Tag Archives: public speaking

DevoFest 2011

Although the  concert didn’t turn out quite as I expected, the conference had a lot to offer parents at all stages in their homeschooling adventure. Speakers were helpful and informative, and the vendors offered curriculum, products, and opportunities for students in elementary through high school. One of those opportunities is DevoFest.

Held at the Ridgecrest Coference Center in North Carolina, this three-day conference (June 17, 18, and 19) is designed to encourage students to discover and develop their interests in writing, film, and public speaking. There are three age-specific tracks: the Kid Track for ages 7-9, the Tween Track for age 10-12, and the Teen Track for ages 13-17, and everything is presented from a Christian worldview.

Younger children in the Kid Track can participate in classes in drama, science, and creative cooking. Activities include exploring DaVinci’s Playground, bear walks, lazer tag, experiements, and more.

Students in the Tween and Teen Tracks can join in workshops for writing a novel, creating a graphic novel, acting, script-writing, story-telling, and producing a film.   Public speaking for the teens also includes lessons on the art of stage presence, dynamic deliveries, and how to create compelling talks that leave audiences waiting for more.

The list of faculty members for this event is impressive. It includes:

  • Zena Dell Lowe from Skirt Films
  • Award-Winning Authors Steven James, Michelle Adams, Ann Tatlock, and Vonda Skelton
  • Authors Jenny L. Cote, Diane Wolfe, Time Shoemaker, Eddie Jones, Cindy Sproles, Terri Kelly, and Tom Bailey.

And what’s more, you can make this a family event! Housing and meals are available through the conference center. So while your children are learning in the workshops, you can be relaxing and enjoying the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

So if you’re looking for something to spark your child’s creativity this summer, consider DevoFest. It’s not only fun — it’s an investment in your child.


Communication Camp

Last week, my two oldest children traveled to Tennessee with my sister to attend their first Communication Camp. My sister and niece taught the camp, and actually, it was their first one too. And what a learning experience it was!

Following a curriculum my sister created, campers learned through instruction, workbook exercises, and group games and assignments. Both of my children came back saying they had so much fun and learned a lot. After reading through the teacher’s manual, I learned a lot, too.

Topics covered at the camp included the good manners in communication that you’d expect, as well as many more you might not. Students ages 9 and up learned how to introduce themselves and others, even when they’ve forgotten someone’s name; how to give their full attention when another is speaking; how to reach out to people who would normally be left out; how to make small talk; how to speak in front of a group; and much, much more.

How did the camp affect my children? They came away from the experience having gained some very important life skills, ones I’ve let slip by in the busyness of schoolwork and life in general. We’ve already begun implementing some of them in the way the kids communicate with each other. My daughter used to come running to tell me the latest unkind comment her brother said; now, she goes to him first and tells him how it made her feel, and he is usually receptive and offers an apology, even without my prompting him.

One of my favorite parts of the curriculum is how the lessons in communication tied in with lessons about the Great Communicator, Jesus. A short Bible study is related to each topic covered; by following Jesus’ example, we too can learn to be attentive, understanding, aware, welcoming, and transparent — lessons not only for children, but for adults as well.

Next year, maybe we’ll all attend the camp!

Photo by Calgrin


This is the first year in many years that we haven’t been part of a 4-H club, and I do miss it. But I liked it better when someone else was in charge.

Last year, our 4-H clubs met once a month at a local church. The girls were all set to join a sewing club, so we needed another topic that the boys would be interested in.  One of the dads worked second shift, and since our club met in the morning, he would be available to teach them about small motors. My oldest son was so excited.

But the dad’s work schedule changed, and we soon found out he wouldn’t be able to teach after all. Because many of the boys were also in scouts, a couple of us moms decided to pick an activity they could use towards a merit badge. Woodworking sounded ideal – that is, until I became the leader. I didn’t know anything about woodworking.

To make things even tougher, our club of boys ranged in ages from 5 – 14. So once a month, I had to come up a do-able project for all, the supply list, and the instructions.

We had an hour and a half to put each project together. And we did!  Before each meeting, I made a prototype of the project, getting help from my husband or neighbor. Most of the projects worked out, and I think many of the boys learned some things. I know I learned a lot – and I’m much more confident using power tools!

We’ll probably look into 4-H again next year, though if I’m a leader, I’m going to pick a subject I know.  4-H offers so many different areas of learning, that I’m sure I can find one. It’s not just about woodworking or farming or raising cows; it’s about entomology, photography, fashion design, biology, painting, baking, leadership, citizenship, community service, public speaking, pet care,  and so much more.