NCHE Summit Workshop Schedule

9:10-10:10 – Keynote – Shawna Wingert: Fear, Faith and Homeschooling

10:15-11:05 – Breakout Session  1

  • Overview of Planning for Two Lifetimes – A Special Needs Plan
  • Clear and Compelling: the (Surprisingly Strong) Case for Classical Education with Special Needs – Cheryl Swope
  • Reading feels Impossible…Does my child have Dyslexia? What does that even mean? – Kristen Eckenwiler

11:10-12:05 – Breakout Session 2

  • Overview of ABLE Accounts – A Special Needs Plan
  • How to find the sweet spot for any child – Cheryl Swope
  • Why I create IEPs for my children and how you can too – Shawna Wingert


1:35-2:35 – Keynote Kristen Eckenwiler: Teaching Children that Struggle

2:40-3:35 – Breakout Session

  • Do we need labels? What good is a Diagnosis? – Cheryl Swope
  • When your child is significantly behind typical grade levels – Shawna Wingert
  • Visual-Spatial Learner – Kristen Eckenwiler

3:35-3:45 – COFFEE BREAK 

3:45-4:40 – Breakout Session 

  • Transition to Adulthood – A Special Needs Plan
  • What Moms need for the Struggling Learner journey – Kristen Eckenwiler
  • Doctors, Therapists and Homeschooling – Shawna Wingert

4:45-5:45 – Keynote – Cheryl Swope: Why your Homeschool May be the Best Place for your child with Special Needs


Workshop Descriptions

Keynote – Shawna Wingert: Fear, Faith and Homeschooling

How much does fear play into our decisions as parents of exceptional children? If you are anything like me, it’s a constant struggle to avoid homeschooling from a place of fear. This is a reminder to all of us that we can live each day with faith in the knowledge that we are exactly the moms God has chosen for our children.

Breakout Session 1: 

  • Overview of Planning for Two Lifetimes – Topics covered in this informative workshop include: government benefits, SSI and Medicaid, ABLE Act, special needs trust, guardianship, defining your child’s lifetime needs, proactive tax strategies, communication techniques and future caregiving.  (A Special Needs Plan)
  • Clear & Compelling: The (Surprisingly Strong) Case for Classical Education with Special Needs – We often think of classical education for bright, highly verbal children, but what about children with special needs? What about dyslexia, autism, or intellectual disability? Does a classical education have anything to offer children facing these challenges? The answers may surprise you. (Cheryl Swope)
  • Reading Feels IMPOSSIBLE….Does My Child Have Dyslexia? What Does That Even Mean?When a homeschooled child seems to flounder for no easily identified reason, parents often exhaust themselves in their search for answers. At some point a parent may wonder if there might be a learning disability at the root of their child’s struggle. Kristen has designed this workshop to help parents sort out the difference between routine struggles and those that could well be a learning disability. What is Dyslexia? If you think it is only transposing letters…you need to come to this workshop! We will also explore reasons you may or may not decide on formal testing and how to go about doing that. (Kristen Eckenwiler)

Breakout Sesson 2:

  • Overview of ABLE Accounts – This workshop will cover all things ABLE, including how ABLE accounts benefit your child if they earn a salary, how to open an ABLE account, understanding contribution rules, and how ABLE accounts fit into your overall plan.  (A Special Needs Plan)
  • Why I create IEPs for my children and how you can too -IEP’s are Individualized Education Plans used to help children with special needs in the school system. But the truth is, all children receive a more individualized education when we homeschool them! With this in mind, I have found that taking the time to create a specialized version of an IEP for each of my children brings freedom and confidence. I walk through the learning accommodations we have in place, how I keep records of therapies and life skills, how we measure progress towards learning goals,  and I provide examples of how you can too.  (Shawna Wingert)
  • How to find the sweet spot for any child -Are you expecting too much? Too little? Just enough? Learn how to identify – and teach from – the “sweet spot” to reduce frustration, improve achievement, and encourage restful learning within your home school.  (Cheryl Swope)

Lunch and Community Building: We will be serving a delicious soup and salad buffet lunch. This time is extended to allow you to network and build relationships with other special needs parents that live in your area.

Keynote – Kristen Eckenwiler: Teaching Children that Struggle 

A learning disability or learning challenge presents many unique obstacles to any parent teacher as they search for the most effective way to teach their child. Based on solid research, this workshop is designed to present teaching strategies and adaptations that have been shown to effectively meet the needs of students who struggle with various learning disabilities.

Breakout Session 3: 

  • Do we need labels? What good is a Diagnosis? – Discover when your child might benefit from a formal evaluation (and when he might not), learn how to navigate the process to make the most of your time and money, and hear why an accurate, thorough diagnosis can change everything for your child. (Cheryl Swope)
  • When your child is significantly behind typical grade levelsWe all know that homeschooling allows us the freedom and flexibility to not worry about standardized grade levels. But the truth is, when we have struggling learners who are significantly behind, it can bring pressure, self-doubt and even shame. This is an honest discussion about what it’s really like when your child is well below grade level and we can reset expectations to better reflect our realities. (Shawna Wingert) 
  • Visual-Spatial Learner?? How your child might learn differently – Aha! That moment when you finally hear your child being described and you don’t feel so alone. What does it mean to be a visual-spatial learner? Visual imagery plays a significant rolel in their learning. If you show them directions to a model airplane…they are overwhelmed before you begin…BUT, show them the model first and the directions make sense! Come learn more on how these learners thrive and ways that you can adjust your teaching and curriculum to reach them. (Kristen Eckenwiler)

Breakout Session 4: 

  • Transition to Adulthood – This enlightening workshop will cover such topics as how to apply to the Managed Care Organization (MCO) in your county, facts about guardianship options, eligibility for government benefits, and communication tools to ensure that your plan is being carried out. (A Special Needs Plan)
  • What Moms need for the Struggling Learner journey –  Whether you have an official diagnosis, or simply suspect that something is just not clicking the way it should, your journey with a struggling learner is unique. Beyond the search for an effective curriculum, there is much more to learn in order to be the most effective parent/teacher for your beloved child. Join us for a helpful and encouraging discussion of the challenges you face with a struggling learner. (Kristen Eckenwiler)
  • Doctors, Therapists and Homeschooling –  Part of raising a child with exceptionalities and special needs means we often interact on a much more frequent and intimate level with doctors and therapists. What happens when your team doesn’t understand or even support homeschooling? How can you begin to educate them about your decision? When is it time to change professionals?

Keynote – Cheryl Swope: Why Your Homeschool May Be the Best Place for Your Child with Special Needs

Homeschooling offers key advantages to children with special needs. Reflect upon those advantages and learn ways to make your home school the strongest possible choice for your child and for your family.