"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


As some of you may know (or not), I'm speaking in Denver, CO at the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educator's Conference in July.  I'm giving four talks.  I'll be updating the sidebar (of available talks) after Denver, but I thought I'd give you a preview.

I'll be adjusting my Beginning Homeschool talk to remove the Minnesota demographics and Minnesota reporting requirements.  I'm also giving my very favorite talk on Learning Modalities (How to Get Your Kid to See the Light).  I'm updating it with a new style.  My husband and I produced our technology talk using the Presentation Zen method.  I then upgraded my Beginning Homeschool talk to that format and I'm SO hooked.  Love the method.  I hope my audience does as well.  I'll write more about that later.

My two new talks are exciting for me.  The first one I've been working on for about three years, even though I haven't had a gig at which to present it.  I am so in love with using the Socratic Method for literary analysis.  I have been having Socratic Dialogues (also known here as book clubs) since 2007.  For the last four years, I have anywhere from six to sixteen kids here on Fridays discussing books.  I have done entire series of books on many topics. I love picking Catholic books, but it has not been my primary focus.  Mostly, we've done author studies.  I pick an author and we spend the year reading books by that author.  It's actually great for the kids to do this because the concepts of "authorship", "context", and "literary style" become so evident after reading four or five books by the same author.  In fact, many kids have thanked me for the opportunity to do that very thing because they then begin to see patterns.  They understand how the time an author lived, and their very life influences the "setting", "theme", and "conflict" in the story.  I struggle between making them really think things out about a particular topic and wanting to go through the book chronologically.  So, my talk "Socrates Meets Homeschool Mom" will be a lot of fun.  It involves not just Socrates but also Tomie dePaola and Robert Frost.  How's that for a cliff hanger?

My second talk is something I've always talked about with my family.  That is how my homeschool is really a one-room schoolhouse.  I've always sought advice from my mom, grandma, mother-in-law and others that attended one-room schools about how classes were managed, discipline, curriculum and character development.  I've gotten great feedback and now I get to tie in about 50 hours of research on top of that feedback.  I also get to share real data I have from my grandmother-in-law who was a one-room school teacher before she married my grandfather-in-law.  I have found some great examples of curriculum from the 19th century that actually puts some current curriculum to shame.  And, I will be talking about the 8th grade examination and how kids would fare these days taking that very test. One of my greatest finds is a book written in 1922 called _The Rural Problem and the Catholic School_ by T. Leo Keaveny which talks about what Catholic schools in rural areas.  I will be talking to Catholic homes educators, so there are many tidbits I can take away from this on running Catholic schools in rural areas that apply to our Catholic homeschools.   One of the many sources sited is Archbishop John Ireland, the founder of the Archdiocese of St. Paul (my home diocese.)  I can't wait to present this topic because there is so much great that we can learn from those one-room school teachers!

So, with all this said and lots of fun stuff ahead of me like refreshing the slides for my learning modalities talk and finishing hand outs for my other talks which are due in eight days, I will be taking a short blog vacation unless something so fabulous pops up between now and then.  Okay, I MIGHT have to give a report on Saturday about the class I'm taking Friday night (taught by a Latin professor from Temple University), but other than that I'll be off finishing off my handouts and making my presentations minimal (really.)


RealMom4Life said...

Good luck! I just listened to your Beginning Homeschool talk from the MN conference this year - yes, even though we've done this for 12 years now :) (listening to the talks I missed is my way of creating my own little conference). It was fabulous. I learned some helpful hints. And, it was much better than the beginning talk I attended years ago that almost scared me away.

Ann Seeton said...

I love PresentationZen, it was very helpful to me for when I am teaching. From the sound of your talks I very very much wish I were going to be in Colorado for your talks. I'll look around your blog and see if I can find a speaking schedule and see if you have something scheduled for Texas.

majellamom said...

Very nice to hear your take on your talks - sometimes it's hard to get a good feel for a talk from a short paragraph. I will be marking down "The Old Schoolhouse" talk for sure!