Sarah Blunkosky holds a bachelor’s degree in world history with a minor in religious studies from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University. She taught social studies and numerous electives at the highly acclaimed Open High School in Richmond from 2002-2003, continuing her work there as a substitute teacher in 2004. Currently, Sarah is an independent researcher, historian, advocate, writer, and owner/operator of Learning Heroine LLC, an educational consultancy company located in Fredericksburg. She also homeschools her three kids, one of whom has complex learning needs including Down syndrome, autism, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and dyscalculia.
What If Something Happens? How to Build an Emergency Learning/Life Plan for Your Homeschooled Child (Especially for a Child with Special Needs)
Friday, Session 1, 1–2 p.m.
Using personal experience and research-based strategies, I will share resources for building a learning plan for your homeschooled child, just in case something happens to you and your child must attend public school. I will also discuss writing a will; setting up a special needs trust; and creating a life plan that documents who your child is, what they like, what they need, and your goals and dreams for them. I will share my experiences with my homeschooled (and at-times public-schooled) eldest child with special needs and will also give practical tips for updating the learning plan in the future. A sample learning plan and handout will be provided.
Using an Evaluator for Proof of Progress, with Jeanne Faulconer
Friday, Session 2, 2:30–3:30pm
Tired of testing? Looking for a holistic approach to meet Virginia’s annual evidence-of- progress requirement? Want an authentic yearly synopsis of your child’s education? Have a child who learns differently or who learns beyond a curriculum? Have a child who has special needs? Consider working with a homeschool evaluator. In this session, learn how evaluation satisfies your legal obligation under Virginia’s home instruction statute, and consider the pros and cons of using an evaluator. Jeanne and Sarah discuss factors to consider when choosing an evaluator, what the evaluation process might be like for you and your children, and how to prepare for an evaluation. Sarah will describe how evaluation can be the answer to annual assessment for your child who has special needs. They will also address the limits of homeschool evaluation and clarify the difference between services provided by educational psychologists and homeschool evaluators. You’ll come away understanding how an evaluation can effectively provide evidence of progress or satisfy your own need for assessing your child’s learning.
Using Projects and Websites to Do Real Historic Work in Your Homeschool
Friday, Session 3, 4:15–5:15 p.m.
This session explores some of the many projects and groups your homeschooler can join to do real-world historic work. Mostly geared toward tweens and teens, but easily adaptable, activities include translating colonial handwriting and researching U.S. newspapers for Holocaust research. These are just a couple of the projects we will discuss as we look into ways to do historic work now in your homeschool.