The numbers before the talks below represent the session numbers; the letters represent the interest codes. See Additional Speakers tab for code descriptions.
Adam Andrews is the director of the Center for Literary Education and a homeschooling father of six. Since 2003 he has traveled throughout the US and Canada presenting an innovative method for teaching the crucial skills of literary analysis. Adam’s dynamic presentations enable students to enjoy great literature as never before, while his fresh insights inspire parents with new vision for their task as educators. Adam earned his B.A. from Hillsdale College in southern Michigan and his M.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. He is a Henry Salvatori Fellow of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and a founding board member of Westover Academy in Colville, Washington. He and his wife, Missy, who holds degrees from Hillsdale College and Harrison Middleton University, taught all of their children at home in Rice, Washington.
2 G The 7 Laws of Teaching and Other Myths
Thursday Keynote Piece of (Thunder) Cake: A Solution to Homeschooling’s Crucial Dilemma
4 G Building the Perfect Reading List: How to Find Great Books for Students of All Ages
6 G Designing Your Own Lit Program: A Scope and Sequence Workshop
8 G Living Books: Implementing the Ultimate Box-Set Curriculum
10 G Teaching with Grace: An Unlikely Path to Success in Your Homeschool
11 G Education in an Hour: Teaching Life’s Most Crucial Lesson in One Sitting
Steve Demme is an adopted child of God. He and Sandra have been married since 1979 and have been blessed with four sons, three daughters-in-law and two grandchildren. Their fourth son, John, has Down syndrome and lives with them in Lititz, PA. Steve is the creator of Math-U-See and the founder of Building Faith Families.
2 L Raising a Special Needs Child and Finding Support for the Journey
4 G Parents Are Uniquely Qualified to Teach and Disciple Their Children
7 D Tips for Being a Faithful Dad and Supportive Husband
8 G Successful Family Communication Hands-on Workshop
9 G Fear Not! You and Your Children Can Learn Math Together
11 T Slaying Lions
Andrea Hall, M.Ed., is a certified educator, executive director and mom of 3 with over 17 years of homeschooling experience. As an educator, she designs online courses and teaches through The Study Hall Education Consulting Company, LLC. She was motivated to start the In Real Life Math Community, www.irlmath.org, by her love of math. Her goal is to create in her students a love for mathematics, one equation at a time. She is also the founder and executive director of EPIC Homeschool Network, Inc., a nonprofit homeschool organization that seeks to enrich, enhance and empower home education in the community (www.epichsn.org). When she is not working, she likes to blog at www.nomommyleftbehind.com where she shares her journey as a busy, working, homeschooling mom.
2 B Start Strong: How to Start the Homeschool Year Right
3 G How to Create Your Own Homeschool Curriculum
4 M Working Homeschool Moms: How You Can Be a Working Mom Pro
5 G Real World Math for Homeschoolers
6 G 10 Principles of True Education
Brett Kunkle is the founder and president of MAVEN (www.maventruth.com), a movement to equip the next generation to know truth, pursue goodness and create beauty for the cause of Christ. He has more than 25 years of experience working with youth and parents. In addition, Brett is a Teaching Fellow at the Impact 360 Institute. He was an associate editor for the Apologetics Study Bible for Students and co-authored A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World and A Student’s Guide to Culture. He received his master’s degree in philosophy of religion and ethics from Talbot School of Theology. Brett lives with his wife and five kids in Southern California.
1 T How Your Worldview Matters for Every Single Area of Your Life
3 T Why I Am a Christian: An Introduction to Apologetics
Friday Keynote A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World
6 T True for You but Not for Me?
8 T If God Is Good, Why Is There Evil & Suffering?
9 T Like Me, Follow Me: How Social Media Influences Your Heart and Mind
10 T Truth and Love: What Do I Say to My Gay Friend?
Rebecca Spooner is a second generation homeschool mom of 5, author of More than Words Bible curriculum and Gather ‘Round Homeschool, international speaker and popular blogger at homeschoolon.com. She is married to an RCMP (Canadian police) officer and lives in a frozen tundra (okay, it only snows half the year) in Northern BC, Canada. She is passionate about sharing real life and the message that this homeschooling life is messy and wonderful and challenging and most importantly—possible. Come join her in the midst of her chaos. She doesn’t promise to have it all together; she promises to give you hope, laughter and permission to make mistakes and know you are not alone, and this is worth the cost.
1 G Teaching the Child You Have, Not the Child You Want
3 M Confessions of an Introverted Homeschool Mom
5 M Confessions of a Recovering Type A Homeschool Mom
7 G How to Homeschool with Confidence
9 M Working and Homeschooling: The True Story
11 L Homeschooling the “Nothing Works” Child
Todd Wilson is a dad, granddad, writer, conference speaker and former pastor. Todd’s humor and down to earth realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions, retreats and churches across the country. As founder of Familyman Ministries, his passion and mission are to remind dads and moms of what’s most important through a weekly email for dads, seminars and books and products that encourage parents. Todd and his wife, Debbie, homeschool 3 of their 8 children (5 have graduated) in northern Indiana and travel America in the Familyman Mobile. You can read more at www.familymanweb.com.
1 G Invasion of the Conviction Snatchers
3 G Lies Homeschoolers Believe
4 D Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom
7 G Fostering a Hate of Learning
8 G Priority Homeschooling
Saturday Keynote How to Choose Relationship when There’s So Much to Do
9 G An Unbeatable Homeschool Team
The numbers before the talks below represent the session numbers; the letters represents the interest codes.
Interest Codes for Talks
G: General interest to all parents
B: Beginners and inquirers
L: Parents of struggling learners
Y: Parents of young children preschool to early elementary
O: Parents of older elementary age (may include middle school)
P: Parents of teens (and possibly teens)
T: Teens and alums
Missy Andrews is co-director of the Center for Literary Education and a homeschooling mother of six. She is the author of Teaching the Classics: A Socratic Method for Literary Education and Wild Bells: A Literary Advent. Missy earned her BA in English from Hillsdale College and her MA in imaginative literature from Harrison Middleton University. She and her husband, Adam, live on a mountaintop in northeast Washington, where she collects children’s books and reads and reads and reads.
5 M After Apple Picking: Conclusions, Confessions and Callings
7 Y Lit for Littles: Making Reading Magical
9 G The Wardrobe Door: A Way into Worlds
Janice Broyles is an educator with over 20 years experience. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership and considers it an honor and privilege to teach others, as well as her own children. She is also an author of more than five award-winning books and the head editor and publisher of Late November Literary, a small traditional press located in Winston-Salem. She is also the proud mother of two sons, Jonathan and Benjamin. Jonathan is now a law enforcement officer, and Benjamin is twelve and a seventh grader. Janice and her husband, John, decided that providing the best education for their sons starts at home. She and her family are from the great state of Michigan but now currently reside in the lovely (and much warmer) state of North Carolina.
11 G Journaling Counts as Writing!
Brent Casteel was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1984 after a standout high school and college baseball career. He spent three seasons as a catcher in the Cubs minor league system. After his playing career ended, Brent graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in religion and physical education. Since that time, he has served in various coaching and teaching roles in developmental leagues and high school programs all around the country, as well as serving for a few years as an assistant pastor in Winter Garden, Florida. Brent is currently developing the BJU Bruins baseball program and is working with youth in his church. Brent and his wife Diane have four children and homeschooled for several years.
5 G Go Team! Instilling Sportsmanship in Young Athletes
Jeremy and Kylie Cochran have journeyed together in marriage for 20 years. For the past 10 years, they have been homeschooling their 2 children. Jeremy has been a marriage and family therapist for 17 years. At his private practice in Hendersonville, NC, Jeremy specializes in helping homeschool families. He is trauma trained in the therapeutic process of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). His bachelor’s degrees are in communication and vocational ministry. Jeremy and Kylie are trained in critical incident stress management (CISM) for traumatic events and have led debriefings. Kylie has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Before homeschooling, she was a teacher in a NC public school. Kylie has also taught other children in her home and in co-op classes. They desire to support other families on their own unique homeschool adventure.
1 G Finding Hope after Trauma Finds You
3 G Thriving in the Homeschool Lifestyle
Katie Dugdale is a child of God, lover of Christ, wife to an amazing man, mom to 4 beautiful kids. She has been homeschooling from the beginning and has just finished her eleventh year. It is a constant journey. Each of her kids was born in a different state. She has many chapters in her story and several years of teaching experience through the public school system, homeschooling, working with her church youth group and teaching in her local homeschool association. She holds a degree in early childhood education from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. Katie has been on the board of directors of the Henderson County Homeschool Association for 6 years as activities director, treasurer and secretary.
2 GT What’s in Your Hand? Starting a Micro-business for Teens and Adults (with Marji McIlvaine)
8 BY Getting Started with Preschool
10 O Middle Schoolers Are Weird, and I Love Them!
Kristen Eckenwiler graduated with honors from the University of Central Florida where she earned a master’s degree in reading. She has taught first, second and fourth grades in the public schools, as well as a variety of courses in elementary education at the collegiate level. She has also taught writing and literature classes for the homeschool community. For the last 17 years, she has stayed home to homeschool her 2 sons, while also staying very busy testing, tutoring and providing a variety of products and services through her educational business, The Struggling Reader. Kristen has been speaking at conferences all over the United States for over a decade. She brings both a wealth of knowledge and a visible passion to all of her workshops.
3 LY Teaching Reading May Not Be as Easy as You Think
5 LY What if Your Child Is the Fish that Can’t Climb the Tree?
7 L Learning Challenges? Dyslexia? Delays? Uncovering What’s Going On
10 YL Strategies to Teach Reading to All Learning Styles
Jessica Embry is a homeschool mom and teacher who is passionate about education and helping others succeed in their own homeschooling journey. She offers educational consulting and community classes for parents to share her love of homeschooling with others. Jessica has been a private tutor since 1995 and has been teaching homeschool classes since 1997. Jessica was also homeschooled as a teen along with her three siblings. She holds her master’s in education. She also has a B.A. from Salem College, double majoring in English and chemistry with a minor in math. She currently homeschools her three children. With over twenty years of homeschooling experience, Jessica still loves learning more!
6 G Gifted Education
10 OPT Homeschool High School Workshop for Parents and Teens
Dr. Jeff Ertzberger currently serves as a faculty member and director of technology in the Watson College of Education at UNC Wilmington where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in instructional design and instructional technology. A former public school teacher, Jeff has been a featured speaker at regional, national and international conferences. His unique experiences and personality allow him to present sometimes complex technologies in ways that are understandable and fun! As an elder at New Hanover Church and a homeschool father of three, Ertzberger sees the needs of parents in the homeschool and is able to take his knowledge of technology to find ways to make teaching any subject easier and more effective.
1 G Using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as Teaching Tools
3 G Google Tools for Home Educators and Co-Ops
Mark Fox and his wife, Cindy, homeschooled 7 children, graduating the last in 2018. Mark pastors Antioch Community Church in Elon and teaches public speaking at Elon University. Since he wrote a book for men (A Faithful Man) in 2012, he has traveled to seven countries to encourage men to lead as prophet, priest, protector and provider in their homes. Mark wrote a middle grade book this year called Growing Up Tommy, a story of a boy trying his best to make it safely through third grade. He hopes to find an agent for the book in 2021. Besides writing, Mark loves reading, running and any opportunity to go with his wife to the beach.
10 D Dads Who Lead
Amanda Garner and her husband, Wes, have been married 27 years and have home educated all 4 of their children. They currently have 2 homeschool graduates with 2 more to go! Amanda is a regular conference speaker, contributing writer for the GREENHOUSE magazine and occasional blogger, but most of all, a regular homeschool mom and wife. In her free time, she can be found binge reading historical fiction or frequenting local cafes for a good espresso. Amanda and her family live, love and do life together in Franklinton, NC.
6 G Through Deep Waters
10 B Myth Busting 101
Tom Gurganus and his wife have been homeschooling for about 23 years. They have graduated two and have more finishing this year. An avid board gamer and game designer, Tom has been connected with the board game community for 11 years through his blog and podcast, Go Forth and Game. Recently he started an effort with his best friend, Ryan Sanders, called Adventures in Gameschooling. Ryan is a homeschool dad of five and is also a board gamer and uses games to help him teach. Adventures in Gameschooling is their way of bringing the joy of gaming to the homeschool community.
1 G What Is the Gameschooling Thing Anyway?
Debra Haagen is a homeschooling mother to four wonderful children. She and her husband, Perry, a VA hospital chaplain, live in Tennessee. She loves homeschooling, music, scrapbooking, reading, writing, beagles and American Eskimo dogs.
8 YO Using Historical Fiction to Teach History
11 G Homeschooling in the Military
Dara Halydier is a pastor’s wife, a Bible teacher, a conference and retreat speaker, a mentor, a friend and the mother of five grown boys and grandma of eight. She is the executive director of Abiding Truth Ministry and the author of the “Practical Proverbs” series and As They Sit and Stand: A Resource and Guide for Teaching Your Children the Bible. Dara has learned life’s lessons the hard way—experience! She shares lessons from the truths that she has learned from dealing with chronic pain and a disability, from having moved over thirty times, having four boys with learning disabilities, and having overcome a past of abuse and shame to proclaim God’s grace, forgiveness and freedom. Dara teaches with humor, wisdom and vulnerability as she reaches out to encourage and equip the next generation.
2 G Building a Biblical Self-Esteem in Your Child
6 G The Real World: Are They Ready?
9 L God Didn’t Make a Mistake
Lindsay Leiviska is a Christian wife, mom of 3 and an educator with her MA in teaching. She has worked with children for over 20 years in a variety of capacities and has been homeschooling for almost 10 years. She has served as a large group communicator in children’s ministry for almost 15 years and also has served in many other ministry roles, leading and serving women in groups including in MOPS Intl and Community Bible Study, Intl. Six years ago, Lindsay and her husband adopted a newborn boy. The adoption of their son and his transition into their family radically changed their life. It is the painful journey of the past 6 years that has led Lindsay to start her organization, A Heart for All Students. Lindsay is on a mission to empower the amazing children who think and process the world differently by equipping the mommas who raise them.
1 L Outside-the-Box Teaching
4 L Co-learning for Long Term Academic Succes
Ronda Marshall and her husband, Mike, live in Asheville, NC, and are in their 26th year of homeschooling. They have graduated 5 children and currently have one at home. Last year, they were blessed to welcome their first grandchild! They have served on the NCHE board since 2003 where Mike has served as president and regional director, and Ronda has served as homeschool helps director and currently serves as advisor. They have established and coordinated local homeschool support groups, email groups, co-ops, enrichment classes and conferences in their area. Ronda is the director of Biltmore Church Homeschool Ministry that serves over 200 families in western NC. She has had the privilege of speaking at various support groups and state conferences where she loves having the opportunity to encourage families in this wonderful, yet sometimes challenging, homeschooling journey.
1 G Secrets of Endurance: Successful Co-ops and Tutorials
6 G Teaching More than One (or Multi-level Teaching)
Debbie Mason and husband, Spencer, have 4 adult children who were homeschooled from birth. Alexa graduated from UNCC and is a homeschooling mother. Scott graduated from Grove City College and Regent School of Law and is a lawyer in the Army. Levi has his master’s and bachelor’s from NC State and is a computer engineer. Mereda graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and is a mother and fiction writer. An NCHE board member since 1988, Debbie is the NCHE events director and has coordinated the NCHE conference speakers/workshops since 1990. She was the editor of the GREENHOUSE from 1995-2015. She directed a large homeschool support group for over 22 years. Debbie has a BS in secondary education, mathematics and a MEd in counseling.
4 P Homeschooling High School
7 P Preparing for College
Dana McDill is the wife of NCHE executive director, Matthew McDill. They live in Clemmons, NC (Forsyth County) with 6 of their 9 children ages 7 to 21. Their oldest daughter is married, and their oldest two sons are in college. Dana has been homeschooling for 17 years. She loves encouraging other mothers on their homeschooling journeys because this journey is not for the faint of heart. Dana has personally struggled with hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue through which she has learned much! She is a “normal” homeschooling mom who wants to be real about the joys and challenges of homeschooling and life. She likes to encourage others not to give up. She is still on her amazing journey of refinement and in the trenches just like you!
7 M Choosing Rest in the Midst of Homeschooling
Matthew McDill and his wife, Dana, have been homeschooling their 9 children for 16 years. Matthew is the executive director for North Carolinians for Home Education and continues to serve as president of the board. Through his ministry, Truth to Freedom (truthtofreedom.org), he teaches and writes about discipleship, marriage, family, parenting, home education and church. Matthew holds a bachelor’s degree in communication along with 2 master’s degrees and a doctorate in biblical studies.
2 PT Equip Children for Life with 3 Critical Skills
8 PT How to Help Your Children Discover God’s Plan for Their Lives
Marji McIlvaine and husband, Rick, homeschooled for 26 years in 4 states and are now officially retired as homeschool parents. All 6 of their children have graduated from their homeschool, half are college graduates or students or working. Marji’s heart is to encourage other parents in the homeschool journey. She served on the board of Henderson County Homeschool Association for 20 years, administers the Woodcock-Johnson test in WNC, and teaches homeschoolers online and in-person with Master’s Mark Academics, Luma Learn, BBC tutorials and Great Expectations Classical Tutorials. Marji also tutors students with reading difficulties. She has a passion for foreign languages, science, writing, history and, oh, the whole of God’s incredible creation, and for sharing the joy in those subjects with her own children and others in our homeschooling community.
2 GT What’s in Your Hand? Starting a Micro-business for Teens and Adults (with Katie Dugdale)
9 PT Online Instruction: Explosion in E-Learning in These Covid Times
11 G Staying Home to Homeschool—What a Concept! Must We Outsource?
Jerome McQueen, PE, is a registered professional engineer and has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil & environmental engineering along with an MBA in energy economics. His master’s in engineering was earned as a NASA graduate fellow studying air pollution control engineering for jet engine test cells at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Cleveland, Ohio. He has over 23 years of experience in various disciplines of engineering including chemical, civil and environmental engineering. He currently is an environmental compliance director for one of the largest manufacturing companies of waterworks and fire hydrant infrastructure in the United States and Canada. He has also served as a co-chair for a mentoring program designed for young male achievement for over 18 years. He has mentored over 225 young men and these young men have amassed over $3.5 million in scholarships.
2 G Connecting STEM Concepts to the Real World
Danielle Papageorgiou has been homeschooling, or “lifeschooling,” for 19 years (she counts birth as day 1!) and runs a blog and online conference at www.LifeAsALifeschooler.com. She has a passion for helping other homeschoolers learn how to homeschool in a way that does not compete with family life but actually enhances it—homeschooling done in a spirit of freedom, not legalism. Her desire is to see more families set free from the world’s expectations of what education is and to discover that God has made each family unique and has also placed in each of their children special gifts and desires that He wants to use. The verse that guides the Papageorgious in their pursuit of lifeschooling is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Emphasis is Danielle’s).
10 GT Lifeschooling: Homeschooling for the YouEconomy
Marcus Ross has loved paleontology (especially dinosaurs) since he was a kid growing up in Rhode Island. After earning a B.S. in earth science from Pennsylvania State University, he continued his studies with a M.S. in vertebrate paleontology from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a Ph.D. in environmental science (geoscience) from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Ross serves as director of the Center for Creation Studies and professor of geology at Liberty University. He regularly contributes to creationist research and education in both technical and popular literature. He and his wife, Corinna, live in Lynchburg, Virginia, and homeschool their four children.
5 PT Walking in Athens: A Creationist’s Odyssey in Geological Education
Craig Seibert is the director of the Christian Citizenship Training Initiative which has served over 1,000,000 streamed videos and digital content to individuals, families, schools, small groups, civic groups and churches. Craig speaks frequently on the topics of freedom and liberty, the founding principles of the United States, and understanding the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. He has written or produced dozens of articles, booklets, brochures and other content and has been a guest on various radio programs and webinars. He works closely with businesses, churches and other non-profits to raise up the next generation of leaders who understand US civics and the responsibility of citizenship. Many local, state and national organizations have used his video and digital content to educate members.
4 TG Christian Citizenship 1: The 4 Structures of a Healthy Society
5 TG Christian Citizenship 2: The Keys to Understanding the Declaration and Constitution
7 TG Christian Citizenship 3: Engaging the Culture with Salt, Light & Courage
Amanda Wares is thrilled to be a speaker at Thrive! She is married to Michael and has 4 children: Susannah, 24, Killian, 20, Katrielle, 17, and Deacon, 12. This is their 16th year homeschooling and her 11th year on the NCHE board, where she currently serves as homeschool helps director. In addition to her roles as wife and stay-at-home mom/teacher, Amanda also serves on the board of her local homeschool group and teaches sign language at a co-op. In all her spare time, she loves to read, plan field trips and encourage new homeschoolers!
4 B Help! I’m New! Now What Do I Do?
6 B The Girlfriend’s Guide to Choosing Curriculum
Pat Wesolowski is an author, speaker and homeschooling mother of 9 who is now the homeschool specialist at Bryan College in Dayton, TN. After homeschooling her 9 children for the past 32 years, she is finally finished! Pat has a heart for helping parents find joy in their homeschooling experience and, for that reason, loves teaching workshops in order to encourage and equip parents for a fun and successful homeschool experience. Pat is the host of a blog (email@example.com) and a podcast on Anchor FM (The Homeschool Specialist) and has authored numerous unit studies for homeschooled students. Pat has also written a free e-resource to help parents plan for a successful high school experience: www.bryan.edu/ebook.
1 P Help! My Student’s Interests Are All Over the Place!
3 PT The Struggle Is Real
Durenda Wilson has been homeschooling since 1996 and has graduated 7 of her 8 children so far. She has been married to Darryl for 31 years, and they have 6 grandkids. Durenda is convinced that home education is an incredible blessing but only if we don’t let it hold us hostage to unnecessary expectations and notions of what it “should” look like. The heart of her message encourages parents to create a simple, unhurried lifestyle while growing a strong, cohesive family. It’s in this nurturing environment where learning most naturally happens and where life-long learners are grown. Durenda’s new book, The Four Hour School Day will be released in June of 2021! She has also written The Unhurried Homeschooler: A Simple, Mercifully Short Book on Homeschooling and Unhurried Grace for a Mom’s Heart: 31 Days in God’s Word. Durenda is also the host of The Durenda Wilson Podcast
5 G Sustainable Homeschooling
8 G Homeschooling Boys: What Do They Really Need?
9 G Creating a Family Schedule
11 G Nurturing Sibling Relationships