Are you ready for some CONVENTIOOOOOOOONNNN?!?!?!?

Bear in mind that you have to read the title with the Sunday Night Football guy’s voice in your head.


So are you ready?  Let’s check the checklist!  (a note – this checklist was completed over several days as I would think of things I would enter them – so at some point the checklist becomes part check list, part tip list – so – take what works for you and ignore the rest!)

  • Praying – Whether or not you are a praying person, convention is huge.  When I get to convention and see all of the STUFF I tend to want to get first and pray later.  So this is a reminder for both of us – Pray first – God please don’t let me spend all of our food budget on homeschool stuff.
  • Make your lists –
    • curriculum for each child
    • resources for mom
    • gift lists for birthdays / Christmas / etc (there are all sorts of vendors that have wonderful things, many of these vendors are homeschool families – what a great way to support other homeschoolers AND be able to say you started your Christmas shopping in June!  Be sure to watch for my post featuring Virginia Soaps and Scents – it’s where I do a lot of my birthday and Christmas shopping!)
    • UCS lists – curriculum prices for things you know you want – make sure you know the price BEFORE buying it in the UCS only to discover that it was the same price new

UCS TIP – Did you know that you can search for things on the UCS bar coding website?  You have to have a username and password, but you can create a free login so it’s not a big deal.  How is this helpful?  Well – if you are looking for a certain book – Say Apologia Zoology – where would you look?  Would you look in 5th grade science, or 6th grade science?  After entering Zoology into the search feature – here are the results:

search example

As you can see there are 15 items for Zoology at the time I did the search – they are in grades from 1st to 7th science AND there is one in Non-fiction.  How does this help?  Well – the categories listed here are the same as the categories that will be on the signs at the UCS – so if you know where the books are – you know where to start looking.  Ok – back to the checklist.

  • Printouts – At the very least it is great to print out the following:
  • Arrange your 3 – Ring Binder —
    • Punch holes in your lists – put them in your binder
    • Add blank paper for taking notes
    • Add a 3 hole punched pencil holder for pencils, pens, etc.
    • Add tabs if you want to be super organized
  • Make and Print your Return Address Labels
  • Find, borrow, build or purchase something with which to haul your books, paper and various other things (including husbands and children when necessary) around.  This can be a rolley cart (basically a milk crate with wheels) that you can find at any office supply store, a suitcase with wheels, a stroller or if you think you will be doing a LOT of shopping at the UCS – a forklift.  Either way – you will get tired of carrying things – so make sure you have somewhere to put things down.
  • Have a plan of workshops that you want to hear.
  • Be prepared to toss your plan out the window when you hear a really awesome speaker and decide that you want to go to the rest of his or her sessions.
  • Take a deep breath and know this – you are awesome!  You are doing a wonderful thing for your kids.  It WILL be OK!
  • Plan to enjoy yourself – either with the whole family, just hubby, just the kids or on your own, plan to smile at other people, to be open to that random conversation in the elevator or while waiting in line – and have fun!

Finally – VOLUNTEER!!!  This is not only a great way to give back, but I have always found that I get so much more out of the experience when I volunteer.  The people that I have met while volunteering are amazing!  And if that wasn’t enough . . . When you volunteer for ONLY 2 HOURS – You get into the UCS @ 9am!  That is an hour earlier than even the early tickets!!  

So go sign up now – from what I hear they really need people in the children’s program and Friday Registration –

I can’t wait to see you soon – I’ll be the one driving the forklift while talking on the phone explaining to my husband why we are going to be eating Ramen noodles for the next few weeks.  🙂

HEAV Exhibitor Interviews – Part 3 of 5 – Creating a Masterpiece

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New to the HEAV convention this year is Creating a Masterpiece.  I saw their display at the CHAP convention in PA and was blown away by the quality of work – when I was told the work was done by Level 1 students I was even more impressed.

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As someone who does pretty awesome stick people I tend to be a bit of an art snob . . . ok – not really, but these pictures were great.  I want to get the DVD’s so I can learn how to do this – I may share with the kids.

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Where is Creating a Masterpiece located?

3631 Hidden Acres Lane
Fort Calhoun NE 68023

How did Creating a Masterpiece get started?  How long has Creating a Masterpiece been in business?

Sharon Hofer is a professional artist and teacher. She teaches hundreds of home schooled students yearly in the Omaha, Nebraska area. During the summer she holds art camps and travels to Africa to teach art.

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Sharon’s vision for Creating a Masterpiece video teaching came when she realized there were so many more students wanting to be apart of the Hidden Acres Art School than she could accept into her classes. Parents were asking if there was any way for their students to get a ‘jump start’ on preparing for the art classes while they remained on the waiting list. Still others who were interested in taking art lessons lived too far away to travel to classes. It was then that Sharon decided to help these families by developing a curriculum for school age students.

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Sharon decided to offer her art teaching in video format. The filming began in late 2010. The curriculum debuted in the summer of 2011 at a local homeschool curriculum fair.

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If a child has already had a few art classes, should they still start at Level 1?

If they have not had quite a bit of art experience level one is a good place to start.  Eight through twelve year olds with some art background are capable of doing any of the level 1-3 projects.  Level three will obviously be more difficult to begin with, so Level 1 is a great starting point.

Does it matter where in Level 1 you start, or do you recommend a particular starting spot?

Within level one there are various degrees of difficulty.  All the projects can be used at any time as they are so different from one another.  We recommend leaving the pencil drawing known as “Sunflower” until after the pastel, silk dying, colored pencil and sculpture have been completed.  Beyond this there is no real “order” that must be followed.

level 1

Personally speaking as someone who can make pretty good stick people is there any way that this program could work for someone like me?

Yes, you can do it!  Those who have little or no art ability will be amazed at what they can do if they just know the steps!

Now for the giveaway???  What?  No giveaway – it’s ok!  This is good – keep reading . . . 

As we homeschoolers know, not everyone does things the same.  So rather that doing a giveaway for one winner Creating a Masterpiece wants to bless around 30 families.  Plus – you don’t even have to enter here to win – although feel free to leave a comment about which art project you would like to do.

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Here is what you do – go by the Creating a Masterpiece Booth to sign up to have a student try out the lessons.  The students then return at their allotted time to try out a DVD lesson from the “Peaceful Lake” DVD.  How awesome is that?

peaceful lake


So make plans now to check out Creating a Masterpiece – you can find them at

AND at the 30th Annual HEAV convention – of course!!



What program do you use for art with your kids?  Do you teach art?  What do you think about being able to teach a fine arts program at home?

HEAV Exhibitor Interview #2 – WINNER!!!

Congratulations to Briana Eibest who won two boxes of Children’s Bible Learning Cards from words 2 remember 4 kids – one for her family and one to share!

new box cover

Didn’t win?  That’s ok – stop by to see words 2 remember 4 kids at the HEAV convention and pick your own box of Bible Learning Cards.

Be sure to tell Vicky Homeschooler on the Edge said Hi!

Looking for ways to use the Bible Learning Cards?  Well – y’all submitted lots of great ideas – here are just a few of them!

  • Dinner discussion topics
  • Devotions for after school care kids
  • Little reminder for short attentions spans
  • Leave them in a special place for kids to “find”
  • Reinforce positive behavior
  • Place a new one on the fridge every few days
  • for yourself
  • Character building
  • Weekly scripture learning
  • Bring them out whenever the situation requires a gentle reminder

Thanks for the giveaway words 2 remember 4 kids!


HEAV Exhibitor Interview (and product review) – Part 2 of 5 – words 2 remember 4 kids

The HEAV Convention boasts over 350 booths bringing you the very best in educational materials from around the country.

Are you looking for curriculum, unit studies or textbooks?  How about DVDs or CDs?  Are computer games more what you are looking for?  Or do you want to find art supplies, language programs, information on homemaking skills or college information?

In the end – it doesn’t matter – the HEAV Exhibit Hall has it all!  From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday June 6th, 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Friday June 7th and 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday June 8th the Exhibit Hall will be open, ready and waiting.

2013 Exhibitors List

Today we will be hearing from a Newbie on the Homeschool Convention Scene!  In business for just under a year . . .


Now, please allow me to introduce to you to Vicky Enright of words 2 remember 4 kids!

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Where are you located? I am located in another beautiful part of the country, north of Boston called Andover, MA.

How did you get started?  I have been a children’s book illustrator for many years; my industry really started to slow down, and a good friend recommended that I create some sort of Bible flashcards for kids.  I started working on a few, found a woman who has more Bible expertise than me, (Kristen Smith, who has a Masters of Divinity) and with lots of prayer we are moving forward.

How long have you been in business?  We started a little under a year ago.  The idea came from a hope to create cards that would help children apply Bible verses to the situations they were presently going through; for example: friendship issues, overwhelmed with school work or sports, or any sort of pressures.  We want children to look carefully at the pictures, relate to the kids in the pictures, and perhaps talk about how they can enjoy and cope with their lives with the help of the word of God. 

Tell me about your family.  I have two children, both boys- Sean 15, and Nicky, 12 who have not been home schooled.  I do work on trusting and relying on God, and trying to be as good an example as my humanly self can be in any given day (and it’s not always easy for me) as a mother in today’s culture.

How long have you been attending homeschool conventions?  I have only attended three homeschool conventions, as of yet, but I am already blessed by meeting so many interesting and kindly Christian families!  I love hearing people’s stories about their life, and especially how God leads them through successfully (even in difficult circumstances.)  Also, it is inspiring to see parents taking on the homeschooling responsibility, when just being a parent can be so challenging.

What do you hope people will gain when they come by your booth at the HEAV convention in June?  My hope is that children and their parents will receive joy from the illustrations and reminders plus inspiration from the verses and discussion starters, in these cards.  In addition, I hope we can exchange a tip, a story or just a laugh about the pleasures and pitfalls of parenting children.

The pictures on the cards are beautifully done.  Can you tell me some of the children’s books you have illustrated?   I have illustrated “Read Anything Good Lately”, by Jane Lindaman and Susan Allen (and others from these authors), Crafts from Your Favorite Children’s Songs, by Kathy Ross (and many others from Kathy Ross) and It’s a Beautiful Day, by Jeanne Haddon, to name some of my books.  Some will be available at my booth.

Do you have a suggested lesson plan or suggestions for ways to use the cards?  As to ways to use these cards:  Leave them out, talk with your children about them, point them out if a particular situation comes up, like a sibling fight where forgiveness is needed, take them apart, post them to a refrigerator, or place a relevant one on a bedside table, a kitchen table, or a bathroom mirror.  Throw them in the car.  They can be used for memorizing, reminding, comforting, or encouragement from the word of God.

Do you have any plans to create more cards?  We are planning on creating more sets:  “Words of Courage and Comfort”, a middle school age set, a set for toddlers…we will see where the Lord leads us.  This first set is more for the ages of 3-11.  

What do you hope that kids (and parents) learn from using these Bible Quotes Memory Cards?  I hope that children and parents use these words more, in their everyday lives.  We can hear God’s word in church, memorize those words on Wednesday nights, and forget to USE them, the rest of the week.  We hope these are reminders to know that God is with us in every situation and wants us to bless, forgive, and help others when we can; as he does with all of us.

What other conventions or shows will you be attending this year?  I may go to the NJ homeschool convention; I’ve been to the PA and MA conventions.  These cards are helpful to all kinds of families, so I will be working on getting them into more Christian retail stores, and perhaps as supplements to church Sunday school programs.  We are praying and working on where God is leading us.


Bible Learning Cards – Product Review

new box cover


The other morning I was at my Bible Study.  I had brought my Bible Study cards with me as most of the moms in my bible study are also homeschool moms and I wanted to get their opinions as well.

The first reaction I got as I held up these cards was “Wow, those are beautiful” – as an illustrator Vicky has done a beautiful job on the artwork.  Then, as I passed the cards around, the excitement grew. These cards are not only lovely to look a but, even more important, the message that they share is wonderful.

Some of the moms had their kids there (after all – we homeschool – where else are the kids going to be) – so I called them in and told them about the cards, then I asked them to go and look at them and come back and tell me what they thought.

Just as the ladies and I were getting started the kids came back into the room.  I have to say – this was a great way to start bible study.  As they brought the cards back to me, they each read the scripture verse and told me why they picked that one.  Plus, each of the kids hadn’t picked just one card, they had picked several that they liked.  It really was a beautiful experience.  I am going to share a few with you here –

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One of the girls told me this was her favorite because sometime her and her sister don’t get along well.

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Another one told me she really liked this one because it reminded her that God is always there.

Here are a few more examples — I just love the artwork – it is very expressive and that was one of the things that Princess noticed.  She has always been a fan of color.  🙂

card groupingComing in a pack of 20 these cards are great for leaving around for kids to find, sticking into a book for them to come across or putting them on a ring and keeping them handy for any situations.

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So now that you have seen these lovely cards online, I know you will want to see them in person.  Well, guess who is going to be at the HEAV convention – Vicky Enright, of course!  Watch for Vicky and words 2 remember 4 kids in the exhibit hall.  You can see her and the list of all of the exhibitors at the Exhibit Hall Page on the HEAV Convention webpages

I want to thank Vicky Enright for her time in answering these questions.  Be sure to look for Vicky and her smiling face in the HEAV Exhibit Hall.  You can also find more about Vicky and her Bible Quote Memory cards at her website and their facebook page.


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Oh and one last thing . . .

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I asked Vicky if she would like to provide a giveaway for someone to pick up from the HEAV convention.  Here is the awesome response that I got from her.

“I would be happy to do a giveaway of two boxes…one for the winner’s family, and one for a friend’s family.  I think it would be great for the winner to give the second box to a special family who maybe can’t buy one themselves, or whose family could really use them. (maybe a family that struggles in their faith?)  Or, they could just give the second box of cards to their best friend’s family.”

How great is that!  Thanks so much Vicky!

So without further ado, click below to access the rafflecopter giveaway.  Remember you need to be able to come and pick up your prize from Vicky’s booth at the HEAV convention in June.  Not registered – sign up and win for a friend who is coming.

click here to enter to win