Speakers and Workshop Information

Each year we offer a great line-up of speakers with workshops covering a wide variety of topics and 2018 is no exception. We think you’ll enjoy the delightful assortment of speakers and workshop topics scheduled for this year’s AFHE Convention!

AFHE invites speakers who have a message of hope and encouragement with plenty of practical ideas and insight to help you as you teach, nurture, develop, and unfold the gifts in your child. We pray that you come away refreshed, re-energized, strengthened, inspired, and full of fresh ideas for the year ahead. You’ll find it helpful to review the workshop schedule ahead of time to get an idea of what’s being offered and to help plan which sessions you’d like to attend. Scroll down to learn more about this year’s speakers.

Workshop Schedules & Descriptions

Featured speaker workshop schedule and workshop descriptions are linked below.  Exhibitor workshop schedule and descriptions will be published in May or June.

Make-and-Take Hands-On Workshop Series

NEW THIS YEAR! Attendees will have a series of hands-on workshops to choose from. Each will be engaging, practical, and fun offering inspiration to help you as you teach your child at home. These hands-on workshops will take place in one dedicated workshop room set classroom style with tables and chairs.

Register early. Seating is limited and these will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Several of these workshops have a supply fee to cover materials. Wristbands will be provided to those who register for a spot and will be required for entrance into the sessions in this workshop room.

These classes are geared for homeschooling parents, plus we are offering one hands-on workshop for teens ages 12-18. Due to space limitations, no children or extra individuals will be allowed in the classroom. Make childcare arrangements early and sign up for the fun!

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED for Make-and-Take workshops. Many are sold out, but a few tickets may still be available for several of the classes. Please check at on-site registration. 


Objectively Evaluating Your Student’s Writing

Tyler Hogan |Friday 10:30 AM

WORKSHOP FEE: No additional fee
WHO: Adults

You want your student to become an outstanding communicator, but how do you objectively evaluate their essays and reports? Whether you are a pro at English composition or embarrassed by your own writing, the truth is you can effectively — and objectively — evaluate and grade your student’s writing. This workshop will cover simple tools and rubrics that overcome parental bias and get to the heart of good non-fiction writing and give you a game plan for mastering them. Tyler will answer your burning questions and you’ll get hands-on practice using these tools during the workshop.


Games and Activities That Boost Writing Skills

Kim Kautzer |Friday 1:30 PM

WORKSHOP FEE: No additional fee
WHO: Adults

Who knew you could use games and hands-on activities to teach writing? As you step into this lively workshop, leave your preconceived notions of writing drudgery at the door, and get ready to have some fun! We’ll play engaging games that grow vocabulary, teach writing skills, and make new concepts easier to remember. When hands-on activities become part of your lessons, the kids will hardly notice you’re learning together. Not only will they become more productive and fluent writers, they’ll actually start looking forward to writing time!


Bullet Journaling for Life and Homeschooling

Deahdra-Lynn Atencio |Friday 3:00 PM

WHO: Adults and teens age 15+

Have you been wondering what the bullet journal craze is all about? You can keep a journal, make prayer lists or lesson plans, set and track goals, and so much more. A bullet journal is everything you want and nothing you don’t. If you don’t like tracking goals or you’re not big on journaling, you don’t have to include those pages. The only hard part is getting started. Join us for this fun hands-on session. We will cover style, creativity, ideas for setting up your bullet journal, and practice a few pages, too. Once you learn a few tricks you will understand why others call this the best and last journal you will ever need. You’ll take home a dot notebook and three fine-liner pens to get you started!


Creating Lapbooks to Enhance Learning

Nancy Manos & Laura Gadbery | Friday 4:30 PM

WORKSHOP FEE: No additional fee
WHO: Adults

Lapbooks are a great way to enhance learning plus they allow your child to create a review of what’s been learned in a compact folder. Come and learn the basics of lapbooking in this fun, hands-on, instructional workshop! Nancy will go step-by-step through the entire lapbook making process including folding tips for creating a variety of mini-books to go inside the lapbook. You’ll make a sample lapbook to take home with you in this workshop. Lapbooks can be used with many different subjects by students of all ages. They are a fantastic, interactive, educational tool for every style of learner.


Busy Bags for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Laura Gadbery & Nancy Manos | Saturday 9:00 AM

WHO: Adults

Busy bags are simple activities for toddlers and preschoolers that are stored in a bag so they are ready to grab and go. In this make-and-take workshop, attendees will assemble five different Busy Bags to take home with you. They are engaging activities that your child can do independently. Great for little ones to enjoy while you homeschool your older kids!


TEENS: Drawing with Charcoal

Jen Droske | Saturday 10:30 AM

WHO: Teens ages 12-18

Students ages 12-18, spend this hour exploring the medium of charcoal and learn some new drawing techniques. This workshop is for both the experienced and those not-so-sure about art. You don’t need great skills, only a willingness to try something new. Jen Droske will show you how edge and outline work together, the advantages of starting with a neutral ground, and how a cotton ball can be your best friend when working in charcoal. You’ll also discover the role of the kneaded eraser and what those crazy paper sticks are for.


101 Ways and Reasons to Use Journaling

Kim Kautzer | Saturday 1:30 PM

WHO: Adults

Journaling is a popular word these days. After all, stress-free writing with no advance prep is pretty appealing! But how effective is journaling as a writing tool? Kim will share dozens of journaling methods and benefits, such as how to enhance history or nature studies through journal activities and how to use creative writing prompts to spark joy in your most reluctant writers. Plus, we’ll have loads of fun exploring journaling options, trying out kid-friendly printables, and responding to a variety of writing prompts—all in a no-pressure setting! This hands-on workshop has a supplies fee and includes hands-on practice in class.

Workshop Recordings 

Don’t miss a single session! Purchase workshop recordings from Resounding Voice in the lobby or online at RESOUNDING VOICE following the AFHE Convention. There will be an on-site convention special for the full set MP3.

Workshop Handouts 

Print out handouts for workshops you plan to attend and bring them with you. Printed copies will not be available on-site. Note, not all workshops have handouts.

Workshop handouts will be posted in late June.


Several of our speakers are putting together a little video to let you know about what they’ll be sharing at the 2018 AFHE Homeschool Convention. We’ll add them here as they come in. Enjoy a little introduction and sneak peek into what you’ll enjoy at the conference.

Keynote Speakers

Frederic Gray

The Relationship Revolution

Frederic Gray is enthusiastic about helping and empowering families. As the founder of the Fathers of Faith & Daughters of Excellence Retreat, he has spoken for homeschool groups, state and local conventions, family camps, and retreats across the country. As a marriage coach, Frederic provides teaching and support to couples through his Magnetic Marriage seminars hosted by churches and private groups across the country. He lives to help people create dynamic personal and family relationships with God as the center. Frederic and his wife Heather are the homeschool parents of six beautiful children.

Steve Scheibner


Dr. Steve Scheibner, the president of CharacterHealth Corporation, has dedicated his life to equipping parents to train a new generation of “Courageous, Christ-like, and Character-Healthy” leaders. Using his background as a naval aviator, church-planting pastor, and airline pilot, Steve co-authored and teaches “Parenting Matters: The Nine Practices of the Pro-Active Parent.” Steve captivates audiences worldwide as he shares “In My Seat: A Pilot’s Story from September 10-11.” Through the YouTube video of the same name, his testimony of God’s provision has reached millions for Christ. Dr. Scheibner has been married to his wife, Megan, for 30 years, and together they have homeschooled their eight children for 23 years.

Featured Speakers

Megan Scheibner


Megan Scheibner is a writer, blogger, popular conference speaker, and most importantly, the wife of Steve Scheibner and homeschooling mother of their eight children. A trained Christian counselor, she counsels and teaches women of all ages. Megan is the co-author of “Parenting Matters: The Nine Practices of the Proactive Parent,” and she travels extensively equipping parents with the tools they need to confidently train and disciple the next generation. Megan has authored thirteen books, including “In My Seat: A Pilot’s Story from September 10-11,” the companion book to her husband Steve’s 9/11 testimony. When she’s not writing, Megan enjoys feeding teens and cuddling her grandchildren.

Sonya Shafer

Simply Charlotte Mason

Sonya Shafer is a popular homeschool speaker and writer, specializing in the Charlotte Mason Method. She has been on an adventure for more than 20 years studying, researching, practicing, and teaching Charlotte’s gentle and effective methods of education. Her passion for homeschooling her own four daughters grew into helping others and then into Simply Charlotte Mason, which publishes her many books and provides a place of practical encouragement to homeschoolers. Sonya also ministers to those dealing with their children’s special needs and is the author of This Anguishing Blessed Journey: A Mother’s Faith Journal through Autism.

Jim Mason

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

Jim Mason has represented homeschooling families in many challenging situations since joining HSLDA to lead the litigation team in 2001, and has set precedents that have expanded freedom for the homeschool community. In addition to serving as HSLDA’s Vice President of Litigation and Development, Jim serves as the president of ParentalRights.org. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served on active duty in Operation Desert Storm. Jim and his wife Debbie have homeschooled all of their children: five have graduated and two are still being taught at home. Jim is an avid birdwatcher, waffle connoisseur, and abstract art fan.

Diane Kummer

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)

Diane Kummer is the Consultant Program Administrator with Home School Legal Defense Association, and in 2005 helped to develop its Homeschooling Through High School program. She regularly speaks nationwide on high school topics, and her articles appear in the HSLDA Court Report magazine as well as other publications. Diane co-hosts HSLDA’s Homeschool Talks Facebook Live chats and co-authored with Carol Becker two eBooks, Develop a Plan for High School and Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript (both available in the HSLDA store). Diane and her husband homeschooled their two children from K-12th grades who are now grown, married, and well into their careers. She enjoys her four energetic grandchildren.

Steve Demme

Building Faith Families | Demme Learning

Steve and his wife Sandra have been married since 1979. They have been blessed with four sons, three lovely daughters-in-law, and three special grandchildren. Their fourth son John has Down Syndrome and lives with them in Lititz, PA. Steve has served in full- or part- time pastoral ministry for many years after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served on the board of Joni and Friends Eastern PA. He is the creator of Math-U-See and the founder of Building Faith Families.

Gretchen Roe

Demme Learning

Gretchen Roe has 21 years of home education experience with her six children, four of whom are now college graduates. With a degree in Psychology and Child Development, she has spent the last 18 years in positions of homeschool advocacy, having a special bond with families of children who have to work harder to learn. A former business owner, she has served on a variety of nonprofit boards. A Consultative Sales Representative with Demme Learning since 2014, Gretchen loves the outdoors, all things furry, and is in the process of perfecting backyard chicken raising, beekeeping, and gardening skills.

Beverly Parrish

Learn Your Way

Beverly Parrish is a third generation educator and a mom of seven who began homeschooling her kids in 1990 … and she’s still at it! Bev has spent years mentoring new homeschool moms, tutoring struggling students, and is a favorite among conference attendees as a speaker and overall encourager. Bev is excited about delivering practical truths to families so they may be relieved from unnecessary burdens. She is a licensed Davis Dyslexia Correction® Facilitator and in her spare time enjoys reading and sailing with her family.

Tyler Hogan

Bright Ideas Press

Tyler Hogan is the president and chief curriculum designer at Bright Ideas Press. He and his wife Helen are both homeschool graduates and now homeschool their four adorable children. Tyler is an author, speaker, cartographer, and game designer. He teaches about homeschooling, geography, the arts, worldview, entrepreneurship, and other topics. He serves as president of Grace for Dover, a nonprofit Christian community development organization. In his spare time, he loves reading good books, playing games with friends, drinking good tea, and enjoying the adventure of lifelong learning. He has a BA in theatre from Belhaven University.

2017 AFHE Convention Speaker - Kim Kautzer

Kim Kautzer


Kim Kautzer, co-author of WriteShop I and II, loves to encourage and equip parents who have a tough time teaching writing. From personal experience, she can identify with the feelings of failure that follow when blank paper, insecure parent, and reluctant child share the same space. Her inspiring workshops reveal that teaching writing is more objective than you think, and with the right tools, you can guide and motivate struggling writers. Kim and Jim make their home in Southern California. They homeschooled for 15 years, graduating their youngest in 2003. Kim thrives on travel, reading, gardening, Sunday crosswords, and her nine grandkids.

Lesli Richards

The Homegrown Preschooler

Lesli Richards is the award-winning author of The Homegrown Preschooler and A Year of Playing Skillfully. A homeschooling mother of five, she enjoys encouraging other homeschooling families to cultivate wonder in their children though intentional play. She is a strong advocate for special needs families as they navigate the best educational opportunities for their children. She has spent five years as a Director for Classical Conversations Challenge Program, and enjoys writing and speaking on Classical Education. A sought after speaker across the country, Lesli is described as a knowledgeable, humorous and passionate voice of encouragement. She lives with husband Brendan in northern Georgia.

Janelle Knutson


Janelle Knutson is a homeschooling mom to seven children that range in age from toddler to adult. Her desire is to encourage homeschool moms with practical tips and biblical truth. Her greatest joy is found in Christ and she hopes to share that joy with fellow homeschool moms through her speaking engagements, blog, and YouTube channel.

Leah Nieman


Leah Nieman is a wife and mom of two homeschool graduates. She’s a popular speaker who encourages parents to walk with their kids through the world of social media and technology to raise a generation of digitally responsible young adults. On her website, you will find tips on technology and social media along with her eBooks Apps All Parents Should Know, Let’s Get Social: A Straightforward Guide for Kids on Social Media, and Connected: A Parent’s Guide to Snapchat.

Marianne Sunderland

Homeschooling with Dyslexia

Marianne Sunderland is a homeschooling mother of eight unique children ages 7 to 26, including adventurous and homeschooled sailors, Zac and Abby Sunderland, known for their world-record setting around-the-world sailing campaigns. Because seven of her eight children are dyslexic, Marianne is a passionate dyslexia advocate with a mission to both educate and encourage families to discover and nurture their children’s God-given gifts and talents, in and outside of the classroom. Marianne’s website provides weekly articles on homeschooling kids with Dyslexia, ADHD, and other learning differences that will bless and encourage you.

2017 AFHE Convention Speaker - Carol Fitzpatrick

Carol Fitzpatrick

Rainbow Readers

Carol S. Fitzpatrick has a passion for helping struggling readers. When her own children were forced to deal with the frustration and humiliation of dyslexia, she went back to school to learn how to teach them to read. The same methods she used to homeschool both of her sons have worked for many more struggling readers. Now, when Fitzpatrick isn’t tutoring, she travels throughout the country speaking on successful intervention in reading instruction. She holds a master’s degree in Education, has extensive training in Orton-Gillingham methodology, has been a reading instructor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and taught in Northern Arizona University’s teacher-training program.

Tom Clark

VideoText Interactive

Thomas Clark is a life-long teacher of mathematics and science with 52 years of experience at all levels. As a result, he is convinced that everyone has the ability to understand mathematics. In the last 25 years, he has focused on developing multimedia programs that challenge traditional methods of instruction, by focusing on the “why” of mathematics, and further directing his attention toward helping homeschooling parents become more effective instructors. He has authored Algebra: A Complete Course and Geometry: A Complete Course (with Trigonometry), and is the president of VideoText Interactive, a company specializing in bringing the textbook to life through technology.

Patrick Nurre

Northwest Treasures

Patrick Nurre spent many Saturdays as a youngster rockhounding near the Big Horn River in Montana, leading to a lifelong study of geology. Today Patrick is a popular speaker on geology and worldview, and teaches classes and leads field trips, including his Yellowstone Creation Adventure. Patrick’s non-profit ministry, Northwest Treasures, creates geology kits and curricula from a young-Earth perspective, and operates the Geology Learning Center, a museum and classroom. He is the author of eleven geology textbooks. Patrick and his wife Vicki live in the Seattle area. Patrick is a Certified Biblical Creation Ministry Professional.

2017 AFHE Convention Speaker - Colene Lewis

Colene Lewis

Colene Lewis homeschooled her daughters through high school in a home where learning was a joy and a way of life. Earning scholarships, each girl excelled at college in biology, engineering, English, and law. More importantly, all three women are walking with the Lord and now raising their own families. Alongside her husband, Tom, Colene served on the board of AFHE for over 13 years. She has been a sought-after speaker across the country. Colene is currently developing with her daughter, Heather Haupt, an easy-to-implement geography curriculum based on living books, hand-on activities, and cross-cultural exploration geared for 5-7 year olds.

2017 AFHE Convention Speaker - Joshua Sugata

Joshua Sugata

Grand Canyon University

Joshua Sugata has been married to his best friend and beautiful wife Stacey for 12 years. They are striving to create a Christ-centered family legacy through their daughters. Joshua has been an educator for about 16 years from the jr. high classroom up through high school administration, and now within higher education where he continues to serve as a vital role within adult education. He currently serves as the Senior Learning Technology Integration Specialist and Team Lead within the Faculty Training and Development Department at Grand Canyon University.

Gene Walter

OnToCollege with John Baylor

Gene is a homeschooling father of nineteen years who has been actively involved in preparing his children for the ACT, SAT and PSAT tests and the college search process. He represents OnToCollege with John Baylor (formerly John Baylor Prep), an online ACT and SAT/PSAT test prep course designed to boost test scores and open the door to the college of your choice allowing you to graduate with little or no debt. Gene and his wife, Becky, and their four children live in Norfolk, Nebraska. He is president of Big Red Printing Inc.

Deahdra-Lynn Atencio

RightStart Mathematics

Deahdra-Lynn Atencio is a wife, mom, and author who has been home educating for twelve years. She and her husband pulled their oldest out of school after 4th grade, knowing he needed a more challenging math program. She wanted a program to meet his needs and the possibility of dyslexia in their younger children. RightStart was the perfect fit! She has a degree in Sign Language Studies and worked at the California School for the Deaf, Fremont. Passionate about helping families, she has taught natural childbirth classes, written a unique parenting book, and is active in family ministries at her church.

Sharon Rodriguez

MoezArt Productions

Sharon Moe Rodriguez is wife to Steve and mom to three little boys whom she bravely homeschools. Steve and Sharon are the directors of MoezArt Productions, a Christian theatre arts education company for homeschoolers. Sharon is a missionary kid from Kenya and an English teacher by training who fell into arts education by divine appointment. She has no greater privilege in life than introducing students to the joys of being involved in the arts to the glory of God.

Carol Gary

The Balanced Homeschooler

Carol Gary is a homeschooling enthusiast. Married since 1991, she and Grant have ardently homeschooled their sons since 2000 in Phoenix. Carol directed a large, local support group for twelve years and developed her comprehensive mentoring program, The Balanced Homeschooler, in 2010. Since 2013 she has served the Home School Foundation as the Arizona State Ambassador. She speaks at various homeschool events and serves with Grant on the MoezArt Productions board of directors. The Gary family faithfully supports the Evan. C. Gary Memorial Scholarship administered through the GCU Scholarship Foundation and GCU’s annual Run to Fight Children’s Cancer.

Brenda Ellis

ARTistic Pursuits

Brenda Ellis, author and illustrator, has over twenty-five years of experience teaching K-12 art. She is an honors graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, where she met her husband, Daniel, also an artist. They homeschooled their three children, now graduates, while developing the award-winning ARTistic Pursuits art curriculum for homeschoolers, founded in 1999. Brenda believes that every child can understand the concepts of art and enjoy the process of putting ideas and visual images on paper. You can see how instruction in creativity, art history, art appreciation, and technique come together on the pages of her books at artisticpursuits.com.

Michael Bailey

Michael Bailey has been a professional software engineer for 14 years. Most recently, he has been focusing on Android app development. He has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd College and a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. He is officially recognized by Google as part of the “Google Developer Expert” program. Michael and his wife, Janine, homeschool their children Jack and Levi.

Laura Gadbery


Laura Gadbery, with the great support of her husband David, homeschooled their three daughters, Haley, Emma, and Peyton, through high school. After 20 years in the best job ever as a stay-at-home(school) mom, Laura is now enjoying new roles as the Social Media Manager and Event Assistant for AFHE, as well as managing the Mesa location of Teaching & Learning Stuff and is the company’s Social Media and Marketing Coordinator. Laura also serves as a MOPS Mentor and is so fortunate to be able to continue encouraging moms from all walks of life in their parenting and homeschooling journeys.

Cindy Duell

Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE)

Cindy Duell has been homeschooling since 2000, when she figured she could teach her kindergartener to read that year and wait on finding the right school for him. Guess what–home was the right school! Since then she has been homeschooling and raising six amazing children (now enjoying one adorable grandboy). Cindy and her husband, Shawn, served as leaders of Christian Home Educators of Tucson-Northwest (2008-2014). They currently serve on the AFHE Board of Directors, where Cindy helps publish the quarterly magazine Homeschool Arizona and is the Speaker Coordinator for the annual AFHE Convention.

2017 AFHE Convention Speaker - Sherry McKown

Sherry McKown

Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE)

Sherry McKown has been serving on the AFHE Board with her husband, Scott, since 2012. The McKowns have four children, two homeschool graduates and two homeschooling high school. Sherry is passionate about navigating the homeschooling journey with heavy doses of encouragement and practical guidance along the way. She has served in leadership roles within homeschooling communities since 1997 including former president and board member of Eastside Explorers, and as a founding member family of West Valley Christian Home Educators. The McKowns enjoy sharing their homeschooling journey with others as they learn to be purposeful in their calling, stay the course, and finish well.

Peter and Allison Gentala


Peter and Allison Gentala are AFHE board members serving as government and legislative liaisons. ​They were homeschooled and are now homeschooling their eight children,​ whose ages span from teens to toddlers.​ Allison holds a Bachelor of Science ​degree in Education with a specialty in reading​. She blogs and speaks about parenting and homeschooling. You can find her at allisonreneemom.blogspot.com. Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts ​degree ​in History, a Masters ​degree in Government, and a Juris Doctorate​ degree. He specializes in constitutional law, public policy, state government​, and ​non-profits​. Peter and Allison also serve​ on the Board for the Center for Arizona Policy.

Nancy Manos

Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE) | Joyfully Nancy Blog

Nancy Manos and her husband James homeschooled their daughters from preschool through high school. The Manos’ home education journey was a rich, rewarding, sometimes challenging experience, and Nancy is passionate about encouraging others in the homeschool adventure. Nancy and James served on the AFHE Board of Directors from 2004-2017 and Nancy is blessed to continue serving the Arizona homeschool community as the Executive Director of AFHE.

Speaker Inquiries

Speaking at the AFHE Convention is by invitation only. Speakers at the AFHE Convention are carefully selected who fit AFHE’s philosophy, vision, and mission, and do not conflict with the AFHE Board of Directors’ biblical worldview. As part of the speaker selection process, we will review speaker packets that are sent to us.

Speaker packets are reviewed in August for the following year’s convention and selections are finalized in the fall.If we are interested in having you speak, we would contact you in October or November.

Speaker packets should include biographical information, workshop titles and descriptions, and a recording or two of the speaker teaching for our review.

AFHE Convention
Attn: Speaker Coordinator
P.O. Box 2035 Chandler, AZ 85244-2035
Email: convention@afhe.org

Because of the high volume of speaker inquiries we receive, we are only able to follow up with those we are inviting to speak.