Convention Sessions and Activities

General Session Descriptions


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

HOMEschool Community Building

Chris Wilcoxson (Rockport Room) 


AND, 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!



Music will be provided by Piscataqua Rangers Fife and Drum. Refreshments will be served!  


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


The Powerful Position of Prayer in Our Home[schools] 

Angela O'Dell (Knox County Ballroom)


God’s Word is full of instruction to pray. It is such an important topic that Jesus took the time to give us a specific model to use in our own prayers. In this session, we will dig into what God’s Word says about having a prayer-full, powerful life, versus settling for a prayer-less, powerless existence. God is calling our generation to be a mighty army of warriors, and the training ground is the sacred ground of humility and devotion. Our spiritual legacy grows in our homes and it starts on our knees. 


General Session II (Friday, 3:00pm - 4:30pm)


Four Centuries of American Education

Jake MacAulay (Knox County Ballroom)  


Where we started and how we have progressed. Learn what the founding fathers said about American education and the importance of teaching America's children biblical and moral values.  


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)


Classical Christian Education Simply Defined

Cheryl Swope (Knox County Ballroom) 

  • Frustrated by varying explanations of classical education?
  • Ready for a clear definition?
  • Learn a metaphor to remember 

The classical tradition beautifully impacts our selections of curriculum, books, and even leisure activities. Hear why a formative education in the liberal arts is the education of our heritage as human beings, whether your children are gifted, average, struggling with special needs, or all of the above. Learn how Two Canons converge for one purpose: the lives of your children in this life and the life to come. 

*All General Session music will be provided by TBD. Please come early and enjoy! 


Workshop Descriptions

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

Charlotte Mason for Today's Student

Angela O'Dell (Rockland Room)


In this workshop, Angela encourages parents to heed the advice of Miss Charlotte Mason about making a child’s education fit that unique child. Today’s student’s fitting education is not going to look like that of a Victorian Age student’s education; instead, it will be an education that builds the child’s ability to face the world as it is now, with a certainty that God has chosen them for such a time as this. A fitting education will prepare the next generation of God’s people to be salt and light - a city on a hill. This session is full of practical tips for bringing Miss Mason’s ideas to your 21st Century home school. 


Math, Music, and Memory (Special Needs Track)

Cheryl Swope (Rockport Room)


What is quadrivium? How will math, music, and memory benefit our children's minds? How do we teach these with our significantly challenged children? Learn how to cultivate an appreciation for patterns, order, and beauty. Receive effective strategies for modifying math instruction, while providing a blend of remediation, rigor, and reward for your child. Discover ways to teach perseverance and habits of discipline through these essential components of your child's education. 


Effective Citizenship (Family Track)

Jake MacAulay (Camden Room)


Today more than ever we need Christian citizens who not only know the truth of God's Word, but have a working knowledge of our Founding Documents so that they can be the transforming power needed to bring our land back to the liberty secured under the American View of Law and Government. 


Nature's Secrets in Our Backyards and Beyond

Kathy Dunfee (Penobscot Room)


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


A child is endowed with an extra sense of wonder. Kathy invites you to re-awaken your sense of childlike wonder and to see the "extraordinary in the ordinary" by simply stepping out your back door to discover nature's secrets. 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 your children in nature through sensory and other creative ways. Kathy will share her testimony on how the refreshment of Scripture, nature, story, music, art, and imagination made all the difference throughout her homeschooling journey, sustaining her family through trials, failures, successes and joys.  


Forces Impacting College Admissions 

Jeremy Tate (Schooner Room)


 College admissions can sometimes be a polarizing issue. To some, admissions may even take on a quasi-religious aura; or perhaps admissions can seem like a realm dominated by people that are hostile to homeschooling. In 2015, Jeremy Tate co-founded the only non-common-core aligned college entrance exam: the Classic Learning Test. Before this, Mr. Tate spent a great deal of time working with college admissions as a High-School counselor and a testing-coach. In the process, he became intimately aware of the issues that are most at play in College admissions, having had to wrestle the monster with his own hands. In this workshop, Mr. Tate will work through the subject of college admissions so that you can understand what are the forces at play and how best to approach them. 



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

How Dishes and Diapers Helped Heal My Heart

Angela O'Dell (Rockland Room)


 God is able to take the broken and make it beautiful. In this workshop, Angela shares how God used the everyday aspects of being a wife and mom to heal her heart and soul and to bring her from a dark and broken place. We all have a variety of insecurities and hurts that, at times, feel insurmountable and keep us from moving forward with our own families, but what does God say about them? Come and be encouraged with the truth about God’s redeeming love, which comes to comfort those who mourn, to make beauty from ashes, and to grow oaks of righteousness as a display of His splendor. God is in the business of healing, and He often uses unexpected avenues to bring hope and peace to His children.  


Mad Science Show (Family Track) 

Mad Science (Rockport Room) 



Outrageous fun and uniquely educational science show designed to amaze and entertain young audiences of any size. Children can conjure foggy dry ice storms, float on a Mad Science Hovercraft, witness the propulsion of a Mad Science jet pack, watch a foam factory at work, alter sound waves, and so much more! Q&A will follow the one hour show.


The (Surprisingly Strong) Argument for Classical Education & Special Needs: 3 Case Studies (Special Needs Track) 

Cheryl Swope (Camden Room)


Are you thinking there must be a better, more effective way to give your challenged child a complete education? Join Cheryl Swope as she explains the precedent for bringing excellence to all children. Consider truth, goodness, and beauty for all, as you hear the stories of those who benefited in surprising ways. Learn how your own child will reap a richer, more lasting education through time-honored principles and methods in your home school.


Homeschooling High School 101 

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. During this workshop, we'll cover topics, such as:


Why homeschool high school? 

Keeping records


Teaching the "hard" subjects

Dual enrollment

The importance of transcripts

Applying to colleges

Gap years

And much more!


If you have a middle or high school student, make this workshop a priority! 


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, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Theatre and Drama Interactive Workshop (Teen Track) 

Sam Richards (Penobscot Room) 


SMASH Director Sam Richards will take teens through an exciting class on theatre and drama elements. During this workshop, teens will have a chance to produce a promotional piece for HOME! All personal talents and skills may be brought to the table as creativity is encouraged and used in this fast paced, fun-packed, interactive class. 


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

Helping Kids Find the Heart of Focus (Special Needs Track)

Zach and Kim Mazone (Rockland Room)


Dr. Zach (DO) and Kimberly Mazone will share a holistic, integrative approach to parenting and teaching children with attention disorders that they have used successfully in their own home and shared with other families. Healthy lifestyle choices, natural remedies, and tips that encourage learning will be discussed. Dr. Zach will also share how to decide if medications would be helpful for your child.  


The Importance of the Primary Years

Cheryl Swope (Rockport Room)


Learn why the early years - preschool through grade 2 - are so important. Discover 15 key tenets of any excellent early childhood and primary education. Receive an opportunity to ask questions about teaching reading, phonics, writing, spelling, arithmetic, or teaching children with special learning needs. Hear a closing poem to inspire you on your way. 


Faith, Values, and the Constitution (Family Track)

Jake MacAulay (Camden Room)


Dive into the religious beliefs of the Framers and the philosophical worldview of the U.S. Constitution. Learn how to equip your child with a solid, biblical worldview of American Law and Government. 


Serenity's Laugh

Kathy Dunfee (Penobscot Room) 


Kathy shares how God's presence and truth sustained her journey, by whispering continually, "The One who has called you is faithful, and he will do it." (1 Thes. 5:24). "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord." (Zech. 4:6). Kathy began her journey armed with "how-to-homeschool" books and award winning curriculum thinking that she would do all the teaching and her children would do all the learning. Kathy transparently and honestly shares her testimony on how God used her children to disable that approach and instead restore in her a sense of humility, childlike wonder, joy, and hope.


Building a Solid Math Foundation 

Suzanne Fenton (Schooner  Room) 


Who is going to build a house by starting with the walls? Without a solid foundation, those walls may hold up for a bit but eventually will come crashing down. Math is a lot like building a house. We need to start with a strong foundation and build up from there. It doesn't have to be hard! Come and see how easy it is to teach math. 



Identifying and Accessing Services for Children With Special Needs (Special Needs Track) 

Woodfords Family Services: Allyson Lowell (Sponsor Workshop - Rockport Room) 


Early identification of developmental delays and other special needs is critical to help children achieve their highest potential. Yet, even with early detection, navigating the service delivery system can be challenging for parents and caregivers. Learn how to identify the signs of potential developmental delays in children and what steps to take to access the right types of services in your community. Participants will receive practical guidance and support around services available for a variety of concerns as children age from toddlers to teens and beyond.  


Connecting the Dots: Learning to Think Logically in a Google World

 Classical Conversations: Micah Bickford (Sponsor Workshop - Camden Room)


Facts without logic leave us with little more than a cosmic game of Trivial Pursuit. Knowing the facts about the world in which we live is a vital objective of education, but it can never be an end in itself. We must pursue the intentional study of logic in order to build a framework to integrate and evaluate our knowledge. Classical education is an model that moves us from facts to logic, from knowledge to wisdom.


Time for Q&A

Carolyn Simonds (Rockland 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

What I Wish I Had Been Told in the Beginning

Angela O'Dell (Rockland Room) 


Drawing from nearly twenty years of homeschooling four children, Angela loves to come along side new homeschooling parents with gentle humor and realistic encouragement. From tips for choosing curriculum (Ahhhh! What do I buy!?) and teaching multiple ages/levels, to instituting a doable home organizing system, this workshop will leave you feeling energized and ready to take on your next homeschool year. Also included: 5 life-saving words of wisdom gleaned through almost two decades of homeschooling. This workshop is for everyone, but especially designed for new homeschooling parents.


Softening Hearts: Nurturing Empathy in the Challenged Child (Special Needs Track)

Cheryl Swope (Rockport Room)

  • Does your child or teen seem unaware of the feelings of others?
  • Does he become moody, rude, or inconsiderate? 
  • Do you need tips for redirecting a self-centered child?

When her adopted son exhibited persistent oppositional behavior, lying, and even cruelty, Cheryl knew something needed to change. With appropriate medical treatment, a literature-based approach to cultivating empathy, and a thankfulness journal to foster gratitude, Cheryl and her husband homeschooled their adopted twins with special needs (autism, learning disabilities, severe mental illness) from infancy through high school graduation. 


America's Beginnings: Discovery, Purpose, and the Founder's Faith (Family Track)

Jake MacAulay (Camden Room) 


The student should understand the value of primary sources in learning history, both the good and the bad. In addition, we desire they learn the critical connection between the Framers’ Biblical Worldview and the political theory and principles of the American form of government.


Interactive Workshop: Create Art That Tells a Story (Family Track)

Cartoonist Jay Piscopo (Penobscot Room) 


Comic book artist Jay Piscopo invites kids to try their hand at cartoon art and demonstrates how anyone can learn to draw and create comics. Using simple geometric shapes, Jay teaches kids how to build anatomy and perspective to create art that tells a story. Stand by for adventure with this interactive workshop!


Mom, Don't Make Me Think - Just Tell Me the Answer! 

Suzanne Fenton (Schooner Room)


As a teacher, it's so easy to give the answer, isn't it? Oh, that's don't do that! How long do you allow a child to think before you start helping them? Sometimes we need to be quiet and let them wrestle with the problem to discover the answer. Do you know that children will learn better and remember things longer when they discover the solution? The goal is to provide a way for them to learn how to solve problems. How might you go about doing this? Come to this workshop and find out how to help your child think through math.  


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

Education is the Science of Relationships: Charlotte Mason Approach to a Living Model of Raising Children

Angela O'Dell (Rockland Room)


True education is not found in books - it is found in relationships. Charlotte Mason spoke more about the actual raising of the child than the educating of the child. She realized that without relationships, the learning and storing of facts in the mind would do nothing for the child in the long run. Come hear Angela speak about the topic of utmost passion in her life: relationships that lead to Jesus. She talks about prioritizing our most important relationships, becoming your child’s ally, setting the atmosphere of love and compassion, and being the hands and feet of Jesus to our families. Home education starts before books are ever opened. 


Revamped Standardized College Entrance Exams – What you Need to Know 

Jeremy Tate  (Rockport Room) 


Since its first test in 1959 the ACT has been an achievement test, that is, it tests what students learn in the classroom. The SAT has been testing since approximately 1942, and while it started out as an aptitude test it has shifted towards achievement as well. Since 2012, many states have been adopting the Common-Core standards, and the SAT and the ACT have followed suit. In 2015, Jeremy Tate co-founded the only non-Common-Core aligned College entrance exam: the Classic Learning Test. The CLT’s explicit mission is to raise the standards by harkening back to a traditional liberal arts curriculum and focusing more on aptitude than on achievement. Before creating the CLT, Mr. Tate spent a great deal of time working with College admissions as a High-School counselor and a testing-coach. He is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of the College admissions process and will walk you through the important things that you need to know.  


1776-1779: From Independence to the Constitution (Family Track)

Jake MacAulay (Camden Room) 


It is imperative we understand the historical events leading up to and surrounding the adoption of the Constitution and their relationship to the religious and philosophical worldviews of the Framers and the American culture.  You will learn the historical events and circumstances which preceded the formal adoption of a Biblical (American View) of civil government among the English Colonies in America.


Mentoring Young Men: Redefining Masculinity

Derek Sylvestre (Penobscot Room)


Derek's theme in mentoring young men is to address the shame in their lives in order to bring freedom so they may express God's ultimate design as men for the purpose of changing the world one relationship at a time. 


Unschooling: Is It the Right Choice For My Family?

Kathi Kearney (Schooner Room)  


How are unschooling and traditional homeschooling different? What are the benefits of "unschooling"? What are the pitfalls? Is progress measurable? How do you decide if it will work in your family? Join Kathi to learn more about the development of this approach to education and what is takes to be a successful unschooling family.


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

Natural Support for Learning 

Essential Oils of Joy: Maija Sevigny (Sponsor Workshop - Rockport Room)


Sometimes your child or even you can struggle with staying on task and focused. This workshop will give you some natural products and tools that can help you do both, as well as supporting cognitive learning at the same time. All while supporting your families health and wellness. 


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

University of Maine Augusta - Brandy Finck & Rachael Magill (Sponsor Workshop-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.


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

Saying Goodbye to Perfectionism

Angela O'Dell (Rockland Room) 


Perfectionism is one of the worst enemies to home educating parents everywhere, and if not overcome, it will inevitably lead to severe burnout. Angela shares her own candid story of recovery from this disease of the soul. In this (slightly imperfect) workshop, you may laugh a little, squirm a little, and learn a little about how to live with open hands and to be satisfied with your imperfectly beautiful life. 


Find the "Sweet Spot" of Learning. Evaluating and Teaching the Challenged Child (Special Needs Track)

Cheryl Swope (Rockport Room)

  • Learn how to determine your child's academic level
  • Find out how to avoid unnecessary frustration
  • Receive tips for optimizing your teaching time

Discover an easy, memorable system for evaluating and teaching your child's academic, organizational, and social skills. Receive help navigating the complex world of disabilities, so you can optimize the time you spend teaching your child. 


The Homeschooling Dad 

Jake MacAulay (Camden Room)


How does Dad meet the challenge of  homeschooling when he is working one or more jobs and still trying to maintain his influence and leadership in the home? Jake MacAulay will give practical advice and encouragement from his personal experience.


Insights from Homeschool Alumni 

Panel: Sarah Wardman, Sheldon Overlock, Helen Hunt, & Derek Sylvestre  (Penobscot Room) 


Sarah Wardman will facilitate a relaxed and informal discussion with fellow alumni homeschoolers. Enjoy questions and answers from the perspective of homeschoolers who are now living adult lives. They will share experiences, advice, and answer questions you may have during a Q & A at the end. 


Maine's Tech Programs: Helping Homeschoolers Prepare For Careers and Trade (Teen Track) 

Hugh Porter (Schooner Room)


Hugh Porter, of Northern Penobscot Region 3, will share the opportunities of CTE (Careers and Technical Education)  programming. Maine's Tech programs have much to offer homeschoolers to prepare them for careers and trades. Come find out what those opportunities are!