Convention Sessions and Activities

General Session Descriptions


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


HOMEschool Community Building

Chris Wilcoxson (Rockport Room) 


"Families helping families."  HOME's motto is at the center of all we do. Family makes a home a home. It's what makes HOME more than just an organization.  HOME is more than an acronym for Homeschoolers of Maine. It's descriptive of what we are nurturing and building - not just an organization, but a HOME for families to become family.  Come discuss, remember, or find out "why we do what we do."  We will find our 'do' is only as big as what we 'believe.' 


Going the Second Mile: Support Groups and Homeschool Families in Crisis

Darren Jones (Rockport Room)   


Support groups often have the opportunity to assist families who are experiencing difficulty in their homeschooling. Divorce, abandonment, unexpected special education needs or mental illness, or just falling behind due to too much on their plate—all of these present unique challenges to homeschooling families. HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones discusses ways the homeschool community can rally to help “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


Light Refreshments will be served.


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


Modern History that Shook the World!

Linda Hobar (Knox County Ballroom)  


Want to better understand the headlines? Planning to teach modern history at home? Then you should attend Modern History That Shook the World! Join Linda Lacour Hobar, author of the award-winning series, The Mystery of History, as she recounts world-shaking events from the 20th century to present time from a biblical worldview. With vivid snapshots of the Cold War, the Formation of Israel, the War in Korea, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and much more, students and teachers will not only be challenged to understand the past, but be better equipped to interpret today’s news and make stronger leaders for tomorrow.  Don’t miss this fast-paced, fact-filled, fifty-five minutes of modern history! 


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


Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day

Andrew Pudewa (Knox County Ballroom) 


Children like to do what they can do, they want to do what they think they can do, and they hate to do what they think they cannot do. If you want excited and enthusiastic children who learn well, you must understand these key laws of motivation, and focus on the essential requirement of relevancy. If it matters, children will learn it, and if it doesn't, they won't. This session will enlighten you with specific ways to find and create relevancy for children, even when they have no apparent interest.


Also, special guests State Representatives Ellie Espling and Heidi Sampson will share news about Parental Rights and other legislation coming forth during the 128th Legislative Session. 


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!


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


Mad Science presents Marvels of Motion with Lightning Lucy!

(Knox County Ballroom)


 A show that's sure to make Isaac Newton proud, this forcibly fantastic performance is about Newton's 3 laws of physics and other properties of the laws of motion and gravity!  Rotational forces, a rocket pack blast off, the piezo electric rocket, and Newton's rocket car are just a few of the action packed experiments to be investigated.  Just when you thought jet packs were something of the future, you'll see the Mad Scientist propel herself across the floor using the exclusive Mad Science rocket car!  This engaging physics performance is sure to please everyone and inspire more imaginative learning in all audience members!  


General Session III (Saturday, 8:00am - 9:30am)


One Homeschool Grad's 8(+1) Reasons to Homeschool

Darren Jones (Knox County Ballroom)


Darren attended several different public schools, a private Christian school, and then was homeschooled to graduation. With his diverse educational experience, he and his wife have chosen to teach their own children at home, but maybe not for the reasons you'd expect! Come hear Darren's 8(+1) homeschool reasons, as well as how his approach to homeschooling is different from that of his parents.


Also, special guest Michael Ramey from will join us to share more about the state of parental rights throughout the nation, and why Maine's parental rights legislation is so important.


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


12 Soft Skills

Jean Burk (Knox County Ballroom) 


Employment experts agree that technical skills get your foot in the door, but it's the soft skills that get you the job -- and help you keep it. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills crucial for career success. During this workshop we'll explore the soft skills employers covet today and uncover simple ways you can instill these skills in your teen before he/she leaves the nest. 


*All General Session music will be provided by David Mumford and Michael Wardman and will begin 20 minutes prior to each General Session. Please come early and enjoy! 


Workshop Descriptions

SPECIAL SESSION - Thursday, 8:30am - 3:30pm

IEW High School Essay Intensive (Pre-register with IEW)


Andrew Pudewa (Schooner Room) 


Presented by Institute for Excellence in Writing’s humorous and engaging director and master teacher Andrew Pudewa, the High School Essay Intensive class provides immediate experience and inside tips toward high school essay writing, including


Text analysis: Students will learn to employ strategies required in many college entrance exams or in response-to-literature prompts, including how to

  • thoughtfully read the provided text
  • evaluate the ideas presented
  • select facts or examples to support an author’s claims
  • identify stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, which add power to the ideas

The college application personal essay: Students will choose the question, create the outline, and polish a final version. Participants will leave with

  • a clear concept of the task
  • their own outline for an actual personal essay
  • several new tricks and techniques to add to their repertoire

Open to all students regardless of their experience with IEW courses or methodology, this seminar also offers tools and tips for general composition skills. Come prepared to write a great deal during this six-hour class. 


Pre-registration with IEW required.


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

Practical Tips for Your Family's Devotions

Darren Jones (Rockland Room)


One of our most important duties as parents is to help our children encounter God, in part through devotional times. Come prepared to discuss specific, practical advice in how devotions can serve as an opportunity for the whole family to experience the love and grace of God.


Conquering the Middle Ages! (Family Track)

Linda Hobar (Rockport Room)


From Pentecost to the printing press, listen to Linda Lacour Hobar (author of The Mystery of History) pull together stories to enable a better understanding of the Early Church and the tumultuous Middle Ages. Through Paul, Constantine, and Marco Polo, as well as Mohammed, William the Conqueror, and John Wycliffe, learn of the triumph and the tragedies of medieval times and how they relate to our world today. This session is designed to equip and inspire teachers, parents, and students of this time period.


Limited Language, Limited Mind 

Jean Burk (Camden Room)


The English language is dying! We are losing our vocabulary skills at an alarming rate, and with it, our ability to communicate effectively. The loss of lexicon creates an oversimplification of critical thought because the nuances of words allow us to bring colors and shading to thoughts and emotions. "Limited Language, Limited Mind" will teach both parents and students alike the 3 keys to learning, understanding and remembering words that increase effectiveness! Learn how to amass an arsenal of fifty-cent words to articulate efficiently and accurately. Speak with eloquence, read with perspicacity, and write with erudition—all by mastering an advanced vocabulary! 


For the Love of Learning:  Unit Studies and Young Children 

Raylene Hunt Kane (Penobscot  Room)  


Join veteran homeschooling mother of two as she takes you on a journey exploring how to turn your young child's passions into a foundation for learning by developing and using unit studies. 


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!


7 Artists of the Renaissance That Everyone Ought to Know (Family Track)

Linda Hobar (Rockport Room)


Need to brush up on art history? Join Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History, for a picture-filled presentation of 7 artists of the Renaissance that everyone ought to know.  This session includes family-friendly slides and a pre-test/post-test for art connoisseurs (or those that want to be!) !


High School 101 

Jean Burk (Camden Room)


Parents are intimidated at the thought of homeschooling a teenager through high school. The idea of teaching Physics, Chemistry and Calculus elicit fear and trembling from most parents. . . throw in grading essays and creating transcripts and you've got a complete recipe for a true mental breakdown! Homeschool high school veteran Jean Burk's two homeschooled students received full-rides to college, grad school and law school. She joyfully testifies that the high school years have been the most rewarding! She'll share her successes and failures and everything else you need to know to homeschool through high school. At this workshop, she'll answer these questions, and many more, such as:

  • Why homeschool high school? 
  • Statistically, how do homeschool graduates perform as adults? 
  • What's the difference between credits, grades and transcripts?? 
  • What every high school student needs to know beyond academics (life skills, spiritual skills, social skills)
  • How can middle school students acquire high school credit?
  • How in the world do I teach chemistry, algebra and calculus?
  • What's the difference between CLEP, AP and Dual Enrollment?
  • Can my homeschooled student really get into college?
  • What scholarships are available to homeschool students?
  • Do I need an accredited transcript?

 If you have a middle or high school student and you're considering home education through high school, you should definitely attend High School 101! 


Using Museums & Archives for Your Social Studies Program (Teen Track)

Samuel Howes and Heather Moran (Penobscot Room) 


Like detectives, historians use many sources of evidence such as court records, diaries, letters, photographs, and newspapers to answer questions about the past.  Why did an event happen?  How did people living at that time react?  What was their daily life like?  Does the evidence support our idea of what happened, or are there sources that tell a different side?  This workshop will present ways in which organizations that preserve our cultural history (like archives, libraries, historical societies, and museums) can help students use primary sources in their Maine Studies and history curriculum.


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

How to Use Adobe Voice to Tell a Compelling Story with Video (Teen Track) 

Bill Clarke (Penobscot Room)


Your mission will be to share with the world your answer to the question, "Why should my family attend HOME's Convention?"... by producing a well crafted video! Adobe Spark Voice, a free web app, makes it easy to assemble slide show videos with a voiceover and background music. But you must write a compelling script! We'll equip you with the knowledge to tell a compelling story, then turn you loose at the convention to take photos, conduct interviews, etc. We'll then ask more than 2000 members of Maine's Homeschool Community to vote for their favorite video. (You'll need a laptop and a digital camera, or, an iOS device, to use Adobe Spark Voice).


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

Dads Who Homeschool

Darren Jones (Rockland Room)


Although in many homeschooling families, Mom is the day-to-day teacher with input and support from Dad, it doesn't have to be that way—and often isn't. What happens when Dad is the primary educator–and not just for the seriously cool science experiments? Navigating play dates, setting schedules, maintaining the routine—all bring their own special challenges. Darren Jones gives advice and encouragement for Dads Who Homeschool.


Freedomship and Entrepreneurial Education

Andrew Pudewa (Rockport Room)


Many of us realize that we value home education not only because it often results in better academics, superior social environments, and enriched family life, but because it builds a better community and country. The result of true liberal education—a freedomship education—will be not only young men and women who know how to think and communicate, but who think evangelically and entrepreneurially. To revive a culture of self-sufficiency and freedom requires more people with the owner/entrepreneur mind-set and fewer with the employee mind-set. Join Andrew for a discussion of how to cultivate an entrepreneurial, or georgic, aptitude in our children. The future of freedom may depend on it.


Alphabet Soup of Early College 

Jean Burk (Camden Room)


Through early college, your teen can earn high school and college credit at the same time and save you thousands of dollars in college tuition! During this essential workshop, Jean will lay out early college options along with a full-ride to a four-year university while helping parents and teens understand the differences. Jean will share a dozen reasons to consider early college, how you can position your teen for early college, what the requirements for early college are and how to choose your first college classes. Dual enrollment paired with AP and CLEP opportunities, allows your teen to earn early college credits and take challenging courses he or she will enjoy! You'll be glad you came to this money saving information exchange!


Bad Boys of the 20th Century! (Family Track) 

Linda Hobar (Penobscot Room)


Who are the worst of the worst dictators of the 20th century? Opinions vary, but you can learn about four renowned "bad boys" with Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History. In this session, Linda will recount the chilling rise to power of Vladimir Lenin, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. No previous knowledge needed to appreciate the message of what "should" be learned from history! 


How Teens Can Make a Difference (Teen Track)

TeenPact Leaders (Schooner  Room) 


Leadership. So often, this is a character quality in demand, but who are our leaders and how do we cultivate that in our own lives? Most teens in our modern culture will say they feel powerless, with low expectations of them from the “older” generations. TeenPact wants to counter that culture. We want our teens to realize what an impact they can make on our world and encourage them to go out and do just that! “Changing Lives to Change the World” is our motto and we want to empower teens to understand our political process through a Christian worldview so they can get involved and make the changes. Some of the greatest leaders in the Bible were teens, or younger, such as Jeremiah, Samuel and David. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). This workshop is geared for teens who want to counter our current culture and rise up to be leaders in their communities. Warning: If you decide to take the challenge, your homework is to start with prayer…. Parents are also highly encouraged to attend! 



The Amazing Things Youth Can Do (Sponsor Workshop) 

Jason Lindsay (Rockport Room)


God gives us all certain skills and abilities that we can use to honor and glorify Him.  Not everybody will be great at everything, but most of us can be better at something than we are.  And, we can be better at a younger age than most of us believe.  Join Jason Lindsay, owner of Young Entrepreneurs of North America, as he explores the amazing things that youth are capable of when following biblical principles - from starting their own business, to preparing for marriage, and more!  People of all ages are welcomed and encouraged to attend. 


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

Literature that Proclaims Christ: Stories to Show How Christians Look at Life, the Universe, and Everything 

Darren Jones (Rockland Room) 


Two thousand years of Christian literature have been passed down to help us emulate Christ in our daily lives. Join us as we consider just a fraction of these works. Depending on the workshop, authors discussed may include three different Johns (Bunyan, Donne, and Calvin), Athanasius, C.S. Lewis, Marilynne Robinson, J.K. Rowling, and more. 


Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education

Andrew Pudewa (Rockport Room)


What is mastery learning, and how does it relate to homeschooling? Andrew will explain the methods, goals, and benefits of the ability development model as developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, and applications to disciplines other than music, along with potential obstacles to successful implementation. Come and hear how, as Dr. Suzuki puts it, "Every child can learn," and you can create success in areas where you or your children have struggled in the past.


Build an Amazing Homeschool Transcript 

Jean Burk (Camden Room)


There is only ONE secret ingredient to giving credibility to a homeschool transcript. If you don't know it, author Jean Burk will share the answer in this incredible lecture. Discover the insider criteria that Harvard uses to judge applicants and why summer break needs to be more than just a vacation. Learn the differences between AP, Dual Enrollment, and CLEP courses and the pros and cons of adding them to your schedule. Find out about the 3-Tier credit plan, so you can correctly build a portfolio that will impress any admissions counselor. If your kids are planning to go to college, you cannot afford to miss this engagement. 


"To Grade or Not to Grade:" A Practical Workshop on How, When, and Why to Keep Grades in Homeschool 

Linda Hobar (Penobscot Room)


Shaped by our personality types, grades have the power to motivate some and destroy others! Listen to veteran homeschooler Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History, share theories of grade keeping as well as tips on keeping it simple. Thought provoking and practical.


Tick Talk (Family Track)

Beatrice M. Szantyr, MD, FAAP (Schooner Room)


Lyme Borreliosis and Related Tick-borne Disorders: what you don’t know can hurt you.


Lyme disease is the fastest growing tick-borne disease in the United States.  Lyme disease is endemic throughout New England and specifically here in Maine. Although historically the majority of cases have been in southern and coastal Maine, increasing numbers of cases have been reported from every county in the state. It is well documented that the number of cases confirmed may underestimate the true number of cases meeting the surveillance case definition by a factor of 10. Looking at Maine’s 2014 data: were there 1,401 cases of Lyme or 14,010? And this does not address the clinical cases, which may, and often do, fall outside of the narrow surveillance criteria.  


Lyme is a potentially preventable infectious disease. Knowing how to prevent it, including familiarity with tick habitat, personal and property protection measures, and proper timely tick removal, as well as how to recognize it early in its course are critical to mitigating what can be a devastating illness in later stages. Early aggressive treatment of Lyme disease is very effective in resolving symptoms and preventing long-term sequelae. Mis- and missed diagnosis resulting in treatment delays and/ or insufficient treatment can lead to significant adverse consequences for patients. 


The black-legged  tick may carry and  transmit multiple infectious agents. The presence of co-infections has been shown to complicate diagnosis and treatment.  


Children are the highest risk population group in Maine. The impact of this infectious disease complex on their lives can be profound, affecting school participation, learning, and school performance. 


At the end of this session, participants should: 

  • Know the status of Lyme disease nationally and in Maine. (Epidemiology)
  • Be acquainted with the hosts and arthropod vectors of Lyme disease. (Ecology)
  • Be familiar with the bacterial cause of this disease. (Microbiology)
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of early, disseminated, and persistent Lyme disease.
  • Be acquainted with some of the challenges in diagnosis, including limitations of laboratory testing.
  • Be introduced to the considerations in treatment.
  • Be acquainted with the major co-infectors travelling in I. scapularis ticks in Maine.
  • Know about repellents and proper tick removal techniques.


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

Reaching the Reluctant Writer

Andrew Pudewa (Rockland Room)


Many children really do not like to write. Why? This workshop will answer that basic question and teach a specific and successful method of separating the complex process of writing into the smallest possible steps, making it possible for even the most reluctant writer to produce short but complete compositions. He will be proud and motivated to write again. If you remove the problem of what to write, you will be free to help your child learn how to write, using source texts, key word outlines, and "dress-up" checklists. Results guaranteed!


"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" of a Homeschooling Day

Linda Hobar (Rockport Room)


Join Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History, for this down to earth session on a day in the life of a real homeschool family. She will share "the good, the bad, and the ugly" stories of her experience - with the hope of encouraging beginners and veterans with practical tips and God's grace. (This session is not for students.)


Secrets to the Scholarships Search

Jean Burk (Camden Room) 


There are 24 billion dollars' worth of scholarships each year. Learn how to find money from the cradle to cap 'n gown. Discover key words to search for little-known scholarships and find out the key that the library holds to unknown money. No matter how old your child is, you can't miss out on the money that is available NOW! 


Be Careful What You Wish For: The Trojan Horse of Vouchers and ESAs for Homeschooling 

Kathi Kearney (Penobscot Room)


Find out the latest news on this hot topic! You will also learn why it is so important for homeschooling to remain parent directed and funded. Join Kathi as she shares some of the history behind the homeschooling movement here in Maine. Find out how the freedoms homeschoolers enjoy today were fought for and won. Discover what it was like for homeschoolers in the early days, and what impact government funded ESAs and federal vouchers could have on homeschooling in the near future if we are not vigilant.  


Risking Lives and Fortunes: The Underground Railroad in Maine

(Family Track)

Mark Leslie (Schooner Room)


Slavery! Some called it “the absolute power of one person over another — the vilest human behavior and institution.” But others called it “essential to our economy and prosperity and at the same time a humane institution which provided food, shelter and family to an inferior race.”


Slavery was the one issue that has been able to tear our nation apart — the fight to preserve it and the battle to undo its entangling web of depravity.

The most cataclysmic, wrenching time in American history was the Civil War. Central to that war was slavery and the anti-slavery movement. And central to the anti-slavery movement was Maine — the home to Abraham Lincoln’s vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the final stop for many slaves over what was called the Underground Railroad en route to “Freedom Land.” A number of Mainers helped escaping slaves and, doing so, put themselves their lives and their fortunes in jeopardy.  



How to Destroy the Imagination of a Child (Sponsor Workshop)

Maria Chamberlain (Rockport Room) 


Classical Conversations Representative, Maria Chamberlain, will examine the ways that children were educated in the past versus the educational system today. Why is it that our grandparents, who had far fewer educational resources, could speak well, write eloquently, and had the tenacity to persevere through failures to make scientific breakthroughs? Could it be that they were free to be children, to be free-thinking human beings? Learn how to draw out the imagination of your homeschooled children, and escape the pressure of trying to keep up with current educational models..


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

The Four Language Arts

Andrew Pudewa (Rockland Room) 


When asked, "What are the language arts?" people may respond by listing numerous subjects: spelling, phonics, grammar, penmanship, copying, dictation, narration, and composition. But actually it's much simpler! For those adhering to the classical model, those ascribing to a Charlotte Mason approach, or those who just want a common-sense curriculum, there are really only four core language arts: listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and the attending well to the first two makes teaching the latter two so much easier. Come prepared to have your educational paradigm adjusted, your load lightened, and your commitment to excellence renewed as you focus on the most important things in the limited time you have.  


Mary and Martha Decide to Homeschool - A Workshop for Mary's Only!

Linda Hobar (Rockport Room)


Let's pretend that Mary and Martha decide to homeschool. Following their character, Martha would probably have all her plans in place (and be frustrated), and Mary would probably be at the feet of Jesus (and way behind schedule.) We all have a little of Mary and Martha is us, but this workshop is designed to encourage Mary's who love the Lord and their children, but need help and structure to successfully homeschool. The presenter of this workshop is a self-proclaimed Mary (Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History) who managed to homeschool for 17 years, and still likes to talk about it.  


How to Ace the New SAT 

Jean Burk (Camden Room)


Test-prep Guru, Jean Burk, will share her secrets of SAT success that have helped hundreds of students raise their test scores as much as 600 points! Learn how to find shortcuts in test patterns and save time on all types of questions. Math, Writing, and Verbal sections are all covered in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you have kids in high school, you can't miss this seminar about preparing them for the SAT!


Homeschooling with Little Ones 

Panel  (Penobscot Room) 


Homeschooling with babies and toddlers is never boring. Learn how to appreciate the joy and excitement they bring to your family, and discover ways to create a lifestyle of learning within your homeschool!


Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion (Family Track)

Mark Leslie (Schooner Room)


The state of Maine and the Ku Klux Klan. An improbable antithesis, impossibly linked? No!


The KKK took root in Maine in the 1920s, reaching such heights that it helped elect Governor Ralph Owen Brewster, the mayors of Rockland, Saco and Westbrook, the Speaker of the Maine House and other political leaders.

While African Americans were few in Maine at that time, the KKK’s targets were French-Canadians, Catholics and Irish immigrants. 

The KKK was so successful that it held daylight parades in Portland, Gardiner Brewer, Milo, Dexter and elsewhere.


We may have always thought Mainers of 100 years ago were above these thoughts and actions. After all, many fought and died for slaves’ rights in the Civil War. But enough agreed with the Klan that it was able to buy a Portland estate in 1923 and add a 4,000-seat auditorium with a 1,600-seat dining room. Perhaps we should think again.


2017 Ongoing HOME Events

Summer Playground Days

9/26 Brownfield

Monthy Sports & Fitness Activities 

9/26 Monthly Bowling, Belfast

9/28 HOME Hike, Rockport

10/6 Monthly Skate, Portland  

10/12 HOME HIke, Lincolnville 

10/23 Monthly Swim and Gym, Rockport


Upcoming in 2017

Upcoming in 2018