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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Announcing the 2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair!

Does your homeschool planner make you want to hide under the blankets?  Maybe you’re even thinking about flinging your curriculum out the window?

Are you radically rethinking your learning plans, or wanting to tweak them a bit to get a better fit?

I started the Virtual Curriculum Fair (VCF) a couple of years ago to answer a personal need---I was feeling burnt out and burdened.  I needed to identify what was working in my homeschool and get some fresh ideas for fixing what wasn’t. 

Because I was having a hard time seeing beyond my own household I thought that it might be helpful to other moms and dads to take an in-depth peek into what is working for us (and I wouldn’t mind peeking at what was working for them). 

It turned out that a lot of other homeschoolers felt the same way…and so the VCF is now an annual January event! 

I hope that you will join me this time, either to blog about your homeschool or to read what others have to share.  Let me give you a quick run down of how it works.

Join the 2014 Virtual Curriculum Fair!  Sign up by Dec. 31st.  Starts January 6th at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds!

What the VCF is (the short version):

The Virtual Curriculum Fair is a month-long blog carnival that posts each Monday throughout January (we do skip “New Year’s” week).  The idea behind VCF is for participants to give other homeschoolers a peek into what they are really doing with their kiddos that works for them and why

Take a look at all the wonderfulness that was shared during the 2012 Virtual Curriculum Fair and the 2013 Fair!

When I say “curriculum,” I don’t mean that we limit ourselves to published curricula, gridded schedules, or “core standards.”  This is more about sharing the course of study you’ve plotted out for your kiddos, whether it comes from textbooks, library hops, or quiet afternoons digging in the garden.  We’ve also had posts on favorite books, games, and even things that we don’t study in our homeschools.

These year’s dates and themes (links will be added here as each theme goes live):

  1. January 6th---Playing with Words: the Language Arts---includes phonics, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, speech, literature, etc., etc., etc. Latin and foreign language studies could also go here.
  2. January 13th---Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science---includes anything to do with mathematics, mathematical thinking, numbers, arithmetic, symbolic logic, critical thinking, and math-y sciences (physics, chemistry, etc.).
  3. January 20th---Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science---includes history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology, etc., etc., etc.
  4. January 27th---Seeking Beauty: the Arts and Everything that Brings Beauty to Our World---includes any of the arts, handicrafts, but really ANYTHING at all that adds beauty to your homeschool.

This event is run as a blog “fair.”  That’s not a technical term in blogese, but something I made up. Winking smile

What it means is that it is like a blog carnival where all the participating posts are linked within the text of an anchor post, but all the posts are anchor posts!  So when you participate, your post will be linked to by all participants and you will link to all participants in your post.  Your readers will be able to bookmark or pin your post and return to it to visit the rest of the Fair. 

You do not have to participate every week to be a part of the Fair.  Life happens, after all.  And if you don’t want to commit ahead of time, there will be a linky available each week.

Oh, I wanna sign up!  How can I participate?!

Please note:  for those of you who have participated in the VCF in the past, Welcome Back!  Please note that there are a few minor changes to the guidelines.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Deadline to sign up:  December 31, 2013
  2. Participants will all be members of a closed Facebook group which I will use to collect links and to keep you informed (this is way easier than fielding dozens of emails). 
  3. Email me at or leave a comment on this blog post with the following information (note, I will post an intro to the Fair at the beginning of the new year with everyone’s blog links):

    1. your name as you would like it to appear
    2. your blog’s name
    3. your blog’s url
    4. your email (I won’t share it with anyone, but I’ll use it to invite to the FB group and in case FB acts stupid)
    5. your facebook name
  4. Update:  After sending me that email, go to Facebook and request to join this group:
  5. Start thinking about what you want to share now and get writing.
  6. Each Friday in January, I will post a reminder in the FB group about the next week’s theme and a link to a Google Doc form where you can fill in your post’s info for inclusion in the Fair.  You will need to fill the Doc out before Sunday at 6 pm for inclusion in that week’s Fair post. 
  7. Post your article to your blog anytime between the Saturday before that week's topic goes live on the host blog (this one) and Monday at 12 noon EST (that’s UTC/GMT -5 hours). In other words, for the first week, you can post anytime starting Saturday, January 4th, but before Monday, January 6th at 12 noon EST.
  8. The post on this host blog will go LIVE each Monday at 12 noon EST. 
  9. Once I have all the post links, I will post a list in the FB group with them all so you can add them to your post.  You should have access to that list sometime Sunday evening.  
  10. Ack!  I missed the deadline!  What now?!  Hey, it happens, no sweat!  Each week I will include a linky where you can link up your post if you missed the deadline.  The linky code will be shared so that all participants will be able to include it in their post.
  11. Please encourage your readers to take their time throughout the week visiting the other blogs and reading the articles. I hope to do it again in 2015!

Are there any post guidelines?

Just a few.

1.  Be honest and be civil. Winking smile

2.  I’m flexible.  The themes are fluid and some subjects could easily fit into more than one theme.  As long your post is about how you are educating your children, you will not get a message from me telling you to post it next week or whatever.  You can write about curriculum, teaching techniques, your philosophy of education, resources, books you use, whatever you like.

3.  Please, no sponsored posts.  The VCF is not meant to be used for sponsored reviews, giveaways, or brand promotion.  Affiliate links in your post are perfectly fine as long you disclose that in your post and it’s also fine to link to sponsored posts within the text of your submitted post.

4.  Include pictures or even video of your children using whatever you are writing about. Especially if it’s a project based curriculum, we would love to see what the hands-on activities are really like. Pictures can make things much clearer.

5.  Have fun with it! Participate as much as you would like, but don’t feel obligated if you are busy with life one week (or more).

How can I show everyone I’m joining the Virtual Curriculum Fair?

This is totally optional, so only display it if you want to. It points to this post, so your readers can find out what it’s all about:

Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Got Questions?  Lay them on me!


  1. I want to sign up! Sorry I am behind in the game for some reason - messaging you on FB!

  2. Just a few more days until we start!

  3. I had to delete my post for the science/math section and redo it with a fresh link. I've received non stop spam on this link for the past three months so I'm done with it.. here is the new link if you are willing to change it in the list.. thanks again..

    1. I'm sorry you've been having SPAM troubles---it seems like I've had an uptick in that annoyance the past few months as well. Fortunately 99% of it goes into my SPAM folder and comments for older posts go to moderation, so it rarely makes it onto my blog. ;)

      For some reason my editor is not letting me open that post to change the link, so I'll post the url in the comments for that post.



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