Event Sessions and Activities

General Session Descriptions


Kick-off General Session & Reception (Thursday, 6:30pm - 8:00pm)   


Maine - In the Words of Those Who Helped Shape It (Maine Studies Track)

Chris Wilcoxson  (Rockport Room) 


Maine is a beautiful state geographically.  It's also a beautiful state as seen and heard by those who have represented it.  It can be comforting and encouraging to hear from the convictions of those who have preceded us.  


Please come in costume and join the costume parade of famous Mainers as we kick-off our weekend! 


ALSO, during this session you will meet your HOME Representative, who is always ready and available to provide answers, encouragement and support when you most need it!  AND we will pay tribute to all of the amazing exhibitors who make our convention possible!


Special music will be provided by the MiIler Family.


Refreshments will be served.  Join us for a piece of birthday cake as we celebrate Maine's 200th birthday!


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


Give Me Your Heart: The Message of Proverbs

Ray Notgrass (Knox County Ballroom)


The Book of Proverbs is the wisdom a father shared with his son.  It offers practical advice about how to think and act successfully in relationships, family, business and community.  A child has the calling to honor and respect his or her parents, and the parents have the calling to be honorable and respectable.  Parents and children must give their hearts to God and to each other.  Ray Notgrass shares key lessons from this book of divine wisdom.


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


The Right Parent for Your Child: You! 

Scott Woodruff (Knox County Ballroom)  


Parenting can bring out the worst in us. Every unresolved conflict and unhealed wound threatens to destroy us as soon as we enter on the perilous path of parenting. So why in the world could you possibly think you could adequately parent your child? Because a shocking, miraculous divine grace has chosen you. God knows every one of your failures and flaws, and He still picked you to be the parent of your child! In this session, Scott presents God’s plan of redemption as it is worked out through broken parents rearing chosen children. Parents who have bought into the pessimism of our age and are ready to give up will leave this session with powerful reason for hope, excitement, and confidence.


Evening Performance (Friday, 6:30pm - 8:00pm)


American Folk Dances (Knox County Ballroom) 


From barn dances to singing games, Americans of all ages have enjoyed dancing.  Join Ray and Charlene Notgrass as they teach families how to dance historic American dances.  It’s fun!  No prior dance experience needed.  


Also, enjoy music by the Miller Family! 


Morning Praise and Worship (Saturday, 8:30am)

Nicholas Kozak and Messiah's Singers (Knox County Ballroom)


Nicholas Kozak serves as the pastor of Messiah's Congregation in Augusta, ME. He and his wife Lori will be joined by Messiah's Singers as they lead a special time Praise and Worship for attendees!  


General Session III (Saturday, 9:00am - 10:30am)


Homeschooling Without Fear

Charlene Notgrass (Knox County Ballroom)  


The voices we, as homeschooling parents, hear and think we hear from other homeschoolers, public and private schools, and the world at large can make us fearful.  Worries can swallow up our confidence and even our original intention to make God's truth the center of our homeschool.  In this session, Charlene Notgrass encourages you to trust that God equips you with everything you need to homeschool without fear.


Special Music will be provide by Down East Singers



Workshop Descriptions

SPECIAL SESSION - Thursday, 9:00am - 3:00pm


Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Maine STEM Program (Teen Track) 

PNS Staff (Rockland Room)


Students in 6th through 12th grade are invited to join Portsmouth Naval Shipyard staff for an exciting day of Maine STEM!  Presentations will include both the history PNS and its modern day mission, a glimpse of careers on the shipyard, as well as activities that exhibit real-life applications of STEM.  This engaging program will incorporate many hands-on activities that involve sonar, rigging and diving, the science of making ice cream, and more! 


Students must register in advance to participate in this special session. Space is limited.


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


How Maine Became a State (Family Track) (Maine Studies Track)

Ray Notgrass (Rockport Room)


Two hundred years ago, Maine entered the Union as a key player in the raging controversy over slavery.  Maine has been part of America's story from the time when Native Americans possessed the land.  As part of this year's bicentennial celebration of Maine's statehood, homeschool history writer Ray Notgrass relates the fascinating way in which Maine became a state and Maine's role in American history. 


Mothers of Grace

Charlene Notgrass (Camden Room)


Charlene Notgrass encourages homeschooling mothers to be mothers of grace - mothers who seek God with all their hearts, mothers who raise children to be the people God created them to be, and mothers who have the grace to let others do the same. 


Including Native American Studies in Your Homeschool (Maine Studies Track)

Raylene M. Hunt (Penobscot Room) 


As a veteran homeschooling mom, family historian and genealogist, Raylene will share resources, lesson plans and field trip ideas to help families explore Maine's indigenous culture, from prior to colonization through the time Maine became a state.


Mistakes That Can Cost You Your Kids

Scott Woodruff (Schooner Room) 


When the ability to keep your family together balances as if on the edge of a razor, which way should you jump? This presentation examines real life examples and offers real life lessons.    


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


Mainers Who Have Made a Difference (Family Track) (Maine StudiesTrack )

Ray Notgrass (Rockport Room) 


Homeschool history writer Ray Notgrass shares stories of people from Maine who have contributed to our national story.  You'll be encouraged by what Mainers have accomplished.  Who knows -- you might be on the list in future years! 


Winston Churchill:  From Struggling Learner to World Leader (Special Needs)

Charlene Notgrass (Camden Room)


Winston Churchill's father and his teachers considered him to be a miserable failure.  When parents of students came to school on one special day, the boys paraded in front of them in the order of their school performance.  Winston Churchill was at the end of the line.  The boy whom no one believed in took longer to grow up than most boys do, but he grew up in the end.  In World War II, Churchill led the United Kingdom to a victory few could have imagined when he came to power in 1940.  In 1999, Churchill's daughter Lady Mary Churchill Soames came to Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine to christen the USS Winston Churchill.  Charlene Notgrass will encourage you not to despair if your child is not at the place that other people - or maybe you yourself - think he should be right now.  You just never know when God will place one of those children in just the right place at just the right time to do something amazing.


Homeschooling High School 101 (Teen Track)

Carolyn Simonds (Penobscot Room)


The thought of homeschooling through high school can be intimidating to parents. With the right information and support, you can begin the high school years feeling confident and prepared for success. If you have a middle or high school student, make this workshop a priority! We'll be discussing: 


Why homeschool high school? 

Keeping records


Teaching the "hard" subjects

Dual enrollment

The importance of transcripts

Applying to colleges

Gap years

And much more!


Homeschooling with Confidence: Understanding Maine Homeschool Law

Scott Woodruff (Schooner Room)


Homeschooling is legal if—and only if—you follow the law.  This presentation will give you an excellent foundation and give you confidence you are complying with the law.  It will also cover what homeschool families need to know about immunization law in light of recent developments.


SESSION III - Thursday, 7:30pm - 9:00pm


Ten People You Should Know (Teen Track) 

Ray Notgrass (Rockport Room)   


We admire heroes for what they accomplish and how they overcome obstacles.  We need heroes because they embody the principles and ideals we cherish.  Heroes might be famous or they might only be known to a few, but their lives have made a difference.  In the Bible, Hebrews chapter 11 is a list of heroes that the readers need to remember.  Homeschool history writer Ray Notgrass shares a list of ten of his heroes from history and encourages you to develop your own list and to think about how you might be a hero to others.


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


Raising Teens: Advice from a Dad 

Scott Woodruff (Rockland Room)


Simple, down to earth advice from a Dad who has raised three children to adulthood.  Some things work; some don't.  I've tried both.  When the animals want to run the zoo, you will remember this one!


Maintaining Portfolios for Your Year End Assessment:  What You Need to Know

Panel (Rockport Room) 


What are the benefits of keeping a portfolio? Why are portfolios important? What should they include? What will the review process be like? What if I fail? Find out the answers to these questions, and more, from this panel of experienced HOME reviewers! 


Presidential Visits to Maine (Family Track) (Maine Studies Track)

Charlene Notgrass (Camden Room)


The love that the Bush family has for Maine is legendary, but the Bushes aren't the only presidents who have enjoyed the beautiful state of Maine.  After James K. Polk became the first president to visit Maine in 1847, many presidents have followed.  Some came for political reasons and others for recreation.  The education Franklin Pierce received at Bowdoin College and the experiences of Franklin Roosevelt in the Passamaquoddy Bay area helped to prepare them for the presidency.  In this presentation, Charlene Notgrass explores presidential visits to Maine and the life lessons we and our children can learn from them. 


Community Service, An Essential Part of Your Curriculum

Panel (Penobscot Room)


When it comes to providing your children with a well-rounded education, it is important that you expose them to more than just the academics. One unique benefit of homeschooling is that we have the opportunity for regular, deliberate acts of service. The simple act of volunteering will help to develop a compassionate spirit and desire to help that will continue on into adulthood. In this workshop, we'll explore the benefits of volunteering and community service and how it can enhance your program.


Teaching Maine Citizenship (Maine Studies Track)

Panel (Schooner Room)


Teaching good citizenship often includes educating students about how our Maine government and economic systems work and what rights and responsibilities we have as citizens. However, good citizenship is more than learning about the process of government . To foster an enduring sense of ownership over our country, state and community, it’s important to develop character qualities and the mindset of a good Maine citizen. In this session, expert panelists will share ideas, resources and programs to consider including in your citizenship lessons!




The Way Life Used To Be: Maine's Electric Railways (Family Track) (Maine Studies Track)

Phil Morse (Rockland Room)


In 1915, 57,422,739 total passengers traveled in trolley cars on the five hundred and twenty miles of electric railway tracks that served more than ninety communities in Maine. Electric railways later in the 19th century and early in the 20th century contributed significantly to Maine's economy and its social development. From horse-drawn cars to electric streetcars, the transition brought electricity to the cities and rural communities alike. From potatoes carried in Aroostook County to passengers on a luxury parlor car to attend the theater in Cape Elizabeth, electric railways were instrumental in connecting people with communities in Maine. Learn about this fascinating period of Maine's transportation history.


Anti-social Social Clubs (Event Sponsor)

Edge Camps (Rockport Room)


Join Camp Director Chris Pleasants to learn how social medias, and the devices they come on, are hindering the social growth of young people today. 


Shakespeare, Dante, and Virgil, Oh My! Falling in Love with the Classics (Event Sponsor)

Classical Conversations (Camden Room)


 Do memories of parsing out passages of Dickens haunt your dreams from your high school years? Do you still feel that twinge of guilt as you sheepishly admit that it was the CliffsNotes of Oedipus Rex that you read instead of the translation you were assigned? Does a clammy sweat break out on your palms when you think about discussing “Paradise Lost” with your child because it all seems so daunting? Come get some encouragement and practical tips on overcoming those bad memories or current fears. We’ll spend some time together thinking about why we should read great classics as parents and how to make them a little less intimidating. 


 Timothy is a homeschooling father of four, husband of a beautiful, intelligent woman, and a lover of books. He currently serves as the president of The Education Association of Christian Homeschoolers in Connecticut and as an Area Representative for Classical Conversations. Having had many a good book ruined for him in his school days, Timothy is on a quest to evaluate and redeem his own education as he strives to become a better student, teacher, and human being.


Making College Planning Resources Work For You (Event Sponsor) (Teen Track)

Gordon College (Penobscot Room)


Google “college planning” and you get countless suggestions – how do you know which ones will truly help you? This workshop will highlight resources for the college admissions process, test preparation, identifying college fit, selection of a major, and developing a strong college application profile. You will learn how to access these resources and use them effectively. Students and parents welcome!


UMA Aspirations & Degree Opportunities: Learn How to Earn College Credit for Free and Earn Your Degree with Zero Tuition (Event Sponsor) (Teen Track)

University of Maine Augusta (Schooner Room) 


Join Brandy Finck and Rachael Magill from UMA to learn more about the High School Aspirations Program at the University of Maine at Augusta. This program provides high school juniors and seniors with the opportunity to take up to 6 credit hours each semester tuition free. Courses are offered on-campus, online, or in your community at a UMA Center. This innovative program allows students to begin their college career early and introduces them to the college environment and work expectations, therefore reducing future college workloads and shortening the time to graduation. Participants to this session will be provided with information about the High School Aspirations Program, college preparation, UMA degree scholarship opportunities including the Pine Tree State Pledge and UMA $10K Scholarship, and upcoming semester course selections.


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


Job and His Message for the 21st Century

Scott Woodruff (Rockland Room)


This is the book of Job the way you have never heard it presented.  It's a message of hope, confidence and utterly complete trust in the God Who Is There. 


Yes, You Have to Study History and Here's Why

Ray Notgrass (Rockport Room)


Historian David McCullough has said, "A nation that forgets its past can function no better than an individual with amnesia."  A recent survey revealed that a majority of millennials think that socialism is a good idea and that, of those who had heard of Vladimir Lenin, about one-fourth had a favorable impression of him.  Do we need more evidence of why not knowing history is dangerous?  Homeschool history writer Ray Notgrass gives reasons why understanding the past, including Maine state history, is essential for effective living today and enjoying a successful tomorrow. 


Homeschooling a Future President

Charlene Notgrass (Camden Room)


Learn how Union supporter Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and his southern wife Mittie homeschooled a future president during the Civil War and beyond.  In his autobiography, President Theodore Roosevelt reminisced about graduating from Harvard with these words:  "I left college and entered the big world owing more than I can express to the training I had received, especially in my own home."  Theodore Sr. made time in the outdoors a key component of his son's education.  He sent his fourteen-year-old son to Maine's Moosehead Lake in 1872.  Six years later, Theodore Jr. began a lifelong friendship with his Maine hunting guides Bill Sewall and Wilmont Dow.  Charlene Notgrass will inspire your homeschool journey with practical ideas the Roosevelts used.  Like the Roosevelts, you can inspire your children to become all that God has created them to be.  


Women’s History:  “A Woman’s Place Is . . . ?” (Family Track) (Maine Studies Track)

David Richards (Penobscot Room)


In 1848 the women’s movement for equal rights began at the Seneca Falls Convention with the writing of the “Declaration of Sentiments.”  One hundred years later, Margaret Chase Smith from Skowhegan, Maine became the first woman to gain election to the United States Senate in her own right.  Find out how a woman who grew up at a time when women did not have the right to vote went on to become one of the most powerful politicians in the United States during the mid-twentieth century.  In addition, learn about the other areas of American society, including athletics, business, the professions, and the military, where Margaret Chase Smith helped open doors for females. 


Creating a Developmentally Appropriate Approach to Early Learning for Your Child

Panel (Schooner Room) 


With the lowering of the compulsory school attendance age to six, you are probably wondering how you can satisfy state requirements for annual assessment, and still preserve a joy-filled, engaging and natural learning environment for your early learner. You don't need to hurry your child! Join this panel of experienced educators for practical tips on compliance with the law, while protecting those precious years of childhood. 


SESSION VI - Saturday, 10:45am - 11:45am


When They Say That Homeschoolers Abuse Their Kids: Solid Answers

Scott Woodruff (Rockland Room)


What do you say when your friends, co-workers, church members ask you about homeschoolers abusing their kids?  This session will present solid, powerful answers based on common sense and compassion.


Preserving Homeschool Freedoms by Understanding the Opposition

Kathi Kearney (Rockport Room)   


Homeschooling has become more popular than ever in recent years. However, it has always been controversial, and still is! Teachers' unions, state and public school officials, unfriendly legislators, organized groups and individuals that advocate for greater oversight, and even family members give voice to a spirit of opposition. Join homeschool expert Kathi Kearney to find out more about what our opponents think and why, and what you can do to protect homeschool freedoms in Maine.


The Abundant Homeschool Checklist

Charlene Notgrass (Camden Room) 


Children deserve an abundant childhood with abundant opportunities to learn and abundant opportunities to be children. Sometimes education steals childhood, kills curiosity, and destroys joy. It’s tempting for homeschooling parents to let fear and peer pressure push them into doing those very things. Charlene Notgrass gives ten ideas for an abundant homeschool.


Teaching With Primary Sources Using State Records (Maine Studies Track)

Heather Moran (Penobscot Room) 


Thinking about the Maine 2020 Bicentennial? Want to use primary source documents in your Maine studies curriculum? Heather Moran, Reference & Outreach Archivist at the Maine State Archives, will give an overview of the collections of the Archives, including the Maine Constitution, Wabanaki documents, maps, and other interesting material that can be used to supplement your curriculum.


The Life of a Butterfly (Family Track)

 Erika Huber (Schooner Room)  


In this session, Erika Huber from Maine Botanical Garden will introduce families to Maine's native butterflies and moths and learn about the importance of these animals in the food web. Participants will also discover the unique adaptations of butterflies and moths, the key differences between them, and tips on how to identify our native beauties. Participants will also gain an understanding of their life cycle, the differences between host plants and nectar plants and the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis. Each participant will take home milkweed seeds to plant in their garden.


SPECIAL SESSION                                                                            Saturday, 12:00pm - 1:00pm


Are You Smartah Than a Flatlandah? (Family Track)

Fran Simmler (Camden Room)


Want to showcase your knowledge of the grand state of Maine? Then you are welcome to compete with fellow conventioneers on facts around the people, places, history and other things that makes the Pine Tree State unique.  This session will be conducted in two rounds: First round will be multiple choice for all willing attendees until there are ten finalists.  Second round will be a speed round culminating with one, wicked smaht winner.  The grand prize will be a signed copy of Maine Studies Workbook by Diane Simmler.


SESSION VII - Saturday, 1:00pm - 2:30pm


Field Trips Far and Near

Ray and Charlene Notgrass (Rockland Room) 


With limited time and a limited budget, Ray and Charlene Notgrass took their children to each of the lower 48 states. It took fifteen years, but they made it. Learn how you can use field trips far and near to teach your children and share an exciting and joyful life as a homeschooling family.


Graduation Ceremony

Scott Woodruff (Rockport Room)

Graduation Event Schedule and Details 


Getting Started in Homeschooling

Kim Mazone (Camden 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!   


The Importance of Developing Good Study Skills (Teen Track)

Carolyn Simonds (Penobscot Room) 


One important facet of homeschooling through high school is developing lifelong study skills. Good study skills can reduce anxiety about tests and deadlines. They can improve the ability to learn and retain knowledge. These skills are a benefit during high school, but they also prepare students for success in the workforce, the military, trade school, or college.


Graduation Reception

(Schooner Room)


Open to graduates and guests only.  Tickets required.


* Music prior to General Sessions on Friday will be provided by the Beal Family. Please arrive early to enjoy!