Homeschool Convention: State of Our Education

Homeschool State of Ed

I volunteered to be the Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) Convention Blogger this year. If you’re interested in reading prior posts, they are:
Homeschool Convention:Raising Boys
Homeschool Convention: Ben Franklin
Homeschool Convention: Musical Talents
I will be writing these posts and scheduling them to post on Fridays for the next four weeks.
Please hang in with me!

Dr. Duke Pesta on the state of education in our country

Dr. Pesta received his M.A. in Renaissance literature from John Carroll University and his Ph.D. in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature from Purdue University. He has taught at major research institutions and small liberal arts colleges, on a wide variety of subjects at the graduate and undergraduate level, including courses on Shakespeare, Renaissance literature, the Bible, Russian literature, Christian Apologetics, and C.S. Lewis.

He has been active in educational reform, and was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas.

Dr. Pesta is an engaging and animated speaker, whose experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, high school teacher, and the administrator of an online home school curriculum uniquely qualify him to address the current state of education in our country. He speaks at home school conventions and educational conferences across the nation on topics including the necessity of homeschooling, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public schools, and the myriad ways that the educational establishment indoctrinates students. He is currently in demand on the speaking circuit as one of America’s foremost authorities on the dangers of Common Core.

Dr. Pesta has delivered over 400 talks on Common Core in 40 states. He has been interviewed on radio and television over 1500 times, including places as diverse as the United Kingdom, China, Canada, and Mexico. He has spoken on the lecture circuit on subjects ranging from the Founding Fathers, to the Christian Apologetics of C. S. Lewis, to the history of educational reform, to the politicization of the study of history in our nation’s schools. He hosted a radio segment entitled Classical Gasp for public radio, which considered current events through the lens of historical precedent.

Dr. Pesta will be conducting the following workshops at the HOME Convention:

Crisis in Contemporary Education
How did we get here? Recent educational overreaches—from Common Core to the radical expansion of meaningless high stakes testing—have finally awakened parents across the county to the ongoing transformation of education that has occurred right under our noses. We have rapidly moved from an educational system emphasizing knowledge-based mastery of subject matter to an ideological and politicized approach that diminishes achievement and excellence in favor of social justice indoctrination and utilitarian mediocrity. This talk traces the evolution of this transformation: from the atheist and socialist ambitions of such “founders” of American public education as Horace Mann and John Dewey, through the rise of progressive utopians like Rockefeller, to the advent of the NEA and the leftist take over of our classrooms championed by anarchists like Bill Ayers. One cannot fully understand the shocking recent developments in education without understanding the hundred-year progression of events and figures that brought us to this pass.

Indoctrination on the College Campus
A professor at a range of universities for the past twenty years, Dr. Pesta offers an eye-opening account of what your children can expect once they leave the safety and sanity of the home and enter the amoral, libertine, and leftist world of the public university system. From hyper-politicized curricula, to intolerant progressive advocacy, to the unmaking of traditional mores and morality, colleges and universities actively, aggressively work to eradicate the values and worldviews that parents have painstakingly tried to instill in their children. The talk also provides advice on how to navigate the perilous waters of academia with faith in God and country intact. Practical solutions are offered on how to minimize the debt and indoctrination of campus life.

Bill Clarke

Bill is a homeschool Dad, member of the HOME Leadership Team, a software entrepreneur and technology enthusiast.

Bill will be leading the following workshop at the HOME Convention:

Computer Proficiency: Preparing Your Kids to Thrive in a Digital World
How can you prepare your kids to thrive in a digital world? What does “computer proficiency” mean in the age of Google, cloud computing and social media? How can you teach your kids to glorify God by using technology wisely? How can you safely guide your kids through the powerful and, at times, dangerous digital jungle? Join us as we explore these and other issues surrounding what it means to be “proficient” with computers in the 21st-century.

The featured exhibitor this week that will be represented at the convention:

CLSheaderCreative Learning Solutions offers an innovative correction program for learning disabilities through the Davis® Dyslexia Correction Program developed by Ronald D. Davis and facilitated by Michele Siegmann. Creative Learning Solutions provides focusing techniques and a method for resolving symbol confusion, as well as other exercises that help with reading fluency, comprehension, coordination, and balance. Michele Siegmann established Creative Learning Solutions in 2002. As a Davis® facilitator, she has helped children, teenagers, college students and adults to gain proficiency in areas once identified as deficient while reinforcing their innate gifts and talents.

Click on the logo or link above to learn more!

HOME Convention is March 17-19, 2016
At the Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Visit the HOME web site for registration details


Homeschool Convention: Musical Talents


I volunteered to be the Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) Convention Blogger this year. If you’re interested in reading prior posts, they are: Homeschool Convention:Raising Boys & Homeschool Convention: Ben Franklin. I will be writing these posts and scheduling them to post on Fridays for the next five weeks. Please hang in with me!

Today we’re featuring the musical talents of two homeschool grads who will be providing entertainment for the HOME Convention.

Noah Miller

Drawing on his love of history and his wide range of musical styles, Noah Miller will present a selection of patriotic and early American folk tunes. Along with his musical presentation, he will share the background behind many of the traditional American songs he plays.

Noah Miller is a gifted musician who plays several instruments, including the bagpipes, penny whistle, and guitar. He has studied at the College of Piping in Prince Edward Island, Canada and has been playing music professionally for the past two years. As a homeschool graduate, Noah has an avid interest in history. He especially enjoys learning about the musical culture behind many time periods throughout history. His musical style is eclectic and he is experienced in a wide range of musical genres, some of his favorites being folk and Celtic.

Music for all general sessions will be performed by:

Cassandra Beaulieu

Cassandra is eighteen years old and a homeschool high school graduate. She has been taking piano lessons since the age of five, and has had several different teachers along the way. Cassandra has studied both sacred and classical piano, but has used her ability primarily as a church pianist, accompanist, and ensemble leader. She is currently studying accounting from a local university, and hopes to further her knowledge of music to the college level, as well.

Cassandra will perform 20 minutes prior to the start of each General Session. Please come early to enjoy her music!

And featuring vendor…

HomeWorksLogoA brief history, from their web site: “Precept Marketing Group, a Christian educational resource company, was co-founded in 2002 by the owner and president of Graco Children’s Products. Precept was created with the purpose of offering the highest quality educational materials and services to Christian schools. The leadership at Precept also recognized from the beginning that homeschooling parents need assistance in securing those same materials, so they created HomeWorks By Precept—a division completely devoted to meeting the educational needs of homeschool families. Over the last 12 years, HomeWorks By Precept has grown to include more than 200 consultants across the US and into Canada, and offers families an ever-increasing number of quality educational products and services.”

They have a unique network of consultants who work closely with homeschool families. Their vision, taken from their site states, “‘Teaching and Learning for Understanding’ is our pledge, and we seek to provide quality curriculum that will help students master concepts and live out the biblical truths they learn. We help parents coordinate all the materials to make this happen, so that homeschooling does not have to be a burden. Our goal is to make the homeschooling experience more gratifying and beneficial to the student and parent alike.”

Click on the logo or link above to learn more!

HOME Convention is March 17-19, 2016
At the Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Visit the HOME web site for registration details

Homeschool Convention: Ben Franklin

First ~ A Little Note Since It’s Been A While ~

I haven’t written in a while. I have excuses, such as adjusting to homeschooling, the girls becoming involved in ballet and soccer, gearing up for helping with a homeschool co-op this semester, joining a small group at our new church, and the holidays and traveling. Despite all that, I have had some free time…I have been reading books…lots of books. I think I’ve finished about 6 (non-fiction) books since I’ve last written at the beginning of November. Plus, I got a chronological study Bible for my birthday in December, and I’m beginning to read and study it with abandon.



I volunteered to be the Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) Convention Blogger this year. My duty was to be that I would do one blog post per month from September until Convention in March, highlighting the speakers and exhibitors. I’ve only managed to get one out in October: Homeschool Convention:Raising Boys. So to make up for time, I will be writing these posts and scheduling them to post on Fridays for the next six weeks. Please hang in with me!

For the non-homeschooling regular readers of the blog: I will be doing some book reviews coming up soon. Plus, I’m considering going through the book, Warrior Chicks: Rising Strong, Beautiful and Confident by Holly Wagner here beginning in the next couple weeks. (Affiliate link) I highly recommend this book!

Warrior Chicks book


For the homeschooling regular readers of the blog in other states: Although you likely won’t be traveling to Maine for this convention, I’ll be posting links and info for resources and companies, who will be exhibitors at the convention here, which might be of interest to you.

For all readers: I intend to make opportunity to continue with general updates on our family and life in ME, and other thoughts interspersed, over these next few weeks. I hope everyone had great holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Year!


Christopher Lowell as Ben Franklin Live

Historian and actor, Chris Lowell, will be speaking at the HOME Convention in March. “Benjamin Franklin” returns to the 21st century to speak to HOME of his extraordinary life and the traits that made him the most famous American of his time. Many of those traits mirror the goals of our homeschooling families. (Click the link above to go to his web site.)

He will also lead the following workshops:

Ben Franklin’s Inventions & Experiments
This workshop includes hands on science for children/families. Join Ben for a special session for children and their parents where Ben will talk about his scientific contributions, his many inventions, and what inspired them. Particular attention will be spent on the story of the kite – so often misinterpreted in books and paintings. In this session, Ben will speak of the surprising relationship between language skills, honesty, science, and will invite a few participants to help him recreate the inspiration for his very favorite invention of all. A lively Q&A will end his presentation.

Ben Franklin & Friends
In this session, Ben reminisces about his relationships with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams and how each of these very different men influenced his life and work. What did they talk about when General Washington became Franklin’s house guest? How did Ben feel about Jefferson being chosen to be the principal writer of the Declaration of Independence? How did Ben get on with John Adams in France? These questions and others will be highlighted by stories from Ben, himself.

Ben Franklin on Faith, Ethics and the Search for Virtue
Ben planned his life’s ethical underpinning when he was just sixteen. His desire to live virtuously led him to create an unusually organized and largely successful approach that involved faith, honest dealing and active community service. In this presentation, Ben will reveal the sources of his inspiration, what worked and what didn’t, and how his search for virtue made him a better person and a happier one, as it can for you, as well.

Ben Franklin Speaks: What I Did During the War
In this session, Ben will share his reflections on his diplomatic years in France: why he was chosen as our first ambassador, his relationship in France to George Washington and the Revolutionary cause back home, his dealings with his French counterparts including the King and Marie Antoinette, and how his work was helped (and sometimes hindered) by members of his own team. Much misinformation exists about these years for Ben and in this session, he’ll tell it as it really was!

From Slave Owner to Abolitionist
How could a man of faith, of ethics, of intelligence become, as Ben once was, a slave-owner? And then, later in life, what were the influences that caused him to view slavery in moral terms and reject it? Ben explains in this presentation, and in doing so, sheds light on the very nature of prejudice.

Bio from his web site:

Chris brings over fifty years as both teacher and actor to his work as Ben. As a teacher, he taught French and Theater at the secondary and university levels. As an actor, he has played a wide variety of leading roles and has been honored four times with “Best Actor of the Year” awards–three times by the critics in Colorado Springs, and once by the Denver Post.

Since 2004, Chris has presented Ben on a full-time basis to audiences coast-to-coast and abroad. When not performing, he lives with his wife in Colorado Springs, CO.

Carolyn Simonds will be a featured speaker, leading several workshops at the HOME Convention:

Carolyn Simonds has been actively involved in HOME’s ministry for many years. She is a veteran homeschool mom of six children. Carolyn serves as a teacher and mentor to other HOME leaders, as well as a Board Member for Homeschoolers of Maine.

SESSION I – Thursday, 1:00pm-2:00pm
Sage Advice from Homeschool Veterans – Panel of Veterans
HOME Leaders, Chuck and Carolyn Simonds, and other veteran homeschoolers share their most valuable tips gained through experience, and the important lessons they learned along the way. Hear words of wisdom from those who know now what they didn’t know then!

SESSION II – Thursday, 2:30pm – 4:00pm
Getting Started in Homeschooling 
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!

SPECIAL SESSION WITH HOME – Friday, 12:15pm – 1:15pm
Time for Q&A
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!

ABekaBookLogoA Beka Book will be an exhibitor at Convention. I had heard of Christian homeschooling families using A Beka since I was in junior high and heard about homeschooling. They have full textbook curriculum and digital resources, focusing on Bible, reading, history, math, science/health, and english.

From their site:

“You want methods and materials that work. That’s what you’ll find with A Beka Book—comprehensive, quality curriculum and materials written from a Christian perspective. Now more than ever, each child needs a strong foundation in both academics and character; we’re here to help homeschooling families and Christian schools of all sizes give their students the knowledge and skills they need.”

You can take a look at their site by clicking the link above.

HOME Convention is March 17-19, 2016
At the Samoset Resort, Rockport, ME

Visit the HOME web site for registration details


Book Review: Miracle on Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux

Miracle on Voodoo Mt

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain: A Young Woman’s Remarkable Story of Pushing Back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti by Megan Boudreaux was an incredible book!

This is the true story of Megan, how at the age of 24, kept having a recurring dream, finally realizing it was God calling her to Haiti, and going all in on faith alone. She quit her job and flew to Haiti, not knowing anyone there nor exactly what God had in mind for her to accomplish there.

Wow, what unfolded was completely and utterly awesome! God’s hand went before Megan and with Megan, literally moving mountains and unfolding a beautiful, amazing plan that could only be our great God. Megan’s faith to be willing to be used by God is astonishing and shows us how God moves and uses miracles still today.

At every turn, there is suspense, wonder, tears, praise, holy anger, and motherly joy. My emotions ran a gamut through this book and my faith was undergirded reading what God has done.

I didn’t know much about the Haitian culture before reading this book, but through Megan’s story I learned so much. She conveyed things about the social system, adoption and corrupt orphanages, their lack of education, findings of restavek’s (child slaves), and the scary voodoo religions that I never knew. She brought awareness deep into my heart of compassion.

As a married mom of three young kids, I can’t do anything radical like Megan did. But I can pray and that is powerful. I follow her ministry, Respire Haiti, and have specific ways to pray. I would love to be able to meet Megan and visit the schools and hospital that comprise Respire Haiti one day. To scoop up some of those braided hair, wide-eyed Haitian kids and show them God’s love would be unbelievable.

However, it also reminds me that likely there are others living in our own neighborhoods where we need to exemplify God’s love just as much. I am so glad I read this book for so many reasons and I highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Homeschool Convention: Raising Boys


I volunteered to help the Homeschoolers of Maine (HOME) organization this year as a convention blogger. That means at least once a month, I’ll be writing about the upcoming convention. As a new homeschooler and new to Maine, I’m excited to attend the HOME Convention in the spring and experience it myself.

We went on a field trip to the Maine State Aquarium as part of HOME last month. It was a fantastic time and I appreciate the time and energy that was put into organizing this outing. My girls loved it! (I posted photos on Facebook, and I’ll make a post with them here, too.)

For all my homeschooling friends in other states, you might even enjoy browsing through the HOME blog. They post encouragement and tips for homeschooling across all types of situations, not just for “Mainers.” Click the banner below to go to the HOME website and click on HOME Blog in the left sidebar.

HOMEheaderI am a mama raising girls, so why am I writing about raising boys? Because one of the keynote speakers at the convention will be a couple, Hal & Melanie Young. They have eight kids – six boys and two girls, and homeschool them all. They wrote a book, Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys and they run Raising Real Men Boot Camp.

Even though I’m not raising boys, many other superhero mamas are. I noticed that 15 of my Facebook friends already follow the Young’s Raising Real Men page on Facebook. And, guess what? Those boys will become my girls’ husbands one day, so I’m rooting for them to be raised well!


Awesome topics, for parents of boys or girls, and homeschoolers or not…

Also, I am excited about some of the topics they will be speaking about during the convention. They are holding several workshops, and in addition to the ones about home educating your kids and raising boys, here are some talks the Youngs will be giving:

Passing the Baton – letting homeschooled kids grow up and become men and women

Parenting Preteens – the woes and wiles of the 9-12 age group

Developing the Next Generation of Leadership – looking for potential leaders to disciple and train to keep your kids/homeschooling ministry going

Sanity’s in the Freezer: Bulk Cooking to Save Time – how to feed your family well on less money and minimal kitchen time

Dating, Courtship, and All That (Teen Track) – preparing Christian young people for marriage and parenting; navigating the confusing years of singleness; and practical encouragement

Media Proofing Your Kids – learn how to teach your children discernment, protect them from being manipulated by the messages around them, and instead to engage their culture for Christ

A House Not Divided: Building Unity Instead of Rivalry – learn how to tear down obstacles and build up family unity in fun, memorable ways


Also, aren’t these little robot bugs cute? (Techy-nerd alert!)

HexbugI’m a girly-girl tech-head – I know it’s a bit of an enigma – I studied computer science in college. Perhaps when my girls get a bit older, one or more of them will share my nerdy side and maybe we can try to build one of these Hex Bugs.

The company that makes Hex Bugs and other hands-on electronics kits will be an exhibitor at the HOME Convention. Applied Inspirations, LLC “takes ideas into reality,” by: examples – tutorials and projects that demonstrate ideas taken from concept to reality, tools – PC boards, software, hardware and kits to explore turning new ideas into products, and services – for those without the skills, tools or time, they provide services to develop part of, or the whole idea.

appliedinspirationsI look forward to seeing Hex Bugs in real life!

Thanks to the Homeschoolers of Maine ministry for the great support they give to home educators in this state. Pray for the HOME Board as the Convention time draws near! {Click the link above to register or become a volunteer.}