Newsletter – April 9th, 2013

Posted on: 04/09/2013 Back to all blog posts

Royal Fireworks Press Homeschool Curriculum Conference

June 27-29, 2013, Valley Forge, PA

We are holding a second curriculum conference in Valley Forge because the first one was so enjoyable. Those who attended our first conference in 2011 appreciated the focus on curriculum, the relaxed and informal ambience, the small size of the gathering, and the opportunities to talk with the speakers and other parents and to share experiences. And we learned a lot from listening to you.

There are three big changes from the last conference:

First, we have a full program for kids with sessions for younger and older children, including a session with MCT and Mud. They can still go to the sessions intended for their parents if they wish, but they will have alternatives this year.

Second, there is a wider range of subjects, including much more science, Latin, and American studies.

Third, the dorm accommodations with be more modern and comfortable.

Returning this year are Michael Clay Thompson, Dr Shelagh Gallagher, and Laurel Dodge. They will be joined by Dr. Frances Speilhagen discussing Latin, Dr. Dave Purvis and Jen Seron speaking about science, and William Stepien talking about American history. Dr. Tom Kemnitz will do some sessions for the older children on ancient Greece and Rome.

View and download the schedule to see two packed days of presentations.

Do please share with your friends.

Note that there is a discount for early booking before 1st May.

Speakers and Workshops for parents and separate ones for kids, divided into older and younger groups:

  • Michael Clay Thompson: Language Arts workshops: grammar, vocabulary, poetics, literature, grading writing.
  • Dr Shelagh Gallagher: Problem-Based Learning, Educating Twice Exceptional at Home.
  • Dr Frances Spielhagen: Teaching Latin at various levels.
  • Laurel Dodge: Nature Study for parents and kids: workshops on Pond Ecology, Forest Ecology, Insects, Nature Journals and a nature walk, weather permitting.
  • William Stepien: Using Big Ideas in teaching History, using Primary Resources.
  • Dr David Purvis: Hands-on Science in the Homeschool; for kids: the Joys of Science.
  • Jan Seron: Full Circle Science.
  • Dr Thomas Milton Kemnitz: for kids: ancient Greek and Roman history; for parents: the IPad textbook.

What they said about the last conference…

…Last time was a wonderful experience! This conference has an academic focus. It is small and great for hanging out and talking with other homeschool moms. Last time we had a wonderful dinner out together, a curriculum view/swap/sale, and time to get together and swap tips and get support.

…MCT is a transformational, heartwarming, eloquent speaker. He loves the written word and loves sharing that love. His poetics presentation blew my mind! He did no hard selling at all during the workshop, just taught us about grammar and poetics. Neither did Shelagh Gallagher. Everyone I’ve met at RFW Press is primarily interested in education and knowledge.

Problem-Based Learning Units from Dr Shelagh Gallagher

Dr Gallagher presents on YouTube Here she takes you through each stage of her units.

And now there are three new problem-based units for Middle School:

Ferret It Out: A Problem about Endangered Species and Animal Ecosystems. The first science unit in the series features the problem posed by the survival of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered mammal in the US.

A Final Appeal: The First Amendment and To Kill a Mockingbird. Students learn about the structure of the US court system–and they read To Kill A Mockingbird, too! A perfect unit for middle or high school government courses, Language Arts, or, interdisciplinary instruction.

Hull House: Living Democracy in the Progressive Era. Winner of the NAGC Curriculum Award, 2012. Students study the Progressive Era through a specific problem faced by the Board of Directors of the Hull House in Chicago, the landmark Settlement house.

Also new from Royal Fireworks Press

Returning the Arts to Language Arts: Imaginative Literacies. Edited by Lucille Rossbach. This is a collection of papers by leading teachers of the Colorado Network of the Bread Loaf School of English in which they share their experiences of bringing the arts, and artists, into the classroom. These research- based and writing-centered practices, all applicable for multi-ability classrooms, will re-equip teachers who are determined to resist the pressures of “teaching to” state tests while they face devastating budget cuts to programs for gifted children and of the creative arts.

Dreamers Who Can. This new work by Dr Jerry Chris is a collection of short stories for 1st to 4th graders, featuring character attributes in the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile: Inquirer, Knowledgeable, Thinker, Communicator, Principled, Open-minded, Caring, Risk-taker, Balanced, Reflective. He says: “Although some might think of additional qualities that they see as important, and some might choose a different word or two, debating the value of these ten would prove pointless. Not only do these ten provide a solid foundation for every classroom, but parents could only dream that their children would possess a majority of these attributes.” See other works by Dr Jerry Chris and soon to come, a book on teaching Modern Ethics.

And for something a bit different, for all who care about nutrition and like to know more about what they are eating and how: Follow Your Nose to the Best Fruit is a remarkable book by a remarkable man: Dr Gerhard Haas, who has just celebrated his 96th birthday. He also wrote his Scientist’s Survival Guide for us. Here is shares his knowledge of fruit varieties and heath benefits, with international recipes.

We publish a number of historical novels every year, believing they can greatly enhance the learning of history. Here are three new titles:

Saratoga Captive by Jack Reber. This is an engaging and thrilling adventure of young Ruth Anna who is captured but treated well by the enemy in the American Revolutionary War.

Trouble at the Scriptorium by Anne E Johnson goes back to medieval England. With a plot that thickens on every page, the story takes us into the life of the castle and the nearby monastery: a world of feasts and festivals, but also of greed and misdoings, and the dangers that lurk outside the castle walls. A unique aspect of this enthralling book is the thread of Gregorian chant that is at the heart of the secret message.

Oil Field Brats by Joyce Eseley. A tale of children in the oil field towns in the Texas Panhandle in the 1920s when there were no roads, houses, or schools. The riggers and their families had to cope with snakes and mice, bootleggers and ruffians, dust storms that lasted a week and mudslides when it rained.

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