Debra Bell, Ph.D., is the best-selling author of the award-winning Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling, Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens, and the Ultimate Planners for moms, teens, and students (Apologia Press). Writers-in-Residence: A Writing-Focused Language Arts Program and Readers-in-Residence: A Literacy Program will be released in 2015, along with a companion website. She also serves on the board and executive committee for the Global Home Education Conference, to be held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, March 2016.
A former high school and college English teacher, Debra and her husband Kermit home educated their four kids K-12; all of whom are now married, degreed, and employed (They also love Jesus). Her articles on homeschooling have been widely published, including, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Homeschooling Today, The Teaching Home, and Thriving Families Magazine. She has been a keynote or featured speaker at numerous international and national venues for more than twenty-five years. Recent venues have included Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany; Manila, Philippines; Guam; Budapest, Hungary; Malaga, Spain; Hakuba, Nagano, Japan, and HSLDA’s National Leaders Conference, USA.
Debra holds a bachelor’s of science in communications education, and a master’s degree in English. After homeschooling, she completed a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where she also held a teaching assistantship in the College of Education. During her homeschooling years, Debra founded three homeschool co-ops which continue today (one for elementary, one for high school, and one for drama). She and her husband, Kermit, also founded Susquehanna Valley Pregnancy Services, a major non-profit ministry serving women unprepared for pregnancy throughout South-Central Pennsylvania. A pioneer in online education, today she is executive director and lead teacher for Aim Academy, which provides online college prep and AP® courses for 7th-12th graders both stateside and abroad. More information about her online classes, books, forthcoming curriculum, and speaking schedule can be found at DebraBell.com.
8 Reasons Kids Learn Best At Home
If we started with what the research tells us about how kids learn best and built a school from the ground up – we’d build a home! Learn the critical factors that help explain why homeschooled kids succeed – and what you can do to keep the windows of wonder open in your house.
Education by Design—Understanding God’s Blueprint for Your Child
The human brain is the most complex creation in the universe and it is hard-wired by God for learning. In the same way aerobic exercise keeps our hearts healthy, intellectual activity keeps our brains healthy. This session provides a fast and furious overview of how our brain processes and organizes information, and the individual differences we should recognize and accommodate in each of our kids. We will look at ways to build conceptual understanding and talk about the three essential ingredients necessary for optimal learning. By the end of the session, you will have a deeper understanding of God’s eternal purposes in His design of each of your children and how they learn best.
21st Century Homeschooling
Welcome to the digital age. What does the future of education look like, and how can the homeschool community take advantage of this? Here’s a look at free tools and free content sites online that can make your homeschool more efficient, more economical, and more powerful. Harness the educational advantage of online learning and give your kids a jumpstart on their future. We will look at how Web 2.0 applications are changing the definition of education – blogs, wikis, Google applications, Skype, VoiceThreads, open courseware, YouTube, Facebook and even Twitter, when used appropriately can really help kids learn.
Writers-in-Residence: Inspire Your Kids to Write Their Hearts Out
Language is an amazing grace from God, and a gift to steward and revel in. Skill and confidence in crafting words into stories and arguments will open doors for your children and lead them into their futures. Here’s how to cast a vision, encourage and support the journey, capture each child’s unique writer’s voice, and delight in the prose and poetry your kids produce. You may find yourself inspired to write as well. (This is not a promotional for my curriculum of the same
The Six Traits of Great Writing
From academic papers to creative writing—from poetry to prose, great writing has these six characteristics in common. Once you know what they are, you will know how to respond to and assess your child’s writing at every stage in the process. Rubrics and other handouts from the Writers-in-Residence program will be provided.
Academic Writing: What Is It? Why Does It Matter? How Do I Teach It?
If your child graduates high school with only one skill in hand, it needs to be this one. Academic writing, AKA argument writing, is how your child will engage the culture and the academic community on campus and online. This is what admissions offices scour the student essay for, this is what scholarship committee’s prize. Your teens will improve their critical thinking, master subject matter across domains, learn to evaluate and counter other’s ideas, and clarify their own IF argument writing is at the center of your college prep high school program.
Debra’s humor and practical information are always so helpful. Please invite her back next year! VA
I would travel hundreds of miles if Debra Bell is speaking. NE
My wife made me come to this session . . . I’ve attended many corporate conferences and I’m not easily impressed. You know your stuff. I learned a lot. Thanks. TX
Cultivating a Love for Learning in Our Homes
A love for learning is a blessing God has for His children—one that is meant to enrich our lives, give us purpose and draw us into a quest to know the Creator. This workshop will give you a biblical foundation for safeguarding a child’s natural curiosity and joy of discovery; and suggest ways to approach homeschooling that keeps this important element alive and growing in your child.
Developing Motivation and Interest in Kids of All Ages
This seminar covers the importance of intrinsic motivation and interest in learning. Research shows motivation to be an inherent characteristic of young children, but in a traditional setting, studies indicate most students show a steady loss in academic motivation the longer they are in school; however, homeschooling is an antidote to this decline. Learn practical ways to help your children and teens develop and retain motivation and enjoyment in academic pursuits.
Developing Creative and Critical Thinking Skills
What are thinking skills and why all the fuss? This seminar challenges traditional teaching methods head on by outlining the best way to teach so your child can remember and use what he has learned– even when he is an adult. Analysis, synthesis and evaluation explained; samples of creative and critical thinking. And lots of suggested resources and activities that are uncomplicated, time-saving, inexpensive, and effective.
Motivating the Reluctant Learner
10 proven strategies that kindle a love for learning in a child and help him master areas of difficulty; at the same time, reduce conflict and frustration for mom and kid.
Raising an Independent Learner
Do you want a lifelong learner who initiates studies on his own? Then let go of the wheel and start giving your kids responsibility for their education. Here are practical, inexpensive steps that will encourage children to pursue their own learning, and prevent parent burnout as well.
Online Learning: Does it work? Is it good for kids?
From an educator with more than a decade of experience teaching online; as well as, a homeschool mom who used online learning extensively during the high school years—this session will review types of online classes, the types of students who fare best in each and how to get the best experience for your money.
College Credit for High School Work?
Here are all the options for converting the work your teen completes during high school into college credit at a fraction of the cost. From CLEP and AP testing to dual enrollment, we’ll cover the gamut of options, the costs and best type of student for each. Attendees receive a graphic organizer that shows how these options can best be turned into
Study-Smart Student Strategies: The 20 Power Tools of Learning and the brain science behind them
This session is for teens and their parents. Cut your study time in half, remember what you learn, recall it when you need it.
From the perspective of a mom who raised four teens, long time high school level teacher and evaluator of numerous high school homeschool programs. The high school years are your child’s resume for the future. Here’s how to maximize his time, prepare him for a changing job market, get doors to open, and facilitate non-traditional learning experiences.
Designing a College Prep High School Program
This session covers the timeline, coursework, tests and extra-curricular activities that position your teen for acceptance and scholarship-consideration at the colleges of his/her choice.
Spiritually-Focused Topics for Your Ladies’ Tea or Luncheon
The Comparison Trap
They’re not the competition! Friendships with other women are meant to be a significant source of support, comfort and grace. But, our own thinking and the enemy of our soul can shutoff or pervert this wonderful gift from God. Are we missing God’s eternal intentions in the relationships that surround us? Or letting the comparison trap undermine our friendships? If we are willing to lock arms and share the joys and burdens of marriage, motherhood and homeschooling together, God will open up new rivers of grace in each of our lives.
Hope for Weary Moms
There is a Redeemer: God is working redemptively through homeschooling. Here is the hope we have for our failures, weaknesses and frustrations. God is at work to make Himself known to you more deeply and fully.
Standing Strong through High School
Why staying the course through the teen years can be the most fruitful and important years of homeschooling; as well as, the most rewarding for Mom and Dad.