Keynote Speakers #

Workshop Leaders #

Julie Bogart

  • Mother of five globe-trotting young adults who collectively homeschooled for 17 years.
  • Professional freelance writer and editor for 10 years.
  • Entrepreneur and creator of Brave Writer: now 16 years old.
  • Founder of The Homeschool Alliance in 2014.

But mostly...? I'm an empty-nester looking to party with a few adventurous homeschooling parents! Want to join me?

The "Be Good to You" retreat is my gift back to our Brave Schooler community. Let's trade hugs, stories, struggles, and laughs in person. We'll listen to prepared talks, hold break-out sessions, eat great food, and practice the techniques we teach!

My keynote opening address for the first night is called "Updating Charlotte Mason to the 21st Century." We'll look at all the ways we can embrace the language-rich, artsy, child-respecting philosophy in the now—when Minecraft and smart phones dominate our kids' experiences.

I'll close our time together with a heart-to-heart session about how to establish an emotionally safe and nourishing home environment for your homeschool and your family: "The Invisible Education."

Melissa Wiley #

The spring of 1995 was a landmark time for me: first baby, first book contract, and first modem. By the time that baby was crawling, I had discovered the AOL homeschooling boards and Growing Without Schooling Magazine. I knew right away that homeschooling was for us. We were gung ho from the start.

Twenty (!!) years later, that baby is studying computer science at Cal Poly and there are five more kids behind her, ages 17, 15, 12, 9, and 6. Four girls, two boys. We live on the outskirts of San Diego in a bungalow crammed wall to wall with books. My husband Scott writes comic books and I write children's books—mostly historical fiction and early readers, including The Prairie Thief, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, and the "Inch and Roly" series. Our freelance lifestyle allows a lot of flexibility for family homeschooling adventures.

I call our educational style "Tidal Homeschooling," a term I coined to describe our ebb-and-flow homeschooling rhythms. We alternate periods of concentrated, literature-based studies with periods of unschoolish, interest-driven meanderings. These rhythms have worked well for our family for many years and allow a lot of free time for our various passions, including gaming (especially Minecraft and Harvest Moon), sketching, and butterfly gardening. At the retreat, I'll be speaking about what "high tide" and "low tide" looks like, and why my primary goal is to maintain an atmosphere of curious inquiry, joy, and fun.

I've been blogging about our tidal homeschooling adventures at Here in the Bonny Glen since January, 2005. I love fountain pens, snail mail, traveler's notebooks, booklists, and Monty Python. Most of all, I love a good read-aloud!

Rita Cevasco #

I am a Speech and Language Therapist. I am a mom. I was a therapist before I became a mom, after I became a mom, and even, exhaustingly, as a home school mom. Thirty years later, in my new “on-call” mom-role to my three adult kids, I still provide therapy to school-aged children in my private practice in Mason, Ohio. My mom-brain/therapist-brain is so entwined it is hard to know which gray cells belong where! Informed by ongoing education and experience in both these fields of study, I specialize in working with children who struggle with reading and writing, and with the parents who struggle by their sides.

After taking my first Kid’s Write Basic class, Julie and I began sharing ideas. In 2004 I began teaching Bravewriter classes on Copywork, Dictation and Partnership Writing, combining my own techniques with Julie’s wonderful strategies.

I will be sharing how to “teach intentionally,” turning your child’s Copywork and Dictation practice into a total Language Arts experience—and together we will be creating lessons for you to use in your home school. You will be surprised how a small amount of copywork each week can yield meaningful results in phonics, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, editing and literacy!

You can find me at my website: ritaspeak.com and my Facebook page Rita M. Cevasco, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist

Alexandra Dekerf #

I was born and raised in France, and moved to Canada at 18 to learn English and attend college. I graduated with honors from Seneca's Travel and Tourism diploma. I worked briefly in a variety of jobs before becoming a mother and staying home full time (my favorite "job" by far!). After living several years in various parts of Ontario, my family chose to settle in beautiful Prince Edward Island three years ago.

I have always had a love for nature. Growing up in the South of France, I spent my summers in the Mediterranean Sea. I was fortunate to travel to many parts of Europe and North Africa with my parents. I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents who lived in the Bordeaux region of France. There I was free to roam a little forest area near their home, falling in love with the trees and moss in particular. Thanks to my Canadian born father, I discovered the magical Canadian landscape while camping in Ontario with relatives as a young teenager. I promised myself then to move to Canada when I turned 18, and so I did! Spending time in nature always "recharges" me, even if it is just a few minutes during a morning walk.

I have homeschooled my three children for the last 10 years (18, 16 and 11). The older two are homeschool graduates (the 16 year old in public school taking electives in automotives and carpentry, the oldest living on her own). I love learning together with Celeste, the youngest, spending time in nature, cooking, and reading lots of books!

I have been blogging for the past 8 years, documenting my adventures in homeschooling, family life, and more recently exploring the island.

I am a vegetarian living with carnivores. I love to try new recipes. I also enjoy sewing and quilting. Last summer, I took my passion for handmade items to the next level by opening an Etsy shop “Life On Island Studio."

I'm also a brand ambassador for Brave Writer! At the retreat, I'll share about both nature journaling with your kids, and how to join our team of brand ambassadors, if you'd like to earn a little money from your enthusiastic sharing of Brave Writer products with friends.

Follow me on my social media outlets: @lifeonisland

Stephanie Elms #

I have to admit that when I first had kids, homeschooling was not even on my radar. Looking back, I can now see how I fell into it naturally as an extension of the relationship-based parenting approach I found myself drawn to. For this I am forever grateful. I've learned over the years the truth in the saying that "there are no educational emergencies" and I feel the biggest gift of homeschooling is that of time.

I've has been a homeschool advocate for 15 years, working as volunteer for my statewide inclusive homeschool organization, The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, and as moderator of several local, statewide and national homeschool email lists and Facebook groups. I have recently started working for Brave Writer as a Homeschool Coach in the Homeschool Alliance and have loved being part of the safe and welcoming community that Julie has created there. I particularly enjoy encouraging homeschoolers as they learn to trust the process with their children as well as themselves, recognizing that in homeschooling there are no "right" approaches, just options to try.

I have two always-been-homeschooled boys, ages 19 and 16 and am seriously enjoying the teen/young adult years. I love that homeschooling gave me an excuse to read good children's literature and gave me time to pursue my interest in photography. I've shared stories about my homeschooling and life journeys for the past 10 years on my blog, Throwing Marshmallows and you can find me on Instagram as @stephelms.

Jeannette Hall #

Arts lover, hat wearer, and white chocolate truffle eater, I'm both mom and friend to my four grown kids, all homeschooled. Though I live in the bluegrass, I've never attended the Kentucky Derby or tried a Mint Julep. I have, however, been known to say "y'all" on occasion. I'm the Social Media and Marketing Administrator for Brave Writer and work in my pajamas most days. Homeschooling my children led me into my chief passion as an adult: the enjoyment of the arts! I will teach a workshop about how to introduce your family to the less user-friendly arts: opera, Shakespeare, and ballet.

Come meet me more personally! I blog at cliffsandwings.com.

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