IDEA Curriculum Fair 2017: Workshop Descriptions

Attendee Welcome Page ~ Anchorage ~ Fairbanks ~ Juneau ~ Soldotna

Click on the links above for the general information about each location, and the links in the key below to go directly to the workshop schedules. (Links will be active once the workshop schedules are completed and posted.)

Key for workshop location:

"The 13 Most Important Soft Skills to Teach Your Children" (Jean Burk)

Employment experts agree that technical skills get your foot in the door, but it’s the soft skills that get you the job -- and help you keep it. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills crucial for career success. During this workshop we’ll explore the soft skills employers covet today and uncover simple ways you can instill these skills in your teen before he/she leaves the nest. Learning Workshop, College Prep Genius (A,F)

"Build to Learn" (Maz Wright)

Families are provided with materials and set a task to build an object using only what is provided and within budget. The project includes mathematics, science and problem solving for all age groups. Learning Workshop, TPS Publishing (S,A,F,J)

"Building a Solid Math Foundation" (Debbie Oberste)

Who is going to build a house by starting with the walls? Without a solid foundation, those walls may hold up for a bit but eventually will come crashing down. Math is a lot like building a house. It's best to start with a strong foundation and build up from there. It doesn't have to be hard! Come and see how easy it is to teach math. Learning Workshop, RightStart Math (F)

"Can Learning Really Be This Fun?" (Grant Funk)

Aviation gives great hands on activity opportunities for students to learn to understand charts, accomplish math problems in a real world environment, grasp the importance of history, discover weather, and much, much more, all in the context of hands on aviation. In this workshop, we will discuss Av-STEM Alaska's online course for 7th-12th graders. I will give a rapid overview of the course as well as allow time for questions and answers. This is a great workshop for you to bring your student to. Product Workshop, Av-STEM (A,F)

"A Classical Approach in a Modern World" (Andrew Pudewa)

What is a classical education? Studying Latin? Learning logic? Reading The Iliad? Although Andrew Pudewa does not claim to be the expert extraordinaire on the subject, he has been exploring this idea of classical education for the past twenty years and has witnessed the frenzy, the skeptics, and various views of what actually defines a classical education. In this talk, Andrew shares his personal journey, some observations, and his conclusions that have enriched his own teaching at home and in many communities across North America. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (A)

"Don't Just Teach American History; Make it Come Alive!" (Ashley Wiggers)

Making American history come alive with living books, activities and great discussions will build an appreciation of our rich heritage in your children. Students can learn what a good leader, government, and citizen look like. While children are young and impressionable, learning about historical figures who display character and values is essential. Come to this workshop to learn about the importance of teaching our history in depth and gain ideas to help you bring your lessons to life! Learning Workshop, GeoMatters (A)

"Empower Your Students" (Rachel Book)

To build unstoppable thinkers beginning in Pre-Kindergarten and progressing through grade 12, Lincoln Empowered combines the best technology to differentiate instruction for all learners to guide them on the pathways to mastery. Because we know that no one-size-fits-all model exists to support the implementation needs of all students, we offer all models of implementation and flexibility to support their individualized learning. We offer courses that provide flexible options to ensure academic growth through manageable learning chunks with the right digital objects at the right time for content comprehension across the grade levels and content areas. Product Workshop, Lincoln Learning Solutions (S,A,F,J)

"Experience Excellence in Writing" (Janet Beckett)

Come and discover award-winning Excellence in Writing, a method of teaching composition that really works. Using this program, students of all ages will learn to write stories, reports and essays with style. Best of all, parents and students alike find it easy to use and effective in all their writing endeavors. This workshop will give you an overview of the program and show you how you can get started with even the most reluctant writing student so you can give it a try at home. Product Workshop, IEW (A,J)

"The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing" (Andrew Pudewa)

We've all suffered it at one time or another: frustration about writing assignments. Either on the receiving end, or perhaps now on the giving end, there can be a few distinctly discouraging aspects to teaching and being taught writing. The tough questions include: What to correct and how to give a grade? How much help is too much? Isn't the assignment clear enough? Why don't students find their own errors? Learn and avoid four teaching mistakes that contribute to this frustration: Overcorrecting, Holding Back Help, Unclear Assignments, and Over-Expectation. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (A)

"Freedomship and Entrepreneurial Education" (Andrew Pudewa)

Many of us realize that we value home education not only because it often results in better academics, superior social environments, and enriched family life, but because it builds a better community and country. The result of true liberal education—a freedomship education—will be not only young men and women who know how to think and communicate, but who think evangelically and entrepreneurially. To revive a culture of self-sufficiency and freedom requires more people with the owner/entrepreneur mind-set and fewer with the employee mind-set. Join Andrew for a discussion of how to cultivate an entrepreneurial, or georgic, aptitude in our children. The future of freedom may depend on it. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (F)

"Freedomship Education: Rebuilding Your Education Paradigm" (Andrew Pudewa)

Escaping the conveyor belt approach of institutional education by which most of us were shaped isn't easy, but it has to be done. For many parents, our greatest handicap as teachers is our own education—but it need not be so. In this inspiring and empowering session, you will not only come to understand the nature and purpose of today's educational system as it was originally conceived and designed, but you will see a shining alternative path, one that develops true thinkers, leaders, and communicators—so desperately needed in today's world. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (A)

"Fun With Line" (Sara Osterink)

This hands-on workshop explores the different qualities of line. Students will create imaginative drawings of animals filled with a variety of lines and patterns and will be challenged at all levels. Learning Workshop, Atelier/Arts Attack (S,A,F)

"Getting Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay" (Brian Wasko)

The emphasis on the five-paragraph essay format is so ingrained in our education that many have come to believe that it's the one "right" way to compose an essay. What's odd, however, is that great writers have been writing essays for centuries—brilliant, moving, eloquent essays that are a delight to read—and none of these essays are written in the five-paragraph mode. Why is this? The five-paragraph structure is a good starting place for young writers, but that's all it is meant to be. This workshop will discuss ways to get students beyond the five-paragraph essay. Learning Workshop, (A)

"Goal Setting - A Family Event!" (Dennis DiNoia, M.A.Ed)

Goal setting is often thought of as a great idea and something everyone needs to do but we rarely do it and when we do, we usually lose track of the goal along the way. In this workshop, goals are brought to life through creation and conversation. Everyone participating will create a goal and a visual display for that goal during the workshop. This process can be done with family members over and over again as well as with other homeschool groups as activities. The process is created in a fun and fast paced style with everyone having an opportunity to create and share their goal that will leave each participant inspired by their goal and by the goals of others. Learning Workshop, Mr. D Math (A,F,J)

"H.E.L.P.! Hope in Educating your child with Learning Problems using RightStart Math" (Debbie Oberste)

Teaching is not for the faint of heart. Mix in a child with learning challenges and you may end up becoming very discouraged and possibly ready to throw in the towel. Be encouraged, you are NOT alone. Whether your child has been diagnosed with a learning challenge or simply doesn't 'get' math, RightStart Math can help. In this workshop, you will learn some teaching strategies and techniques that will help children with learning challenges. Product Workshop, RightStart Math (F)

"Help Your Child Study Smarter, Not Harder!" (Susan Ison)

Studying is something all students are expected to do, but seldom are they afforded the opportunity to learn to perform this important task. Victus Study Skills System is a systems approach to study, not just isolated skills and individual components to be mastered, but rather a way of thinking about study. This system of study has helped prepare thousands of students in organization, time management, goal setting; note taking, test taking; reading comprehension; improving existing habits and learning new ones; studying smarter, not harder. You will leave the workshop with ideas to use immediately! Learning Workshop, Victus Study Skills System (A,F)

"Homeschooling with a Baby on Your Shoulder and a Toddler at Your Heels" (Carol Simpson)

Small children creating "messes," making noise, and climbing in your lap all day can seem like both a blessing and a curse at times! Add in the pressure of teaching your older children, and you may wonder if you are accomplishing everything that is important. Come listen to some helpful tips about homeschooling with little kids underfoot – from a mother of seven who has homeschooled for 32 years! Learning Workshop, IDEA (A)

"How Henty Helps with History, Geography, Character, and Language" (Jim Hodges)

George Alfred Henty grew up in England during the reign of Queen Victoria and was steeped in a "duty, honor, country" worldview from all parts of society. He was Cambridge educated, a military officer, a world traveler, an historian, and was called "The Prince of Storytellers." Learn how to incorporate his 122 historically accurate novels into your homeschool curriculum, and learn history, geography, character, and proper English, just by reading or listening! Learning Workshop, Jim Hodges Audio Books (S,A,F)

"How to Ace the 'New' SAT" (Jean Burk)

Test-prep Guru, Jean Burk, will share her secrets of SAT success that have helped hundreds of students raise their test scores as much as 600 points! Learn how to find shortcuts in test patterns and save time on all types of questions. Math, Writing, and Verbal sections are all covered in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you have kids in high school, you can't miss this seminar about preparing them for the SAT! Learning Workshop, College Prep Genius (S,A)

"How to Be the Perfect Homeschooler" (Carol Simpson)

Now that she has homeschooled her seven children for 32 years, Carol has it down and does everything perfectly in her homeschool! (Ha! If you think that is true, then you really need to come to this workshop!) We all want to do the best we can for our kids, and we often set high standards for ourselves. Carol has homeschooled seven different personalities through many seasons of her life. Come listen to her wit and wisdom as she shares some suggestions on how to balance who you imagine the perfect homeschooler is with who you really are. Learning Workshop, IDEA (J)

"How To Do Literary Analysis that Doesn't Ruin the Book" (Brian Wasko)

There's nothing worse than dissecting and over-analyzing a book you might have otherwise enjoyed. (Okay, there's probably several things worse, but it's still bad, isn't it? Literary people are so…literal.) This workshop will show you how to do literary analysis so that students end up loving literature more rather than less. Learning Workshop, (F)

"How to Love Grammar without Being a Grammar Snob" (Brian Wasko)

People tend to fall into two categories. They are either indifferent to grammar or they are persnickety sticklers about it. This workshop is about finding a third and better way. Brian will reveal how to be a grammar expert and delight in the intricacies and peculiarities of English without being a snob. You'll be smarter, happier, and frankly, people will like you more! Learning Workshop, (A,F)

"How to Speak and Talk Math" (Dennis DiNoia, M.A.Ed)

What if math was its own language? Learn to speak math similar to the way you learn to speak other new languages. Learn the basic foundations on which the math language is created and how to see Algebra skills in basic math. This workshop will give participants wanting to expand their thinking to higher levels of math using basic operations they already know. Learn how the "secrets" of mental math and how to apply them in everyday situations. Participants access a common math language that can be used at any grade level. Learning Workshop, Mr. D Math (S,A,F,J)

"How to Teach Art to Kids" (Ashley Krieger)

Art is often seen as a lessor subject, but it is crucial to understanding history and cultures. Like the written word, art it is a way of communication. A great education includes art and creativity, but how can we teach art to kids when we are not an artist? How can we teach art in a simple way that doesn't require so much time and effort? How do we know what to teach when? We will cover everything you need to know to incorporate art into your homeschooling program. Learning Workshop, (A)

"How to Teach Math to Children with Learning Difficulties" (Debbie Oberste)

Children with learning disabilities must truly understand in order to remember. Their brains tend to store information in pictures, not words. The traditional approach of teaching mathematics using heavy doses of counting, flash cards, and rote memorizing does not work for them. Learn ways to minimize counting and concentrate on place value, strategies to teach the facts with visual pictures, and techniques for mastering the four operations. Learning Workshop, RightStart Math (A)

"Hypergraphia Genius, Good Notes-Good Grades!" (Jean Burk)

If you are not note-taking you are not learning! How to trust the weakest pen over your strongest memory for high school and beyond. Perfect the art of writing to remember with proven techniques. Discover mind-mapping, code-words and pop-culture referencing. Easily organize class notes to best retain valuable information for greater academic success! Learning Workshop, College Prep Genius (A)

"I Hate Math, But I Want My Kids To Love It (Debbie Oberste)

So, math was not your favorite subject. But now you're the teacher and you don't want your kids to suffer through math like you did. You know that math is important and it would be nice to have a healthy relationship with it. In this workshop, you will learn about a curriculum that will provide ways to learn and practice math other than through memorization. In fact, how about teaching about the beauty and wonder of math? Come join us and learn what is needed to unlock understanding in math. Beware, you may actually start to like math! Product Workshop, RightStart Math (A,F)

"Introduction to Robotics and Robotics Sensors for Kids" (Jack Pien)

Join Jack from in his show-and-tell about building a robot and the various sensors used on a robot to help make it autonomous. Learning Workshop, (A,F)

"The Joy of Integrated Reading and Writing, Kindergarten through High School" (Kimberly Bredberg)

All children should and CAN delight in the complex work of reading and writing. We cultivate genius in every child when we inspire the heart and nourish the mind to actively engage curiosity. Encouraging our children to read for purpose and write for real should be our ultimate goal because this is the essence of literacy. As your children bring shape to original ideas inspired by great stories, they will blossom their unique individuality. Discover how to help your students delight in reading, engage in the complex work of writing, and along the way elevate their imagination, generate creative original work, and celebrate their accomplishments. Product Workshop, Blackbird & Company (S,A,F,J)

"Math Is More Than Just Numbers" (Debbie Oberste)

Poetry is beautiful because it has rhyme, reason, and pattern. Poetry paints a picture. It is so much more than letters, just as math is so much more than numbers. Math becomes poetry when it's explored and understood. Do you see the patterns in math? Does math paint a picture? If you said no to these questions, you need to come and discover the beauty of math. Learning Workshop, RightStart Math (A)

"Mom, Don't Make Me Think - Just Tell Me the Answer" (Debbie Oberste)

As a teacher, it's so easy to give the answer, isn't it? Oh that's right…. you don't do that. How long do you allow a child to think before you start helping them? Sometimes we need to be quiet and let the child wrestle with the problem to find the answer. Do you know that children will learn better and remember things longer when they discover or think through? The goal is to provide a way for them to learn how to problem solve. How might you go about doing this? Well, come to this workshop and find out how to help your child. Learning Workshop, RightStart Math (S,J)

"The Myth of Average" (Vicki Kircher)

Do you consider yourself average? Below average? Above average? Is there such a thing as an average student? Where did the idea of "average" come from? Does the idea of "average" affect a person's individuality? We will explore these questions and how to look at individuality in a world of averages. We will explore why schools, parents, and curriculum companies should "ban the average and design to the edges.". Learning Workshop, Moving Beyond the Page (S,A,F,J)

"Nature Deficit Disorder: Causes, Consequences, and Cures" (Andrew Pudewa)

Nature deficit disorder refers to the costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of emotional of physical and emotional imbalances. It can affect individuals, families, and communities. Although we as homeschoolers strive to provide the best education for our children, we may also be overlooking the importance of sufficient time in a natural environment—an essential component of raising children in an environment saturated with goodness, truth, and beauty. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (F)

"Nurturing Competent Communicators – The Power of Linguistic Patterns" (Andrew Pudewa)

Many parents think that good readers will naturally become good writers. Others think that writing talent is just that—a natural ability—some have it; others don't. Both are myths. History and modern research show very clearly how good writers have developed. What are the two most critical things you can do as a parent to develop a high level of aptitude, from a young age and into high school? With humor and insight, Andrew will share the two easy but unbelievably powerful things you can do to build language patterns and nurture competent communicators in your family. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (A,F)

"Parents, Planning, and AKCIS" (Julia Renfro)

Parents can impact their student’s life by...
• Connecting with their child about important decisions for education and career choices.
• Modeling a positive attitude about school, work, education, and career goals.
• Engaging in education and career exploration to prepare their child to be successful in the workforce.
• Nurturing dreams and self-confidence.
• Helping identify their student's interests, abilities, and lifestyle goals and paying attention to how these evolve during middle school and high school
• Encouraging discussions about career plans and education. provides PLCP resources to help parents stay involved.  Learn how AKCIS can help parents stay engaged in student planning. Learning Workshop, ACPE - Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (A)

"Prime Numbers – The Gateway to Algebra and Beyond!" (Dennis DiNoia, M.A.Ed)

This hands-on workshop will show how to use prime numbers to simplify both numerical and algebraic fractions, greatest common factors, least common multiples, simplifying roots and determining patterns in sequences. This workshop is for anyone who is pre-algebra to pre-calculus. The workshop is fast paced and fun whether you are a middle school student, high school student or parent. This is a must for parents of younger children preparing for pre-algebra! Learning Workshop, Mr. D Math (S,A,F)

"Reading Strategies for the Struggling or Non-Reader" (Andrew Pudewa)

As schools have made reading their new god, believing that producing good readers will solve all their academic problems, many children—the dyslexic, the easily distracted, the auditorily challenged—are truly left behind in the rush to improve test scores. What schools don't know (but what many parents discover) is that reading is not simply being able to rapidly decode symbols with the eyes. With humor and insight, Andrew will share stories and strategies for helping students who need to engage the cognitive processes of reading, but who are more likely to excel through a wider variety of practical, creative, and imaginative approaches. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (F,J)

"Reduce Spending at Home While Teaching STEM Skills!" (Colleen Fisk)

In this workshop, use STEM skills to observe, record, calculate, and analyze how to effectively reduce electricity use in the home to save money and improve community air quality. This will include a hands-on activity that is relevant for parents and students alike to measure electricity use and calculate the cost of different appliances, as well as a discussion about specific actions that can be taken in your home. Come learn about the Science of energy, the Technology we can use, apply the Engineering cycle, and use straightforward Math to solve real-life problems! Learning Workshop, Renewable Energy Alaska Project (A)

"RightStart Math: Let's Play Games!" (Debbie Oberste)

Are you tired of flashcards? Does your child cry when you give another timed math fact quiz? Are you both beating your heads against the wall because your child can't seem to remember the multiples of 7? This workshop will show you fabulous and effective alternatives to worksheets and flashcards by playing easy and fun math card games. Imagine your kids asking you to practice their math facts more! Come and discover games to help your child learn their math facts! Product Workshop, RightStart Math (A,J)

"SAT Math – It's Not the Math, it's the Question that is Confusing!" (Dennis DiNoia, M.A.Ed)

This workshop will focus on math, the language behind the questions and show participants what they really need to know before taking the math section of the SAT. Find out the words on the test that give tips for how to solve the questions as well learning what formulas you really need to know before the taking the SAT. Students and parents alike will learn how to unravel the questions being asked into something they can solve quickly and easily. These techniques can be used for other testing situations and subject areas as well. Learning Workshop, Mr. D Math (A,F)

"Secrets to the Scholarship Search!" (Jean Burk)

There are 24 billion dollars' worth of scholarships each year. Learn how to find money from the cradle to cap n gown. Discover key words to search for little-known scholarships and find out the key that the library holds to unknown money. No matter how old your child is, you can't miss out on the money that is available NOW! Learning Workshop, College Prep Genius (F)

"Show Me the Money" (Julia Renfro)

Participants will learn how to use AKCIS to research and compare education options for after high school, research financial aid options, and utilize the Application Tracker tool for applying to schools and for financial aid. Apprenticeships, Certificates, 2- and 4-year options will be addressed. Learning Workshop, ACPE - Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (A,F)

"Spelling and the Brain" (Andrew Pudewa)

Many children (and some adults) have difficulty learning to spell, but the difficulty may not be with the student so much as with the method of presentation. Find out in this workshop how spelling information is most efficiently stored in the brain, and why. With a greater insight into the nature of spelling and neurological function presented in this workshop, parents and teachers will be well-equipped to meet the needs of all their children, not just the naturally good spellers. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (S)

"STEAMing Ahead - Introducing New STEAM Materials" (Jay Ramos)

Join us as we demonstrate some of the new materials we're carrying to help you expand on your STEAM curriculum. Whether your students are interested in robotics, computer coding, circuitry or engineering, we've got you covered. Stop by our booth to get a flyer with information on the specific items we'll be demoing in the workshop. Product Workshop, Barnes & Noble (A)

"Success Makers" (Nicole Galagan)

STEM/STEAM, MakerSpaces and Make Technology is becoming a new way for students to learn. It's a great way to teach problem-solving skills through game play, as well as prepare students for the advancement of technology. Barnes & Noble features product from the forefront of the movement to help your students prepare. Product Workshop, Barnes & Noble (F)

"Taking the Fear Out of Fractions With RightStart Fractions" (Debbie Oberste)

Do you remember the groans in math class when the word 'fraction' was brought up? Well, there is a better and less painful way of teaching fractions! Fractions are, dare I say, fun when they are taught the right way. What's the right way to teach them? Come and find the beauty and simplicity of fractions. Product Workshop, RightStart Math (A)

"Teaching Boys & Other Children Who Would Rather Make Forts All Day" (Andrew Pudewa)

Children like to do what they can do, they want to do what they think they can do, and they hate to do what they think they cannot do. If you want excited and enthusiastic children who learn well, you must understand these key laws of motivation, and focus on the essential requirement of relevancy. If it matters, children will learn it, and if it doesn't, they won't. This session will enlighten you with specific ways to find and create relevancy for children, even when they have no apparent interest. Learning Workshop, Institute for Excellence in Writing (S,A,F,J)

"Top 10 Tools for Transitions" (Julia Renfro)

This presentation provides AKCIS users with an at-a-glance review of 10 AKCIS tools parents and contact teachers can use with students for smooth transitions from high school to postsecondary education. Attendees will discuss best practices for using 10 AKCIS tools: Skills Inventory, Occupation Sort, Checklists, Paying for School, Financial Aid Sort, Writing Worksheet, School Sort, Application Tracker, Resume Creator, and Stored Files & Links. Learning Workshop, ACPE - Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (A,F)

"Transform Your Math Anxious Child" (Matthew & Alecia Blackwood)

Do math lessons often lead to frustration or even tears? You can transform your math day leaving the anxiety, frustration, and tears behind! Nearly every day we speak to parents who feel lost when it comes to teaching math to their child. If this sounds like you, we'd like to teach you the methods that we have found to be effective at melting away math anxiety and transforming your math anxious child into a math capable child looking forward to math lessons! Math lessons shouldn't extend to hours in the day and lead to tears, frustration, and a sense of helplessness. Let us give you the tools to ensure that after today it is NEVER that way for you again. Learning Workshop, UnLock Math (S,A,F,J)

"What Mattered Most: Recollections of a Homeschool Graduate" (Ashley Wiggers)

It can be difficult to keep the big picture of homeschooling in mind amidst the trials of everyday life. Ashley will share about what really makes a difference in the end, from the perspective of a homeschool graduate. She will speak to common concerns on the hearts and minds of parents and bring encouragement for the journey ahead. Learning Workshop, GeoMatters (A)

"Why Schools Are the Worst Places to Learn Stuff" (Brian Wasko)

fter a recent return to full-time teaching following a sixteen-year hiatus, I am convinced that schools, ironically, are lousy places to learn. We'll talk about compulsory attendance, the grade game, the design of facilities, the emphasis on conformity and other historic concerns for an educational approach that we have somehow accepted as normal. Most importantly, we'll talk about what this means for our homeschools and how to avoid some of the same mistakes. Learning Workshop, (S)

"Young Tech-savvy Entrepreneurs Doing Good in the World" (Matt Bowman)

How are you helping your children pursue their passions around technology? Are they learning to think like entrepreneurs and create innovative solutions to do good in the world? Come hear examples of children as young as 10 years old running tech-infused, profitable companies and learn how to jump start your own family's version of Shark Tank. Learning Workshop, (S,A,F)