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Friday, February 1, 2019

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2019 Homeschool STEM Conference--Online Speakers

I am super excited to introduce the speakers for the 2019 Homeschool STEM Conference to you! This is a group of incredible teachers and parents who are sharing their expertise to help make STEM education in homeschool an exciting adventure that everyone can do!

If you click on the image, you will be taken to that speaker's website. If you scroll below the images, you can read more about each speaker and what topics they will be presenting!

During the conference you will receive life-time access to all of the sessions! Don't miss any, and replay your favorites as often as you want!

2019 Homeschool STEM Conference-Online Speakers:

*more coming soon!*

Anne Carey:

Session(s): Why Add the A(rt) to STEM?

Amanda Brandon:

Amanda Brandon is a homeschooling mother of three who believes deeply in hands-on exploration as a learning tool. She was a curious kid who taught herself an array of handicrafts and research skills. She spent hours investigating topics and reporting on them in her “newspaper.”  Before she had a full house, she spent several years as a brand journalist “curating” resources for business owners, sales teams and technology industry blogs. She’s now using this “curator” experience to educate her three curious kiddos.

Blessed with three intensely curious kiddos who must put their hands in water, slime or some other substance on a regular basis, she’s using curiosity as a foundation for their homeschool. After purchasing multiple science curricula and numerous supplements, she decided to use her “curating” experience to dedicate one day per week to exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math with her kiddos. They call it STEAMSDay and it’s their favorite day of the week to dive deep and explore big questions and how things work. This day is dedicated to critical thinking, collaboration, scientific exploration, artistic expression, real-world math, and technological discovery.  You can follow her on Instagram for a real-life view of STEAMSDay @aworkofgod. She’s also sharing their weekly STEAMSDay guide on her blog www.aworkofgod.com starting in March.

Session(s): STEAMSDay: How to Devote a Day a Week to Hands-On, Real-Life Learning

Carla Mae Jansen:

Carla is a science teacher turned homeschool mom (with five kids) who likes to go on adventures and try new things. She has a BS and MA in science teaching, 10 years of experience homeschooling, and a passion for child-led, interest-driven education. She loves STEM and science education because of the opportunities it gives children to build confidence, solve problems, and connect to real-world learning. She writes at Preschool Powol Packets and Teaching Without Chairs.

Session(s): STEM Exploration for Preschoolers, What is STEM & Why is it Important?

Cerys Parker:

Session(s): How to be a Marine Biologist, Scratch for Elementary and Middle Schoolers

Christy McGuire:

Session(s): A Hands on Method for Learning Math Facts

Christy Saludares:

Christy is a Mechanical Engineer by profession, but left her career 5 years ago to stay home to raise her 3 boys. Now she shares her love of math, science, and engineering with her boys and others through fun, hands-on STEM activities. Her hope is to show kids that STEM is fun, and to inspire the next generation of engineers! You can find Christy online at fromengineertosahm.com .

Session(s): Hands-on examples of Simple Machines

Felicia Johnson:

Felicia is a mama of 8 kiddos and has been homeschooling for almost 17 years. Her kids range from 20 years old to 1. Science is a favorite subject in our house for no other reason than the world around us is an amazing testimony to God's amazing power. As a military family, the Johnson's have had an amazing opportunity to experience many different climates, habitats, and cultures. Felicia shares her adventures on Instagram and Facebook, while blogging about chaos and finding rest at The Zoo I Call Home.

Session(s): High School Chemistry Can Be Fun, High School Biology Can Be Fun, Animal Sciences for High School

Greg Norris:

Greg is a Hardware and Software Developer at GHI Electronics and works with the BrainPad Microsoft MakeCode Team.

He was homeschooled for three years of his schooling. It's impact has contributed greatly to who he is. 

He worked in TV production for nearly 30 years. Recently, he went back to school and changed career direction and moved into programming--something he had always done as a hobbyist but never a career. 

He's been working with Microsoft for the last 2 years on creating a block based editing interface for coding hardware. 

Session(s): Block-Based Programming Basics, Resources, and Insider Secrets

Jennifer Elia:

Jennifer Elia, homeschool consultant, curriculum creator, blogger, and author, is Founder of Aurelius Cabrini Homeschool Resource Center which is dedicated to giving homeschool moms the tools they need to thrive in their home education career. Jennifer provides one-on-one consulting, personalized and original curriculum plans, and practical advice for those just beginning their homeschool journey, as well as those who just need a little boost. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children whom she has been educating at home for the past 10 years. When Jennifer isn’t busy researching the best curriculum solutions, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and writing. You can find Jennifer on Facebook and Pinterest.

Session(s): STEM Success for Poets & Other Non-Science People

Karyn Tripp:

Karyn Tripp is a former public school teacher turned homeschool mom. She has homeschooled her 4 kids (ages 14 down to 5) for 11 years now. She is the author of the blog Teach Beside Me where she shares creative teaching ideas and educational printables.  She loves coming up with fun new ways to teach hard subjects, and is passionate about helping kids love learning. Karyn is a co-author of best selling the STEAM Kids book series and is currently working on her first solo book, a math-art book. Karyn grew up in southern Florida, but now lives in the Utah mountains. When she is not teaching her kids, blogging, or writing, you can find her reading a book, baking cookies, or training for a half marathon. You can also find her on Facebook at Teach Beside Me!

Session(s): Integrating Art into Math & Science

Katoyia Bellamy:

Session(s): STEM for Children of Color

Kerry Tracy:

Kerry taught 2nd  - 7th grades in public schools for 10 years.  She now creates teaching resources and delivers professional development to parents and teachers around the world to help them uncover more feel-good teaching moments in their lives, with brain-busting work disguised as fun (AKA: STEM Challenges).  You can learn more about Kerry on her websites: STEM Challenge and Feel-Good Teaching.

Session(s): Introduction to STEM Challenges

Leah McDermott:

Session(s): Outdoor STEM

MaryAnne Kochenderfer:

MaryAnne Kochenderfer is the fourth of ten children, raised in five countries on three continents. She now lives in California’s Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children: Emma, Johnny, Lily, and Anna. MaryAnne has a Masters in education and a Ph.D. in medicine. She blogs at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting about building a rewarding family life through mindful parenting and educational and creative family activities.  

Session(s): Homeschool STEM for Kids

Meryl van der Merwe:

Meryl van der Merwe homeschooled her 4 children and during that time started teaching at the local homeschool co-op. She still teaches there - as well as online at FundaFunda Academy Before homeschooling she ran her own computer software company. Meryl also hosts the Homeschooling with Technology podcast. In her spare time, she loves reading and traveling. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Session(s): STEM Contests, Why all students should learn to code, How to Start a Math Club

Michelle Huddleston:

Michelle Huddleston is the author behind lifestyle blog With the Huddlestons; owner of a virtual school for home educating families, Huddleston Academy; founder of a nonprofit organization, More Than Minority; and international author and speaker. She is a brick-and-mortar teacher turned stay-at-home mompreneur currently raising and homeschooling four blessings in the Bluegrass State (Kentucky). When she's not homeschooling, Michelle can be found creating new curriculum resources, self-publishing books, blogging about life, and building a thriving virtual community. She also enjoys Bible journaling, teaching English to Chinese children (YAY VIPKID), wrestling with the kiddos and cuddling up with the hubby while watching a good movie. Through her little corner of Internet-land, Michelle desires to positively impact others and teach them how to live unapologetically authentic. 

Session(s): Creative Ideas from a Non-STEM Loving Mama

Sarah Benton Feitlinger:

Sarah Benton Feitlinger, M.Ed (Science Education) is a seasoned science teacher with over a decade of experience teaching in traditional classrooms, nature centers and museums. Currently a work-at-home mom, she runs a science, STEM and STEAM activity blog for teachers and families called Share it! Science, as well as being a contributing education writer for several websites and consulting with local schools on curriculum mapping and science curriculum development. Sarah has a passion for making science understandable and accessible for everyone. She loves being outdoors, spending time with family, exploring nature, discovering great children’s books and gardening. She also was a homeschool student from 6th to 8th grade!

Session(s): Best Resources for Developing Your Own Science Curriculum, Engaging Hands and Minds with the 5E Inquiry Model, Using Picture Books to Teach Elementary STEM

Tal Hoover:

Tal Hoover is the founder of Blessed Grove Homeschooling and Academy. She is a professional educator, curriculum writer and homeschool mother of 7 children.  Her spare time is spent creating and publishing educational resources and operating her small baking business.

She has over 14 years of home education under her belt, and nearly a decade of experience in tutoring, online education, and writing. Tal specializes in teaching Biblical and world history, multicultural studies, comparative religions, art history, and of course, professional artisan cookie decorating.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and also holds certificates in criminal law and paralegal studies.  Missions work, mentoring and empowering not only her own family, but others is her top priority. She loves connecting with those that are seeking to educate their own children and become entrepreneurs to promote self-sufficiency. Visit her online at http://blessedgrove.weebly.com

Session(s): STEM in the Kitchen, STEM Across the World, STEM Homeschooling With Multiple Grade Levels

Trisha Stanley:

Trisha is a science educator and mom of three. She is the creator of the blog Inspiration Laboratories where the focus is on encouraging learning through play. Trisha taught high school science for 5 years before staying home with her kids. Before she was a classroom teacher, she was in the informal science realm working as an education specialist at an aquarium and zoo. She loves writing science curriculum and activities that incorporate hands-on learning. Her passions also include connecting kids to nature and finding great books to read.

Session(s): Play-based STEM

Happy Educating,

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

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Rainstick Instrument Craft - A Sensory Activity for Preschoolers

A rainstick instrument is a sensorimotor activity perfect for older preschoolers to craft themselves and younger preschoolers and toddlers to play with! Bonus: it fits weather, rain, and Spring themes too! And it actually sounds like rain!

The latest course I've taken with Childcare Education Institute (CCEI) is Bright Beginnings: Age Appropriate Activities for Infants and Toddlers. One of my favorite parts of the CCEI670 course was the discussion on sensory activities and how they are important for cognitive development. I love sensory activities, and this course inspired me to plan more sensory-based learning into our schedule.

To start off my sensory-based learning, I decided to create rainsticks!

Did you know that rainsticks were probably first made by indigenous people in Chile? They dried hollow cacti, broke the thorns off them, then pierced the thorns inside the cactus to make a bumpy path for pebbles that they added inside the stick. When the ends were sealed and the stick was turned upside down it sounded like pouring water! Similar instruments were made from hollow bamboo in Asia and Africa!

I was really excited about focusing on our sense of hearing for this project! Since we didn't have any cool cacti, I decided to use the tubes inside aluminum foil rolls instead. You could also use paper towel tubes, but they aren't quite as sturdy. I also decided to use wires instead of thorns since, again, we didn't have the thorns from the cool cacti.  ;) 

How to Make a Rainstick Instrument:

Simple Supplies:
* tube from aluminum foil
* wire (I just used what I had at home...you could use other things that interrupt the beans from falling straight down!)
* dry beans
* duct tape (I actually used gorilla tape because I love the stuff!)
* pencil

This is the wire I had, but I'm sure lots of other wires would work too:

Easy How To:
1- Coil the wire by wrapping it around a pencil. Then occasionally bend the coils so they aren't perfectly uniform. Stick the wire in the tube.

My preschooler really enjoyed this part!

2- Duct tape one end closed, add about 1/4 cup of dry beans, then tape the other end closed.

3- You could decorate it (and we might in the future), but I kinda like how the plain tube reminds me of a cactus! I do think it would be really fun to glue different textured fabrics to the stick, so there's an extra sensory element involved in playing it, but our family is in the middle of a move and my fabric is packed away! Maybe we'll make more rainsticks after we finish moving, and I can update this with some pictures then!

Anyway, at this point you can let your preschoolers "play" their rainsticks by tipping them up and down, shaking them, rolling them, or however else they like!

Let them experiment with the sounds they can make, then challenge them to try the following with you:

* Can you make a loud sound?
* Can you make a soft sound?
* Can you play a rhythm?
* Can you copy my rhythm?
* Can you play your rainstick standing up?
* Can you play your rainstick standing on one foot?
* Can you play your rainstick while jumping?
* Can you play your rainstick walking?
* Can you play your rainstick sitting down?
* Can you make up words to go with your music?
* Can you think of a way to play your rainstick that we haven't done?

These activities strengthen gross motor skills, balance, coordination, listening skills, and paves the way for early math and science skills to develop! Music promotes healthy development in the same parts of the brain that your preschoolers will use for more advanced math skills soon!

Sensory activities like this one provide a wonderful platform for language growth, so be sure to sing and talk during and after the time you spend playing your rainsticks!  I designed this sensory activity and lesson for you using information I learned in the Bright Beginnings: Age Appropriate Activities for Infants & Toddlers course from ChildCare Education Institute.  

The course included fascinating information about how brains develop in babies and toddlers, and ways to use that information to create a stimulating environment that will help young children develop in each major domain and stage. 

Like all courses at he ChildCare Education Institute, this course is taught through a series of slides like these:

The slides also contain videos, quizzes, and open-ended questions:

I really enjoyed ChildCare Education Institute's course CCEI670: Bright Beginnings: Age Appropriate Activities for infants & Toddlers, and I highly recommend it for both parents and preschool/toddler teachers! The information about how the brain uses sensory information to develop is important for everybody who works with babies and toddlers! The course also includes the four developmental domains (physical, cognitive, language, and social and emotional), stages of early childhood development, and activities that can help develop skills in each of those stages. 

The course also included several reflective questions, intermittent multiple choice questions, and a 10-question final. After passing the multiple choice questions and final, you receive a printable certificate of completion and one CEU hour! 

Here's a copy of my certificate:

You can click HERE to read my review of using CCEI for professional development. It is all online, and I am happily recommending them! I have learned new things in each course I've taken with them..and I already have a Master's degree in education! I also really appreciate the fact that the "hours" are very reasonable. The courses that were labeled "1 clock hour" took very close to one clock hour, and the course I took that was labeled "2 clock hours" took very close to two clock hours.

You navigate through course work, printing certificates, and choosing courses through an online system with a "navigation bar" on the left of your screen:

I have truly enjoyed working with ChildCare Education Institute during the last two months, and have already told people about them "in real life!" I would love to chat with you more about my experience--feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

What is your favorite sensory activity? Do you think of sensory activities when you are trying to develop language and gross motor skills? Have you made musical instruments before?

You know I'd love to hear from you!! Feel free to send me an email and let me know what you're up to! Or leave a comment!

This post is sponsored by ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI). Like always, my opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I  love to use myself!

Happy Educating,

Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!

I may share at any of these parties!

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