IDEA Curriculum Fair 2013: Special Speakers

Attendee Welcome Page ~ Anchorage ~ Fairbanks ~ Juneau ~ Soldotna

Brian Wasko

Representing WriteAtHome

Workshops: Confessions of a Reformed Grammar Legalist ~ Effectively Teaching Writing

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 teenages daughters Stephanie, Taylor, Kerri, and Madison.

Debbie Strayer & Ashley Wiggers

Representing GeoMatters

Workshops: Basics for a Strong Education ~ Effective Teaching through Integration ~ Overcoming Learning Difficulties Together

Debbie Strayer has been a part of the homeschooling movement since 1988 when she and husband Greg began their journey as homeschoolers. Prior to that time, Debbie received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in education. Her accomplishments include: Author, Gaining Confidence to Teach, Editor, The Homeschool Answer Book by Dr. Ruth Beechick, co-author of the Learning Language Arts through Literature series, Co-author, Trail Guide to Learning, published by GeoMatters. Daughter, Ashley Wiggers speaks at home school seminars, serves as Public Relations Director for GeoMatters and is the author of the Profiles from History series. She is also an Executive Editor for Homeschooling Today Magazine.

Denise Eide

Representing The Logic of English

Workshops: Laying the Foundations for Reading: Early Childhood Reading Games and Activities ~ The Logic of English: A New Way to See Words ~ Nerf Guns & Shaving Cream: Teaching Reading and Spelling to Kids Who Can’t Sit Still ~ Soaring not Struggling: Preventing and Teaching Struggling Readers and Spellers

Denise Eide, homeschool mother of four, is the author of the multiple award-winning book, Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy, and The Logic of English series of curriculum and learning materials. She is the founder and president of Pedia Learning Inc., a company focused on improving English literacy worldwide through curriculum development, books, educational software and training. She is an educator, speaker, and curriculum designer who has worked in the field of literacy instruction since 1995. Denise is a nationally sought after keynote and workshop speaker for home education and literacy events. By demystifying English, she empowers participants to become part of a grassroots effort to solve the literacy crisis in their communities, and she provides hope for those who struggle.

She and her husband have homeschooled their four children ages 14, 12, 12, and 9. Their company, Pedia Learning, was born out of their experiences homeschooling children who struggled with reading and spelling. In addition to public speaking, Denise has taught a variety of classes for homeschool students at co-ops and offered training for homeschool parents in reading and spelling instruction.

Gretchen Roe

Representing Calvert Education Services

Workshop: Teaching Your Child Time Management Skills

Gretchen Roe has 20 years of experience homeschooling her six children. She and her husband Pat have four high school graduates, all of whom have gone on to the colleges of their choice, and two more children still at home. She has spoken at homeschooling conferences in eight states and when not engaged in the process of chasing children and educating them, can be found volunteering for the Severna Park Pregnancy Center. She is a former board member of a homeschool high school tutorial, Cornerstone Tutorial, LLC, and past Maryland state president of the higher-education-oriented P.E.O. Sisterhood.

Janet Beckett

Representing Institute for Excellence in Writing

Workshop: Learn to Read and Write with PAL (product workshop) ~ Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum

Janet Beckett and her husband have been home educators for over 15 years, and they have graduated 4 of their 5 children. Janet has successfully used the IEW curriculum for several years and is currently using it with both public and privately educated students. She loves to share how IEW has worked for her family and help others determine if it is right for their students.

John Grunder

Representing Exploration Education Science

Workshop: Investigate the Scientific Method with Incredibly Fun, Hands-on Experiments

John Grunder and his wife Susan began homeschooling in 1993. Having graduated their three oldest, they continue homeschooling their last high school son. 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.

Kathleen Cotter Lawler

Representing RightStart Mathematics

Workshop: Math: Build a Solid Foundation ~ Math Puzzles and Brain Teasers

Kathleen Cotter Lawler is the daughter of Dr. Joan A. Cotter, author and developer of the RightStartTM Mathematics Curriculum. She grew up under the RightStartTM philosophy and taught her four children using the program. Kathleen continues to be a sounding board for Dr. Cotter's ongoing work.

Education has been a life-long passion for Kathleen, both learning and teaching. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Home Economics, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a second Master’s Degree in Management. Math has always been a love for Kathleen. She is devoted to teaching parents, teachers, and children all across the US., helping them experience the joy and excitement of mathematics.

Kim Howe, M.S.

Representing Moving Beyond the Page

Workshop: Reach and Teach Each Child

Kim A. Howe has been an educational consultant for school systems in North Carolina where she taught certification courses for teachers pursuing licensure in gifted education. Kim received her MS in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University. Kim has coordinated gifted programs for schools in North Carolina and Texas. Kim is a homeschooling mom and she lives with her husband and four children in College Station, TX. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, singing, reading, hiking and playing tennis.

Lissa Schroeder

Representing Brainstorm Home School Supply

Workshops: Language Arts Tips and Products that WORK!

For the last 18 years I have been home schooling my three children, and occasionally a few others. We've covered it all from pre-school to med school. :) As a licensed minister for the last 15 years I have been privileged to teach at ladies' retreats, youth meetings, relationship and creation seminars, and services all over the state. In my earlier years I taught a free home school seminar in Fairbanks advertised at the Noel Wien Library. My first manuscript for a children's book has been accepted and is in the process of being published; while I have about seven chapters written so far on my next book about home schooling. After years of mentoring many friends in their home schooling endeavors, this past July I finally opened a home school store in Fairbanks, carrying curriculum and supplements from 90 different companies. So far it has been a great success with many positive comments.

Marcia Osterink

Representing Atelier by Arts Attack

Workshops: A Creative Visual Art Workshop for Students Ages 5-8 ~ A Creative Visual Art Workshop for Students Ages 9-15

Marcia Osterink earned a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Studio Art from Michigan State University. She began her career teaching in the elementary classroom (grades 3-5) and has taught art (from Kindergarten through the college level) for over 30 years. An accomplished artist, she has specialized in sculpture and watercolor, receiving numerous commissions for her watercolor portraits of children. Prior to starting Arts Attack Publications and creating the Arts Attack and Atelier curricula, she developed “Arts-in-Action”, winner of the prestigious Golden Bell Award presented by the California School Boards Association.

Patricia Padgett

Representing Create Press, Inc.

Workshops: Adjectives, Verbs, and Prepositions OH MY!!! Using Grammar Instruction & Diagramming to Build Comprehension Skills

Patricia Padgett has specialized in the process of learning for over 22 years. Trish’s passion for empowering students and teachers lead to a Masters Degree in Curriculum Development and training in research-based, multi-sensory instruction. She is currently the owner and Director of Foundations for Reading & Learning and co-author of Writing Adventures®. The focus on language and process-based curriculum prompted the creation of Writing Adventures. This structured, systematic program applies meta-cognition to teaching the scope and sequence of the writing process: language building, sentence structure, paragraphs, essays, and narratives. Trish has spent the last 12 years training and coaching educators and homeschoolers in the application of research and process-based writing principles. As most homeschoolers feel unprepared to teach the writing process, the primary objective of the coaching is to empower the teacher with the skills to be taught as well as how to teach the skills.

Trish’s presentation style and structured and systematic workshops are well received by the homeschool community. Most parents dread the writing process but want to learn the best way to teach their children. As well, parents who love writing desire to transfer their skills to lesson plans. The workshops follow a format of: learn, practice, reflect. When working with homeschoolers, Trish assists families with creating more writing opportunities and integrating all subjects. Because of her background with learning challenges, Trish can also recommend options for adapting curriculum. Trish enjoys the success and challenges of homeschooling and empowering families.

Rebecca Keller

Representing Real Science-4-Kids

Workshops: How to Teach Kids the ABCs of Science While “Playing” Like Einstein ~ The Internet: Resource or Distraction or Both? ~ Yes! Teach Kids Chemistry and Physics in First Grade!

Dr. Keller has been a homeschool mom for over 15 years, is the author of Real Science-4-Kids and CEO/founder of Gravitas Publications Inc. Dr. Keller earned a PhD in biophysical chemistry from the University of New Mexico and pursued postdoctoral work at the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Berkeley in molecular biology and neuroscience. Dr. Keller began writing science books for kids when she started homeschooling her own children, and through her books, Dr. Keller hopes to bring science to homeschool families that this fun, engaging, and easy for parents to teach.

Robin Finley

Representing Analytical Grammar

Workshops: Making Literature Meaningful

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.

Tom Clark

Representing VideoText Interactive Homeschool Math

Workshops: The Seven Laws of Teaching at Home ~ Teaching Mathematics as a Language - What Gets Lost in the Translation? ~ Teaching Mathematics With Art (or is it Teaching Art with Mathematics?) ~ Teaching Math Without a Plan? You’ve Got to Be Kidding! ~ Top Ten Myths About Homeschooling Math ~ What Is Critical Thinking and Can Anyone Do It?

Thomas Clark, president of VideoText Interactive, is a life-long teacher of Mathematics and Science with 49 years of experience at all levels. As a result, he is convinced that everyone has the ability to understand mathematics. In the last 20 years, he has focused on the development of multimedia programs that challenge traditional methods of instruction by emphasizing the “why” of mathematics, and has further directed his attention toward helping homeschooling parents become more effective instructors. He is the author of “Algebra: A Complete Course”, and “Geometry: A Complete Course (with Trigonometry)”, both of which are available in hard copy and online.