David has addressed gatherings of homeschoolers (both religious and secular) in Washington, Oregon, California, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Utah, Ohio, Texas, and British Columbia, and is looking forward to putting more pins in the map – and meeting you!

TOPICS

Learning About Learning: Conversations with My Violin
Contrasts the rather strange principles that lie at the heart of public education with the actual learning process itself. Using the violin as example, I examine the five internal dialogues that take place in both children and adults when real learning really happens. Lots of anecdotes, show-and-tell, and humor. This is my main talk for homeschooling groups these days, and the most requested.

Three Educational Stories: Filling the Holes, Bending the Form, and Feeding the Flame
Examines the metaphors we use in thinking about the education of our children, and the orientations our efforts take when we adopt certain educational stories – consciously or unconsciously – to the exclusion of others. Can we find the educational story that feels right for our own family? Can we write our own? Inspiring and challenging!

Writing, Reading, and All That
As homeschoolers, we are bombarded with techniques and methods for teaching what we all agree are critical skills. But how can we help our children learn that the written word is primarily about communication? Might it be possible to choose learning strategies based on an understanding of WHY individuals want to read or write? Does this all really have to be so traumatic? Provocative anecdotes and concrete, nuts-and-bolts ideas -- from a professional author, editor and writing coach.

The Future is Now! Engaging Our Young Teens for the Journey Ahead
Our young teens are not overgrown children in search of metal detectors. They are growing into new intellectual, emotional, and spiritual capabilities as they seek for futures that fit their emerging senses of themselves. How can we help them along in the journey, and prepare them for a future that they can embrace as truly their own?

Beans and the Curriculum of Creamed Corn
I invite parents to reflect back upon their own learning journeys, as most of us carry around scars inflicted upon us in the course of our own school experiences. We’ve also experienced successful learning experiences outside of school. How do we expand our repertoires and our limited ways of seeing the world beyond our own personal histories? Can we discover a “curriculum of everyday life?” and build an entire K-12 curriculum out of a can of creamed corn? Don’t we have an obligation to help our children make real sense of the world around them? Expansive and provocative.

Hanging on for the Ride: Homeschooling WITH the Gifted Child
(“How to talk so your child will think you have something worth listening to!") Examines three kinds of giftedness, reviews – with group participation – the hallmarks of gifted children, and provides hints on how to work effectively with them to appropriately enrich their education. The end of the talk is reserved for a resource sharing session.

Perfectionism, and Other Idiosyncracies of Homeschooling with Gifted Kids
What most gifted kids experience is similar to that experienced by less gifted ones - they just experience it earlier, more intensely, and are more likely to be verbalize it. We will explore some of these experiences, and learn how to partner more effectively in our children's learning journeys. Time will be reserved for discussion, and problem-solving. Even if you don't consider your child to be gifted, there will be lots of ideas you can apply in your homeschooling lives.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” (also called “The Curriculum of Happiness”)
We all pay lip-service to the idea that our children should be happy. But is there such a thing as “education for happiness”, not just in the present but that would carry over into our children’s future as well? Is there a way that the quality of the learning quest can contribute to our children’s sense of fulfillment, and enhance their quality of living as adults? Building on the concept of “flow” pioneered by the behavioral psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, I provide specific ideas that can promote optimal experience for the entire homeschooling family.

Straight Talk with David
Sometimes folks just prefer a straight question-and-answer format. I don't have all the answers, but I have talked with thousands of homeschoolers over the years, and can share the harvest of their experience, and my own. I'll present something short that I am thinking about of late to get us all started.

On Sixes and Sevens
For most children, the ages 6 and 7 represent some of the most important – and interesting! – developmental changes that will ever occur in their lives. It is the age of questions, trust-building, first real understandings of death and history, first confrontation with the need for experience in progressing with learning challenges. We explore together what it is like to be 6 and 7 all over again!


I also do workshops (I like to call them “practicals”) on surveying the community for educational opportunities, conduct dialogues on breaking down barriers to unconventional educational choices, help parents think about reading and math and music, and engage in creative problem-solving. I also facilitate discussions on race and religion as they impact our homeschooling practices (as a Quaker with a long history of mediation and facilitation experience, I am usually able to do that from a place which makes participants feel safe.)

I bring copies of my books for sale and signing, as well as a full of publications that I have found to be useful in our own homeschooling practice.

Contact me at (360) 352-0506 or e-mail david@skylarksings.com for care and feeding requirements.


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