for inexpensive printed items.

13. Someone suggested this one and I just loved it: Take pre-printed labels with your name, address, phone number, and your email on them to use when you walk by booths you are interested in and they want you to fill out their sheet for a freebie (Vision Forum usually has great freebies at their booth). It will save you a lot of work and time.

14. Lastly, PLEASE remember to give your kids a break once in a while by stopping at the booth with the cool science gadgetry, the Lego table, the Robotics demo, or the chess tournament. Some booths are great for a few laughs, a few sparks, and maybe even an explosion or two...or at least a few minutes playing with a wooden pop gun or sword. Your kids will be grateful for the break, and you might just find something that tickles their fancy and lights an interest on fire if you relax and browse for a while. 

15. Whatever you do, just remember to HAVE FUN. The convention is meant to be a time of rejuvenation for you, to get you remembering why you have chosen to undertake this sometimes daunting, but always rewarding task. Listen to the kids playing their violins in the lobby for a few minutes, examine the artwork lined up along the walls, talk to the winning robotics team and give one of the bots a whirl...and be inspired. 

Well, if you get a chance, let me know how you made out at YOUR local convention this year. I'd really love to know what cool stuff you found. I might want to get one, too. 

If you live nearby, don't forget to come back here during the week of April 29th-May 3rd to enter to win a family pass to the HEAV Convention in Richmond, VA. It will be worth your while and may wind up being one of your favorite times of the year. I hope to see you there!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sermon Sunday...You'll Be Glad You Did

I've been enjoying the sermons in the series You'll Be Glad You Did by Andy Stanley, and Tex has listened to them all, too. They are about how everyone needs to work with each other in submission to God's authority, and how important our individual decisions are to the success of our life and relationships. A very practical series...

Give them a try. You'll be glad you did.

Other favorites from Andy Stanley:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ladybug's "Lady Day"

You might remember, if you've been around for a while, that back when Bubba turned 18, we held a special "Blessing Ceremony" for him at church. It was a time of love and fellowship, where the men in his life gathered to pray for him and to bless him as he moved from his life as a young adult to an adult. You can read the full details at the original post, but essentially the ladies and children of the family stood on one side of a bridge while the men waited on another. I said a few words recalling his childhood and ways in which he had blessed his family, his siblings gave him hugs and flowers, and he crossed the bridge to stand with the men as they gathered around him and offered advice, prayers, and congratulations. Then, we all went inside and had a nice meal and had fun looking over the photo albums with pictures from his childhood in them, reminiscing about good old times and looking forward to the promise of a bright and exciting future. 

The idea of having a Blessing Ceremony did not originate with us. Hubby and I attended a seminar hosted by a favorite family-integrated church located in a city too far away for us to attend on a weekly basis, but close enough to go to when they hold special events. The talk we attended was hosted by the Moore family who have a ministry called Daughters4God. We learned about the power of words and the importance of blessing our children, especially our sons, who will someday be the leaders of their own families. We also learned about another idea...a complimentary way to bless our daughters, but with a different emphasis...this idea is called Lady Day.

Joy Moore found that when the time came to talk to her girls about the facts of life, she wanted to do more than just hand them a book and let them figure things out on their own. She wanted her daughters to understand what a blessing and a privilege it is to be female, and to instruct them about the different challenges and stages they will go through as they become a woman. Her way of managing this was to write a series of letters to her daughters, which she shared with each one during a special day out one-on-one as the time came for each one to hear about the changes to come.

At the time, our girls were too young to even begin to think about having to plan a "Lady Day," but a month or so ago, it became apparent that it was going to be time to take Ladybug out and have the first of our special times together.

Ladybug's 9th birthday...

Ever since we moved to our new hometown, Ladybug and her special friend, Miss S., have been going out to tea with their mama's on Ladybug's birthday at our favorite antique mall/tea room. That has always been a special girl time, and a year or so ago, on her birthday, I read a special book on being God's little princess to the girls while we waited for our lunch to arrive, and gave Ladybug the first of her charms on a new silver charm bracelet...a crown so she'd remember she was a daughter of The King.

They've grown up so much...Ladybug's 8th birthday.

Since Miss S. has been such an important part of our lives (and her mum, too), we decided to ask them out on our special Lady Day. We met up on a beautifully sunny and warm afternoon and went to lunch at our favorite local dining spot, Rosemary and Wine, which offers delicious raspberry sweet tea and divine Quiche Lorraine served with salad, with a background of tunes from Sinatra and other classic crooners. We ate companionably, then talked to the girls about some of the changes they could expect over the next several years, and also about modesty. We spoke about some of their most special and precious character traits, and we also talked about how sometimes life can be tough and we will need to really pray, and talk to mom, during those times when we are feeling a bit under the weather as things change.

We didn't go into great depth, as we are saving that for a private talk later, so I saved the charm I bought for Ladybug's bracelet to give to her's a butterfly. Instead I gave her a pair of small pearl clip on earrings to wear when we go on our "Lady Dates" or out to tea. 
Ladybug is a real sweetheart, and loves to dress up with frills, hairbows, and jewelry...but I especially like that she can be all girly one minute and then dress like a cowgirl and shimmy up a tree the next! She's an original and really growing into her own. Helpful, kind, compassionate, organized, creative, eager, and smart. She's a go-getter who is becoming a charming young lady right before my eyes...too quickly.

We took a walk after our meal and headed over to the local antique store where Miss S. and Ladybug were gifted with a Beanie Baby from the gracious proprietoress. She loved the girl's manners and rewarded them when she heard it was a special day with a gift from her heart. I found two old readers to buy to add to our collection, and Mrs. L. found some antique crocheting hooks she couldn't pass up.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time together on a perfectly gorgeous day. The flowers added to our pleasure by brightening every nook and cranny as we walked along the quaint streets of our town. I highly recommend having some sort of "Lady Day" with your daughter (s), even if they've already learned "the facts of life." It will make a wonderful memory for each of the girls as they look back on their least I hope it will. It was certainly a wonderful memory for me. 

Our girls need to know they are special and we want to draw them close to us so that we will have their hearts as they grow up. We want them to trust us and feel able to come to us with anything, and we want to be there to help them as their hearts grow closer to Christ and they separate from us eventually to fully rely on Him...and someday, perhaps, a Prince Charming of their own.

Walking into their friends.

Here are a few resources we've used that you might want to check out:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HEAV Registration Is OPEN For Members ONLY...Hurry Over For Pre-Registration Deals and DUGGAR Tickets!

Hello local friends (and those within driving distance of Virginia),

I thought that you might want to know that as of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, registration for the HEAV Convention to be held June 6th-8th will be open for HEAV members only. Early Registration will continue through Friday, but don't wait too long as you must reserve tickets if you wish to attend the Duggars' Keynote session, and I imagine they will go fast. Registration covers your entire family, including grandparents, but there is a maximum number of six Duggar session tickets you can request per paid family admission. Duggar session tickets are not available if you register using one the "free" registration options (though there may be some available at the door).

If you aren't already a member, consider hopping over to the HEAV site and joining right away. It only costs $35 and comes with a myriad of benefits, such as reduced costs for HSLDA, tuition reduction at Regent University, and discounts at some vendors. Check out the details on the membership page.

The cost of the basic registration, without any of the extra programs, is $59 for members. You can add admissions to the Children's Program, Heroes of the Faith, for $20 per day per child. We've done the programs in past years, and the kids have always loved them. This year there is also an IEW SAT/ACT Essay Writing seminar option for $39, as well as a Cartooning Camp option for $69 for one session. Miracle Mountain Ranch will be hosting a two-day teen series of sessions for youth ages 13-18 for only $10. I think that is quite a bargain!

If you are new to the idea of home education, there is no cost for the sessions offered on Thursday afternoon and evening which introduce you to the why's, wherefore's, and how-to's of home education. There is also no charge for the parents of preschoolers if this is the first time you have attended this convention...isn't that an amazing offer? Please, pass on this generous news to a friend with preschoolers and take her along with you this year.

Other special events include Graduation 2013, a Leadership Luncheon (free to leaders of homeschooling groups and other positions of home education support), a new special section in the vendor hall for young entrepreneurs to have their own booths, and a Single Parents Luncheon.

As always, there is a remarkable selection of excellent speakers who will be speaking on a wide variety of topics from how to homeschool to running a home business, a vastly populated vendor hall, and the wonderful used curriculum sale (start getting your used and unwanted items together now and make some money to cover this year's curriculum choices!).

To register early, if you are already an HEAV member, simply go to the HEAV website between 10 a.m. Wednesday through Friday. You will find printable directions to the convention center as well as information about food and hotels on the website, as well.

If you would like to volunteer for the convention for at least two hours, you can obtain a pass for early admission to the Used Curriculum Sale. Those passes are gold, since much of the best stuff goes fast, so while you do not receive free admission to the convention, if you have time to spare, check out this information on how to volunteer.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to explore the HEAV site. Scrolling over the "Convention" tab at the top right of the page will give you options for more info.

You can hop over to Homeschool Creations for a chance to win a full family registration, a value of $79. The giveaway goes on until Friday. I will be holding my giveaway in May, so if you don't win hers, you can try here!

If you are planning to attend this convention, I'd love to meet you. Feel free to leave a message and we will connect's going to be a wonderful two days. Since my birthday is near convention time, I always consider attendance to be my birthday present. It makes getting another year older seem not quite so bad. Attending the HEAV Convention is definitely one of my favorite things to do all year!

I hope to see you there.


Monday, April 8, 2013

The Old Schoolhouse April Issue is Online for FREE...and a little surprise.

Check it out...

Did  you know that the online digital issue is available for FREE??

Isn't that exciting??

Even more exciting is that if you check back in May 
WE will be featured in the magazine as the
Show and Tell Spotlight homeschooling
family of the month!


I can't say I'm a natural on film, but the kids, as always, are adorable. 

Even though it was a challenge just trying to keep the house clean long enough to film a four minute "spotlight" about our home education methods (not to mention trying to decide what to say and what to not say), it wound up being a lot of fun. You will get to see our made-over house in the short video and you will also be able to read an article about our homeschooling journey.

I hope you will check back in May.

In the meantime, enjoy this month's issue!


Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm So Excited!

I am so excited. I recently had the honor of being asked to be an "official HEAV Blogger"...meaning that I will be keeping folks updated here about the Home Educator's Association of Virginia Homeschool Convention.

If you've read any of my previous posts on our state convention, you will know that I absolutely LOVE it and wouldn't miss it for the world. In fact, since we started home educating 13 years ago, I have only missed the convention a few times, and only due to advanced pregnancies plus living in another state (Florida), so I was unable to drive the long distance with all the kids on my own (Hubby had to work).

It is by far the best convention I've ever been to, both as a professional (ie. paid with cash) and non-professional (ie. paid with kisses and hugs) teacher, and I have been to quite a few. My mom tags along every year since grandparents are allowed to attend for FREE!! and sometimes various kiddos choose to accompany us, too, for either the fun of the children's programs or other activities such as robotics demos and chess matches.

We love, love, love our convention and if you live ANYWHERE even a little bit near Virginia and have never decided to make the drive here, I highly recommend signing up this year. Not only with the excellent speakers encourage you, and the enormous vendor hall excite you, and the awesome used curriculum sale enliven you, but this year there is an extra-special bonus...The Duggars will be there to speak. Woo Hoo!

Registration starts soon, so pay attention and I will let you know when the green light is lit to start signing up...that way you will be able get online and sign up right away before all the Duggar tickets are gone. I'll bet they will go fast!

As if that wasn't exciting enough, I will also be giving away one FULL REGISTRATION to the HEAV Convention. Isn't that awesome?? My giveaway will take place in early May, so if you find that you haven't registered by then, you can participate and possibly go for free!

If you are a parent of a pre-schooler, and have never attended the convention before, and are still trying to decide about home education, guess what?? You can sign up for the convention for FREE! Parents new to the idea of homescooling who have older children may attend all Thursday sessions for free to get an idea of the nuts and bolts of home education. Now isn't that awesome?? In addition, grandparents and spouses are included in your registration fee! Also, if your family is traveling through a season of particular financial hardship, there are a limited number of scholarships available. You can obtain more details on the convention at the HEAV website.

It really is worth the investment. I can't possibly measure the benefit of attending the convention to your homeschooling, but it is immense.

I can pretty much guarantee that if you join us, it will be one of the best things you will ever do to revive and enrich your home educating experience, though.
I hope to see you there!!

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