Keynote Speakers


Dr. Terry Mortenson - Answers in Genesis


Dr. Terry Mortenson - Answers in Genesis

Friday, March 12 Keynote - 9 a.m.

Creation vs. Evolution: Why It Matters

Many Christians today think that the question of origins (and especially the age of the earth) is an unimportant side issue, which can distract us from focusing on Christ and the gospel and over which we can just “agree to disagree.” But is this correct thinking? Dr. Mortenson presents some of the Biblical, theological and scientific reasons for believing that this issue is vitally important for every Christian, because what ultimately is at stake is the authority of Scripture and the Gospel.

Dr. Mortenson's Workshops:

Millions of Years: The Idea’s Unscientific Origin & Catastrophic Consequences - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

To really understand what is wrong with belief in millions of years, we need to go back to the early 19th century and study the origin of this idea. This unique and interesting lecture, based on Dr. Mortenson’s PhD research, will clearly show that the idea was not the result of just letting the rocks and fossils “speak for themselves” but rather comes from anti-Biblical worldviews (or philosophical assumptions) being imposed on the geological evidence. The talk explains the key men who helped develop the idea of millions of years, the various ways that Christians responded, and the subsequent catastrophic consequences of the church’s compromise with millions of years.

Dinosaurs: Have You or Your Kids Been Brainwashed? - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

This popular talk shows people that the evolutionists really don’t know how dinosaurs came into existence or how they went extinct and have no real evidence that they evolved into birds. Rather the Bible gives us the truth to know how and when they were created and why we find their bones fossilized in rock layers. The connection of the dinosaurs to the gospel is also made clear. This well illustrated presentation will help kids and adults to recognize the evolutionary brainwashing on this subject. Good for junior and senior high kids and adults, but younger kids will benefit also.

Big Bang: Exploding the Myth - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

In a way that is understandable for lay people and teens, this lecture presents many scientific and biblical reasons for why we do not need to bow the knee to the big bang theory or any other theory of cosmic evolution (and the associated billions of years). Using quotes by prominent secular astrophysicists Dr. Mortenson shows that evolutionists really have no idea how the Moon, the Solar System or any stars or galaxies came into existence and that the big bang theory is fraught with scientific problems. He also shows that it impossible to harmonize the big bang theory with Scripture. We can and should believe the Genesis account of the origin and age of the universe.

Six Days or Millions of Years? - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

For 200 years Christians have been told that the Bible is just not clear about the length of days of Creation and the age of the earth. This presentation presents the biblical evidence for young-earth creation and then looks at some of the objections that have been raised by laymen, pastors and Bible scholars against the young-earth view. Objections include that Genesis 1 is not a historical narrative to be taken literally, that too much happened on the sixth day for it to be 24-hours, that Genesis 1 and 2 are contradictory creation accounts, and that the Bible is not a science textbook. Your grip on the truth of Genesis will be strengthened as you carefully examine these and other objections with an open Bible.

Ape-Men, Adam & the Gospel - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

Evolutionists work hard to convince us that man evolved from ape-like creatures, and an increasing number of theologians and other Christian leaders believe this. Consequently, some of those Christian leaders are also teaching the church that there never was a literal Adam and a literal Fall but that this does not affect the truth of the gospel. Using both scientific evidence and the Bible, Dr. Mortenson exposes the lie of human evolution and the disastrous consequences with respect to racism, morality and the gospel, as a result of denying the literal truth of Genesis.


Todd Wilson - The Familyman


Todd Wilson - The Familyman

Saturday, March 13 Keynote - 9 a.m.

The Gift

Like you, when we began our homeschooling journey we asked ourselves, "Will we be able to teach them all they need to know for success?" There were so many options and subjects to teach them. They were loaned to us knowing almost NOTHING, and we were expected to fill up their noggins and prepare them for adulthood.

Little did we know then that homeschooling turned out to be not only what we taught them... but what THEY taught US. Never would we have believed how God would use homeschooling to teach us what he needed us to know as parents, homeschoolers and as His children.

So join me for an intimate time of sharing and laughing at the lessons my children taught me. My hope is that you'll start to view your homeschool day less as a time to teach and muscle through, but as a gift.

Todd's Workshops:

Help! I'm married to a Homeschooling Mom (for Dads) - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

It's a fact! The only thing tougher than being a homeschooling mom is...being married to a homeschooling mom! Dad, your wife needs your help. Come join me as we discuss how to support and assist our wives in the homeschooling journey. We'll also do a lot of laughing, as I encourage men to be encouragers of their homeschooling wives.

How to be a Great Wife Even Though You Homeschool (for Moms) - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

Are you having trouble finding the time and energy to meet the needs of your husband after a hard day of homeschooling? Maybe you've forgotten what his needs are. Would you like your husband to take a more active role in homeschooling? Maybe your husband refuses to be involved in training your children. Join me as we look at your role, not as a homeschooling mom, but as a homeschooling WIFE. Your husband will thank you for coming! The discussion will be led by a real husband of a homeschooling mom.

Taming the Techno-Beast: Parenting in the Internet Age - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

X-Boxes, Game Cubes, the internet, Facebook, and iPhones have changed the way we live, have fun and interact. Children quietly glued to game monitors for hours have replaced laughter and creativity. They beg to play, whine when they can’t, and even lie about the time they’ve spent on “the gadget”. Teens and pre-teens spend most of their waking hours texting, chatting on Facebook, or ‘tweeting’ on Twitter. Today’s latest-breaking technology becomes tomorrow’s obsession, demanding more time, attention, and sacrifices.

Technology has become a powerful tool and ‘everyone is doing it’… but maybe you feel like you’ve lost control in your own home. Does the chill down your spine tell you that something is terribly wrong? Do you feel like a beast has invaded your home, but you don’t know how to handle it? If so, then join me as we talk together about the timely topic of taming the TECHNO-BEAST!

Raising Politically Incorrect Pink & Blue Kids in a Purple World - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

All children are created equal. Girls and Boys have equal importance and significance but there are certain responsibilities that we need to train our boys and girls differently. It’s not archaic or about inequality, it’s Biblical parenting and our children need us to prepare them for the future. Join Todd as he tackles this sticky topic and combines laughter, truth, and practicality together for a vital topic in today’s wacky and purple world.


Workshop Speakers


American Red Cross


American Red Cross

Babysitting Class - All Day, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Learn to safely and responsibly give care to children and infants. Ages 11-15, $60 per student, 12 student max.




APACHE Board Moms

Busy Bags for Busy Toddlers - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

Wondering how to entertain your toddler while you school the bigger kids? Busy bags is a great tool for the little ones to be engaged in their own learning. Moms and toddlers can come learn what busy bags are and get a few great resources to create your own. Before the workshop is over we will create 2 busy bags for your young ones.


Carol Becker


Carol Becker

Carol and her husband Jim homeschooled their children K-12. With a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering, Carol started and directed two co-ops—one focused on humanities and the other on science. At HSLDA, Carol serves as Team Leader for the High School Educational Consultants, and she works closely with homeschooling families, guiding them through the high school process. She is a seasoned, nationally known speaker. Carol has co-authored two e-books available on Amazon: Develop a High School Plan and Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript.

Carol's Workshops:

Developing a Plan for High School: Sample Four-Year Plans - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

What plan would suit your high school student? What subjects do you teach and when? This seminar will help you organize your thoughts and lay the groundwork for a viable four-year plan. You’ll learn about high school credits, simplifying grading, and the fundamentals of recordkeeping—transcripts, extracurriculars, and diplomas.

High School Transcript Clinic: Practical Help & Tips - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

Creating a high school transcript is a vital part of your teen’s high school records. In this interactive, practical seminar, you’ll create a transcript that can be used as a template when designing your own. The session will guide you through the essentials of transcripts, how to evaluate credit, steps to simplify grading, and how to calculate grade point averages (GPAs).

Charting Your Way through High School for College, Career or Military - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

Consider a Guidance Counselor’s perspective for each year of high school! For college-bound teens, this includes entrance tests, applications, and financial aid information. Students headed directly into the workforce can benefit from career aptitude testing, exploring training opportunities, and building a resume. Learn about the military’s homeschool enlistment policy and advice for applying to the service academies.

Essential Skills for Successful Teens: Study & Time Management - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

The high school years are a prime opportunity to equip your teens with skills they will need for future success. Whether your teen is headed to college, a career, or the military, they will benefit from study and time management skills. This session provides parents and teens with ideas to incorporate study and time management practices into high school coursework and offers resources to help cultivate these essential skills.

The College Admissions Process: The Homeschooled Student's Guide - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

You’re not just your teen’s teacher; you’re also the guidance counselor! Find out how to maneuver through the entire college admissions process—from narrowing down the selection of colleges to filling out applications, applying for financial aid, and asking the questions that will help you discern when and where your teen should go to college.

After High School: Alternative Plans - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

Homeschooling graduates have more opportunities besides traditional college. Let’s consider certification programs, vocational training, apprenticeships, internships, private enterprises, and web-based businesses. Envision how homeschooling high school can augment your teen’s resumé, generate recommendations, build a network, hone skills, explore social marketing, or even create a signature brand.


Nancy Bjorkman


Nancy Bjorkman

After years of being a homeschool skeptic, Nancy began homeschooling her children in 1992. Now, after 20+ years teaching her four children, she has become known as the Homeschool Mom Whisperer for many and a champion of the cause. She is a certified teacher and has spoken at homeschool conferences in over 10 states where she is known for her enthusiasm, energy, and encouragement. Having graduated all of her children, Nancy finds it exciting to have graduated herself to being a mentor for other homeschool families. Though she stays busy as a bookstore owner, mentor, and speaker, her favorite times are spent with her growing family (grandkids - yeah!). She and her husband own Heppner's Legacy, a homeschool store in Elk River, MN, where they delight in ministering to the unique needs of families year round, and where parents say, “Come for the books. Stay for the therapy.™”

Nancy's Workshops:

Exploring Learning Styles for More Effective Instruction - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

Gain a fresh perspective on how your children’s actions and attitudes help you discover their natural bent, so you can plan strategies that will help them grow into the person they were created to be. We’ll peel back the layers to reveal pieces of the puzzle that go beyond the usual “auditory, kinesthetic, and visual” discussions. This workshop will provide you with insight into a variety of ways you can effectively teach to various learning styles in your children.

Engaging Early Learners - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

What should “school” look like for early learners? What things are developmentally appropriate for the younger ages? This fun and informative session will provide a comprehensive overview of teaching methods specifically geared to pre- and elementary-age children. Nancy will share resources, fun games, toddler tips, and easy activities, all designed to help parents think outside the box when it comes to “doing school.”


Alcha Corban


Alcha Corban

Alcha is the 4-H Youth Development Educator for Livingston and Woodford Counties and also oversees programming at the Unity Community Center in Normal, IL. Alcha started with University of Illinois Extension in 2014 serving McLean County as the Metro 4-H Program Coordinator working with our Youth Development team to sustain and build 4-H Programming with a focus on Bloomington-Normal. In late 2015, she started her new position as 4-H Educator, a role in which she strives to continue serving our 4-H youth by promoting the 4-H program in clubs, schools and through local community programs. Her overall mission is to empower youth to discover their passions and life goals through programs that promote personal growth, team building skills, leadership and community service opportunities to name a few, as well as providing programming that aligns with STEM and STEAM initiatives.

Alcha's Workshops:

4H STEAM Camp - Friday 9 a.m. to noon

This 4-H STEAM camp session will be to expose youth to technology that is fun, easy to operate and educational. Ages 8+, $10/student

  • Paper Circuits: With this lesson youth will be introduced to the basics of electricity and how circuits work using copper tape, watch batteries, coloring pages and LED lights and create a bright and colorful piece of art!
  • 3D Construction: Utilizing 3D pens, youth will learn the basics of 3D building while designing and constructing their own 3D objects.
  • Robotic Programming: Great for all ages, Ozobots are a small robotic device that can be programed with or without the internet. In fact, these bots can be programed with just everyday markers! Different color codes tell the robot to perform different tasks. In our STEAM camp, students will have the opportunity to plant a garden, create a fairy tale, plan a mission to Mars and much more.


Kathleen Cotter Lawler


Kathleen Cotter Lawler

Kathleen is the daughter of Dr. Joan A. Cotter, author and creator of the RightStart™ Mathematics program. Kathleen has a degree in Home Economics and a minor in Business from the University of Minnesota and has two Masters Degrees from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. Kathleen is the mother of four children ages 25 to 29 and one delightful grandson. Three of the Lawler children graduated from North Dakota State University and the youngest graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Kathleen is currently responsible for curriculum development, marketing, and sales. She travels all across the US and Canada, sharing her mission of helping children understand, apply, and enjoy mathematics. In her spare time, Kathleen designs and creates quilts and is re-learning how to unicycle.

Kathleen's Workshops:

You CAN Be a Great Math Teacher - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

Maybe you struggled with math, so how do you choose a curriculum to avoid the same fate for your child? Maybe you are really good in math but are unsure how to teach it now? Should you include manipulatives or not? What DOES it take to be the best teacher for your child? Find out the science and the art of teaching math. It is a science because much research has been done on how children learn, especially in math. It is an art because each child is different and lessons need to be tweaked. Come learn and be encouraged to become a great math teacher.

Math Myths, Math Anxiety & Math Learning Challenges - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

Is your child facing learning challenges? Does your child have math anxiety? And what myths are we talking about?? Children with learning challenges must truly understand in order to remember. The traditional approach of teaching mathematics does not work for them. In this workshop, you will learn some teaching strategies and techniques that will help children with learning challenges, reduce math anxiety, and debunk the myths that make your task harder than it needs to be.


Mark Duggar


Mark Dugger

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mark grew up with an affinity for Chick-fil-A and founder Truett Cathy’s story of perseverance through poverty, generosity, and amazing food! He went to Georgia Tech to study Industrial Engineering and began his career as a business consultant with IBM. He never dreamed he would ever work in a restaurant (much less own one)! After traveling every week for four years and then starting to pursue his wife, Laura, he knew that a career spent traveling would not lead him toward the family life he desired. When the economy took a downturn in 2009 he took the plunge (with the nudge of some Chick-fil-A friends) and started as a team member at a local Chick-fil-A restaurant to learn the business in hopes of future restaurant ownership. After three years, at the age of 30, Mark was selected to own his first franchise in South Bend, Indiana. After two years in Indiana, he applied for a new store that would be opening in East Peoria in early 2016. It would be the closest restaurant to his wife’s family in Roanoke, IL. He and his wife Laura now have four children (Selah - 7, Shiloh - 6, Isla 4, and Kessler – 1) and live in Morton.

Mark's Workshop:

Land Your First Job Before the Interview - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

What does an employer look for in potential employees? How can I set myself apart from other candidates? What if I don’t have any experience? What should I put on my application or resume? Now that I have the interview, how do I make a great impression? We will answer these questions and more in our time together.


Carla Estell


Carla Estell

When Carla was in grade school, the "see it, say it" method was being used to teach reading, and if you are dyslexic - that just does not work. It was not until the 5th grade when enrolled in a Christian school and given phonics pages to do that she finally learned to read. 8th grade was a turning point. By the grace of God, His promise in James 1:5 and a lot of hard work, she became an honor student going on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Liberty University. She has taught math and science for 6 years in Christian schools and has homeschooled for 20 years and counting.

Carla's Workshops:

Creation to the Cross: Worldview for Kids - Sessions 2 & 3, Friday 1 to 4 p.m.

His Story from Creation to the Cross - In this fast paced workshop kids will learn about God’s power, goodness and mercy while studying the 6 days of creation, the fall, redemption, worldwide flood, fossils, dinosaurs, Tower of Babel, cavemen and Mount St. Helens - all on an entertaining kid’s level. The three 30 minute lessons will be full of songs, hand motions and hands on fossils. Each lesson will be followed by a time of games or crafts. We will end with a creation based, kid friendly DVD. Ages 6-12, $15/student, 30 student max

Teach Your Child to Read in 6 (Not So Easy) Steps - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

Learn how to teach your struggling child to read and spell. It will not be easy, but with time, patience and consistency - it is possible. Being dyslexic myself and having 3 of my 6 children also dealing with dyslexia, I understand the frustration of learning to read and spell (and of trying to teach someone else)! I want to pass on to you the now tested and proven method I have developed when teaching my children. I have also used this method while tutoring many others. Using pictures, patterns and 6 steps, your child can learn to read. Although I have resources available, I will show you how to make your own.

Creation to the Cross: Worldview for Kids - Sessions 5 & 6, Saturday 1 to 4 p.m.

For those who couldn't make it, this is a repeat of Friday's session. Ages 6-12, $15/student, 30 student max


Chris Kallal


Christopher Kallal

Chris is the Executive Director at Camp Good News in Washington, IL. He loves animals and teaching children about them and their Creator.

Chris' Workshops:

Critter Connection - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

This hands-on class gets you up close with the animals. Learn how God made each animal unique in its own way and hear some of the awesome super-powers He gave to each one! Several of our more popular animals come with us and you get a chance to learn all about them. From Hissing Cockroaches to Leopard Geckos, Snakes to Slugs, and even Axolotls to Skunks, you'll get the rare opportunity to see God's creation in your very own eyes! FREE for kids!

Critter Connection - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

For those who couldn't make it, this is a repeat of Friday's session. FREE for kids!


Kirk Smith


Kirk Smith

Kirk and his wife Joely have been married for 27 years and have 11 children. Although they both were trained as public educators, they committed to homeschooling before their children were school age. Kirk pastored for twenty-five years and now serves as the Executive Director for Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE). Joely has mentored many young women over three decades but now focuses on her six daughters in her own home.

Kirk's Workshops:

New to Homeschooling Night - Thursday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

This special FREE event is for new and first year homeschoolers.

In an Understanding Way - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

A good shepherd leads his flock rather than driving it. As parents, how do we transition from a model of commanding to a model of directing that encourages our children to have personal ownership? We must live in an understanding way.

Rebellion in the Ranks - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

How does a parent address the painful reality of dealing with a child who seems to be heading toward rebellion? Are there pitfalls to avoid? Principles to embrace? Find direction and hope in the Word of God.

Miraculous Cure for Weariness: Embrace It! - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

How do we deal with the weariness of taking the road less traveled of homeschooling? Rather than looking for an escape from weariness, when we learn to embrace it, we may very well discover that weariness is a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block.


Hope Ware


Hope Ware

Hope Ware has been a writer and public speaker for 35 years. Married to Larry since 1988, she has four sons and has homeschooled for 20 years.

Hope and her husband raised their sons debt-free, including paying cash for their home on an income which averaged less than $40,000 a year. They discovered the secrets of spending less, saving more, and living with a spirit of joy and abundance. 

Hope and Larry dispense humor and practical advice about finances at their website - and on their popular YouTube channel -

When she's not speaking or writing, you'll find her speed walking while humming songs of the 70's, creating vegan versions of classic American comfort food, or singing jazz and spirituals with her friends and fellow musicians in the Heritage Ensemble.

Hope's Workshops:

New to Homeschooling - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

In this session, we cover all your questions about homeschooling, including: the law, teaching and learning styles, types of curriculum, how to set a schedule, schooling with babies and toddlers at home, and more. Bring your spouse and your questions. Children are welcome, too.

Homeschooling through Times of Crisis - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

Life can take unexpected twists and turns, which challenge our ability to school effectively. What do you do when your homeschooling routine is thrown a little (or a lot) off kilter? In this session, I give very specific steps and strategies for those who find themselves schooling through times of crisis.

3 Steps to Teaching Children a Biblical View of Money - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

Teaching children about money can feel overwhelming, but it doesn't need to be. I draw deeply from personal experiences in this session. From toddler to teen, I show you how children can develop a strong work ethic, an abiding faith in the provision of God, a clear understanding of budgeting, and financial independence by age 18.

Keeping Food on the Table (without Spending a Lot of Time or Money) - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

It can feel challenging to school and keep your family fed. In this session, you'll learn tips and strategies for saving time and money in the kitchen. We will cover food strategies (which have actually worked for me), weekly menu planning, bulk cooking, getting your kids involved, and lowering your food bills.


James Ware


James W. Ware

James is a homeschool graduate. He graduated summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from Lincoln Christian University in May 2020. He works for a local Christian ministry and plans to pursue ministry in the Anglican Church in North America. He lives in Peoria with his brother and overwhelming collection of books. In his spare time, James enjoys reading, writing about liturgy and prayer, and playing tabletop role-playing games.

James' Workshops:

10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started College - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

College is a brave new world for the homeschooled students. Strange new experiences like syllabi, professors, and finals abound. It can all seem very overwhelming! Fret not. College is a wonderful place to learn and grow. In this seminar, James W. Ware will share the lessons he learned as a student at a community college and a private Christian university. There will be tears and laughter, triumphs and failures. We’ll discover something about ourselves, something about God, and a learn few life lessons along the way.

Navigating the Information Jungle - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

With the advent of the internet, we have more access to information than ever before. Within this deluge of data, there are a lot of bad sources. Misleading memes, fake news, half-baked speculation, and just plain lies abound. How can we sift through it all? In this seminar, we will explore the tools you need to evaluate information online, critique some memes, and locate authoritative sources. The information jungle isn’t quite so perilous when you know where the safe trails are.


Cindy West


Cindy West

Cindy West is passionate about homeschooling joyfully and loves to share strategies to tackle things that tend to steal joy in the day-to-day grind. Her workshops are highly encouraging and always very practical.

A 19-year veteran of homeschooling with a master’s degree in education, Cindy has graduated two children and is currently homeschooling an 8th grader. She’s a Charlotte Mason homeschooler at heart, but knows that any method or curriculum must be adjusted to work with the needs of individual families and even individual children. One of her specialties is helping parents figure out the best ways to tweak homeschooling to find great success.

She teaches monthly, online Homeschool Masterclasses to parents and regularly shares creative and encouraging homeschooling solutions on her blog, Our Journey Westward. She has written several helpful books and curricula such as Homeschooling Gifted Kids and the popular NaturExplorers series. Teaching twice monthly, online classes to 1st-8th graders during No Sweat Nature Study LIVE lessons is one of her very favorite pursuits ever. She and her students have so much fun learning science and creating nature journal pages together!

Cindy's Workshops

Just What Is Charlotte Mason Homeschooling? - Session 2, Friday 1 p.m.

What do short lessons, living literature, nature study, handicrafts and artist study have in common? They’re all bits and pieces of a wonderfully rich and full style of learning called Charlotte Mason homeschooling. During this workshop, be inspired as you learn about each aspect of CM style learning and how to effectively incorporate them into your homeschool.

Creative Nature Study IS Real Science - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

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.

Using Living Literature to Transform Your Homeschool - Session 4, Saturday 10:30 a.m.

Adding superb literature selections to your homeschool makes for rich and engaging lessons that pack more academic punch than you might imagine. During this workshop you will learn how to successfully use living literature alongside and/or in place of your current curriculum. Leave with a wealth of practical ideas for integrating literature into every single subject, as well as resource lists for the best books to be found for all ages and stages.

Brain Training: Unlocking Your Child’s Potential - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

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! My children beg for brain training games and I’ve tracked major gains. This workshop shares basic research behind brain training and several activities that any parent can implement in the home. It also provides you with a resource list to help you learn more if you wish.

How to Plan Unit Studies: A Step-by-Step Lesson - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

This workshop dives a little deeper than the “Homeschooling with Unit Studies” workshop listed above. Rather than an overview of the how’s and why’s of unit studies, this class actually walks you through the process of planning small and large units for various subjects and ages. Expect a lot of interaction from the attendees as I ask them to help plan a unit on the spot.


Durenda Wilson


Durenda Wilson

I’ve been happily married to Darryl since 1989. I’m also a mom to eight, (born between 1991-2004) and nana to six sweet grandbabies. I had visions of what a great mom I would be. After almost 3 decades of mothering, I have come to the conclusion that I will NEVER be that mom, but guess what? It really doesn’t matter because it really isn’t about me... it’s about living the story that GOD has written for our family… the one that reveals just how awesome and faithful HE really is!

I love to encourage parents by sharing some of the clarity that comes with age, experience, and sometimes learning things the hard way. It’s less important that we look a certain way and more important that w parent and homeschool with the big picture in mind and that happens most readily when we learn to SLOW DOWN. Being unhurried in our parenting and homeschooling allows us the time and space to be much more intentional and even more importantly, allow us to hear God’s heart for our families.

We have homeschooled from the beginning and have graduated seven so far. The oldest two (girls) are married and our 25-year-old son graduated from college three years ago with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and 2 minor degrees. He is currently working a software engineer for a company that moves him all over the country. Our 22, 21 and 19-year-old sons are also gainfully employed, one is doing an internship and another is an apprentice in the trades. After 24+ years of homeschooling, I can tell you now more than ever that home educating is an incredible blessing, but only if you don’t let it hold you hostage to unnecessary expectations and notions of what it “should” look like. One of my favorite things is to help parents think outside the box and homeschool confidently in a way that works for their families! Find me online at

Durenda's Workshops:

Unhurried Homeschooling: Why We Need to Slow Down - Session 1, Friday 10:30 a.m.

In a world that is moving at warp speed, it’s easy to forget that kids are still kids. Their needs haven’t changed: they need time to explore and experiment with the real world around them, to absorb life through all their senses, to process their thoughts at their own pace. All of these are crucial in laying a firm foundation for higher learning, but this TAKES TIME. Learn why this is so important and how to protect and defend your kids’ childhood.

Chores: Why They are Essential in Homeschooling - Session 3, Friday 3 p.m.

Most of us agree that chores are important, but often moms and kids are frustrated, angry, and resentful when it comes to how and when to implement them. Having 8 kids in 13 years has the potential to bring a mom to her knees and her home into disarray, but God taught our kids (and me) SO much through working together. The benefits of having our kids do chores are countless! I’ll talk about many of them in this workshop as well as how we scheduled them. More than anything, I want you to be encouraged that investing in this area not only lightens our loads as moms but is an essential part of our kids’ education!

Homeschooling: Purpose or Performance? - Friday Evening 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

We all have clear reasons that we decided to homeschool, but as we continue on this journey, the lines can become blurred. It can be so easy to get caught up in how our kids (and we) are (or aren’t) performing when it comes to homeschooling. But what if that isn’t actually what we are called to? Mastery can be important. God talks about becoming skilled and the importance of diligence. But what if we are giving up purpose and exchanging it for performance?

Homeschooling Boys: What Do They Really Need? - Session 5, Saturday 1 p.m.

Out of our eight kids, five are boys. We have graduated 3 of them so far. As homeschooling moms, we can find teaching our boys extra challenging because…well…they can be VERY different from us. However, God knew what He was doing when He knit them together AND when He chose to make us their moms. Find out some of the most effective tools to engage your boys in their education and enjoy these years with them to the fullest!

Nurturing Sibling Relationships - Session 6, Saturday 3 p.m.

This is THE most popular topic I speak on! Most of us didn’t factor into the equation just how much sibling conflict would be part of our homeschooling days! It can be exhausting! As homeschooling parents, we have a unique opportunity to nurture sibling relationships among our children. Find out practical ways to do this and what an IMPORTANT part of our homeschooling it really is!


Peoria Area Association of Christian Homeschoolers

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For questions regarding newsletter submissions, the Homeschool Convention or home education in general, please send an email to A Board member will respond as soon as possible.


Mailing Address: PAACH | P.O. Box 5203 | Peoria, IL 61601

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