When it comes to hosting Tennessee’s largest home school expo, the more the merrier, organizers of the local event say.
The two-day event in East Ridge at the Camp Jordan Arena is relevant not only to parents who home school their children but also to those who do not, said organizer Jan Bontekoe, a home school veteran from Lookout Valley.
“Anybody that is interested in extracurricular education activities for their child is going to benefit,” she said. “The resources that are here are fabulous.”
Nearly 100 local and national education vendors will be on hand so parents can see and touch programs that range from the best way to teach Shakespeare to ones that specialize in hands-on science or reluctant readers.
This is the 26th year the Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association has hosted the curriculum fair and education expo, and leaders say they expect about 1,400 families to attend.
IF YOU GO
* What: Chattanooga Southeast Tennessee Home Education Association Curriculum Fair and Education Expo
* When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. today, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday
* Where: Camp Jordan Arena, East Ridge
* Cost: $3 per family for members of the Tennessee Home Education Association; $6 per nonmember family
* Getting Started Home Schooling
* Stimulating Learning in Your Pre-schooler
* Enriching Your Older Child’s Education
Every parent educates their child from home in some way, whether by reading bedtime stories or playing, home school parents say, so the games, toys, music, art supplies, CDs, DVDs, science equipment and books at the expo can benefit any family.
In addition to peddling their wares, vendors also will put on 60 different workshops to help parent-teachers with various enrichment programs for their children.
“(The vendors) are not necessarily just trying to sell something,” Mrs. Bontekoe said. “They’re trying to help you come up with the best possible method to teach your child.”
Local mom Jennifer Osgood used to teach public school in Florida and now home-schools her 6-year-old daughter, Caitlin. Three years ago, Ms. Osgood said, she attended her first expo and was convinced she needed to home school. For her, the workshops are one of the biggest attractions of the expo, she said.
“As a public school teacher, I used to attend workshops to learn what I needed to do in the classroom, so this is the same for home-schooling moms,” she said. “The workshops are what makes it worth it.”
Jennifer Butler, director of the local chapter of a company called Classical Conversations, hopes to raise awareness of her company this weekend. A home-school supplement, Classical Conversations provides trained tutors to assist home-school parents in classical education methods.
“This is a really great environment to meet home-school parents,” she said. “It’s absolutely critical as a vendor.”
Kelli Gauthier covers K-12 education in Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She started at the paper as an intern in 2006, crisscrossing the region writing feature stories from Pikeville, Tenn., to Lafayette, Ga. She also covered crime and courts before taking over the education beat in 2007. A native of Frederick, Md., Kelli came south to attend Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. Before newspapers, ...