2016 Convention Speakers
I’m Julie Bogart, creator and owner of Brave Writer, the online writing and language arts program. I love writing. I love kids. I love parents! I consider it the most serendipitously wonderful collision of loves that I get to be involved with all three every day. Early on, I put in my time in the professional writing world through editing, ghost-writing, and freelancing. But when I got to the point where my kids were on the precipice between manual control of a pencil and self-expression in writing, I could see quickly that what I enjoyed the most was coaching—being the person to facilitate the birth of original thought.
Brave Writer exists to recreate that experience in you, the homeschooling parent.
Deborah (Debi) Taylor-Hough
I knew I wanted to home educate my children even before I had children. I began researching home education about 30 years ago, several years before my oldest child’s birth. I successfully home educated my three children (now 27, 24 and 19) from birth all the way through high school using a fairly relaxed version of Charlotte Mason’s methods mixed with a bit of unschooling. (See “Are All Homeschooling Methods Created Equal?” for more details.) For more information, you can read about My Personal Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Philosophies. The last ten years of my homeschooling adventure were completed as essentially a single parent after my husband was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder and needed to move out of our home for safety reasons.
I’m the author of the book, A Twaddle-Free Education: An Introduction to Charlotte Mason’s Timeless Educational Ideas (Simple Pleasures Press). I’ve had websites and blogs about Charlotte Mason homeschooling for many years, and have taught workshops at churches, women’s groups, and homeschooling conferences on Charlotte Mason homeschooling topics, frugal living, cooking for the freezer, homemaking, and parenting. I’m the editor of the Charlotte Mason eMagazine, and I have facilitated homeschooling groups of various types (4H, nature camps, literature discussion, general homeschooling). I’ve spoken at homeschooling conventions around the country on CM-related topics, parenting, and homemaking. I am currently available for Twaddle-Free Education™ workshops and one-on-one homeschooling consultations.
I’m a graduate of the University of Washington with an interdisciplinary Literature degree (magna cum laude), and am currently a full-time Graduate Student pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Poetics. After I finish Grad School, I hope to teach at a local college or university, and also start a writing and educational resource center based on Charlotte Mason methods and principles.
I’m also the author of several traditionally published books including Frugal Living for Dummies® and the popular Frozen Assets cookbook series. I’ve worked as a newspaper columnist, a radio host, a church outreach director, and I’ve helped run an antique mall.
But my all-time favorite job/vocation has been being Mom to my three wonderful kiddos.
Laura Kett, OTR/L
Laura Kett is an occupational therapist who home-educated her 3 daughters most of their pre-college years. She has worked in pediatrics most of her career, including working with hundreds of children with handwriting challenges, and has done teacher training in this subject area. She currently has a private practice in the Seattle area. Check out her supporting children and parents website, and blog, at www.laurakettOT.com.
Dr. Tom Hoyle
Tom Hoyle has a PhD in Christian Apologetics from California Graduate School of Theology, and is a full colonel in the United States Air Force Reserves. Dr. Hoyle is the founder of the Bible and Science Ministries which is headquartered in Tacoma, WA, and has been actively involved in creation science missions for over 20 years.
He has spoken over 3400 times in almost 500 churches, schools, home schools, and conferences in 47 states and countries, and also broadcasts often via Christian radio and television.
Dr. Hoyle is committed to the absolute authority of God’s Word, and to the crucial truth of Biblical creation. Consequently, his ministry is endorsed by numerous pastors, teachers, scientists, and laymen.
Linda Love Gorodo
I am Linda Love Gorordo, owner of Love HS to College. My business provides homeschooling workshops, homeschool standardized testing to meet Washington requirements and high school and college consulting. I simplify the homeschooling high school and college application process by using students’ unique profiles to find options that fit academically, socially, and financially. I’ve homeschooled my own three kids, now 19, 17 & 15, through a wide range of choices, and bring our personal journey to all that I do. With a degree in business administration from the University of California, and experience working with students and parents in a variety of settings for the past 20 years, I’m excited to put my talents to work supporting the Washington homeschooling community.
Page successfully home educated her two children; now 21 & 22. Her number one motivator for homeschooling was the opportunity to provide a rich diverse learning environment that brought the best out in each of her children. Coming from a background where she struggled with feeling misunderstood in formal academic settings (both public & private) – it was not until she was searching for answers to help her children that she discovered she, as well as one of her children, engages in the word in a way that today is labeled as “dyslexic” – she was determined to listen and optimize her children’s strengths and interests in their education. Author of up-coming book: Growing Up Dyslexic: An Inspirational Journey of 2 Generations
Her approach to homeschooling, especially in her children’s first 8 years, was to use their natural instincts of curiosity, exploration and experimentation through child-led play, and their own self-motivated drive to seek knowledge. The middle years saw a natural progression to an individualized, interest driven, eclectic style of learning. At 16, her oldest asked to attend a homeschool based alternative school so he could participate in an interest based program they offered and as seniors both children took advantage of the Running Start program. During this time, she was able to reach out to other homeschool families, creating unique experiences from horsemanship programs to Cub Scouting that embraced the diversity of the homeschool life style. Today she shares the knowledge she learned to help others provide an environment where their children can discover, unleash and follow their passions in the modern world – the happiness of pursuit. She is the founder of Innovative Play For Kids, LLC.
More about her can be found at: http://page-olson.com
Bethany Gardiner, MD
Dr. Bethany Gardiner, M.D. was a board certified pediatrician who quit private practice to homeschool her children. After quitting medicine, she turned to writing as a full-time career. She has published several books about homeschooling, parenting, and adoption, most notably the award winning Highlighting Homeschooling. She has spoken at many homeschooling conferences in the western region including Utah, Washington, and California. She has 3 children, her oldest is a research scientist at Plexera Biosciences, her middle child is in college, and her youngest is a senior in high school
Kandis Brighton has homeschooled five children over the last 20 years and has navigated through the challenges of teaching 2e (twice exceptional – intellectually gifted with learning disabilities). With the flexibility of homeschooling, she has helped each child find creative ways to minimize their weaknesses and maximize their strengths.
As a board member of the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF), she created a series of Youtube videos on How to Create a Science Fair Project (available on channelCreateScienceProject
With a strong emphasis in hands-on learning, her family has been involved in WSSEF, FIRST Robotics Competition, and The Congressional Award program. Her oldest graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering at age 16. The next three have been accepted into top universities with scholarships. With one homeschool student remaining, Kandis has returned to college to upgrade her Computer Science skills before reentering the workforce.
Jack Pien is the Chief Education Officer at cowhere he designs the projects and lesson curricula for EEME’s kits to teach kids electronics. Jack, father of a 3.5 year old son and newborn daughter, is a lover of technology as well as the arts where he spends his free time playing music and making guitar tube amplifiers.
Katrinna Fischer, Education PhD (ABD)
When I began homeschooling in Ohio in 1985 it was not legal. In 1987 we moved to Indiana where the laws were more favorable. I worked with regional and state homeschool associations and also with Home School Legal Defense to help change the restrictive laws, both in Ohio and Indiana. I continued to home school my three children through their high school years. In 1993 I began my formal education at Anderson University, eventually achieving a Masters in Education. I then started my 12 year career teaching in public schools. I began my doctorate work through Walden University in Educational Leadership and Change in 2009. I have finished all of my course work and am now working on researching better ways to help students learn.
Much of my research focuses on hands-on learning techniques. Two of those techniques, the Maker Movement and Tinkering, have proven to be very effective in helping students understand and apply what they are learning. I moved to Washington in 2012, and last year I began homeschooling my two granddaughters, now ages 6 and 8. They have been my test subjects in hands-on education. Tinkering and “making” are a big part of their day. They are excited and avid learners and have acquired a lot of knowledge and skill in the last year and a half. I intend to continue their education as I develop my consulting business, working with homeschooling parents on curriculum and organization, and with public/private school teachers in their efforts to bring their classroom instruction into the 21st century with different types of hands-on learning.
Dawn Galloway has been homeschooling her six children for 17 years. Before beginning her homeschool adventure, she was awarded academic scholarships to study mathematics and was an active member of Toastmasters International. She lives in Kent with her husband who has an AAS in Mathematics and their children who range from preschool to Running Start. In her spare time she prefers to read non-fiction and tutors science and mathematics.
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.
Chris grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, except when his parents were on active military duty in Germany and other tours, and when he spent a college year abroad in Ecuador. His parents would pull him and his 6 siblings out of school as often as they could to broaden their education, including for hands-on natural science outdoor experiences. Chris credits his parents with giving him the original wherewithal to grow his outdoor school, Wolf Camp and the Conservation College, from its small start in Bellingham WA in 1996 to where it is now, actually located just one mile from where the homeschool convention is held in Puyallup. Chris and his wife Kim recently purchased her grandparent’s old homestead where they are recreating a working farm and building the new Wolf Campus. In the meantime, Chris and Kim have been offering natural science classes to homeschooling families across western Washington, as well as summer camps, workshops, and expeditions for adults and families nation-wide.
As a native of Switzerland, homeschooling was a very foreign concept to me. When our youngest son was five my husband and I realized that enrolling our son in any type of school would not work for our family. Now ten years later we wonder why it was so difficult to make the decision to homeschool! We have three sons, 15, 13 and 12 and our life is centered around our family. We have created a lifestyle of learning. We love to travel and homeschooling has provided us the freedom to see the world. Homeschooling has also given our sons the luxury of time to pursue their own interests. I have been volunteering with WHO on and off for the last eight years, more recently as a board member. I love to encourage other parents to homeschool.
Janice Hedin continues to be one of the strongest voices to defend and champion the rights of homeschoolers in Washington.;She actively worked with the grassroots movement to get our homeschool law passed in 1985 and then went on to homeschool her children all the way to college and careers. Her passion is to build confidence in parents who will hand down the gift of homeschooling to the next generation.
My educational paradigm was shattered the day the nurse placed my first-born son in my arms. Homeschooling had never entered my mind. Fresh from teaching at a local public school, I knew I wanted something better for him – and his subsequent three sisters. So homeschooling it was. The 1995 WHO Convention initiated this journey I’ve been on for over twenty years.
Being a teacher is nothing new to me. My first classroom was four students in a small Baptist church’s Sunday School. Formally trained through Western Washington University, I completed a degree in education and began my life calling as an educator. In classrooms, homes, and church basements, I’ve taught and tutored everything from reading, writing, and geometry; to English, life skills, and puppetry.
But the most rewarding and challenging teaching assignment has been homeschooling my own all the way through high school. Three have completed their high school studies. Of those, one has graduated with a BA in Biblical Studies, and the other two are in the midst of earning money to finance their continuing education. Our last daughter just started 9th grade. I cherish the time, we sit side by side, (re)learning Biology and Algebra together.
As well as homeschooling my own children, I have enjoyed speaking to various women’s groups, leading a local homeschool support group, and teaching at Legacy Homeschool Center in Redmond and Themelios Christian Homeschool Academy in Renton. My sincere passion is to motivate others by sharing from the lessons I’ve learned.