by Connie Overlock
As a homeschool mom, I’m always looking for unique ways to engage my children in learning without them feeling like we are in ‘school mode’ all of the time. We’ve done that through games, nature study, field trips and hobbies that are of particular interest to each child.
I’m looking forward to convention for that reason. I don’t see convention as a day off from school, or even as a field trip, but as another educational opportunity that will peak my children’s interest and be the springboard from which we base future studies.
At this year’s convention, I find that we can cover just about any school subject we want depending on what workshops, speakers, and vendor booths we visit over the course of the weekend. There are opportunities for history, science, physical education, fine arts, health and safety, fitness, math, nature study, reading, writing, geneology, computer proficiency and more.
If your kids are interested in history be sure to attend Ben Franklin’s evening performance on Friday evening where he will talk about his extraordinary life and the traits that made him the most famous American of his time. He will also be giving a workshop on Thursday from 2:30 to 4:00pm. Ben will be reminiscing about his relationships with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, and how each of these very different men influenced his life and work. On Friday, from 1:30 to 2:30pm. Ben will recount what he did during the Revolutionary War.
Other opportunities for learning how to make history more engaging include a visit from Francis Longfellow, wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - as she recites and discusses "Paul Revere's Ride" from a historical and literary perspective and a talk given by Blaikie Hines on “The Civil War: Preparing for War.”
Science enthusiast will enjoy another workshop by Ben Franklin including hands on science for children/families. Paul Veit will offer a fascinating workshop entitled “Image of God Vs. Image of an Animal.” There will also be a vendor workshop by Mad Science of Maine. They will be presenting their 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. Maine Destination Nature Network will offer nature exploration and a special visit on Saturday from some hissing cockroaches.
You can include fine arts in your lesson planning by listening to the music of Cassandra Beaulieu 20 minutes prior to each general session, decorating tree cookies with Maine Destination Nature Network, or for the younger child Disney coloring sheets are provided by Goodness Vacations in the vendor hall.
Health and fitness, as well as pedestrian and bike safety, will be the focus of some of the teen track programs. In “You are What You Eat,” teens can explore how they can live life to the fullest and treat their bodies as the "temple of God" (1 Cor. 3:16, 10:31) through discussion of balanced meal planning, smart shopping, and healthy food demonstrations. Pedestrian and Bike Safety 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! Add physical education to this by enjoying a walk on the beautiful breakwater or along the beach adjacent to the Samoset.
We are offering workshops covering geneology with Raylene Hunt, computer proficiency with Bill Clark, and writing with Yvonne Blake.
If all this isn’t enough, you can cover math in our vendor hall with a pebble estimation jar offered by Creative Learning Solutions, and hands-on math activities by Learning with Fun Tutoring Company.
Whether you are coming to the convention as a couple looking for ideas to re-engage your children, or bringing your children to peak their curiosity and help them get excited about learning, you will find something for every age, grade or subject.