Each year we offer a great line-up of speakers with workshops covering a wide variety of topics … and 2019 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.
Download the Workshop Descriptions
WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS (pdf)
- Keynote sessions
- Featured speaker workshops
- Exhibitor workshops
- Lunchtime sponsor workshops
Workshop descriptions are published chronologically Friday and Saturday in order by room.
Parents of Special Learners Meet-Up
Are you the parent of a child with special needs? We have a fun new feature at this year’s AFHE Convention. Saturday at 10:30 AM join us in Room 153-154 for a PARENTS OF SPECIAL LEARNERS panel discussion and MEET-UP!
Hear the hearts, experiences, and practical strategies from a panel of moms homeschooling special learners, then enjoy a time of fellowship and connection with other parents as we break into smaller groups around a variety of topics.
MODERATOR: Allison Gentala, AFHE Board Member
SESSION DESCRIPTION: This brand-new workshop format begins with a panel of homeschooling parents of children with special learning needs. You’ll hear some of their experiences, things they’ve learned along the way, and their tips for successfully navigating these sometimes challenging, always interesting waters. The second half of the session will provide parents an opportunity to talk with other attendees in facilitated breakout groups. We hope that this informative and interactive session is just the encouragement you need in the special needs homeschool journey!
Don’t miss out! Register for the AFHE Convention at afhe.org/convention/registration by June 28 or register at the door.
Make & Take Hands-On Workshop Series
Parents learn by doing, too! We had so much fun last year that we’ve brought you a whole new set of engaging, practical, and fun make-and-take workshop offerings this year. Moms and dads, you’ll enjoy the experience and leave inspired with new ideas for teaching your kids at home.
These are ticketed add-on sessions requiring registration and each has a small supply fee. They take place in a workshop room set classroom style with tables and chairs. All other workshops at the AFHE Convention are open seating and do not require a sign-up. You’ll be able to add any of the make-and-take sessions to your Convention registration.
Please note, space is limited and these sessions are geared for parents and grandparents. If you bring your kids with you to Convention, we encourage you to make arrangements for them during the hour you’ll be attending a make-and-take workshop. Teens are welcome to participate if space permits.
If these classes do not sell out during pre-registration, tickets may be purchased on-site at the Registration counter.
FRIDAY 10:30 AM DETAILS
Creative Nature Study Is Real Science
Taught by Cindy West
Friday 10:30-11:30 AM
$10 Supply Fee
There is no “right” way to incorporate nature study into your homeschool, but it can be considered as real science lessons when taken seriously. This workshop will give you a wealth of practical suggestions for adding nature study in a way that suits your family’s homeschool. Understand the importance of studying God’s creation, feel confident (even if you’re a novice), learn how to keep nature journals and learn what to do during nature study no matter where you live.
FRIDAY 1:30 PM DETAILS
Brain Training: Unlocking Your Child’s Potential
Taught by Cindy West
Friday 1:30-2:30 PM
$10 Supply Fee
While the concept of brain training is perfect for struggling learners, it’s also perfect for gifted or “normal” learners, too. Since brain training activities improve long and short-term memory, processing speed, following directions, comprehension, and attention, any child (or adult) can benefit whether preparing for a big test or simply trying to improve cognitive function. Not only are the methods super easy to implement at home, they are very fun for your children! This workshop shares basic research behind brain training and activities that any parent can implement in the home.
FRIDAY 3:00 PM DETAILS
Enrichment Activities for History and Literature
Taught by Jamie Mehan
Friday 3:00-4:00 PM
$10 Supply Fee
Most of our kids’ best memories of their homeschool experience won’t be reciting multiplication tables or writing the five-paragraph essay. Their favorite memories are from the times when they got their hands dirty with glue and markers or flour and eggs. Kids learn best when all of their senses are involved! This workshop will encourage you with ideas for how to make memories with your kids while reinforcing what you’re already teaching them in history and literature. Come on, parents! Let’s get our hands messy being creative so we can inspire our kids!
FRIDAY 4:30 PM DETAILS
Creating a Movement-Rich Home That Maximizes Learning
Taught by Heather Haupt
Friday 4:30-5:30 PM
$5 Supply Fee
Come explore the scientific research behind the mind/body connection and how movement can be the key switch to turn your child ON to learning. More importantly, put together a game plan with personalized ways you can incorporate more movement into your homeschooling days that will maximize your child’s learning potential.
SATURDAY 9:00 AM DETAILS
Sensory Containers for Tactile Learning
Taught by Laura Gadbery
Saturday 9:00-10:00 AM
$10 Supply Fee
Come have fun in this hands-on workshop as you discover sensory containers and how they can be used in homeschooling your little ones! Participants will receive ideas for creating these engaging, versatile, tactile learning tools and will see and experience how to implement them for an endless variety of learning activities. Play, explore, grow your child’s brain, repeat! You will assemble two different projects to take home.
SATURDAY 10:30 AM DETAILS
Hand Lettering Made Easy
Taught by Nicole Ryberg
Saturday 10:30-11:30 AM
$10 Supply Fee
In this workshop, we’ll explore different styles of hand lettering and cover some tips that will make creating your own unique work of art accessible to all levels of experience. We’ll design, letter, and beautify a piece that you can bring home and hang. We’ll also talk about ways that you can incorporate hand lettering into your homeschool journey as a learning activity to do with your children, an encouragement to yourself, or a ministry to others. You can be confident in creating with your kids, even if you’ve never had formal training or much practice.
Heidi St. John – Keynote Speaker
A favorite speaker and author, Heidi St. John approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you. Heidi has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children and two grandsons! The St. Johns’ children range in age from early elementary school to adult. They have homeschooled the kids all the way through high school.
Woody Robertson – Keynote Speaker
Woody is a first-generation homeschool graduate passionate about reaching the next generation. If you hang around Woody, you’re sure to hear words like “live life to the fullest,” “purposeful living,” or “world-changer,” and he’s helped young adults successfully navigate life-decisions for years. Woody co-founded CollegePlus (now Lumerit Unbound) and earned his accredited BSBA in General Management in 18 months for under $10k from a state university! A frequent motivational speaker at conferences nationwide, his presentations are innovative, inspiring, and packed with information. As a member of the Lumerit Unbound team, Woody lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife Gina—the girl of his dreams!
Andrew Pudewa is the founder of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. His seminars for parents, students, and teachers have helped transform many a reluctant writer and equipped educators with powerful tools to dramatically improve students’ skills. Although he is a graduate of the Talent Education Institute in Japan (Suzuki Method) and holds a Certificate of Child Brain Development, 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 eight.
Hal & Melanie Young
Hal & Melanie Young are the homeschooling parents of six boys and two girls. They’re the award-winning authors of Raising Real Men, No Longer Little, and the Amazon bestseller Love, Honor, and Virtue, and they host a weekly podcast, “Making Biblical Family Life Practical” on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network. Hal and Melanie are publishers, writers, and popular speakers at conferences across the U.S. and Canada, known for Christ-centered focus, real-life application, and an encouraging emphasis on God’s grace. They live with their family in noisy, messy happiness in North Carolina.
Heather Haupt is an author and speaker who was homeschooled and is now homeschooling her four children. Recognizing the brevity of childhood and the power of a parent’s influence, Heather both inspires and equips families toward intentional parenting, pursuing God, and delighting in the adventure of learning. She is the author of the book Knights in Training: Ten Principles for Raising Honorable, Courageous and Compassionate Boys, The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks, and co-author of GO GLOBAL: A Literature-Heavy, Movement-Rich Learning Adventure.
Colene Lewis homeschooled her three daughters through high school in a home where learning was a joy and a way of life. Each earned academic scholarships to college where they excelled in diverse fields of biology, engineering, English, political science, and law. More importantly, all three women are walking with the Lord and raising their own families now. Alongside her husband, Tom, Colene served on the AFHE board of directors for over 13 years. Colene and her daughter, Heather Haupt, have developed a one-of-a-kind world geography curriculum geared to children ages 5-7 based on living books, hands-on activities, and cross-culture exploration.
Cindy West is passionate about homeschooling joyfully and loves teaching parents how to crush joy-stealers. A Charlotte Mason homeschooler at heart, she knows that any method or curriculum must be adjusted to work with the needs of individual families and children. One of her specialties is helping parents figure out the best ways to tweak homeschooling to find great success. An 18-year veteran of homeschooling with a master’s degree in education, Cindy regularly shares creative and encouraging homeschooling solutions on her blog, Our Journey Westward, and in books and curricula such as Homeschooling Gifted Kids and the popular NaturExplorers series.
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, is a firm believer that homeschooling provides the best possible learning environment for children. She understands what it takes to graduate homeschool students who are fully prepared for college and for life. Lee’s mission is to encourage and equip parents to homeschool through high school. Her practical advice and organized presentations have helped thousands of homeschool parents muster up the courage to complete their homeschooling journey. Both reassuring and empowering, Lee gives you the knowledge you need to successfully graduate your high school student.
Cheri Frame and her husband Tim live in Minnesota and homeschooled their three children K–12. They moved to Papua, Indonesia for one of those years to serve with Mission Aviation Fellowship. This experience inspired the mission behind Credits Before College: To help students earn a debt-free college degree. Through her research and planning, all three of their children graduated college early and debt-free – not through financial aid or scholarships but being smart about how they earned credits. As a speaker, author, and consultant, Cheri specializes in advising families on preparing for high school, graduating college debt-free, and choosing a career.
Forrest and Beth Mora
Forrest Mora, homeschool dad and contractor, gets down to the nuts and bolts with men and tackles the challenge of a man’s role as leaders of their home. Forthright and humorous, Forrest shares God’s Word with clarity and practicality. You’ll gain new insights to give everyone on your “job site” an opportunity to excel in God’s calling.
Author and blogger Beth Mora is wife to Forrest, mom of eight, nana of one, and homeschool mom. She is the creator and teacher-on-camera for Here To Help Learning, where she is affectionately known as, “Mrs. Mora.” Everything she does, whether laughable or heart gripping, is done to honor One, without apology. God’s grace is the salve that has healed her own life, and God’s grace is what she offers liberally to others.
With over 20 years of homeschooling experience, Kathryn has launched three of her four children into college and beyond. Experienced with various homeschooling methods, project-based competitions, gifted education, academic scholarships, and dual enrollment, Kathryn enjoys mentoring both parents and students in homeschooling through high school. She has a bachelor’s degree in math education and is a passionate STEM education advocate. She has coordinated and taught various STEM classes, including state and national award-winning teams. With her youngest in high school, Kathryn’s current job titles are veteran homeschool mom, dedicated robotics mom, enthusiastic swim mom, and proud grandma.
Dr. Jenn Murff
Dr. Jenn Murff has been named among of the top 100 Influential Evangelical Leaders You Ought to Know. She is the president of Millennials for Marriage, a faith-based non-profit that works to change the Millennial generation’s distorted perspectives on marriage and the family. Murff’s research and writings on marriage, education, motherhood, and the family have been cited by The Christian Post, Christian Broadcasting Network, Christianity Today, the Institute on Religion and Democracy, and others. She serves as an adjunct professor at Regent University and The King’s University. She is a proud wife and homeschool mother of four.
Dr. Teresa Moon
When Teresa Moon was a university student, public speaking made her physically ill. Now she is an internationally recognized seminar speaker, education consultant, author, and leadership coach. Teresa is founding President and CEO of the Institute for Cultural Communicators, where ordinary students become extraordinary leaders. Dr. Moon travels globally, leading conferences to train students, teachers, and parents to become “cultural communicators” who can impact culture through relevant communication and authentic leadership. Teresa’s students have had opportunities around the globe to influence audiences for Christ, at venues including the White House, Congress, the G8 Summit, the United Nations, churches, and schools.
Chuck Black, a former F-16 fighter pilot and tactical combat communications engineer, is the author of sixteen novels. He speaks at homeschool and Christian conferences all across the United States and Canada. Chuck has been published in numerous publications, and on various websites and enewsletters. He is devoted to his wife, Andrea, and their six children and multiple grandchildren. Chuck and Andrea homeschooled their six children for twenty-four years; five have graduated from college and one is set to graduate next year.
Ashley Wiggers grew up in the early days of the homeschooling movement. She was taught by her late mother, Debbie Strayer, who was an educator, speaker, and the author of numerous homeschooling materials. It was through Debbie’s encouragement and love that Ashley learned the value of being homeschooled. Currently, Ashley is the Editor-in-Chief of Homeschooling Today magazine, Public Relations Director for Geography Matters and the author of the Profiles from History series. Ashley makes her home in Somerset, KY, with her loving husband and two boys.
Peggy Ployhar, founder and CEO of SPED Homeschool, is the former THSC (Texas Home School Coalition) Special Needs Team Lead and the MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) Special Needs Coordinator. She is certified by the American Association of Christian Counselors and is trained as a Precept Bible Study leader. Peggy’s homeschool journey started 17 years ago when her oldest child was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. She thanks God for the experiences He has given that enable her to encourage other special needs homeschooling parents. Peggy and her husband Doug live in League City, TX, where they still homeschool the youngest of their three children.
Kathleen Cotter Lawler is the daughter of Dr. Joan A. Cotter, author and creator of the RightStart™ Mathematics program. Kathleen travels all across the US and Canada, sharing the mission of helping children understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics. She is responsible for curriculum development, marketing, and sales. Kathleen has four children ages 23 to 27 and one delightful grandson. She has a degree in Home Economics and two masters degrees. In her spare time, Kathleen designs and creates quilts, travels, and is re-learning how to unicycle.
Seth Dunham is the Director of Sales and Service at Demme Learning. He resides in South Dakota with his wife Angel of over 28 years and three daughters: Amber, 26; Amanda, 26; and Ashley, 20. He and his wife homeschooled their daughters for 8 years, and he has over 20 years of sales and leadership experience. He has enjoyed working with homeschooling families and Christian schools to assist them in making wise curriculum choices. Seth and his family enjoy hiking and spending time together whenever possible.
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 19 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 all things furry, working on their family’s small farm, and is the proud owner of a Black Belt in Taekwondo.
Sam Black is a vice president at Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability, a speaker, and the author of The Porn Circuit: Understand Your Brain and Break Porn Habits in 90 Days. He joined the Covenant Eyes team in 2007 after 18 years as a journalist and has edited 16 books on the impact of pornography, how to protect our families, and how God’s grace brings restoration. He has been married for 23 years and is a father of two.
Antoinette LaGrossa lives in Pennsylvania with her five children and husband of twenty-two years. In 2004, after experiencing her son’s frustration with other programs, Antoinette witnessed first-hand the amazing success and enjoyment multi-sensory ShillerLearning brings to students who struggle with math. She immediately joined the ShillerLearning team and for fifteen years has helped thousands of fellow homeschool families find math and language arts solutions. LaGrossa has hosted numerous webinars and convention workshops.
Laura Gadbery has worked with AFHE in the areas of social media and events for the past two years and is grateful for the opportunities to give back to the homeschooling community. Laura currently works as the marketing and social media manager for Teaching & Learning Stuff stores in the valley and is the homeschool liaison for the company. She is a wife of 28 years and a graduated homeschool mom of 20 years to three beautiful daughters. She writes occasionally about their homeschooling lifestyle and experiences at lauragadbery.wordpress.com.
Bob and Debby Sjogren
Bob Sjogren is an international speaker who has authored multiple books focusing on God’s glory. After Bob and Debby’s four homeschooled children went off to college, they teamed up to create homeschool curriculum to help families not miss the big picture of raising children who glorify the Lord with their lives. Best known for Cat and Dog Theology, their material is for grades K -12 and has a strong track record of completely changing entire families’ spiritual DNA! Bob and Debby also lead mission trips of homeschoolers to Africa once a year to impact the world for God’s glory.
Debby Sjogren graduated from the University of Alabama with a B.S. in Education in 1982. She and Bob have been married since 1986, and God has blessed them with four wonderful children whom Debby began homeschooling in 1993. Besides publishing curriculum, Debby mentors young mothers at her local church and teaches at a local homeschool academy.
Lori Denst and her husband homeschooled for 12 years, taking both of their sons all the way through high school graduation. Lori has led a number of student career exploration sessions, and continues to be active in the homeschool community through teaching co-op classes, mentoring homeschoolers, and researching/presenting on high school and college prep topics.
Nicole Ryberg is wife to her amazing husband, Samuel, and mother to Theodor and Evangeline. A homeschool alumni, she has dreamt of educating her own children since she was a teenager. She loves finding ways to incorporate creativity, movement, and fun as she begins to introduce kindergarten concepts to her little ones. When she isn’t taking care of children or chores, she enjoys painting, writing, and reading. She also has a passion for wellness and nutrition. She chronicles her journey through motherhood, health struggles, and housekeeping on her blog The Little Mama That Could.
Jamie Mehan is a mama to five adorable kids and has homeschooled for thirteen years. A recovering perfectionist, she strives to ignore the messy house and focus on making sure her children are actually learning, mentally and spiritually. Each day is powered by loads of prayer and coffee, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Most school years don’t turn out the way she envisioned them at the beginning of the year, but you can be sure every year has much love, laughter, books, and laundry. Always laundry.
Joshua Sugata has been married to his best friend and beautiful wife, Stacey, since 2006. They are striving to create a Christ-centered family legacy through their daughters. Josh has been an educator for about 16 years from the junior 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. Josh and Stacey serve on the AFHE Board of Directors.
Scott and Sherry McKown
Scott and Sherry McKown have been married for 27 years and have homeschooled their four children (three graduates and one in high school). They have served over seven years on the AFHE Board in various leadership positions. Scott runs a digital marketing agency and Sherry continues their homeschooling journey with their youngest daughter. They have a marriage recovery story, and over the past eight years have worked with couples in crisis. Scott and Sherry are certified Relational Advisors. They are passionate about helping couples overcome relational challenges and live out the love, intimacy, and connection God intended for marriage.
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.
Attn: Speaker Coordinator
P.O. Box 2035 Chandler, AZ 85244-2035
Because of the high volume of speaker inquiries we receive, we are only able to follow up with those we are inviting to speak.