Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 1

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We started the second volume of Story of the World during what is officially our summer break because (1) my children asked for history and (2) the textbook has 42 chapters while the school year only has 36 weeks. It is recommended that we cover one chapter per week, so we need to cover six chapters before we start our new school year in August. Of course, nothing bad happens if we get behind or if we finish the textbook after we close our 180 days of school next year…

But when my five-year-old says, “Mommy, we have not done history in a long time. We need to do history!” and when my son says, “When do we start studying about the Middle Ages, mom?” I know it is time to start photocopying the activity pages and order extra reading material from the library.

Magic carpet craft activity

I printed out a picture of them so we can glue their faces onto the page provided.

Just to clarify, the Activity Book gives parents permission to photocopy activity pages (maps, coloring, craft patterns, paper dolls etc) for the needs of their family. Also in the Activity Book one can find lists of corresponding literature, fiction and non fiction, which one can purchase or borrow from the library, to enhance the study of each chapter.  Continue reading »

When I met Susan Wise Bauer, the author of the Story of the World curriculum, at the recent Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, I asked her how many books she thinks my seven-year-old should be reading for each chapter. She said, “One a week. And maybe alternate each week, one fiction and one non fiction.”

Flying over the Mediterranean

Flying over the Mediterranean

I asked her because I used to order a lot of books, almost all of them. And I noticed a trend: some books were intended for middle schoolers going through this program and, as such, they were completely inappropriate for us. On the other hand, too many books on one subject makes one sick and tired of the topic. But I am a rather thorough person and if you give me a list of six book I will read all of them… I needed some clarification and I received it. Now I have the author’s permission to only get one extra book on the topic we are studying. Sigh of relief.

Teddybear flying over the Roman Empire

Teddybear flying over the Roman Empire

So the first chapter of this second volume, which deals with the Middle Ages, was a recap of the fall of Rome. We traveled all around the Roman Empire on an imaginary magic carpet, which allowed us a chance to review geography. My kids both noted that the activity page provided was too large for our wall map or for the atlas pages. They came up with other solutions to represent themselves: my son picked a LEGO brick, my daughter one of the counting teddy bears.


Thoughtful Thursday Week 27 – Homeschool Conferences

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I have said it before, and I will say it again: homeschooling parents should attend a homeschool conference at least once a year. Sorry for should-ing all over you, but you should. I am not saying you should spend money on transportation, hotels and restaurants to get to one. But if you have a local event, by all means change your schedule, get a second job to pay for the fee, volunteer at the conference for discounts, do whatever it takes and attend.

Adriana Zoder and Susan Wise Bauer at the Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, June 2015

With Susan Wise Bauer at the Appalachian Home Educators Conference in Knoxville, June 2015

The reason people don’t attend homeschool conferences is that they don’t think they will get enough value out of them. I know, I know, some of you are saying, “That’s not true. Some actually can’t afford a conference.” I can agree with that only for the extremely poor, but even they make an effort to earn some extra money for something they deem valuable.

Ultimately, it is human nature to choose activity A over activity B because activity B does not offer as much satisfaction or perceived value as activity A. Sure, I understand schedule conflicts. I also understand lack of resources. I even understand the fact that homeschooling parents are afraid of being made to feel inadequate in their efforts by so-called homeschooling experts.  Continue reading »

And yet, I say, homeschooling parents should attend a homeschool conference once a year. If you think you are doing great and don’t need any help, you should go. Pride comes before a fall… If you are in need of help, you should go. You just might find the right workshop that will get you out of trouble. If you don’t care because you feel blah and hailing down the yellow school bus seems more and more attractive, you should definitely go.

Thoughtful Thursday Week 27 - Homeschool Conferences

The Appalachian Home Educators Conference came and went. Attendance was low. Vendors got in the red after they paid for their expenses to be there for two days. Organizers appeared disappointed. Susan Wise Bauer said this was the slowest conference she has ever attended.

But numbers aren’t everything. I saw some sales being made, parents learning new teaching methods, questions posed and answers given. I saw networking happening, friendships started, and new partnerships forged. Things happen at homeschooling conferences even when they are small.

As for me, I gave my two workshops as scheduled to small but very attentive audiences. I was excited to answer questions and help people. I met my educational guru, Susan Wise Bauer, and spent some time asking her questions of my own. I purchased Peace Hill Press curriculum at 60% off and some really cool science gadgets and field guides for my kids.

My husband got to listen to Ms. Bauer and received a final confirmation that my choices for our homeschool are right for our family. Last but not least, I discovered Virginia Soaps do not give me allergic reactions, despite the fact that I am allergic to fragrance. Their ingredients must be so far from parabens and other chemicals used in commercial soaps, that it actually makes a difference even for those of us who must have everything fragrance-free.

All in all, it was a great weekend we spent together as a family. I wish more of you could have been there, but… again, I understand. There is always next year. Or, why not? There is this online homeschool conference sponsored by Well-Trained Mind Online Academy.


Appalachian Home Educators Conference

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On June 26-27, 2015, on the campus of Johnson University, home educators from Knoxville and the surrounding areas will get together for the Appalachian Home Educators Conference. I am honored to be in the speaker lineup, which is headed by Dr. Susan Wise Bauer.

My seminars will cover home teaching methods and bilingualism. I am very excited to gather up my materials and put some PowerPoint presentations together. I am very passionate about home education and multilingualism, as you may know, if you have been reading my blog for a bit.

Aerial view of Johnson University

Aerial view of Johnson University in Knoxville

The list of Exhibitors can be found here. Accommodations and meals right on campus seem very affordable.

In my opinion, home educators should attend a homeschooling conference every year, to be encouraged and strengthened, to learn about new curriculum, and to get together with like-minded people. I know I have attended a homeschool conference every year since I decided to homeschool and I always received a blessing.