2018 Conference Speakers

Andrew Pudewa

Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing and a father of seven. Traveling and speaking around the world, he addresses issues related to teaching, writing, thinking, spelling, and music with clarity, insight, practical experience, and humor. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and have equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills.

Although he is a graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Japan and holds a Certificate of Child Brain Development from the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his best endorsement is from a young Alaskan boy who called him “the funny man with the wonderful words.” He and his wonderful, heroic wife, Robin, have homeschooled their seven children and are now proud grandparents of ten, making their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma


Carol Barnier

Who is Carol, and why is she interested in the distractible mind? 

Once upon a time Carol would have told you that it was all about her son. He entered the world as a constantly moving, hyper-charged, non-stop ball of energy. He endured a difficult and protracted medical ordeal involving 13 surgical procedures before he was 3 1/2. It was clear he was very bright. But his pace and frenzy was difficult for many to deal with. His journey into kindergarten did not proceed smoothly. When Carol and her husband couldn’t bring themselves to medicate this ADHD child, particularly in light of his already long medical history, Carol found herself homeschooling. Wow…that was not at all in the initial plan.

Over time, she learned that all of the traditional methods she knew and cherished from her own childhood were a recipe for disaster with this very different child. So through much experimentation, coupled with a belief that this child’s energy was a gift, she developed strategies and teaching methods that worked with his need for constant motion.

Years later she put the knowledge gained from this experience on a website called Carol’s Web Corner. The goal was simply to share experiences and methods that had worked with her child. But almost instantly, she knew something unique had happened. Letters began pouring in from all over the world.

People were hungry for a view of their child that was positive…that recognized the delight that they saw in their own children…and that didn’t start with a premise that this child was defective.

The many requests for more information eventually led Carol to write her first book entitled, How To Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and On To Learning, published by Emerald Books (YWAM).

Sizzle Bop was created in 2004 by Carol Barnier as an idea-sharing place, connecting families who have a child (or parent) who is highly distractible for one reason or another



Lee Binz

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar is a dynamic homeschool speaker and author of Setting the Records Straight: How to Craft Homeschool Transcripts and Course Descriptions for College Admission and Scholarships and The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships. She is an expert on how to craft a winning homeschool transcript and get the big scholarships. Lee understands what it takes to graduate homeschool students who are fully prepared for college and for life. Her practical advice and organized presentations have helped thousands of homeschool parents muster up the courage to complete their homeschool journey. Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. You can sign up for her free monthly homeschool e-newsletter at www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com, where you can also get a daily dose of high school help. Check out the freebies on the website, with training materials, free classes, and ebooks available for homeschool parents, “Free Homeschool Training.” You can also find Lee on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHomeScholar.



Matt Powers

Matt Powers is an author, teacher, and family guy with online courses, books, and videos that help families, individuals, students, schools, and school districts live better lives more in harmony with nature.  Matt’s first work of note, The Permaculture Student 1, is currently being translated into over a dozen languages including Swahili, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, & more.  The Permaculture Student 1 has been reviewed and featured in Permaculture Magazine North America & Permaculture Design Magazine as well as featured online on PermacultureNews.org, The Survival Podcast, Common Sense Homesteading & more.    Matt’s home gardens have been filmed by PBS twice.  He is also the producer and host for Permaculture Tonight- on iTunes and Soundcloud.




Bryan Davis

Bryan Davis is the author of the Dragons in Our MidstOracles of FireDragons of StarlightTales of Starlight, and Echoes from the Edge series, contemporary/fantasy books for young adults and adults. The first book, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004, followed by The CandlestoneCircles of Seven, and Tears of a DragonEye of the Oracle launched the Oracles of Fire series and hit number one on the CBA Young Adult best-seller list in January of 2007. The final book in that series, The Bones of Makaidos, was released in April of 2009.

Ann Meola

She has homeschooled for 12 years, youngest started RS from the beginning with her older child (high school- er) joining in for the games and also learning strategies and mental math. She loves ALL the levels of RS but her ultimate favorite is Geometric Approach that gives such a fantastic foundation for upper level mathematics and that much needed explanation of why. She enjoys helping people along their journey of homeschooling. Ann and her family go biking, running, and camping and she enjoys gardening and reading. You can reach her at Ann@RightStartMath.com.


Deborah Simon, M.Ed., Gifted Education
Deborah Simon taught for over a decade and enjoyed a second career as a corporate paralegal. She has a Master’s degree in Gifted Education, has written and spoken about gifted topics, worked with local school districts’ gifted programs, and served as a previous administrator for a national gifted organization. Deborah has been asked to speak about giftedness, twice-exceptionality, and gifted programming to local, regional, and state groups and educators, including conferences for the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented & Gifted, the Washington State School Directors’ Association, and the Washington State Indian Educators Association.
Deborah serves as the Homeschooling & Alternative Education Chair for the Northwest Gifted Child Association, homeschools her two children, and teaches online.



Amy Beckstead Leonard – WHO Chair

Due to my positive experience as a homeschooled child, I decided to home-educate my own children long before their birth. Today, I’m part of a never-quiet household of five children, ranging in ages from twelve to one. I love the challenges of homeschooling, which I face daily, as I adapt to the needs of individuals at all different levels while trying to remain in one piece. In 2003, I began a homeschool co-op, Families Homeschooling for Excellence, and I enjoy the companionship of other families on their own educational journeys. I have served as the Treasurer of WHO for the past several years. I continue to volunteer on the Board to help ensure that homeschoolers in Washington retain the opportunity to homeschool independently, and to help them value this privilege.

KD Maynard

KD Maynard is the director of admission/college counseling at Oak Meadow. She has held roles in college admissions, college counseling and financial aid, academic advising, teacher training/curriculum development, and a variety of administrative/leadership positions at Brown University, World Learning, Marlboro College, The Putney School, Community College of Vermont, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. KD’s liberal arts background (AB from Brown and MALS from Dartmouth) provides her with a worldview that seeks to make connections between and among people, ideas, and a sense of a greater good. Her experience includes creating and supervising college-level first-year seminars that incorporated study skills and student success strategies. She loves living in southern Vermont, spending free time in nature, volunteering with the homeless, and spending time with her brand new grandchildren.


Tambra Birkebak

Tambra homeschooled all four of her children.  An Occupational Therapist by profession, she embraced the freedom of homeschooling to prioritize character development, hands-on learning, student-lead exploration, and the pursuit of personal   passions. Tambra saw a strong family connection, a rich educational   environment, and a good dose of flexibility as key to developing a love of  learning; She has worn many hats over the years, including leadership and  teaching in several Co-Ops, roles in HSA and WHO, Advisor for a high school  Youth & Government Homeschool Delegation, and individual high school tutoring


Jen Garrison Stuber – WHO Advocacy Chair

We fell into homeschooling in 2003, when my then seven year old became a second-grade drop-out. It was a bit of an adjustment for both of us, as my daughter had been at the school for just over 3 years, and I was making a radical transition from college professor to homeschool mom. But after those initial bumps, we haven’t looked back. Homeschooling has allowed us to provide an education uniquely suited to our daughter’s mismatched collection of strengths and weaknesses, catering to the former while mitigating the latter. Along the way, I became a vocal advocate for independent homeschooling, run a local support group (in Spokane, on the sunnyside of our state), and joined the WHO Board in January 2010.  I serve as the Advocacy Chair and teach WHO’s Parent Qualifying Course at Convention.


Jennifer Loveless- WHO Board Member

Our family has homeschooled since day one, when we decided we didn’t want to begin sending our oldest off to school all day long just as her little sister was born and I was quitting my full-time job.  It was undoubtedly the right decision. Not only have we been able to give our children a great education tailored to who they are, but my children, though far apart in age at 13, 8 and 4, really know each other and our family is closer as a result of our homeschooling.  It has also given our family a chance to travel a lot in the off-season and given the kids the chance to pursue their passions (so far I have a very talented singer, an aspiring artist and a little guy who never met a ball he didn’t love, so I think we’ll be adding serious athlete to the list!)  We also enjoy gathering with our small co-op and I love to talk homeschooling with pretty much anyone, anywhere.  I’m excited to be part of the WHO board so I can continue to educate, serve and advocate for homeschoolers across the state.