Breakout Sessions

Wild + Free Learning

We’re created for community, adventure and to be in sync with nature. Come be encouraged on how a wild and free focus will not only complement but also enhance your homeschool.  

Amanda Nassau – Amanda has degrees in Kinesiology and in Spanish/Literature- she always knew she’d be in pedagogy, she just didn’t know it would be as her own kids’ teacher! But here they are, homeschooling from day one through the many ups and downs of life.  The Nassaus have always clung to their time in nature and created strong community amongst families that value the same, regardless of what method or curriculum they may be doing. They’re a family of 4 and traded the beaches of SoCal for the rivers near Sacramento.  

There’s No Rush: An Unhurried Approach to Learning

Do you feel pressured to get everything done in the school day? It’s easy to feel like your school time needs to be structured down to the minute to keep up with lessons and learning targets. But what would happen if you made space for your child to explore, wonder, and learn at their own pace?

Join DeeDee Hughes, Director of Curriculum Development for Oak Meadow Curriculum and School, to find ways to drop the stress and worry and enjoy an unhurried approach to learning.

In this session, we will: Look at the benefits of an unhurried approach.  Explore ways to allow space for students of different ages to learn at their own pace.  Identify how to customize lessons to support academic skills without pushing

DeeDee Hughes – DeeDee is the Director of Curriculum Development for Oak Meadow, a publisher of secular homeschooling curriculum for Pre/K-12 and an accredited distance learning school. She is also the editor of Oak Meadow’s free educational journal, Living Education. A long-time writer and editor with a degree in education and psychology, DeeDee sees the education of the whole child, not just the intellect, as essential. She is always looking for new ways to create vibrant, meaningful educational experiences for children.

Who will decide the future? The importance of shepherding your child

In a culture that has declared war on parents, it is more important than ever that we take responsibility for actively shepherding the lives of those that God has given us. In this session, we will talk about why YOU are important to your child’s education and the future of our world.

Pastor Thomas Hartung – A second generation homeschooler, Thomas has been a pastor in the Roseville community for the past 12 years. Serving as associate pastor at Westside Christian Church. Additionally, Thomas is a Qualified Mentor through Mentoring Sacred Arts, a program that is aimed at relational disciple-making through spiritual practices. He and his wife Christine are currently homeschooling their two boys Jude (8) and Jonah (5) and plan to start their youngest Aria (2) soon.

Classical Education

Classical Christian education is a beautiful combination of integrating subjects and focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty. Come learn about the trivium and how it coordinates with your child’s natural learning stages. Aspects of Classical Christian education can be utilized alongside any home education method and can deeply enrich any learning environment. 

Amanda Weaver – Amanda has been educating her four children classically, with a side of Charlotte Mason’s philosophies, for over six years. She has found richness and beauty in learning as a family, and during each season grows alongside them. She has a passion for Jesus, her family, spending time in God’s creation, and sharing her love of home education with others.  

Knowing your “why

Overwhelmed? Caught in the comparison? Feel like you’re not enough?

Come gather with others just like you and let’s talk about our WHY. We all decide to homeschool for different reasons, but what’s going to keep us going and give us peace in our everyday.

We will have time to reflect, write, and establish anchors to hold us fast.

Anna Cunningham – Anna a mama of 4, and second generation homeschooler, having been homeschooled herself from Kinder all the way through high school graduation. She schools from an eclectic and unhurried approach and believes that doing things from a place of rest fosters an environment in which her relationships with her children will flourish. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and yet wholeheartedly leans on Jesus – the only One who is perfect.

Homeschool with a Charter

Charter Schools offer many opportunities for families of TK-High School students who want to homeschool.  Learn about the benefits of homeschooling with these schools and how to weigh the pros and cons of joining these types of programs.

Sara Greco – Sara is a homeschool parent of six kids. She and her husband have been married for almost 19 years and have graduated one student so far. All of their kids have experienced a variety of schooling methods over the years, from local neighborhood schools to private homeschooling. Sara has worked for a homeschool charter school for the past six years and is very grateful for the many options available to students and families in the greater Sacramento area. Education is not a one size fits all system and is happy to help families brainstorm and find a good fit for their students’ needs.

Holding the line

Learn how to hold the line with parental and health rights in California and engage in the community. Denise will be teaching on how to appropriately interact with your local and state representatives in working groups.

Denise Aguilar – As a woman who goes the distance, not only does she have her hand in Lexit as the NorCal chapter leader, she is also co founder of Freedom Angels, president of San Joaquin Liberty Coalition, and founder of Mamalitia. In 2019 to oppose SB 276 she locked arms alongside so many families fighting for their health rights and held the line at the California state capitol. This amazing woman knows no bounds and will never give up fighting for you.

The Way to Gentle Preschool Years

Some say, “No formal education in preschool years!” Others say, “The earlier you start, the easier they’ll learn!” How are we to know what to do when torn between extremes? I propose a moderate position where days are long enough to engage in intentional learning, living literature, and hands-on explorations rooted in the cultivation of good habits, true virtue, and the Word of God. Let’s talk about preschool – the gentle, classical way. 

Erin Cox – Erin is a joy-chasing homeschool mama to 4 babies, ages 17 down to 5. She married her grade-school sweetheart 20 years ago, and lives to love him well. Erin writes about homeschooling, taking hard moments captive for Christ, and loving her family well at Life, Abundantly. She is the author of multiple early-years Charlotte Mason and Classically-inspired programs at The Gentle + Classical Press and is the Editor in Chief of On Mission, a quarterly culture-focused geography magazine. 

The Recipe for a Real Education!

Is it your goal to help your students get a real education instead of “filling in the required blanks”? Is it possible to raise young adults who know “how” to think and are engaged and interested in learning? Jennifer will help you understand what a Unit Study is (and what it is NOT), why this method is desirable for teaching all ages, and lead you into joyfully and confidently teaching those upper graders! She will share stories from her own treasure trove of homeschooling and help you see how you can relax and enjoy your family as you lead your children through a rich and valuable educational experience.

Jennifer Steward – Jennifer and her husband, Jim, homeschooled their 8 children all the way through high school. Teaching via The Unit Study Method was not only a life saver trying to juggle teaching different age groups, but it was also the perfect recipe for helping her children develop a lifelong love for learning. Jennifer is an author, conference speaker, workshop presenter and teacher. Jennifer has been teaching classes at homeschool learning centers for the past several years. Previous to that she taught a homeschool history co-op for 8 years  called The HISTerical Sisters! 

Homeschool 101 Panel

Learn from seasoned homeschoolers, all the in’s and out’s you will want to know as a first time homeschooler. There will also be Q and A time at the end of the session.

Panel Speakers – Rhonda Asbenson, Jeff James, Margie Hartung, Carrie De Francisco

Successfully Navigating Next Steps in the VUCA world

As a parent of a young adult, or as a young adult yourself, you’re facing significant uncertainty about the future, and as a result, there may be fear regarding your next steps. This fun, hands-on workshop will provide you with an understanding of the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous(VUCA) nature of the rapidly changing global work force. Unlike typical career counseling that simply tells you what “to be”, you will take away tools and mindsets to navigate with confidence, intentionality, and clarity the unknown path ahead of you.

Unrestricted Education in this Volatile, Uncertain,

Complex, and Ambiguous (VUCA) World

Headline upon headline, article upon article and statistic upon statistic all continue to reveal the glaring truth — the education system is broken beyond repair, and the state of higher ed is abysmal and counterproductive. There is no limit to the number of companies desperate for a new way of preparing professional talent for the global digital workforce in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. At Apprentice University, we’ve successfully disrupted traditional education, answering the call for a new way of educating young adults of character who are prepared to step out, take the lead, and boldly address the enormous challenges we are faced with in the rapidly changing world. We are excited to share our innovative and award – winning, unrestricted model of market-designed, market-driven, and market-accredited programs with you in this session.

Apprentice University – Offers self-motivated, entrepreneurial minded high school graduates of high standing character, a unique, challenging, and targeted means of education that focuses on hands-on professional experience, mentoring, a supportive community, real – world training and skills acquisition, all delivered through an award-winning model of collaborative engagements and apprenticeships with our corporate partners, alongside in-person classes. As students develop their skills, they learn to become engaged professionals, equipped with practical and highly sought-after market skills, such as innovation, creative problem solving, critical thinking, leadership, communication, collaboration and a lifelong learning disposition. This means an Apprentice University graduate is uniquely prepared to enter and successfully manage the would of VUCA(Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)

Angie Murrell – As a stay-at-home mom, Angie was involved for many years in leadership in MOPS, International. She is a homeschool mom who taught numerous classes in homeschool co-ops, founded and led a homeschool speech and debate club for 5 years, taught for several years for a popular online academy, and was in leadership and taught many classes for a classical Christian homeschool tutelage program. Angie has taught students at elementary, high school, collegiate, and advanced adult levels. She leads strategic innovation and designs, implements, and manages all the academic programming as part of her role at Apprentice University. Angie is a lifelong learner with a rich history of motivating and encouraging others on their journey of learning, exploration, and discovery. She has a solid grounding in
creativity, critical thinking skills, and learning styles, and has provided mentorship for numerous young adults throughout the years. Angie eagerly seeks out and steps up to the next challenge as evidenced by the one-of-a-kind programs she’s implemented. As a professional facilitator, she is passionate about creative problem solving and innovation and inculcates such in the courses she facilitates and the strategic leadership she provides at Apprentice University. Angie and her husband, Gary, live near Brownsburg, Indiana. They love exploring,traveling, and enjoying God’s creation in their RV. They have four daughters, two sons-in-law, and just recently celebrated the birth of their first grandson.

Homeschooling in Highschool Panel

Learn from parents who have graduated their children and how they did it. Q and A will be at the end of the session.

Panel Speakers – Brenda Johnston, Rachael Mikelionis, Kim Huxley, Carrie De Francisco, Jodie Joslin

The Importance of Play

PLAY! Not only vital to learning, but a game-changer in managing difficult behavior in children. Let’s face it, parenting a child well is challenging enough, becoming their primary educator really ups the ante, and some days merely surviving is an accomplishment! This session addresses the positive impact play has on the young, developing brain and offers some simple strategies for reducing negative behavior. Who doesn’t want that, right?!

Amy Sachs – Amy never dreamt she’d be a homeschool mom, at least not until the 2010 housing market crash that took her husband’s job, their home, forced them to downsize, and meant a change in schools for their daughter. It was then that the idea of homeschooling became a compelling option. She teamed up with her husband and took the leap, becoming her daughter’s primary educator, and fully invested in their local homeschooling community, as both a participant and a teacher. Today, Amy is so thankful for that market crash that changed the trajectory of her family’s life and has been teaching homeschoolers every since.  

Amy is co-founder and teacher at The Cottage, a homeschool enrichment program in Rocklin, for ages 4 to 12 years. She has a degree in Child Development from California State University, Sacramento, and has been teaching young children for over 30 years. She is crazy about kids and passionate about their healthy social and emotional growth!

Karen Murray – Karen loves to learn and discover new things! She has been involved in education in various ways throughout her adult life. She has taught students in private schools from preschool through high school, as well as a homeschool mom of two sons. While her sons were growing up and being homeschooled, she moved into part-time involvement in church preschool programs. With her sons now productive adults, she is enjoying being back in the classroom teaching homeschool enrichment classes to TK aged students. 

Homeschooling Privatly with a PSA

Private homeschooling in California can sound scary. What do I do about transcripts, records and what if I need help with the day to day? Gain insights on some of the resources available in our area, what really is required of you and what’s not. Ask questions and be encouraged!

Rachael Mikelionis –  A homeschooling mother of three, graduating two and finishing up her homeschool years with one left at home. She has been privately homeschooling her kids in California for 13 years. She loves getting outside with family, slow rhythms at home, painting and encouraging mama’s that they can in fact homeschool their kids.

The Christian Youth Exodus and Proposed Solutions

Did you know based on most research …

·         The majority of youth are leaving the church.

·         Many even leave their faith.

·         Most emotionally or spiritually leave before college.

What can you do to protect your own children from being another statistic?

Ryan Huxley – Ryan is a licensed professional engineer (civil and structural) with a BS and MS in Structural Engineering from the University of California at San Diego. He has a Certificate of Study in Christian Apologetics from BIOLA and a Diploma in Christian Apologetics from Dr. Norman Geisler’s Veritas International Institute of Christian Apologetics. Since 2014 he has been with Ratio Christi and has studied the Christian youth exodus for over a decade. He has been interviewed on Ratio Christi’s Truth Matterspodcasts, and spoken at various venues on the youth exodus and other apologetics topics.

Kim Huxley – Kim is an attorney with a BA in Psychology from the University of California at San Diego and a JD from California Western School of Law. She has homeschooled her kids from K-12 and incorporated apologetics in age-appropriate ways for many years. She has also taught apologetics classes to homeschool students and facilitated a monthly apologetics seminar for the Bridgeway Homeschool Group.  

An Unschooling Approach to Child Language Acquisition 

Nicole will discuss various methods and advantages to child language acquisition via unschooling, contrasting unschooling with the limitations of mainstream approaches in public education. Unschooling in foreign language stands in stark contrast to mainstream educational approaches to teaching foreign languages, yet it provides opportunities for language acquisition that are actually more in line with research on how children best learn languages. That is because research shows that children learn language best the way that humans have always learned language; through rich social interactions in the target language. Unschooling approaches to language acquisition lend themselves more readily to sparking and watering a lifelong passion for language learning and cultural exploration, and can provide more meaningful and effective opportunities for language exposure and learning. In comparison, mainstream approaches tend to follow the drill and kill method of repetitive worksheet practice and limited memorized conversational skills, relying on the anxiety-inducing system of tests and grades to motivate children to complete their homework. This system in the US has poor results, graduating students who typically never achieve conversational proficiency in the target language, and rapidly forget the information that they committed to short term memory, motivated primarily by grade achievement.

Nicole Horton – is a local homeschool graduate who now homeschools and worldschools her son. Together they have lived and traveled throughout North and South America. She holds a masters degree in sociology from the University of Toronto, two bachelor’s degrees in sociology and language studies from UC San Diego, and an associate’s in teaching from San Joaquin Delta College. As a part of her coursework at UCSD she completed specialized course work in child language acquisition and conducted research on child social networks for her honors thesis which she presented at the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference and the Sunbelt International Network Analysis Conference in Washington DC. She was also a guest speaker at the Education Freedom Online Summit, which was an international conference for homeschoolers and unschoolers. She currently works as a homeschool Spanish teacher and is a licensed vendor with various charter schools throughout California. She offers in-person and on-line Spanish classes, taking an unschool-inspired approach to fostering language acquisition in children. 

Task Master vs. Mentor what kind of homeschool parent would you like to be?

Do you feel like you are driving your child’s education and they are taking a back seat? Would you like your child to take more ownership of their education? Join Meghan Muyanja Director of John Adams Academy’s online program in learning the do’s and don’t of establishing a mentoring relationship with your child. Target ages 3rd grade through high school.

Meghan Muyanja – Meghan is a home school graduate who has mentored homeschooling families for over 16 years. Join us for this impactful seminar. Target ages K-6.

Teaching your child how to think not what to think

Socratic discussions have been used for 2,000 years to inspire students to become lifelong learners. Is your homeschooling becoming a little mundane or too checklist-oriented? Join us for this impactful seminar. Target ages 3rd grade through high school.

Meghan Muyanja – Meghan is a home school graduate who has mentored homeschooling families for over 16 years. Join us for this impactful seminar. Target ages K-6.

A New Paradigm for Christian Higher Education:  

How to combat debt, deconstruction, and drift during the college years.  

Studies show that Gen Z are leaving the church and Christianity in unprecedented numbers.  Gen Alpha is set to do the same.  Learn how a non-traditional, faith focused, fully accredited, university level, experiential college discipleship program is seeking to turn the tide.  See how you can help your student earn their degree while building a strong foundation for a lifetime pursuit of Christ.  Based out of Sacramento’s Bayside Church, Thrive College seeks to raise the next generation of Christian leaders without saddling them with student debt, providing a strong biblical foundation, and engaging this generation’s most important questions through a Christian worldview.  

Leah Klingseis – Leah is a 16 year veteran of enrollment in the Christian higher education space having been the Director of Enrollment at one of the largest Christian universities in the west coast, Azusa Pacific University.  She is now the Director or Enrollment for Thrive College, a leadership development ministry of Bayside Church.  Having taught as a faculty member, served in a university’s co-curricular programs, and led an enrollment team in a traditional university, Leah has a unique perspective on how non-traditional programs can deliver on the promise of a Christ centered education while strengthening a student’s faith.  

The Waldorf Approach to Math in Grades 1 – 8

In this workshop, Waldorf Math Teacher Sarah Barrett, gives an overview of the Waldorf Approach to Math in Grades 1 – 8 with practical applications and activities to use in your homeschool. Sarah will share resources and activities for helping struggling math students, ways to enliven math for students who feel bored by the subject, and activities for students who love math and want more. We will talk
through each grade, 1 – 8, and discuss the golden nuggets of Waldorf math for each. She will also touch on the three-year math cycle, assessments and milestones, and methods of leading children to discovery. In the early years, we bring to the children stories to help them play with and “act out” concepts like division and equivalent fractions so they are fully rooted in the understanding of the
concept. Instead of simply giving middle schoolers the formula a 2 + b 2 = c 2 , we lead the students to discover it for themselves just like the ancient Greeks. How much more meaningful and interesting it then becomes! Some people have heard the misconception that Waldorf math is not as rigorous as other approaches to
math, but quite the contrary. Many specialists in math-related professions see the depth of the Waldorf approach and fall in love with it for their own children’s education. Sarah will share with you many of the reasons she, an engineer, chose this approach to math for her own children.

Sarah Barrett

Sarah Barrett is a lifelong math enthusiast and teacher. She loves making math engaging and meaningful for her students and helping them find confidence and joy in the subject. She is a partner in both Lotus & Ivy Waldorf-Inspired Virtual Classes and Lotus & Ivy Pods. Sarah’s educational background is in Industrial and Systems Engineering with a degree from Georgia Tech. Upon graduating, she started her career with Walt Disney World. Sarah went on to work in various engineering roles for Disney including managing a team of engineers and statisticians. In 2015, she founded her first Waldorf-inspired homeschool enrichment program in Orlando, FL. This first program grew to five programs, and in 2021, Sarah partnered with a dear friend to bring her knowledge and experience from the previous programs to a wider audience. Lotus & Ivy virtual classes was born to be a special blend of Waldorf education and homeschooling for English speaking students all over the world.
Sarah has taught many Waldorf math and science classes to homeschoolers in-person and online over the last few years through her in-person enrichment programs, online, and at a brick-and-mortar Waldorf school where she has taught main lessons and math classes to students in grades 4 – 7. Sarah homeschooled her children with Waldorf methods for 9 years.

Why Dual Enrollment?

This breakout session will answer that question! William Jessup University offers high school students the opportunity to receive college credit through our Dual Enrollment program. Dual enrollment courses are college-level courses taught by university faculty, in which qualified high school students may enroll. College credit can be completed at a low cost before graduating high school, while students can be immersed in the Jessup community and make connections with faculty and current students. We will discuss how students can experience the strong academics and close knit community of Jessup that nurtures the mind and spirit.

Tina Petersen – Finding her calling in higher education, Tina brings almost 30 years of experience to the field. More than 20 of those years have been with William Jessup University in Rocklin, CA, where she has been an integral part of the institution’s move from San Jose, expansion of programs, and strategic planning.  Her passion is to help students find their own purpose and calling. Coming from a long line of educators, she received her Master’s in Student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University and continues to be solutions-oriented to the challenges within higher education. Tina has worked at a range of large public and small private institutions. She believes student success should take a strategic, holistic approach, seasoned with out-of-the box thinking. With a heart for all people, she strives to help individuals see their value as a uniquely wonderful creation made in the image of God. Her favorite part of the school year happens when students meet their goal and walk the stage at commencement. Tina resides in Lincoln, CA, with her husband and two school-aged daughters. She attends and serves at Emmaus Church Community.

WARRIOR MOTHER: Fighting FOR the kids and not WITH them

Why is it that while moms so often desire a close relationship with their children that  they sometimes end up in conflict with them? Not only is homeschooling near impossible when there is tension in the family, but the ability to influence children’s values is lost. In this session Beverly opens the Word to reveal important help for family harmony. She shares about the transformation in her own home when she recognized the spiritual warfare directed at her own children, and made the choice to fight not WITH them, but FOR them.

Beverly Bradley – Beverly is a mother of 6 grown children, whom she homeschooled for 27 years, disciples wives and mothers according to Titus 2:4-5. She is a powerful communicator, and a popular keynote speaker at women’s gatherings. Committed to teaching the Word of God without compromise, she speaks with sensitivity, humor, and biblical wisdom in addressing issues related to motherhood, marriage, and homeschooling. Her transparent style leaves her listeners encouraged and  hopeful in their walks with Jesus. Many, in fact, have described Bev’s ministry as “absolutely life-changing.”

Parents do you have college bound kids?

College Planning Fresno and its affiliate College Planning Network is a family’s single source for all their college admissions, funding and financial aid planning needs.  We help families from all walks of life make college more affordable and eliminate the anxiety of the college planning process.  Learn about 529s, FASFA, Scholarships and more!

Scott Karl – Scott is an (IAR) Investment Advisor Representative from Fresno, CA with over 30 years of experience in the college funding arena. He’s married to Priscilla and they have a son that graduated from UCLA in 2018.

College in High School @ Sierra College –

How high school students can obtain college credit This session will focus on the Dual Enrollment/Academic Enrichment program at Sierra College. It will discuss the different ways to earn college credit for high school age students. This program is tuition- free and the credits students earn may even count towards both a HS Diploma and Associate Degree. Taking college classes in high school is a great way to save time and money and prepare students for college. Details will also be provided on the application, enrollment and approval process for this

Alistair Turner – Alistair is an Enrollment Specialist at the college. He has worked in a variety of enrollment and student services positions during his nearly 20-year career at the college. He obtained his graduate degree in Higher Education Leadership (Community College) from Sacramento State University, with a particular focus on equity, access, student success and supportive practices at California Community Colleges. He is currently the colleges outreach and onboarding contact for several local high school districts within Placer County.

“Am I Qualified to Teach My Kids (esp. Classically??!)?”

I know that I want to teach my kids, but I am afraid I don’t know enough. When it comes down to it, our aspirations may seem greater than our qualifications. Perhaps the question is not whether you are qualified to be the expert, but are you willing to bring your kids along the journey to being passionate, capably-thinking, lifelong learners? Your qualifications are based less on what you know than who you are. Be encouraged in this venture because you have God-given credentials!

Charlotte Turner – As a homeschooled student herself, Charlotte thought homeschooling her own kids would be a breeze when she started out. She quickly discovered that being the homeschooling parent is vastly different from being a homeschooled student. She discovered classical education when her mom gave her a little orange book called “Homeschooling Methods” and instantly knew classical education was a model she could invest herself in. She graduated from Bethany College with a Music Education degree, has home educated her own 5 children, graduated two of them, taught herself to teach Latin, founded two Christian classical homeschool communities, teaches private voice and piano lessons and founded and directs the Novella Canta Choir. Her favorite people to be with are her family, and her favorite place to be is the beach. Someday she hopes to own a motor home and take her family along the old Highway 40 from San Francisco, CA to Atlantic City, NJ.