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Keynote Speaker

Diane Allen currently works as an educational consultant, speaker and writer after homeschooling for 23 years, serving the homeschool community and serving as a past director of the DNPE (2016-2018). Having been a classroom science teacher, a homeschool mom, support group leader, test administrator and director of a government agency, she has a broad view of educational issues. She and her husband graduated three children from homeschool, serve at their church and generally enjoy the benefits of being grandparents.



Record Keeping while Homeschooling



Homeschooling while Adventuring



The Neuroscience Behind Learning

Does your child struggle with learning, learn differently than you did, or learn so fast that you don’t know how to keep up? Do you struggle to evaluate and compare curricula that both provide the education you are looking to provide and meet your child’s needs?

In this session, we will cover the basics of how novice human learners learn. 

We will look at the brain structure and how brains receive, process, and store information using sensory memory, attention focusing, working memory, long term memory encoding and retrieval, and the automation process. Knowledge of this neuroscience research will help us evaluate 

We will also learn how to evaluate the objective difficulty of material and the relative difficulty of material so you can assess whether the curriculum meets the needs of your child. 

Before becoming disabled, Hillary was a college and graduate school professor whose primary area of research was how students learn efficiently and effectively.  She has presented locally, nationally, and internationally on this topic. Hillary began homeschooling when her disabilities necessitated having her children home to help with daily household tasks, like getting a plate of food. She chooses self-regulated curricula for her children so they can learn without relying upon her to be able to teach them. With degrees from both University of Chicago and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hillary is passionate about ensuring every motivated student has access to a top-notch education, regardless of their income or ability. 



Types of Homeschooling

Join us for a panel discussion with a Q&A period about the different types of homeschooling.  Gina Grothoff is an unschooler.  Lesli Gibbs is an eclectic homeschooler.  We are currently searching for more panel members to join us.  If you identify as a certain style of homeschooling (Waldorf, Montessori, nature/forest-schooling, classical, etc) please contact us!


Dual Enrollment: High School and College

Gracyn Hensley is the Program Coordinator for Career and College Promise, Outreach & Recruitment at Central Piedmont Community College.  She will be speaking about the requirements and benefits of Dual Enrollment at CPCC.  Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions.


Stress Management Toolkit for Homeschoolers

Homeschooling parents try to do it all. Different personalities, activities, and curriculums make homeschooling a lot to handle. Suggested schedules and outlined coursework are humanly impossible achieve! No reasonable educator can keep up with it for one child… never mind if you are juggling more than one!

In this interactive course, I will share my experience as a practiced,  successful, and mostly sane homeschool mom. I will share my tips and tricks that help me to plan, stay organized, and keep it together. As a single mom of 3, I have had to create a system that is flexible and accomplishable.

The goal is to distill things down to the essence and get rid of the overwhelm.  To focus on the big picture for your homeschool. To determining where to focus your time and efforts. To use your strengths to create a plan that you can achieve.

This will help your family enjoy homeschooling, even with multiple kids!

Julie Wade is a former social worker turned homeschooling parent who uses all the tricks of the trade on her own children! With a bachelor's degree from UNC Chapel Hill in psychology and sociology and five years of homeschooling under her belt, Julie knows the stress of tyrannical toddlers, rambunctious boys, and strong-willed tweens. Top it off with vision-related learning difficulties, 9 moves in 8 years, and family trauma she has become a resilience ninja! Through starting a co-op, surviving divorce, and navigating the homeschooling requirements in four different states, Julie has learned how to change tactics and adapt quickly to new circumstances. She is passionate about helping other parents enjoy raising and educating their young children. Through implementing researched methods to minimize stress and maximize efforts, Julie is making homeschool work for lots of different family dynamics, including single-parent and working-parent lifestyles. When she’s not reading the latest Brene Brown research or developing a behavior plan you’ll find her coaching her son’s soccer team or packing for the next exciting field trip!



Homeschooling Children of Color

What are the unique challenges that families face when educating children of color (i.e., Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous children)? How do we find and create community in diverse spaces? Join us during lunch for a facilitated discussion about the joys and struggles related to race and ethnicity. Note: this discussion is open to everyone, but we will center the voices of people of color. If you identify otherwise, come with an open heart and a desire to listen.

Crystal Farmer is a facilitator at Gastonia Freedom School. As the black mom of a mixed child, she has navigated the public and non-public education system with an awareness of implicit bias and how it affects students of color. She worked as an engineer before quitting her job to homeschool her child. She worked as a substitute teacher in Gaston County Schools before opening Gastonia Freedom School, an Agile Learning Center focused on children with disabilities.



How to Talk so your Teen will Listen

Gina and Don have blended their experience, skills and talents together in a practice called Focused Healthy Family. Their practice transforms family dynamics from dysfunctional to functional. Keeping in mind and practice three basic principles of family function: collaboration, consciousness and respect. Teaching the whole family practical skills based on the three principles. Skills such as respectful communication, team building, understanding personality dynamics and mindfulness.

Gina brings to the practice her knowledge and experience as an Occupational Therapist since 1992, her insights as a homeschooling mom since 1997, a lifetime of  journaling and writing that has evolved into a parenting Blog, a former La Leche Leader and her desire to empower others on their parenting journey. 

Don brings to the practice his knowledge and experience as an Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner since 2012, his role as father to three kids since 1997, 17 years in sales and marketing, his business skills as an entrepreneur since 1996 and his passion for helping others.

Gina and Don live and practice in Charlotte, NC with their three kids, 2 dogs and 2 cats. They are proud to bring their skills and talents together to naturally bring families back together. Their practice reaches families all over the world via the internet.


Self Directed Education

With a degree in Psychology and a masters in Special Education, Missy Willis planned for a life devoted to education in the traditional sense. She worked inside many classrooms in both public and private schools, helped develop a K-12 skills list, and tutored kids. She also worked on the landmark MTA study at Duke University Medical Center, which gave her a glimpse inside the world of large scale research projects and mental health diagnoses in children. But what she consistently witnessed were kids suffering inside our highly regarded institutions. “Solutions” targeted the child, not the environments they were struggling in. She knew there had to be a better way.

What does it mean to be educated? Is school absolutely necessary? Wouldn’t children be healthier if they were given more freedom to play and more autonomy over their learning? Does our family really want to participate in an inflexible, one size fits all system that will essentially run our lives? These are just a few of the questions Missy pondered before ultimately deciding to skip school with her own kids over 12 years ago. By embracing Self-Directed Education (SDE), they have been co-creating a life built on curiosity, joy, and physical and mental wellness. In her talk, Missy will delve into SDE—what it is, what it is not, and why it may be the answer to many of our societal problems. 

Missy currently volunteers for the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), has written for their online magazine, Tipping Points, and created a social media community, Let ‘em Go Barefoot, where she discusses current research and ways to support the mental well-being of children and families.


Teaching Reading with a Multi-Sensory Approach

After teaching kindergarten and first grade in the public schools, Natalie was disheartened watching her daughter with special needs struggle to learn in a traditional classroom. She and her daughters reluctantly left school and, a decade later, they are still homeschooling. They have homeschooled in four different states and while traveling for months at a time. Her twins will be graduating next year, both taking a gap year. One will hike the Appalachian Trail and the other will enjoy a year of growth and discovery close to home before heading off to college. 

Come learn about the benefits of incorporating multi-sensory learning into your literacy routine! Hands-on activities help keep early experiences with reading and writing engaging and positive. Singing, movement, building, creating, and mess-making help engage the brain as our children learn phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, spelling, and writing.  We'll keep it simple and straightforward- I'm not a Pinterest mom and you don't have to be, either! We'll add some new tricks to your bag and you'll even go home with some goodies! 




Come learn the neuroscience behind why gaming is great for learning and creating deep, meaningful connections within your family. There’s a game to meet almost any need! Bonus: learn how to improve sportsmanship, increase frustration tolerance, and attention to task!

Abigail Wu has been a gaming nerd for over 20 years and enjoyed teaching her children with games for the last three years. She will share practical tips and experiences in gaming with kids.


Homeschooling with Special Needs



 Dynamic Homeschooling: Educating Your Children for a Rapidly Evolving Future

Our world is experiencing change at an exponential rate.  Many of the careers and jobs that our children will have as adults may not even exist today.  Do we continue to teach the same subjects in the same manner and hope for the best?  How can we possibly prepare them when now, more than ever, we can’t tell what the future will be like? In this session, we’ll explore: the knowledge, tools, and skills your students will need to prepare them to keep pace with this rapidly evolving future, and how you can incorporate these into your homeschooling, for children of any age.

Doreen Browning is a veteran homeschooler with a passion for lifelong learning, process improvement, building community, and sharing information to help others. In 2001 she founded Enrich, Inc., the first inclusive homeschool support group in the greater Charlotte area, with a vision for breaking down barriers and serving the increasingly diverse homeschool community.  Homeschooling and serving the community as a Director of Enrich led her into a study of education, educational psychology, learning science, and instructional design.  Doreen encourages homeschoolers to set aside traditional beliefs about education and embrace the nimble, customizable, dynamic aspects of homeschooling.