IDEA Curriculum Fair 2012: Special Speakers

Attendee Welcome Page ~ Anchorage ~ Fairbanks ~ Juneau ~ Soldotna

Adam Hailstone

Representing Williamsburg Academy

Workshops: Creating Will Power ~ What Are You Teaching Without Knowing It?

Adam graduated magna cum laude from George Wythe University with a B.A. in Statesmanship, emphasis in Geo Politics.

Ever since high school, where Adam graduated as Valedictorian, Adam’s passion has been transformation—he is known for his devotion to helping himself and others transcend barriers of hate, pride, political party, conveyor-belt education and life habits. As a former associate mentor at George Wythe University, as a small business owner, and as a thinker, he has lectured across the U.S. and in Canada on education, leadership and politics. He has taught classes in literature, writing and political economy.

His favorite activity is listening to his wife Laura, an accomplished vocalist who brings the beauty of music and art into his life. They have been married since 2006.

Brian Wasko

Representing WriteAtHome

Workshops: How to Do Literary Analysis that Doesn't Ruin the Book ~ How to Mark Up a Student Paper Like a Pro (Only Better) ~ Solid Strategies for Slaying the SAT Essay ~ Ten Dumb Things Teenage Writers Do And How to Fix Them

Brian Wasko has worked with teenagers since we was a teenager himself. He taught high school English for eleven years, coached wrestling for nine years, and has served as youth minister and family life pastor for more than twelve years. He has been a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle leader, summer youth camp speaker, and (believe it or not) a Christian rapper. He currently directs the Home School Enrichment Program for Sovereign Grace Church in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he also teaches weekly literature, grammar, and logic classes. He is the founder and president of, a revolutionary writing skills development program serving middle and high school students around the world. Brian has also worked as a freelance writer and editor, and is the author of WriteAtHome’s proprietary curriculum. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1988 with a B.A. in English and a Virginia teaching certificate. Brian’s lively, informal speaking style is popular with audiences young and old. Through his speaking, Brian is able to communicate his infatuation with words, his passion for learning, and his deep love for teenagers.

Brian currently lives in Virginia Beach with his wife Melanie and his four home-educated teen and tween-aged daughters Stephanie, Taylor, Kerri, and Madison.

Carlita Boyles

Representing Math on the Level

Workshops: Lighten the Load and Enjoy the Journey ~ Tackling Those Tricky Math Facts

Carlita Boyles is a homeschooling mother of three children. Early in her homeschool journey, Carlita developed a method of teaching math that used life experiences instead of textbooks. In 2007, at the request of some moms in her homeschool group, she and her husband, John, created Math on the Level, a math curriculum designed especially for the homeschool family.

Carlita has an extensive background in education. Prior to homeschooling, she taught for over 12 years in the California public school system and has a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Learning Disabilities. In addition, she has both California Multiple Subjects and California Specialist in Learning Disabilities credentials. She began officially homeschooling her children in 1998 when her oldest daughter reached Kindergarten age, although she is convinced that homeschooling actually begins at birth. Now she and her family travel throughout the country, sharing at homeschool conventions. With her warm and engaging style, Carlita’s friendly and encouraging workshops equip parents to teach with confidence.

Carol Simpson

Representing IDEA

Workshops: Homeschooling With a Baby on Your Shoulder and a Toddler at Your Heels ~ How to Be the Perfect Homeschooler

Carol Simpson started homeschooling the oldest of her seven children in 1986. While homeschooling independently for eleven years, she led the a homeschool support group in Homer, wrote the monthly newsletter for that group, and helped to organize small homeschool conventions in Homer. She was hired by IDEA in 1997, hired just six weeks after the first information meeting that was held at the Fairbanks library. For most of the first year of IDEA, she was the only staff that was not located in Fairbanks. Carol has homeschooled for 26 years, learning many lessons herself along the way. Her greatest joy, next to spending time with her family, is to encourage other homeschoolers!

Cindy Wiggers

Representing Geography Matters

Workshop: Keys to a Strong Homeschool Curriculum ~ The Natural Approach to Teaching Thinking ~ The Secret of Adding Spice to Any Curriculum

Cindy Wiggers is a veteran homeschool parent, author, publisher, and national speaker. She established a family business, Geography Matters, with her husband in 1989. She is author or co-author of Trail Guide to .... Geography series and The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide. Cindy has a heart to help parents inspire their children with a love for learning. Her workshop presentations are full of practical ideas from true-life experiences gained from home schooling her three very different children and her intense desire to see homeschool families succeed beyond their hopes and dreams. Her interests include camping, gardening, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Eric Stasak

Representing Stock Market Companion

Workshop: Engaging Economics - One Family at a Time!

Eric Stasak is a successful investor, recognized stock market expert, author, and founder of Stock Market Companion, Inc. After completing his university education and initial years working as an engineer in the United States, he was recruited to work in Europe and spent a decade there developing businesses for U.S. corporations. As an author and speaker, he passionately teaches individuals and families how to understand the markets, the characteristics of successful businesses, and to learn to see investment opportunities. His online, Stock Market Companion 15Minute Market Update program is used by families and schools as a life-skill curriculum in the U.S. and internationally. Together with his wife Dalene, he home schools his 5 children in Vancouver, Washington.

Janet Beckett

Representing Institute for Excellence in Writing

Workshop: Experience Excellence in Writing (product workshop) ~ Writing Essays for Standardized Tests

I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you the materials that the Institute for Excellence in Writing has to offer. For several years we have used this material in our school and have found it to be material that all students can have success in using. I am currently using IEW materials with both public and privately educated students and find that the materials are a perfect way to help incorporate writing into your other course work.

Now to tell you about myself…I have been a home educator for the past 15 years. My husband and I have 5 children. In the past few years our family has graduated four of our children after completing their education at home. All of them have successfully used IEW materials. During the fair I will be sharing with you how IEW has worked for our family and help you determine if it is right for your students. IEW has a lot of exciting new materials and I can't wait to show them to you!

John Grunder

Representing Exploration Education Science

Workshop: Spectacular Science!

John Grunder and his wife Susan began homeschooling in 1993. Having graduated their two oldest daughters, they continue homeschooling their two high school sons. John taught science, math and technology for fifteen years in private and public schools. In 2002 he started Exploration EducationTM and has authored both elementary and intermediate level homeschool science curricula. Drawing from his background as a missionary, youth director, teacher, and homeschool father, John brings a unique perspective to homeschooling as he encourages moms and dads by giving them practical tools for their role as parent and teacher.

Judith Darling

Representing Razzle Dazzle Learning Company

Workshop: Teaching the Razzle Dazzle Way (product workshop) ~ Why Students Hate to Write and How to Fix It ~ Yes! You Can Have Fun Writing (for students)

Judith Darling developed her own specialized program for teaching language arts/writing during her 30 years of teaching language arts and social studies, and fifteen years of teaching home school students, including her granddaughters. Upon retiring from teaching in Wasilla Alaska, she formed the Razzle Dazzle Learning Co LLC, which develops materials that encourage students to be independent, critical thinkers; and responsible learners. She believes children learn from repetition, application, and analytical self-assessment of their assignments. Her informative and lively workshops on taking the stress out of teaching writing and language arts are enjoyed by parents and teachers alike. Students attending her writing and poetry workshops find that writing is fun.

Keith Howe, MBA

Representing Moving Beyond the Page

Workshop: Curriculum for Hands-On, Creative, and Gifted Learners (product workshop) ~ Homeschooling Your Gifted Child

Along with his wife Kim, Keith co-founded Moving Beyond the Page in 2005 with the goal of developing a curriculum that is both engaging and challenging. He speaks with thousands of parents each year and understands the needs and challenges of homeschool families. Among his varied responsibilities, Keith was instrumental in developing and overseeing the online version of Moving Beyond the Page. Keith received his B.S. in biomedical science and holds graduate degrees in business administration and theology.

Keith spends a portion of each day homeschooling his three fun and crazy kids in science, social studies, and mathematics. He is a self-proclaimed life-long learner and thoroughly enjoys encouraging parents and children in their pursuit of knowledge.

Robin Finley

Representing Analytical Grammar

Workshops: A Framework for Teaching Literature

Robin Finley is a 33-year veteran middle and high school language arts teacher. She began writing her course in grammar, punctuation, and usage in 1981 when her Language Arts department refused to purchase any grammar book for her classes, grammar having been deemed “useless” in the improvement of their writing! She worked on and perfected her course until 1995 when she was approached by the teachers of a local private school, asking if she would sell it to them. She then began attending home schooling conventions, and the rest – as they say – is history. She has since expanded her list of products to a grammar course for elementary students and units on teaching the research paper and the 5-paragraph essay. She has also written a series of high school reinforcement books so busy high school students can keep their grammar skills sharp without having to work on it every day. Robin enjoys nothing more than sharing her materials and her teaching techniques and skills with home teachers in her workshops.

Stacy Swingle

Representing Enchanted Forest Toys

Workshops: Waldorf Approach to Arts, Crafts, and Handwork ~ Waldorf Homeschooling Question and Answer Session

Stacy has a teaching degree from UAF, but has thoroughly enjoyed the Waldorf homeschooling journey with her four boys, ages 8, 11, 13, and 17 over the past 12 years. Along with Noel Romanovsky, Stacy is the co-founder of Enchanted Forest Toys in Fairbanks, where we strive to offer the most enriching Waldorf homeschooling materials along with creative, natural toys for all ages.

Wendy Braswell

Representing RightStart Mathematics

Workshops: Abacus-Based RightStart Mathematics (product workshop) ~ Mastering Math Facts with RightStart Card Games (product workshop) ~ Math: Build a Solid Foundation

Wendy Braswell has a Bachelors degree in communications with a minor in German from Mississippi State University. After working a few years in Human Resources, she returned to school and became a Registered Respiratory Therapist. Wendy then obtained a second Bachelors degree in Nursing from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and worked as an ICU nurse for about 16 years. Wendy and her husband have three homeschooled children, ages 10 to 14. Wendy is also a Sunday school teacher and enjoys creating smocked garments and French heirloom sewing.