Homeschooling has been growing here since the 1980s when pioneer families braved prosecution and court action to teach their children in the Christian faith.
People are discovering the liberty and opportunity enshrined in Tennessee law to home educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience.
Every year about this time the local home education association sponsors an expo at Camp Jordan in East Ridge. The home education expo is Friday and Saturday, July 20 and 21, in the convention hall in which it has occurred for years. The exhibitors number 80, and 65 workshops are planned to explore issues, problems and ideas for home-based learning programs.
“One of the things I’m really enthusiastic about this year is the number of new exhibitors we have,” said Jan Bontekoe, the coordinator of the 30th such event for the local home education association (CSTHEA).
“Many of them are filling niche markets for the education of our children so that we can give them an even more well-rounded education.”
The time is 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m. the first day and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. the second day. The cost is minimal — $4 for a family that subscribes to the Esprit newsletter (of which I am editor), and $8 for nonsubscribers. That covers both days. Details are available at www.csthea.org.
Many of the moms who come to the expo for the first time look wide eyed down rows of booths and through the sometimes heavy crowds. They look overwhelmed, startled. Longtime advocates urge them not to feel too pressed for time and suggest that they chat with veteran homeschoolers.
In 2011 about 1,300 families attended.
Organizers say the event is suited for anyone who wants to resource the educational interests of a child, even if in a public school.
New exhibitors at homeschool expo include:
• Allon Books — Christian historical fiction and young adult epic fantasy by author Shawn Lamb. Allonbooks.com
• Petite Plume Press — Petite Plume Press is dedicated to the craftsmanship of books designed for children and readers of all ages. Its goal is to create unique books that will capture the heart and imagination of readers. Featuring the award winning books of Zarle Williams. Petiteplumepress.com
• Paula’s Bread — Everything you need for bread including Bosch mixers, variety of stainless steel bakeware, grain mills such as the L’Equip Nutrimill, stainless steel 7-ply cookware and B/R/K stainless steel pressure cooker sets. paulasbread.com
• Bookshelf Central — The Tapestry of Grace curriculum is a literature-based plan of study that helps parents provide a Christian, classical education using a guided unit study approach, with the history of the world as the core organizational theme. Bookshelfcentral.com
• Chalcedon Presbyterian Church — An Atlanta area church that offers unit studies and curriculum for homeschooling families including the noted lecture series “History of the Reformation.” Chalcedon.org
• Rising Star Education —Distributor of high-end award-winning videos and e-books with faith lessons for children. Risingstarstudios.com
• Logic of English — Provides homeschool parents access to multisensory systematic phonics instruction. The materials are designed so that parents who have never been taught the logical system underlying English words can learn alongside their students. Logicofenglish.com
• The Lincoln Project — “Bringing Lincoln to life,” The Lincoln Project shows Abraham Lincoln as he lived, through living historiography and other means. Thelincolnproject.com
• JM Cremp’s “The Boys Adventure Store” — Goal is to encourage strong relationships between you and the extraordinary boys in your lives. Three areas of focus: 1. Adventurous products 2. Opportunities for fathers and sons 3. Parenting resources. Jmcremps.com
• Cross Creek Christian School — A Tennessee church-related school offering university-style class program, that includes classroom instruction and lesson plans and a total home education program. Crosscreekschool.org
Myriad homeschool clubs, activities have booths.
“I am excited about JM Cremp The Boys Adventure Store,” Mrs. Bontekoe said. “I am excited about the number of tutorials that are now available for our parents who may have a child with a learning disability, giving them the assistance that they need to continue teaching their children at home.”
Another expo plus is the presence of the latest technology-related items from online classes to apps for Kindle and iPad, she said.
Mrs. Bontekoe also is pleased that all the local homeschool activities will have booths at the expo. “I like the wide variety of activities that are now being offered to high school students, from sports to music to chess clubs to 4H clubs to speech and debates. They’re all there.”
David Tulis writes for Nooganomics.com, which covers local economy and free markets. He is also of the homeschooling newsletter, Esprit.