Colleen Kessler

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Missouri Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention New York Homeschool Convention Florida Homeschool Convention

Colleen Kessler is an explorer, tinkerer, educator, writer, creator, and a passionate advocate for the needs of gifted and twice-exceptional children. She has a B.S. in elementary education, a M.Ed. in gifted studies, and is the founder of the popular blog Raising Lifelong Learners as well as Raising Poppies, a community of support for parents of gifted children.

The author of more than a dozen books for teachers, parents, and kids, Colleen left teaching after more than a decade to write and speak about parenting, education, giftedness, and hands-on learning and play. Homeschooling is an adventure she hadn’t planned on, but she has embraced the opportunity to learn alongside her kids every day, and is inspiring other moms and dads to do the same.

Her recent book titles include Super Smart Science: 180 Days of Warm-Ups and Challenging Activities (Prufrock Press) and Real-Life Science Mysteries (Prufrock Press). Watch for Gifted Kids at Home: Everything You Need to Know to Understand Your Quirky Children and Help Them Thrive (RLL Media) and The Coolest, Dirtiest, Creepy-Crawliest Backyard Nature Science Activities for Kids (Page Street Press/Macmillan) coming soon!

You can find more about her, upcoming projects, and where she’ll be speaking in the coming months at RaisingLifelongLearners.com and connect with her on social media @ColleenKessler.

Cheryl Swope

Texas Homeschool Convention South Carolina Homeschool Convention Missouri Homeschool Convention Ohio Homeschool Convention California Homeschool Convention

Bio: Cheryl Swope, M.Ed. is the author of Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child and creator of the award-winning Simply Classical Curriculum (Memoria Press), open-and-go materials and lesson plans designed especially for children with autism, specific learning disabilities, intellectual disability, language and sensory issues, FAS, ADHD, and more. Unique in the homeschool world, Simply Classical Curriculum blends incremental multisensory, therapeutic teaching with beautiful books anyone can enjoy. With a master’s degree in special education and lifetime K-12 state teaching certificate in Learning Disabilities and Behavior Disorders, Cheryl and her husband homeschooled adopted twins (autism, learning disabilities, schizophrenia) from the children’s infancy through high school and beyond. The children’s resulting love of history, literature, music, and Latin persuaded Cheryl of the benefits an excellent (i.e., classical) education for any child. Her life’s work has become helping others bring truth, goodness, and beauty to any child. The Simply Classical Curriculum enables parents to teach their own children of any age from a skill level of age 2 onward. More levels are releasing each year. Find free readiness assessments online. She invites you to receive the free Simply Classical Journal, a full print catalog with articles and resources including the popular new series, Myself & Others: Lessons in Social Understanding, Habits, and Manners. As a speaker in both the classical and special-needs tracks, Cheryl speaks on a wide variety of topics designed to inform, inspire, and encourage.

All because her daughter Michelle (who has autism, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, borderline intellectual disability, and various medical conditions,

yet who today writes poignant Christian poetry) said, “Mom, I want my story to help other children like me.”

Susan Blackwell

South Carolina Homeschool Convention

Bio: Susan graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education, and continued working toward her Master’s degree at Bob Jones University and USC.  After teaching in a Christian school for five years, she home schooled her 3 children, one of whom has Special Needs. In the 18 years of homeschooling, Susan began testing home school groups and individuals in various places across the state in grades K through 12 with Standardized testing, as well as tests for Special Needs children.

From 2007 to 2014, Susan became the Director of a Special Needs Program, consulting with parents of students with various needs. She served on the SCHEA board and felt led to work independently with families of Special Needs children, beginning in 2015.  She fully understands the enormity of the task of parenting and schooling the child with special needs.

Foundations in Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Hat, bat, cat…. If your child cannot rhyme or play with the sounds within words, learning the sound-symbol code of phonics for reading and spelling will be especially difficult. We will focus on the oft-overlooked development of phonological and phonemic awareness, which has been directly linked with success in later reading. These skills are typically developed around 3–6 years old, but if this early foundation has not been laid, then it is important to go back and fill in the gaps for the older struggling reader or speller as well.

Planning Homeschool With Learning Challenges

Ohio Homeschool Convention

Your child struggles with some part of learning, or has given up. How do you help them begin again? How do you establish wise goals? How will you tell when you’ve reached them? Learn how to work around areas of weakness, strengthen them, and adapt curriculum. Get tips on how to keep going and to help your child keep going.