8 things you will realize about me when we meet in real life

I really love meeting my online friends at live events. If you are heading to Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, OH, please let me know so we can at least say hi. I hear that GHC is planning special blogger meet-ups, so follow GHC on Facebook and Twitter to get the scoop on that event. To prep you for meeting me, here are eight things you might not know yet but probably will after we hang out.

1. I’m tall.

Maybe I seem short online? I’m not sure how that could be, but when people meet me, they invariably comment on my height. I’m 5’8″, not super-tall, but tall. Be prepared.

2. I’m very expressive.

Although I’m more introvert than extrovert, I am very expressive. In fact, when I see myself on camera, it’s rather embarrassing. I wish I were more reserved, but I’m just not. I can get loud. I smile with my whole face and laugh with lots of expression. I talk with my hands in a very animated manner. I’m one of those active listeners who has to “uh-huh” and nod constantly. Like I said, it’s sort of over the top, but it’s me.

3. I know a lot of people.

Because of blogging and my business iHomeschool Network, I know a lot homeschool moms and publishers/vendors. So you will probably see me doing a lot of socializing. I’ve met a lot of these people at conferences and conventions, talk to them on the phone, text/chat, and join them in video conferencing like Hangouts on Air. So these people are part of my network. They are my friends and peers. I love seeing them in person. There is nothing like a face to face meeting to cement an online friendship.

If you are going to the Cincinnati convention, I want to meet you! Please let me know you are going by emailing jimmielanley@gmail.com.

4. I must have coffee and get cranky without it.

Making a cup of coffee (in my Keurig) is the first thing I do every morning. It happens before I get dressed, and I have been known to take my coffee mug into the shower. Knowing I can drink coffee is what typically gets me out of bed in the morning.

Yeah, I’m addicted. I admit it.

Being on a trip where I don’t have 24-7 access to coffee stresses me. I really don’t like having to hunt down coffee, and I feel that conventions never have enough or it’s not conveniently offered. I don’t mind paying for coffee, but when I want it, I want in then. Keurig, you have totally spoiled me.

You will see me camped out wherever there is coffee.

5. I am a foodie.

I love to eat local foods wherever I go. If I have to eat same-old-same-old, I feel cheated somehow. So eating Cincinnati chili is a big part of the entire experience for me. If I don’t have it, it’s not the same.

6. I’m confident.

Maybe it’s the tall + expressive combo, but people tell me that I appear very confident. I’ve always been pretty confident, but eight years of being the oddball, being stared at and talked about (in China) gave me the moxie to walk into most situations with my head held high. I do get nervous and struggle with feeling awkward just like anyone, but I’m good at pushing through and forcing myself outside of my comfort zone.

7. Social media is a normal part of my life.

You will see me with my smart phone in my hand or in my pocket. I am always connected. It’s my work, and it has become a big part of my day to day life. At the convention, I will be snapping photos, tweeting, texting, and checking in on social media. And you may see me huddled against the wall, getting a charge on my battery.

8. I am very close to my daughter, but I’m not a helicopter parent.

If you see me and Emma together, you will immediately realize that we are very close. But I’m not a controlling or hovering parent. I give her lots of space to grow. I have always valued independence and have given her a healthy dose. She, too, is confident and has good common sense.


Attending Lectures for Homeschool High School

by Jimmie Lanley on March 7, 2014

Attending Lectures for Homeschool High School

When I hear the term homeschool, I don’t envision lecture halls. Instead I see a mom on the couch with her kids, reading a book or children huddled around the kitchen table with a science experiment. But lectures should be a part of a homeschooler’s experience for the sake of learning to take notes and the opportunity for socialization.

Lectures for Note Taking

Note taking is an important real world skill both for college and for the work place. And although children should start learning how to take notes as early as middle school, they need to master this skill in the high school years.

[This post contains affiliate links to both Amazon and Great Homeschool Conventions.]

Because homeschool moms typically don’t lecture, you might think there are few opportunities for homeschooled teens to practice taking notes. Actually, we have many chances, but we have to be deliberate about it. Here are a few real world places where teens can take notes.

  1. local museum and gallery lectures
  2. homeschool conferences
  3. sermons at church or youth conferences
  4. homeschool co-op classes or online classes where a teacher actually does lecture

Your best bet is to take you teen to a live event about a topic that he is intensely interested in. That natural curiosity and passion will fuel the drive to take notes. If the topic is boring, you might have to force your teen to take notes.

I have found the positive peer pressure of a live crowd motivates my teen to appear studious so that she is more willing to take notes than she is in her bedroom while taking her online economics class with Founders Academy, for example.

Lectures for Mature Socialization

Go beyond the note taking, though, and add in some of those socialization skills we are so often questioned about. Plan on approaching the speaker after the talk to take a photo, ask a question, or make an insightful remark.

Walking up to a stranger or celebrity can be nerve wracking, but what a great ability to have! I’ve heard plenty of stories of career breakthroughs that started when someone pushed herself to approach a hero.

If your child is tentative, help her come up with something to say. This might begin as early as the trip to the live event. In the car, brainstorm some opening statements and how to behave. Encourage your child to interact with these mature actions:

  • Extend her hand for a handshake
  • Make eye contact
  • Introduce herself
  • Thank the speaker
  • Make a meaningful comment besides a generic “I liked your presentation.”
  • Ask a question.
  • Politely for a photo or autograph.

In my opinion, these are socialization skills that really matter (as opposed to knowing the up to date teen slang and popular social media apps or games).

To make that meaningful comment will require careful listening. During the presentation, have your child jot down potential questions to ask later or highlight key points to mention. 

Our Experience

In 2012 my daughter and I enjoyed listening to Jim Weiss talk at Great Homeschool Conventions in Cincinnati. I was so proud when Emma waited in line to meet Mr. Weiss and tell him how much she enjoys his audio stories.

emma and Jim Weiss GHC 2012

Last year she really enjoyed the Teen Track at GHC, and without my prodding she met some of those speakers too. (I didn’t take any photos.) Most teens are afraid of those kinds of interactions, and I’m proud that Emma is bold enough to approach a speaker and make mature small talk.

This year we are targeting Ben Carson. If you don’t know who Ben Carson is, I urge you to read the autobiography (affiliate) Gifted Hands as a read aloud to your children. (This story is also available in a movie rendition.) This is an outstanding story of a man who beat the odds to become a brilliant pediatric neurosurgeon. He is a real life role model worth emulating and someone you can meet in real life at Great Homeschool Conventions.

Read more about Ben Carson and GHC.


How to Prevent Overwhelm at a Homeschool Convention

February 6, 2014

This post contains affiliate links. GHC is a sponsor of this site. This post was inspired by a conversation over on Google+ about my post Five Reasons to go to a Homeschool Convention. Sarah Mueller said,  I homeschooled for 4 years before I was brave enough to attend a convention! I was afraid of being […]

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Get Personalized Homeschool Advice

January 25, 2014

How is your semester going? It’s late January, and we have about four more months of school to go this year. If you are frustrated, I’m here to help. I have ten $15 discount codes for my Homeschooling Helpout (consult). The regular fee is $45 per hour. This makes the price only $30 per hour of […]

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How to Teach Writing in Your Homeschool

January 23, 2014

Teaching writing is one of the more challenging parts of homeschool for many parents. Even if you are a strong writer yourself, you may find that guiding your children in that process is not easy. And if you aren’t a confident writer, it’s downright scary. I got my first job as a public school teacher […]

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Five Reasons to Go to Homeschool Conventions

January 17, 2014

This post contains affiliate links. GHC is a sponsor of this site. I don’t like driving. I do drive, and I will, but it’s not something I enjoy. If I’m with someone else who offers to drive, I will always let the other person drive. That should be proof of how much value I see […]

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Best Posts of 2013 from Jimmie’s Collage

December 30, 2013

I was something of a slacker this year when it came to writing blog posts. I would like to think that I made up for it with quality, though. Of course, my daughter entered high school in 2013, so there aren’t as many cute projects or printables to share as there were in elementary days. […]

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Christmas Gifts That Make a Homeschool Mom Happy

December 10, 2013

No sweaters. No scarves. No socks. Please, no. (Unless you are my mom. Because it’s a tradition for my mom to give me socks. So I’d better get socks, Mom.) What does a homeschool mom really want for Christmas? What will make her smile all year long? Most homeschool moms deeply desire to do an […]

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Living Books for Nature Study

December 3, 2013

Of course, the best way to learn about nature is through first hand experiences. Nothing can substitute for a nature walk. But a living book with nature themes is a great option when you’re not out exploring the woods or the beach. Fortunately for us, many of the books Charlotte Mason recommended are available for […]

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Ninth Grade Homeschool First Semester Check-in: Maturity

December 1, 2013

I wrote a check-in about our curriculum choices for ninth grade, but I didn’t talk about the emotional development I’m seeing in my 14 year old daughter. I want to share that not as a brag, but as a reassurance to you moms who are struggling with children who seem irresponsible. You may wonder, “Will […]

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