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.



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.



Amy Beckstead Leonard

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