Get the exclusive (almost) Weekly Digest.

    Other Thoughts

    Thoughtworthy (Cinci was Great, New Podcast Episode, and MORE!)

    April 20, 2018 by Brandy Vencel


    :: 1 ::

    I’m ba-ack! Great Homeschool Conventions Cincinnati was wonderful. It was so nice to see my Sisters, Mystie and Pam, in person. Other highlights were meeting Melissa and Dianna, who have been fake internet friends (my husband’s phrase) of mine for quite some time, and then seeing Dawn again, of course.

    I’m pondering my relationship to technology, however. I used to never use any fancy technology when I spoke. Not ever. Theoretically, I was against it. I have a loud voice, so I figure if I show up with myself, a cup of water, and my notes, not much can go wrong (unless I go off script ahem). But I was told “people like slides” and such and I started incorporating more and more of that sort of thing. I dunno.

    In Texas, one out of four sessions had an issue. In Cincinnati, more than half of my sessions had issues. So, as I said, I’m rethinking it all. I don’t relish lugging a laptop around, and if my slides aren’t going to work, why make the talks awkward because of it? These issues didn’t ruin anything (I don’t think), but they did make things … a little bumpy. I dunno. Do you have an opinion?


    :: 2 ::

    I’ve discovered a new podcast. It’s called The Tom Woods Show and it’s for Libertarians. I don’t call myself a Libertarian. (Lately, I’ve been so annoyed with politics and corruption that I’ve toyed with becoming an anarchist.) But no matter. What I like about the show is that he’s not spending all his time whining about discussing the problems — his focus is more on creative solutions. And so I’ve been introduced to all sorts of concepts I never dreamed existed: private cities, alternative ways of certifying and approving prescription drugs, the possibilities of blockchain technology, alternatives to college, and more.


    :: 3 ::

    Speaking of podcasts, Scholé Sisters Episode 35 came out last Friday:

    I was particularly proud of the title this time.


    :: 4 ::

    There is a lot of talk about the internet tracking our data. If you want to use a search engine that doesn’t track you, I recommend Duck Duck Go.


    :: 5 ::

    This month in 2016:

    In which I shared my story. This was part of my ongoing (yes, still ongoing) series called The Low-Energy Mom’s Guide to Homeschooling.


    :: 6 ::

    This week’s links collection:



    Get the (almost) weekly digest!

    Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.

    Powered by ConvertKit


  • Reply Laura April 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    On #1: you could make slides, print them out for people, and then don’t use them for presentations. That way they get the info, and can take notes while you talk, instead of trying to copy down what’s on the slide.

  • Reply Melissa Greene April 22, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    “fake internet friends”…that’s hilarious! Seriously, it was a great time 🙂 Thanks for hanging out. I’m still coming down from information overload. I need to go back and read my notes to see if I can make heads or tails of them. I look forward to future endeavors.

    BTW, we finally got spring here in WI. Yesterday and today reached 60-degrees…YIPPY!!

    May you finish your year strong,

  • Reply Darcie April 21, 2018 at 6:35 am

    I loved having the fresco up for the CM/Aquinas talk. That was necessary but otherwise, handouts are better if you can get enough printed in time. ? I really should have just purchased all the talks. They were all wonderful!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 23, 2018 at 9:14 am

      “If you can get enough printed in time.” WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY???

      I’m laughing. My printer. If I start now, I’ll have handouts ready for June!! 😉

  • Reply a. borealis April 20, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    I say “no slides”. It seems to be more filler than bulk anyway (not that I was there), and while perhaps some temperaments would appreciate the visual, if it hampers the actual purpose of the presentation, which is connection and ideas, then it’s gotta go. There is nothing worse than a flustered presenter trying to get their slideshow working.

    I totally loved the title Twaddlicious. Hee! You were so proud of yourself too. And the conversation was great. I’ve been listening to the very start and appreciate the conversation greatly. It’s so interesting to hear a bunch of NT women expounding on ideas.

    Shawna, ENFP extraordinaire

    • Reply a. borealis April 20, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Listening FROM the very start. Not “to the very start”. Geesh.

  • Reply Catherine April 20, 2018 at 9:04 am

    Good morning, Brandy. WRT tech during presentations, I think “not necessary.” What I found particularly helpful at CMWest was a follow up email sent to attendees with any quotes or links etc. I found myself photographing slides from my seat, or frantically taking notes and missing the next thing that was said. Just my two cents. Hoping to hear YOU speak at CMWest next year 🙂

  • Reply Anne Lawson April 20, 2018 at 5:38 am

    The article in the Atlantic is so important, particularly when it comes to changing our thinking about giving children harder texts. One of the implication of schools keeping children on specific reading levels is the parents are also being instructed to choose books for their child this way. As a former children’s librarian in a public library, I have had many, many parents ask me for “readers” at the level suggested by the schools (often in some mysterious code like, “Where are the green dot books?”, we smile and answer, “We don’t organize like the schools do”). I have seen parents pull books out of the hands of their children and say, “We’re not checking that book out, it’s too hard for you.” It’s hard to keep my mouth shut! I think parents think the harder books will discourage their children from reading altogether, but in my opinion the child has already chosen that book with enough interest to keep them going despite any obstacles.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 20, 2018 at 7:32 am

      Oh Anne! I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it was when our neighbor kids told me that they weren’t allowed to check certain books out of the school library because those books weren’t on “their” shelves — as if everything was shelved by reading level rather than subject matter and genre! It made me so sad — such a discouragement to a budding reader.

  • Reply Kelly April 20, 2018 at 5:23 am

    The way most speakers use slides is just a distraction — it’s like they just put their notes up on the screen, and I don’t see the point of that. Yes, if you’re talking about a sculpture or a painting and we need to see it to understand your talk, that makes sense to me.

    But then, I am Older Than Dirt, according to the latest Facebook meme. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 20, 2018 at 7:33 am

      Older than dirt! He he!

      That is how it started — an art talk where the slides were 100% necessary. In the other one where I used a lot of slides, I used them to (1) substitute for a handout and (2) attribute quotes. I’m not sure that is enough justification…

      • Reply Kelly April 20, 2018 at 7:56 am

        I think you have good judgment on things like this. If I were at the talk, I’d rather have a handout with references and quotes and so forth. Keeps me from having to copy it all down from the slide while missing the talk.

        • Reply Kelly April 20, 2018 at 8:02 am

          Oh, and I mentioned being older than dirt because maybe my brain is wired differently from the younger moms who are probably your main audience, so maybe they do need that kind of visual, where I just find it distracting (except, like you said, in a presentation where the visual is truly necessary).

          But I feel your pain. I’ve been in a number of seminars where the slides weren’t really necessary and then there were technical problems that slowed it all down. Very frustrating. I wouldn’t even trust a computer or tablet for my talk — a sheet of paper will not betray you like a machine will. 😉

          • Catherine April 20, 2018 at 9:06 am

            Or, as Kelly suggests, a piece of paper works just fine 🙂

    Leave a Reply