Monthly Archives: June 2010

Homeschool Conventions–Who Needs Them?

The Used Curriculum Sale went off–not without a hitch, but pretty well! Kudos to our fearless volunteer coordinator, and to all the volunteers, many of whom worked extra hours outside of their scheduled time. I managed to see two whole workshops at the homeschool conference, plus parts of two more, which is better than last year when I spent the entire conference at the used sale. I also managed to get some shopping done (one sweep through to locate items, and another the next day to actually buy them) in the Vendor Hall. There are a few books on my list that I forgot to go back and get, sorry to say.

I do prefer buying books in person, from a vendor, where I can look through a book before buying. Yes, the Internet is convenient, and sometimes cheaper, but there’s something to be said for the book in the hand.

Going back to being able to attend a few workshops–last year I didn’t realize how much of a boost the conference is, towards keeping on with keeping on, until the Maxwells ( came to town a few months ago. We spent an evening and a day listening to their presentations, and it was so refreshing, energizing, and challenging. It was on the ride home after that full Saturday, feeling replete and refreshed, that I realized how much I’d missed by not partaking of the workshops and keynotes at the homeschool conference months earlier.

All this to say, if you’ve never been to your local homeschool conference, you ought to seriously consider it this year. You don’t know what you’ve been missing. Encouragement, exhortation, new ideas, solutions to problems, camaraderie (oooo, sure glad for the spell checker on that last one).

If money’s a problem, check and see if your local conference providers have a work option. At our conference, people could work a shift and get in at a reduced rate, or even free.

You don’t have to go into the vendor hall if you’re short on money. Even if you’re not short on money, you don’t have to buy everything there. You can, however, if you’re in the proper frame of mind, browse what’s on offer. You can get new ideas for presenting information, for one thing.

I have to be prepared before I go into the vendor hall, or I spend too much money and end up with a closet-full of stuff we didn’t use, by the end of the year. I try to do a large part of my homeschool planning before the curriculum fair, at least in overview if not nitty gritty detail. That gives me a list of things to look for, to look at, and decide how well they’ll fit the plan. I also set a budget and do my best to stick to it. It means taking some things and leaving others, prioritizing and making choices, not one of my strong points, but I’m learning.

Probably by the time Youngest graduates, I’ll have it down to a fine art.

Thanks for listening to my rambles. It’s been an awfully busy five days (homeschool conference, followed immediately by the Answers in Genesis conference), and now I’m going to brew a pot of coffee, check on the troops (even the dog is sleeping in this morning), and get on with the day.

Answers in Genesis conference wrap-up

Ken Ham was terrific tonight, just as we expected. Interesting stuff going on. The first night of the Answers in Genesis conference, the multimedia system self destructed. The second night of the conference, someone set off the fire alarm. Tonight, the third night, we were 10 minutes late to the conference.

Nothing happened! …and we missed it!

Edited to add:

Actually, I posted that last when I was pretty punchy–very tired from a busy weekend capped off by a busy beginning of the week.

We were very impressed with the Answers in Genesis conference–the presentations, the materials offered, the attitude of the volunteers, even the opportunity to chat with friends we usually see only during the school year, during the breaks.

They were filming a new video series, but I’m not sure we’ll appear as part of the studio audience. We sort of sat on the fringe, and really, it might be a mercy if the camera didn’t capture us. Middlest and Youngest were at their most fidgety at times. Honestly, you’d think at their advanced age they could sit still!

(Still working on that. Difficult concept. Those kids never seem to stop moving, even in their sleep.)

Answers in Genesis conference, continued

It was another dynamic evening. Ken Ham has such energy, clarity, and an articulate delivery that keeps the attention, even for this sleep-deprived homeschool mom.

Once again the evening did not go off without a hitch. This time it was a fire alarm. The interruption lasted fifteen or twenty minutes, cutting power to the sound system (among other things, like flashing strobe lights, a siren, and a repeated announcement that a fire had been reported on our floor, and please exit the building, using stairs and not elevators). Mr. Ham took it in stride, picking up where he’d left off when he was so abruptly (and dramatically) interrupted.

Tonight is the last night of the conference. If you’re in the Vancouver, WA area and can somehow clear your schedule, please go. You’ll be glad you did.

Update on Sono Harris

Edited to add: Latest update.

Josh Harris has posted an update about his mom, on his blog, as of June 24.

Ken Ham in Vancouver, Washington!

We just got back from a wonderful morning session for middle and high school age students on Creationism and biblical apologetics.

Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis is here in town, filming a conference. We went to last night’s session and got home so late, it was hard to get up for this morning’s early session. I wanted to see the presentation for elementary aged children, but we got there too late for that. Ended up browsing the book and DVD tables. Lots of great stuff there!

Now I’m not one to talk much about spiritual warfare, but it certainly seemed as if something was trying to keep the conference from getting off the ground.

We were stressing because the traffic was so bad (heavy traffic on a Sunday evening? What gives?) and we were a few minutes late arriving. The church parking lot was almost completely full, and we parked in the boonies, a fair walk from the church.

The conference was supposed to start at 6. We missed the introduction and prayer and crept in to find seats as Mr. Ham was getting started. There was so much good information in his presentation that we didn’t notice the lack of multimedia until he said, “Now watch this clip, and then we’ll talk more…”

There was sound but no video, and all of a sudden he realized that the slides and pictures that were supposed to be emphasizing his points, weren’t.

Pretty soon there was no sound, either.

Tech people began gathering and walking back and forth and fiddling with things and talking into cell phones and doing all sorts of problem-solving actions. We waited. They told us to take a break but stay close. We waited. The girls went to sit with their friends, who’d arrived earlier and had seats down in front. We waited.

Mr. Ham started taking questions from the audience. Occasionally there would be an update (“It seems to be a problem with a power supply…”). Finally, a group of people hauled a large movie screen and supports down to the front and set it up, along with a portable projector.¬† Not as fancy as the built-in screens, but they made it work.

By 7:20 things were rolling again. The first presentation started: The Relevance of Genesis in Today’s World. Many Christians don’t realize just how crucial the proper understanding of Genesis 1-11 is in defending our Christian faith. I don’t have time to say more about that now, for this post would be as long as a book! (Well, nearly so long.)

The church was wonderful: The child-care volunteers stayed extra late because of the late start. The church bought pizza for the children!

They decided to go ahead and put on the second presentation, after asking everyone who could stay, to stay. Once again, we were treated to a dynamic, encouraging, energizing talk on How to Defend the Christian Faith in a Hostile World.

(This material fit beautifully, by the way, with what we’d heard at our church earlier in the day, listening to a presentation on the spread of the Gospel in Africa, compared to the decline of Christianity in the West.)

The conference runs for two more evenings. If you’re in the Vancouver, Washington area, go! The conference is free of cost, but the information and tools you’ll gain are beyond price.

More information is available at this website. Here’s the Monday-Tuesday schedule:

Monday, June 28, 2010
9 a.m. Ken Ham Dinosaurs for Kids – The 7 Ages of History (Grades K-6) (Grades K-6)
11 a.m. Ken Ham Using Science to Confirm Genesis (Grades 7-12) (Grades 7-12)
6 p.m. Ken Ham How Could a Loving God – Why is There Death and Suffering
7:30 p.m. Ken Ham Six Days or Millions of Years
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
6 p.m. Ken Ham Why Won`t They Listen – Evangelism in a Secular World
7:30 p.m. Ken Ham One Blood, One Race

Going to the birds!

We had a hummingbird in our butterfly bush! She (we’re pretty sure it was “she” as the colors were pretty dull, but we haven’t looked her up yet) was delicately drinking from the blossoms, and at a couple points actually perched to drink. We got lots of pictures and if I can just find the cable that connects the camera to the computer, I’ll post some pictures.

I didn’t know hummingbirds liked butterfly bushes!

A little later, Eldest saw a house finch. His head was really bright red. Beautiful. We may have to revive our running list of bird visitors. We had lots of bush tits and goldfinches earlier in the year (and the goldfinches stayed longer than I remember them staying, perhaps because of the long, cool, wet spring), and chickadees that we can still hear singing on occasion. There’s also a nesting pair of English Sparrows, and what beautiful songs we hear, even drowning out the robins’ songs that used to dominate our yard.

Thanks, Mrs. S., for making us so much more aware of the birds around us in your science class.

Journey to the Stars: Free DVD from NASA!

From Heidi at Chatter and Clatter:

NASA is offering a free DVD and worksheet set to parents and educators. More from Heidi:

From the website:

Are you ready to take a Journey to the Stars? The American Museum of Natural History and NASA have joined forces to produce a planetarium show about the amazing variety of stars that dot our cosmos–exploding stars, giant stars, dwarf stars,neutron stars, even our own star! But you don’t have to go to a planetarium to experience this mind-blowing journey. NASA will send you a DVD, for free!

The price is definitely right! This offer is open to educators and parents. You can even request a DVD for each student. All you need to do is fill out the form linked below.

Homeschool Library Builder Sale!

Just a quick note to let you know that Homeschool Library Builder is offering 15% off everything through the end of June.

If you want to read my review of HSLB, click here.

Great place to browse for books!