Our speaker and worship team is made up of veteran homeschool moms who are passionate about encouraging moms spiritually in their homeschool journey.
Our past speakers include:
Heidi married her college sweetheart, Jay, in 1989 and, shortly afterward, they went into full- time ministry together. Since then, the St. Johns have become happy parents of seven children (ages 6 mo -19). In 2004, after 17 years of pastoring, Jay and Heidi founded First Class Homeschool Ministries, a parachurch ministry that helps churches reach out to homeschooling families by hosting a homeschool cooperative. Jay and Heidi also speak and lead worship at homeschool conferences and other related events. In 2010, Heidi’s first book, titled after one of her favorite workshops, was published. The Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance is combines light-hearted humor with a straightforward look at the importance of nurturing marriage throughout the homeschooling years. You can learn more about First Class Homeschool Ministries at www.fchm.org or contact Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the course of all of the demands of family life, God has given Rachael some amazing opportunities. She wrote a book for Focus on the Family in 2005 titled SoundBites from Heaven. The book discusses fifty two different statements parents make to their kids which Rachael argues echo sentiments God would like to communicate to each of us, His children. She tells stories from her own life throughout the book weaving her wit and wisdom into each one. At the end of the short readings she included a few questions of personal introspection for the readers consideration and growth. Rachael believes that God wants to communicate His love and plan for each of us personally and that He does this in a variety of ways including our communication with our kids.
As a direct reflection of her heart's desire to affirm, encourage, challenge, inspire and celebrate motherhood, Rachael led the first Real Refreshment Retreat in 2003. It was her vision to give homeschool moms an opportunity to get away and revive themselves through Bible study and prayer as they faced the special challenges of homeschooling. The most unique aspect of these events was the three separate hours set aside for prayer. Worship, teaching, and fellowship were also included in the weekend. Many moms were blessed through the retreats. Now through the Apologia Live retreat for homeschool moms, it is her hope to expand on that ministry and create a weekend that will energize and invigorate the homeschool mom with inspirational worship and speakers.
Zan Tyler is the director of Apologia Press, where her goal is to support homeschooling parents by bringing them the very best in authors and biblically-sound resources. A longtime speaker, writer, and homeschooling advocate, Zan derives deep joy from speaking to and encouraging homeschooling parents across the country and around the globe. “After speaking at a conference in Japan, I spent time with a mother who said, ‘You gave me strength because you gave me Christ.’ My heart soared because my greatest desire is to give parents a sustainable vision for raising their children for Christ while providing them the very best education.” She is also the author of 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential.
Zan and her husband, Joe, homeschooled each of their three children from kindergarten through high school, for a total of 21 years. When she began homeschooling in 1984, she was threatened with jail by the South Carolina State Superintendent of Education. After prolonged legal battles for the rights of her family and homeschoolers in her state, Zan founded the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) in 1990 and served as its president for ten years. She has been honored as the South Carolina Homemaker of the Year, and in 1998 the governor awarded her the Order of the Palmetto, the highest South Carolina honor a civilian can receive. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show with Katie Couric.
More recently, Zan has served as the National Grassroots Director for ParentalRights.org. She is also a popular columnist, and her articles appear in a variety of online and print publications including HSLDA’s Court Report. Zan is also the South Carolina Ambassador for The Home School Foundation, a ministry dedicated to helping homeschool families in need.
Debra Bell is the best selling author of the award-winning Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, the Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens and Ultimate Planners. A former high school and college English teacher, Debra and her husband Kermit home educated their own four kids K-12.
Raised by public school teachers, Debra holds a B.S. in communications education and a Masters in English. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Her research interest is identifying why, how and when homeschooling works; and she looks forward to using her training to better serve the homeschool community well into the future.
Debra was a reluctant convert to homeschooling in the early 80's. While finishing her graduate work for her permanent teaching certification, friends of hers (without degrees or teaching experience) started to homeschool and got better results than she did in the classroom. After recovering from the mind-blowing shock of this, she paddled her boat into their stream and opened up a recruitment office of her own.
During her homeschooling years, Debra helped to found and lead three homeschool co-ops which continue today (one for elementary, one for high school, and one for drama), and has taught composition and literature courses for more than twenty years. Today she continues to teach English courses for homeschool students online through her website: DebraBell.com
Debra blogs regularly about education, brain science and homeschooling through her website debrabell.com.
Elizabeth Smith, wife of Home School Legal Defense Association President Mike Smith, taught three of her four children at home from 1981 to 1996, when the youngest entered college. For over 25 years, Elizabeth’s practical wisdom has encouraged audiences at homeschool conferences, symposiums, and women’s retreats throughout the United States. Michael and Elizabeth have appeared several times on Focus on the Family’s radio program.
Elizabeth recently retired as Director of Development for the Home School Foundation, the charitable arm of HSLDA. She serves on the Board of Directors of Breakthrough Intercessors Prayer Ministry. She is also a founding Board member of the National Black Home Educators, and teaches women’s Bible studies at her local church. She is local camp president of the Virginia Auxiliary to Gideons International Ministry. Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors of the Family Foundation of Virginia, a pro-family policy council affiliated with Focus on the Family. Elizabeth has lobbied on pro-family issues in her state capitol and in Washington, D.C. since 1993. She is a frequent speaker at the Apologia Live Mom’s Retreats across the United States.
What others say about her message:
"(Elizabeth's) poise and composure, sober yet compassionate spirit, and articulate, sensitive wording made (her) message a pleasure to hear and easy to receive."
"People could just not get enough or say enough about (her) sweet spirit and wisdom.
She truly ministered to our hearts."
Home School Leader, Sacramento, CA
"(Her) class was helpful because of her gentle spirit, experience in the Lord, wisdom in practical everyday living and advice. (Her) words were both simple and profound."
Jeannie began speaking and writing in college as a sportscaster for the University of Texas and as a headline writer with the Daily Texan. Following graduation and marriage, her writing and speaking focused on building up the Christian community, teaching marriage and parenting classes, in addition to writing articles and Bible studies. After her homeschool journey began, Jeannie discerned an immense need for Creation-based, scientifically sound, engaging, easy-to-use Â science curricula. Her background in science at the University of Texas, as well as her writing experience, inspired her to create the Apologia elementary science courses. Though her primary and most consuming occupation is educating her four children, ranging from elementary through high school, she is committed to arming parents with Creation science courses, speaking around the country and writing as the Lord leads her. During the summers, she is also working to complete her Masters in Biblical Studies.
Jeannie's heart is to strengthen homeschoolers with the tools they need to finish the race with success. She has written many articles for magazines and other publications and regularly speaks at retreats, workshops and conventions. You can access many of her encouraging articles on her website, www.jeanniefulbright.com, or subscribe to her blog at www.jeanniefulbright.com/blog.html Jeannie always makes time to answer emails and encourage homeschoolers on their journey. To contact Jeannie with questions and comments email her at: Science@jeanniefulbright.com
Before Sherri was promoted to the position of "mother," she worked as a marine biologist at Walt Disney World's Living Seas pavilion in EPCOT Center, where she was involved in collecting and maintaining coral reef animals, especially focusing on fish nutrition and marine predator care. During this time she completed research on shark behavior and was the first individual representing Walt Disney World to have research published.
Besides authoring Apologia's Exploring Creation with Marine Biology text and curriculum, Sherri has written several articles for marine science magazines as well as articles for home school publications and support groups. As she has seen with her own children, Sherri realizes that even within the same family every child's educational needs are different, and it's a new adventure tailoring their educational and career pathways. She has recently published a new book, Interning for High School Credit, which guides students through the internship process and enables them to earn a high school credit while they complete an internship.
Sherri has had the opportunity to speak throughout the United States to encourage and support homeschoolers. She has a very motivated heart for teaching students the importance of studying God's creation and equipping them to give an answer for their faith, and she enjoys sharing the evidences of creation found in recent scientific research. She also loves to encourage other moms in their homeschooling journeys and in their spiritual lives.
You can find some of her musings, articles and books at www.sherriseligson.com.
Anne has been singing and writing songs for over 26 years. Her music reflects the strong lessons God has taken her through about freedom, forgiveness, and life-altering grace. In addition to her CDs, she has authored dozens of worship songs, over 75 curriculum songs or Elementary Classical Educators, and teaches on the Creative Process.
Anne also trains and disciples worship leaders for local churches, and leads worship for women's programs and outreach events throughout the Southeast. Her second CD, "Shine" was released in 2008 and in Germany in 2009 through Janz Team Studios. Her new project involves her three musical kids. Having her kids a part of the recording process, Anne presents this CD as a testimonial, and provides a booklet on the backgrounds of each song. She and her husband, Jess, have three children—a fine strong son, 19 and two talented beautiful daughters, 17 and 13.
They attend Christian Life Church in Columbia, SC.