Event Sessions and Activities

General Session Descriptions


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


HOME for All

Chris Wilcoxson and Jeremy Grant (Rockport Room) 


Homeschooling has made vast strides in the past 30 years. The validity and viability of homeschooling can be found right in your own home! Many would like to push homeschooling back into obscurity. For that reason, we want to intentionally show what homeschooling in Maine looks like, with all the passion, emotion, struggle and success that happens in homes all around our state. We don’t want to simply say homeschooling is valid, we want to show it! How? Come meet Jeremy Grant, a new friend of HOME. Listen to how your own personal testimonies can reveal the true heart of homeschooling for others to see. Hear how a simple video can share the emotion of what we do above just words. We want you to be involved! You will have an opportunity during this convention. Please join us to learn more.


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 Piscataqua Rangers Fife and Drum. Refreshments will be served!  


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


If There Was Ever a Time to Homeschool, It Is Now!

Davis Carman (Knox County Ballroom)


Most parents place a high value on the education they can give to their children. It prepares them for life and gives them hope for a happy future. In the old days, the three R’s of schooling included reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithematic. Is homeschooling succeeding because it is reclaiming the tried and true educational philosophy or is something else going on? In this workshop, Davis presents a compelling case for you to believe in the power of homeschooling and seven new R’s to back it up.


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


Soaring Beyond Survival

Rachael Carman (Knox County Ballroom)  


Homeschooling is not easy. As a matter of fact, it can be downright overwhelming, tempting us to slip into survival mode. Homeschooling is the adventure of a lifetime, and God will be your strength. It is not His will that you just survive - He wants you to thrive. Come hear Rachael discuss what it takes to soar like an eagle.


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


Bangor Area Players present The Wizard of Oz (Knox County Ballroom) 


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


Don't Ring the Bell (aka Never Give Up)

Davis Carman (Knox County Ballroom) 


Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary to start and just as daunting to continue. Statistics show that roughly 20% of parents who start this journey quit after the first year. Then another 20% stop after year two with 10% walking away by year three. The trend levels off by year four with a little less than half of those who started remaining. What separates those who stick with it from those who give up? Is it just a matter of persevering? Davis believes that every child is a homeschool child, but not every parent is a homeschool parent. Are you a homeschool parent? Come and find out. And if you are, Davis will give you five promises that should inspire you to never ever give up and four fundamentals to help you persevere and succeed.


ALSO, this session will begin with a very special visit from a surprise guest, or two! Be sure to bring your children along to meet them!


Workshop Descriptions

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

How to Stop Wrestling and Start Resting

Rachael Carman (Rockland Room)


For those of us who are doers, wrestling feels like we are doing something, while resting doesn’t. But God calls us to rest in His sovereignty—to trust Him and submit to His plan, His will, His way. What does that look like? How does a wrestler become a rester? Come and learn how to start today.


* This workshop is sponsored by Schoodic Therapeutics Day Spa and Therapy Center


Leadership Lessons from the Trenches (Homeschool Leaders and Mentors)

Davis Carman (Rockport Room)


Are you ministering to homeschoolers in your area in any way? This workhop is for you and your leadership team! Being in a leadership position is tough work. Your heart desires to see great things happen for homeschooling families in your area, but the enemy throws so many flaming arrows your way. Often these come in the form of conflict with people. How can you as a leader build trust among your team members and constituents, maintain healthy relationships when facing conflict, and confront difficult issues effectively? In this workshop, Davis gives four leadership lessons he has learned first-hand from the field (aka trenches), and you will learn how to be more effective in your leadership role.


The College Experience: Is It For Me? (Teen Track)

Gordon College, University of Maine, Augusta, and Cairn University, and Nick Umphrey

(Camden Room)


Join our panel of distinct colleges, universities, and guidance counselor, for a discussion tailored for homeschoolers preparing for college admittance. Each college or university will bring their own unique offering of programs and majors. This is your opportunity for an informational session with faculty who will guide you as you prepare for the future. It is never to early to receive advice from the experts. Facilitated by Nick Umphrey, a guidance counselor, college admissions consultant, and homeschool father. Nick will both lead and participate in our college panel.


Nature's Secrets in Our Backyards and Beyond: Discovering the Wonders of Nature through Story, Music, Art, Imagination and More!

Kathy Dunfee (Penobscot Room)


There are NO seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child; there are seven million.” (W. Streightiff)


Children are endowed with an extra sense; the sense of wonder.  In this workshop, Kathy Dunfee invites you to re-awaken your sense of childlike wonder to see the “extraordinary in the ordinary” by simply stepping out your back door to discover nature's secrets.  A busy homeschooling mom will never look back and regret making time for these refreshing moments with her children.  Based on Charlotte Mason's approach to nature study, Kathy will offer you simple and practical weekly “no-to-low-prep” ideas on how to engage children of all ages in nature through sensory and other creative ways that offer a source of delight all through their life.  She'll highlight the simple joys of going on “treasure hunts” for acorns, moss, leaves, wildflowers and other seasonal “finds” to create woodland creature homes. This gives children an appreciation for the little things in nature, enhancing their observation skills each time they are outside. With just a bit of creativity and imagination, moss becomes carpeting, acorn caps become goblets, milk weed pods become cradles and flower petals become blankets. It's fun to use our imagination to create things out of nature while discovering

its secrets along the way.


Summer Camp: A Valuable Experience for Learning and Growing 

Panel (Schooner Room)  


Camps offer so many hands-on, in-depth opportunities and experiences for learners to enjoy. They expose children to an atmosphere that they likely would not encounter anywhere else, with the added benefit of meeting others from many different areas. Camps have leaders who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and skills. Come listen to a wide variety of summer camp representatives and what amazing opportunities they have to offer.   


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

What About THAT Child?

Rachael Carman (Rockland Room)


What face comes to mind when you hear “that child”? Do you smile or scowl when you see that face? Do you struggle to like that child? That child is a world changer. God has a plan for that child. All of that energy, all those questions, all that strength, all THAT, is God-given for His glory. Come learn strategies for learning to enjoy that child, to embrace that child, and to train that child for God’s purposes.


Mammals of Maine: From Mice to Moose (Family Track) 

Chewonki Foundation (Rockport Room) 


This exciting and interactive program introduces students to our native warm-blooded vertebrates: Maine mammals. Each participant studies a mounted animal and observes its characteristics, such as teeth, feet, and fur. We use these observations as clues to understanding each mammal’s adaptations, niche, and habitat. A collection of skulls, study skins, and other specimens complements a discussion of adaptations and the role each animal plays in the food web. This program also feature a living example of a non-releasable wild mammal!


How Do I Raise a Literate Child? (Pre-K through High School) (Special Needs)

Dr. Eileen Morelli (Camden Room)


Are you struggling to raise a literate child? What is literacy? Where does one go to find resources? When is it time to have a screening test? Dr. Morelli will answer these questions as she explains the foundations of literacy that are developmentally necessary regardless of age. She will pass on ideas, activities, and resources you may use to raise a literate child. For some pre-workshop reading and preparation, check out the following links:

1. Understood.org - click on The Parent Toolkit, and then Through the Eyes of a Child. 

2. Bonniecampbellhill.com - Click on Support Materials, then Reading/Writing Continuum.  

3. Maine.gov/rehab (for parents of high school students)  

If you have an iPad, bring it along for maximum workshop interaction! 


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!


Getting Started in Homeschooling

Kim Mazone (Schooner 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!  


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

Mock Legislature (Teen Track) 

Rodney Sparks (Penobscot Room)   


How does your idea become a law? TeenPact's Rodney Sparks will take teens through the process! Participants will learn how to bring a bill before a legislative committee, practice presenting a bill, effectively debate to be heard and convince those in power to consider your idea, all with passion and respect. Come with an idea ready to be considered that will impact homeschoolers for the better in the state of Maine! 


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

Attention, Obsessive-Compulsive, Perfectionist, Control-Freaks: CHILL OUT

Rachael Carman (Rockland Room)


As an obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist-control-freak herself, Rachael is sometimes her own worst enemy when it comes to taking advantage of the freedoms of home school. Are you too tied to your plan? Do you shiver at the idea of change or adjustment? Are you missing out on significant moments because you are focused on the trivial? Join Rachael for a lesson on how to chill out and turn control over to God. 


My Life As Mrs. Incredible: Homeschooling the Gifted Child

Rachel Morris (Rockport Room)


Disney Pixar’s 2004 movie, The Incredibles and its 2018 sequel The Incredibles 2, portrays several situations that often confront the today’s gifted family. Decisions about when (and when not) to use

one’s “superpowers”, the opportunity costs of both hiding and using one’s gifts, advocacy for our children and for ourselves, complicated family dynamics, and even dealing with occasional “Jack-Jack attacks” from gifted offspring, are all realities faced by gifted and “super” families alike. The fun, fictionalized portrayal of these often difficult topics makes the films an excellent vehicle for opening

discussion on life in the gifted family. Using examples from the films, “Mrs. Incredible” discusses life in the gifted family, focusing on her experiences with homeschooling three gifted kids, now adults. Topics including, the divergent ways giftedness emerges in children within the same family, working with helpful and not so helpful “outsiders”, choosing and using curriculum, and constructive household rules will be discussed. Effective interpersonal skills for the whole family will also be addressed. By sharing her experiences (good and bad) and lessons learned in her own gifted family of “supers”, this presentation is designed to help empower gifted families to “fly”, living life to the fullest and achieving their goals.


Course Credits: Get It Where You Can, Make It Where You Want

Joanna Martel (Camden Room)


What is course credit and why is it important?  How do you determine, track, and show others how your student is progressing? This presentation isn't just for homeschooling grades 9 - 12.  The value of understanding course credits can help you navigate transcripts, use of public school opportunities, and put your program's best foot forward for all ages.  


It's Okay To Let Them Play

Raylene Hunt (Penobscot Room) 


Put aside the textbooks and worksheets (especially if your student isn’t enjoying them)! Whether your student is 4 or 14, join Early Childhood Educator and veteran homeschooling mom, Raylene Hunt to explore how what looks like “just play” is actually learning in action. Discover how you, as the parent and teacher, can facilitate opportunities that will instill a life-long love of learning in your student.  Learn how to document their learning through play for their year-end assessments.


Lead the Way to 2020: A Maine Bicentennial Project for Your Family! (Family Track)

Kathleen Neumann (Schooner  Room)


In this hands-on workshop, parents and children will learn how to use the primary sources and other tools available on Maine Memory Network and My Maine Stories to (1) research your local history and create a local 1820 - 2020 time-line for HOME's Bicentennial Project Fair (to be held during the convention in 2020) and (2) share your own Maine story on My Maine Stories. We will also discuss the educational tools and resources available for homeschool families on MMN and how you and/or your local historical society can become a contribution partner with MMN. Start your bicentennial project in this workshop, and bring your finished project to convention next year for a 2020 celebration!  




Learning With Fun: Helping Children who Struggle with Executive Functioning Skills

Jessica Ireland (Rockland Room)


Executive Functions are self-management skills that aid students in achieving their academic and personal goals. Executive Function is the ability to organize and manage your thoughts, actions, and emotions in order to initiate, sustain, and complete a task. To be effective, students must be able to manage their emotions, focus attention, organize and plan their work and time, as well as reflect upon and revise their tactics as circumstances change. In this workshop, you will learn what Executive Functioning means, and how it applies to learning and everyday needs of our children. Jessica will provide easy and useful strategies to implement at-home to help your child strengthen these skills and the muscles in their brain. You will look at the Learning With Fun's B·A·I·N·E·S·! method, and how taking a Student Centered approach towards learning will create positive long-term change including personal growth and development within your child.


Gordon College: Making College Planning Resources Work for You 

Sharon Carlson (Rockport Room)


Google “college planning” and you get 642 million 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 how to use them effectively. This workshop will also help you make the most of your college visits through preparation, intentional engagement on the campus, and looking “behind the scenes” to get a good sense of the campus culture and student experience. You will learn how to prepare for admissions interviews that will communicate your interest in the college, express the strength of your application profile, and give the college a clear sense of your interests and strengths as they assess your fit as a prospective student.


Classical Conversations: Awakening Wonder - An Introduction to Christian Classical Education

Molly Riley (Camden Room)


How do we awaken wonder in our students?  We awaken wonder by showing our students the Wonderful – that which is True, Good, and Beautiful.  Modern education offers students its version of truth, goodness, and beauty promising the integration of the latest teaching methods, STEAM education, and leading-edge technology in the classroom with the goal of producing skilled graduates prepared for the labor force.  Join us as we explore what the classical tradition teaches us about Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, how it grows virtuous students through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum,  and how we can awaken our students to wonder in our homeschools. 


Living Innovations: Shared Living In Maine: Consider the Possibilities. Kristin Sengel and Amanda Parker (Penobscot Room)


What is “Shared Living” and how is it beneficial to young people with I/DDs who are transitioning into adulthood? And what does “Shared Living” mean for those Maine communities that embrace the program? A discussion presented by Living Innovations’ Kristin Sengel and Amanda Parker. Living Innovations is Maine’s provider of choice for Shared Living, Community Support, In-Home Support, and a range of other services for adults with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities.


HOME: Time for Q&A

Carolyn Simonds (Schooner 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!  


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

Q&A with Reading Specialist Dr. Eileen Morelli (Special Needs Track)

Dr. Eileen Morelli  (Rockland Room)


Here's your chance to join an experienced teacher, professor, parent, and grandparent, and ask the tough questions you have about your reading concerns of your special needs child. Questions will be written down, and then categorized and discussed. Eileen will offer you advice and guidance that will give you direction and a foundation to build upon, joined with hope and encouragement. 


Desirable Disadvantages (think David and Goliath)

Davis Carman (Rockport Room)


Most school systems think the answer to their problems is a more money, certified teachers, and more standardized testing. They debate about these and other issues trying to find the magic bullet to get the average student scores to move ever so slightly up the charts. Without all the “benefits” afforded by publish and private schools, how in the world can homeschools ever have a chance to succeed? Just like David seemed like no match for Goliath, what appear to be disadvantages for homeschooling families can prove to be in our favor and therefore quite desirable. What are they? Come and hear about six of them.


Building a Self-Designed Course

Joanna Martel (Camden Room)


Do you and your student like to work outside published curriculum. Are you having trouble finding a course that fits your student's interests and extra curriculum activities? There is substantial gain and flexibility to be had when you learn how to build your own course. Come find out how and why it is to your advantage to build your own course and set your own path to successful and enjoyable learning for the whole family or cooperative. 


The World's A Web: The Interconnectedness of Marine Ecology (Teen Track)

Dr. Rachel Morris (Penobscot Room) 


This session, designed for middle school and high school students, takes students outside to explore the marine environment of the rock-bound coast of Maine. The focus will be food webs. Participants will make observations and work together to address such questions as: Who eats who and why? And what happens if we lose a species? What happens if the environment changes? How do systems adapt to change? Bring your rubber boots and "outside" clothes for an educational trip to the coast to explore the interconnectedness of the coastal marine food web.


Using Libraries to Enrich Your Homeschooling

Jean Young, Amy Hand, and Barbara Rehmeyer (Schooner Room)


Libraries are a rich source of opportunity waiting to be tapped. Besides lending books that enrich learning, what other ways can the library be used? Come and find out how you can expand your child's learning and connections with suggestions from experienced librarians who have worked with homeschoolers and helped them grow.


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

How To Have a HEART For Your Kids

Rachael Carman (Rockland Room)


Solomon wrote, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). As we approach a heart relationship with our children, we need to focus our efforts on the things that really matter. This lesson uses the acronym H.E.A.R.T. to identify what really matters from a biblical viewpoint.


Lighting a Fire vs. Filling a Bucket: The Heart of a Charlotte Mason Education 

Kathy Dunfee (Rockport Room)  


Kathy began homeschooling armed with “how-to” books and award winning curriculum thinking she would do all the teaching and her children would do all the learning.   She found just the opposite to be true using the methodologies of a Charlotte Mason education.  In this workshop, Kathy provides simple and practical ways to engage your children (and yourself) in a Charlotte Mason education by preparing the feast, laying down habits (tracks) for life to run more smoothly on and promoting an atmosphere of grace, truth and beauty. God meets us in our weakness and in his presence we are changed at the heart level. Charlotte  Mason's profound yet practical methods light a fire in the hearts of both teacher and student.


Traveling By STEAM

Joanna Martel (Camden Room) 


You have heard of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) but do you know how to use it?  Can you take it on the road to make the most of field trips, family vacations, and even holiday events?  Martel Learning Group will help you understand their product of "Traveling by STEAM" curriculum and give you insight into building your own.


Writing With Children (Family Track)

Meadow Rue Merrill (Penobscot Room) 


In this family workshop, Maine mom and veteran writer Rue Merrill will share about her writing journey--from toting a pencil and pad of paper around her childhood farm to becoming an award-winning journalist and author. Learn methods for encouraging your children's creative expression (from keeping a journal to writing fiction and nonfiction narratives) and tools to help them edit and revise their work. Older students will come away with ideas for crafting standout college-application essays. This workshop will include hand-outs and a time for questions and answers.


Homeschool Success Stories

Dr. Warren Varney, Dr. Ruth Varney, Pastor Sam McKeen, and Annie Twitchell (Schooner Room)  


Chiropractic Doctors Warren and Ruth Varney, and Pastor Sam McKeen, are three individuals who will share how they were homeschooled through high school, attended college and beyond, and are experiencing successful careers. They will share about their personal experiences and struggles, the college admissions process as homeschoolers, their present-day careers, and answer questions you may have about their journey. 


SPECIAL SESSION WITH OUR SPONSORS, AND MORE! - Saturday, 12:00noon - 1:00pm

Cairn University: The GAP Year Experience (Teen Track)

Tim Hurd (Rockland Room)


Taking a gap year is an amazing opportunity for many students. Tim Hurd is a graduate of Cairn University’s gap year program and former staff member at another gap year Bible program in Germany and has exciting tips and information to share about how to experience the most out of taking a gap year prior to college or as part of a unique freshmen year experience. 


UMA Aspirations: Earn College Credit for Free (Teen Track)

Rachael Magill (Camden Room)


The High School Aspirations Program at the University of Maine at Augusta 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 University College 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, admissions/enrollment information, and upcoming semester course selections.


Meet-up for Families with Children with Special Needs (Special Needs Track)

Kathi Kearney (Penobscot Room)


Bring your lunch and spend some informal time sharing concerns, resources and ideas, while connecting with other families homeschooling children with special needs. HOME leaders will be on hand to answer questions and help facilitate your time together!


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

Last Stop Before You Leave Convention 2019!

HOME Leaders (Rockland Room)


Before you head out, be sure to stop here (and bring along your children if they are with you) to meet some very special surprise guests, receive your free give-away, awards, prize drawings for children and parents, one last silent auction item and say final goodbyes to your HOME family. You'll get a sneak peek at the exciting 2020 HOME Convention and 30th Anniversary details, too. All are welcome!


HOME Graduation 2019 (pre-registered graduates, guests, and convention attendees) 

Live, Learn and Defend the Faith

Davis Carman (Rockport Room)


After graduation, what is a homeschooled student to do? What should be their aim, their goal? With all the voices shouting for their attention (work, college, family, and friends), how in the world can a teen choose a wise, virtuous, and responsible path? In this talk, Davis gives three easy-to-remember points that can steer a new graduate in the right direction. Learn, know, and be set free by the truth found in God’s Word. Live the abundant life found only in Christ by loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. In the conclusion, Davis challenges the graduate to take the path less traveled by following God’s original design for family. In doing so, the Christian faith will be defended better than ever. 

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 Recordkeeping in the Middle and High School Years

Carolyn Simonds (Penobscot Room) 


Recordkeeping can seem overwhelming for the homeschooling parent and student, but it doesn't have to be. Carolyn will share strategies, tips and ideas on how to keep records of schoolwork and activities throughout the year. When it comes time for portfolio reviews and college planning, you will be well-prepared and feeling confident in your direction. 


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