Convention Sessions and Activities

General Session Descriptions

General Session I (Friday, 10:30am - 11:30am)


Homeschooling is Not Enough - Hal & Melanie Young

Because none of it will matter if they don't follow Christ.  Many homeschoolers hope and pray that because they've homeschooled, their children will turn out all right. But unfortunately, we are seeing a number of homeschool children turning away from God in rebellion.  We can't make our children serve Christ, but we can make sure we aren't standing int he way!  Find out about the power of delighting in your children and loving them as Christ loved us.  Hear how to point them to the Savior and teach them to serve Him!


General Session II (Friday, 3:00pm - 4:00pm)


Never Give Up - Hal & Melanie Young


It's easy to get burned out, tired, and overwhelmed homeschooling as the years pass.  How can we press on through the opposition of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and do what we know is right?  This funny, hopeful, and encouraging session looks at the importance of finishing what you've started and making it all the way to graduation.

Also, during this session you will meet you HOME Representative, who is always available to provide encouragement and support when you most need it!


Evening Performance (Friday, 6:00pm - 8:00pm)


Ben Franklin Live - Chris Lowell


Benjamin Franklin returns to the 21st century to speak to HOME about his extraordinary life and the traits that made him the most famous American of his time.  Ben will speak of the traits that ran through his life, and how many of those traits mirror the goals of homeschooling families.  A lively Q&A will end his presentation.


In addition, drawing on his love of history and his wide range of musical styles, Noah Miller will present a selection of patriotic and early american folk tunes. Along with his musical presentation, he will share the background behind many of the traditional american songs he plays.


General Session III (Saturday, 8:30am - 9:30am)


Ben Franklin's Inventions & Experiments (Family Track) - Chris Lowell


This workshop includes hands on science for children/families.

Join Ben for a special session for children and their parents where Ben will talk about his scientific contributions, his many inventions, and what inspired them.  Particular attention will be spent on the story of the kite - so often misinterpreted in books and paintings.  In this session, Ben will speak of the surprising relationship between language skills, honesty, science, and will invite a few participants to help him recreate the inspiration for his  very favorite invention of all.  A lively Q&A will end his presentation.


General Session IV (Saturday, 12:30pm - 2:00pm)


Passing the Baton - Hal & Melanie Young


Basically, this session is in response to things we're seeing first hand around the country - homeschooling parents who are having trouble letting their kids grow up and become men and women.  It's causing some heartbreaking situations where adult children are contentedly sitting at home waiting for Mom and Dad to give them instructions, or else struggling to break free from over-controlling parents and set out on their own...sometimes with serious, life-changing consequences.  What we try to do is to show how well-intentioned Christians parents can fall into this pattern, and offer some ideas how to avoid this problem in a natural, Biblical fashion.

*All General Session music will be provided by Cassandra Beaulieu and will begin 20 minutes prior to each General Session.  Please come early and enjoy! 


Workshop Descriptions

SESSION I - Thursday, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

A Difficult Boy to Raise

Hal Young (Rockland Room)

Got a strong-willed child? Great! Hal and Melanie share the stories of boys of history who struggled with learning disabilities, stubbornness, broken families, poverty, hard wills, and more, but went on to change the world. Be encouraged and entertained as you gain strength to stay the course. 


A Field Guide to Curriculum & Philosophies

Melanie Young (Rockport Room)


Veterans toss around terms like unit studies, classical education, Charlotte Mason, and more, never dreaming how confusing it all is for someone new. Understand the different approaches available and get tools to help you figure out what is the best for your family, whether this is your first year or you just need a new perspective.


Nature Journaling Across the Curriculum (Family Track) 

Raylene Hunt (Camden Room)


Feel like you don't have time to add one more thing (like nature study) to your school day?  Not sure how to document outside time as instruction?  Come and learn how nature journaling can help you document instruction in all subject areas required by law in Maine, and a few that aren't.   Homeschool group leader and nature enthusiast, Raylene Hunt will explore this as well as various styles of journaling with families, including hands-on exploration time outside (weather permitting) and journaling.  Be sure to bring a notebook or journal and something to write with to this interactive workshop.


Sage Advice from Homeschool Veterans - Panel of Veterans (Penobscot  Room)


HOME Leaders, Chuck and Carolyn Simonds, and other veteran homeschoolers share their most valuable tips gained through experience, and the important lessons they learned along the way. Hear words of wisdom from those who know now what they didn't know then!


Be Sense-ible in Your Writing 

Yvonne Blake (Schooner Room)


Learn to observe and describe sensations so that your reader will be able to experience them.  Increase your store of descriptive vocabulary to improve your writing skills. 


SESSION II - Thursday, 2:30pm - 4:00pm

Getting Started in Homeschooling 

Carolyn Simonds (Rockland Room)


Are you just beginning to homeschool? Are you researching the option for your family? Plan to attend this workshop! The following topics will be covered:  Maine's homeschooling law,  Record keeping, Curriculum planning, Helpful resources, Portfolios and evaluations,  Support groups, Special needs, And much more!

Parenting Preteens

Hal & Melanie Young (Rockport Room)


It comes as a surprise, but the years from 9 to 12 can be some of the most challenging of all.  Long before peach fuzz or body changes, you have to cope with outbursts of anger and the "Nobody loves me" blues, but somebody's got to be the adult around here.  Learn how to survive, and make the teen years great!


Ben Franklin & Friends (Family Track)

Chris Lowell (Camden Room)


In this session, Ben reminisces about his relationships with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams and how each of these very different men influenced his life and work.  What did they talk about when General Washington became Franklin's house guest?  How did Ben feel about Jefferson being chosen to be the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence?  How did Ben get on with John Adams in France?  These questions and others will be highlighted by stories from Ben, himself.  A lively Q&A will end his presentation.

Teen Track Warm-up AND You Are What You Eat! (Teen Track)

Chris Wilcoxson* and Zach & Kim Mazone (Penobscot Room)


It is estimated that the average person spends 6 years and ten months of a 70 year lifespan eating! Make that time count! WHAT you eat will impact HOW you experience life. Explore how we can live life to the fullest and treat our bodies as the "temple of God"  (1 Cor. 3:16, 10:31) through discussion of balanced meal planning, smart shopping, and healthy food demonstrations.


* This workshop will be preceded by a time of introductions, fun and fellowship for HOME Convention 2016 Teen Track Participants. 


Computer Proficiency: Preparing Your Kids to Thrive in a Digital World.

Bill Clarke (Schooner Room)

How can you prepare your kids to thrive in a digital world? What does "computer proficiency" mean in the age of Google, cloud computing and social media? How can you teach your kids to glorify God by using technology wisely? How can you safely guide your kids through the powerful and, at times, dangerous digital jungle? Join us as we explore these and other issues surrounding what it means to be "proficient" with computers in the 21st-century.


SPECIAL SESSION - Thursday, 6:00pm - 7:00pm

HOMEschool Community Building

Chris Wilcoxson (Schooner Room) 

As homeschoolers, we have certain values in common.  However, our style, approach, and ideas are as different as our families.  We can learn from one another and grow together.  We can also move forward together as a community. Come be a part of this interactive community discussion on how we can pass on the values (the why) behind what we do to the next generation.  Perhaps even remind ourselves the 'why' behind the 'do'.


SPECIAL SESSIONS - Thursday, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Developing the Next Generation of Leadership

Hal & Melanie Young (Schooner Room)


Don't wait until you are so burnt out that you quit cold turkey and your support group dies, as leaders we know have done.  Learn what to look for in potential leaders, how to recruit them and how to disciple them to take over and keep the ministry going for your children's generation.

Escaping Common Core: Setting Our Children Free

Exodus Mandate (Rockport Room)

Many parents today refuse to address the spiritual forces endangering their children's beloved eternal souls in public schools. Many are too in love with the world's system - even if they have to send their precious children to a pagan, atheistic, hostile public school. Our approach is Biblical, following the express teaching of the Bible on how to raise and educate children, an essential part of our Christian walk of faith and obedience to Christ. We are hopeful that the Holy Spirit will use this message to spark the next revival. 


SESSION III - Friday, 9:00am - 10:00am

Raising Real Men

Hal Young (Rockland Room)

In spite of what the culture is telling us, boys and girls are different. Have you ever had a war break out in the middle of history, or had a single math lesson take three hours? Then you're probably raising boys! If the world seems intent on gender-bending and forcing our sons into a feminized mold, Hal and Melanie, parents of six boys, explain the Biblical way out - and a better way to turn wild little dirt-lovers into strong Christian men!


Sanity's in the Freezer: Bulk Cooking to Save Time 

Melanie Young (Rockport Room)


Learn how to have real meals again!  Don't worry if you have tried once-a-month cooking and didn't like the mess.  Melanie didn't like it either!  Find out how to feed your family well on less money and how to serve great dinners with minimal time in the kitchen.  This is a real favorite of attendees!


Image of God Vs. Image of an Animal (Family Track)

Paul Veit (Camden Room)


this progrm provides a moving study of the historical evolutionary attempts to turn man into an animal.  It starts with Krao, the so called ape/woman, shows the Human Zoos of the early 1900's and ends in the fields of Europe in World War II.  In contract, it shows what the "Image of God" people are doing at the same time.  The contrast is striking and shows the deeper issues of the Creation vs. Evolution debate.  Many have said that this was their favorite of Paul's presentations and it was the best selling DVD at the Pacific Northwest Creation Conference. 


Ben Franklin on Faith, Ethics and the Search for Virtue (Teen Track)

Chris Lowell (Penobscot Room)


Ben planned his life's ethical underpinning when he was just sixteen.  His desire to live virtuously led him to create an unusually organized and largely successful approach that involved faith, honest dealing and active community service.  In this presentation, Ben will reveal the sources of his inspiration, what worked and what didn't, and how his search for virtue made him a better person and a happier one, as it can for you, as well. A lively Q&A will follow.

Mad Science of Maine - Fire and Ice Show (Vendor Workshop) 

Taryn Friedman, Mad Science of Maine (Schooner Room) 

Mad Science of Maine offers hands on, inquiry based Science enrichment programs for ages 4-12.  Bring the kids and get a taste of our programs with the Fire and Ice Show! In this show, children will explore the 3 states of matter and learn about the amazing properties of fire and combustion. Children will see how our special Mad Science paper can burn leaving no ash behind and their jaws will drop when they witness our "Swoosh, Whoosh, Aaaah" experiment.  After some sizzling chemical reactions heat things up, we will cool off with spectacular demonstrations involving dry ice!  Children always marvel at the "coolness" of this frozen gas.  All Mad Science shows provide live, interactive and compelling educational experiences that make learning a blast!  


SPECIAL SESSION WITH HOME - Friday, 12:15pm - 1:15pm

Time for Q&A - Carolyn Simonds (Rockport Room)

Have you been wandering the Exhibit Hall aimlessly? Are you still wondering why you are here? Do you have unanswered questions? Bring your lunch and your questions to this session of blessing featuring HOME Leader and veteran homeschool mom, Carolyn Simonds, along with HOME's Regional Representatives. Then attend the rest of the convention feeling more encouraged and confident!  

Pedestrian & Bike Safety (Teen Track) - John Sommo (Penobscot Room)


Using materials prepared by Maine's Department of Transportation and the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, participants will learn legal and safe ways to walk and cycle on our Maine roads.  This is a hands on class covering concepts including:  pedestrian rules, helmet fit, bike check, clothing and rules of the road.  This program aims to get kids outdoors safely!


SESSION IV - Friday, 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Crisis in Contemporary Education - Dr. Duke Pesta (Rockland Room)


How did we get here? Recent educational overreaches—from Common Core to the radical expansion of meaningless high stakes testing—have finally awakened parents across the county to the ongoing transformation of education that has occurred right under our noses. We have rapidly moved from an educational system emphasizing knowledge-based mastery of subject matter to an ideological and politicized approach that diminishes achievement and excellence in favor of social justice indoctrination and utilitarian mediocrity. This talk traces the evolution of this transformation: from the atheist and socialist ambitions of such “founders” of American public education as Horace Mann and John Dewey, through the rise of progressive utopians like Rockefeller, to the advent of the NEA and the leftist take over of our classrooms championed by anarchists like Bill Ayers. One cannot fully understand the shocking recent developments in education without understanding the hundred-year progression of events and figures that brought us to this pass.  


Is My Child Really Progressing? - HOME Review Team (Rockport Room)


As homeschool parents, we are naturally concerned about our children's progress! In addition to that ongoing worry, an annual assessment of the student's academic progress is required by law.  How do we know when children are making adequate progress? What does progress mean in terms of the law? What does it look like for different kinds of learners? How do we demonstrate progress in a portfolio? What if a child is truly not making sufficient progress? Join members of the HOME Portfolio Review Team as they address these issues and offer practical solutions!

Ben Franklin Speaks: What I Did During the War (Family Track)

Chris Lowell (Camden Room)


In this session, Ben will share his reflections on his diplomatic years in France: why he was chosen as our first ambassador, his relationship in France to George Washington and the Revolutionary cause back home, his dealings with his French counterparts including the King and Marie Antoinette, and how his work was helped (and sometimes hindered) by members of his own team.  Much misinformation exists about these years for Ben and in this session, he'll tell it as it really was!  A lively Q&A will end his presentation.


Dating, Courtship, and All That (Teen Track) 

Hal & Melanie Young (Penobscot Room)


Parents, please join your teens during this special teen track workshop!  With the average age of first marriage approaching thirty, how can we make sure Christian young people are really prepared for marriage and parenting?  It doesn't happen overnight.  How can we navigate the confusing years of singleness and honor God and each other?  Should young men and young women be friends?  Will I ever get married?  Will my children ever marry? Hear Hal and Melanie's own courtship story and get practical encouragement.


Nerf Guns and Shaving Cream: Teaching Reading and Spelling to Kids Who Can't Sit Still (Vendor Workshop)

Melissa Mellor, Logic of English (Schooner Room)

Engage your active learners through movement, and let the fun begin! In this workshop, you will learn the natural kinesthetic components to reading and spelling, and how to tap into them to enhance learning for your students. As personal stories are shared, you will discover the God-given gifts of kinesthetic learners and how to work with them rather than against them. Though this workshop will focus on reading and spelling, the concepts are easily applied to other subjects.  

SESSION V - Saturday, 9:45am - 10:45am

Media Proofing Your Kids

Hal Young (Rockland Room)

No matter how much we avoid it, we're surrounded by the messages of media, from our computers to songs on the radio. Learn how to teach your children discernment, protect them from being manipulated by the messages around them, and instead to engage their culture for Christ.  


Homeschooling from the Beginning

Melanie Young (Rockport Room)


When do you get started and what do you do first?  We've had precocious readers and late bloomers, but every one of them has benefited from being homeschooled from the beginning.  Learn to relax and introduce your little ones to the joy of learning in a gentle and realistic way that will prepare them to succeed academically.


Civil War: Preparing for War (Family Track)

Blaikie Hines (Camden Room)


Preparing for War explores what the average soldier took along with him as he marched off to the Civil War.  What would you take?  Civil War author and reenactor, Blaikie Hines, dressed in a period uniform demonstrates the essential items nearly every soldier took with him.  Can you guess?


The Missionary of Today (Teen Track)

Josh Lebel (Penobscot Room)


In Matthew 28:16, Jesus gave us the great commission.  For hundreds of years, we have been trying to figure out what it should look like with new methods and tactics.  In this presentation, we will take a look at the great commission in light of history and scripture to see how we as the Church should be moving forward, and how you play a role in that. 


Homeschooling Gifted Children

Kathi Kearney (Schooner Room) 

Staying one step ahead of a child who is a perfectionist, intense and passionate about learning can be difficult. There are some strategies and teaching methods that can help you to accommodate their high interest needs and abilities, and continue to move them forward! Gifted and talented teacher, Kathi Kearney, will provide some insights!


Cultivating Classical Parents (Vendor Workshop)

Maria Chamberlain, Classical Conversations (Rockport Room)

We are raising the next generation, and for many it is unclear what career our homeschooled children will pursue. However, these future adults are guaranteed two important jobs. They will be citizens and they will be ministers of the Gospel. This workshop will reveal how Classical Conversations enables parents to equip their students to perform these jobs with excellence.

SESSION VI - Saturday, 3:00pm - 4:00pm

Indoctrination on the College Campus

Dr. Duke Pesta (Rockland Room)


A professor at a range of universities for the past twenty years, Dr. Pesta offers an eye-opening account of what your children can expect once they leave the safety and sanity of the home and enter the amoral, libertine, and leftist world of the public university system. From hyper-politicized curricula, to intolerant progressive advocacy, to the unmaking of traditional mores and morality, colleges and universities actively, aggressively work to eradicate the values and worldviews that parents have painstakingly tried to instill in their children. The talk also provides advice on how to navigate the perilous waters of academia with faith in God and country intact. Practical solutions are offered on how to minimize the debt and indoctrination of campus life. 

A House Not Divided: Building Unity Instead of Rivalry

Hal Young (Rockport Room)


You've heard the verses and caught the vision, but what can you do to get your children on your team?  Stop the bickering and rivalry and begin making memories!  In this idea-packed workshop, Hal and Melanie share how to tear down obstacles and build up family unity in fun, memorable ways.


From Slave Owner to Abolitionist (Family Track)

Chris Lowell (Camden Room)


How could a man of faith, of ethics, of intelligence become, as Ben once was, a slave-owner?  And then, later in life, what were the influences that cause him to view slavery in moral terms and reject it?  Ben explains in this presentation in doing so, shes light on the vary nature of prejudice.  A lively Q&A will end his presentation.

Fit for Life (Teen Track)

Zach & Kim Mazone (Penobscot Room)


Come dressed to exercise and have fun! After a brief discussion on the amazing benefits of lifelong exercise and new research that will bust the belief that you must exercise for long periods of time daily to see benefits, we will work through a fun, effective exercise circuit that you can go home and teach to your family. 


When Children Struggle

Kathi Kearney (Schooner Room)


Families with children experiencing learning challenges often feel overwhelmed, inadequate and uncertain at times. But homeschooling offers parents the ability to create an individualized plan to work through those struggles! Learn more about what you can do to make your home learning environment a positive, loving place where unique needs are met and children thrive! 



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