Saturday

Keynote - 8:30-9:20

Israel Wayne – Education from a Biblical Worldview

Are your children prepared to face the “Real World”? Learn how to equip your children to stand against the flood of secularism that threatens to drown them. What is your worldview? How are you going to transfer it to your children? Will you be more effective than the media and popular culture? Discover how to teach your children to view the core subjects (and all of life) through the lenses of scripture. 

Session 1 - 9:35-10:25

Rebecca Spooner - Running Your Own Business

Whether you have or are considering starting your own business, entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart and truthfully, it’s not for everyone. In this session, Rebecca will share some of the highs and lows of her own journey creating multiple businesses and some of the things she has learned along the way about leadership, innovation, and following God’s lead. If you have a big idea you’ve been sitting on and are trying to make your way to financial freedom, make sure to bookmark this session! 

Jil Koller - New To Homeschooling

Jil will walk participants through the process of setting up a first-time homeschool program. She will highlight how to successfully teach your child to excel in reading, writing, math and critical thinking. She will explain how to teach across subject areas, schedule for multiple children, and make faith the center of the day. Please bring questions and prayer requests.  

Morning Briefing - TEEN
Paula Maretzki - Investing in Your Marriage while Homeschooling

We all know marriage is hard work, but add in the challenges of homeschooling, work, spiritual warfare and so much more, is it even possible to have a fulfilling marriage, much less take the time to work on it? Paula thinks so. Come and hear Paula’s experience as she shares her journey of nearly 30 years of marriage all while she homeschooled her 8 children. She’ll give you Biblical encouragement as well as practical tools she and her husband, Gord, have walked this homeschooling marriage path together.  Warning:  this talk may leave you with feelings of hope and inspiration! 

Pamela Beal - Gameschooling

Games Changer: A Workshop on Teaching with Gameschooling 

In this workshop, participants will explore the concept of Gameschooling—a dynamic educational approach that integrates games into learning. Discover how tabletop games can be powerful tools for teaching diverse subjects while making the educational experience enjoyable. Join us to delve into strategies, resources, and practical applications for incorporating Gameschooling into your teaching toolkit.

Vanessa Brobbel - Unsubscribe!

Lee Strobel commissioned a national survey asking people what question they’d ask if they could only ask God one thing. The Number One response was: “Why is there suffering in the world?” In fact, it is this very question that causes many to conclude that God must not exist, for if He did; suffering, pain, and evil wouldn’t. Right? The question is: Is it worth it to follow Jesus, or do we click unsubscribe? What if we could prepare our children to think Biblically before they’re presented with the questions that challenge the faith? This session puts some tools in your parental and educational toolbox to help prevent “Unsubscribing.” 

Diane Geerlinks - Homeschooling Unique Learners

Are you trying to homeschool a child that doesn’t fit the mold? Every child is unique, but some have needs that require more intervention. The labels range from Autism to Down’s Syndrome, from ADHD to Vision Impairment to Auditory Processing Disorder. Is it really possible to teach your own child in all of these situationsIn this workshop, we will discuss the pros and cons, hear each other’s real-life stories, share available resources and receive some much-needed encouragement for the journey!   

David Redekop - Guarding Your Home (Cyber Security)

The most significant change the world has seen in modern times is the introduction of internet access that is such a double-edged sword. Learn how we reach the hearts of the next generation and use technology wisely to make sure our worldview is purposeful and limits mal-intentioned external influences. We can live by rules alone, for a while, but rules without relationship lead to rebellion. We can live on relationship alone, for a while, but why expose human hearts unnecessarily during high-risk years? The ideal balance lies in personalized balance between technology and hearts. 

Session 2 - 10:40-11:30

Israel Wayne - The History of the Homeschooling Movement

Over the past 6,000 years, homeschooling has been the primary form of education for nearly every culture worldwide. Compulsory government schooling has only been around in America since about 1840, but it is so pervasive that for most parents, public schooling is all they have ever experienced. The modern-day homeschooling movement has taken America by storm, with nearly 2 million students being home educated nationwide. Learn about the origins of the rebirth of home-based learning, and discover God’s purposes and plans for the future of the homeschooling movement. 

Karen Knor - Embracing the Homeschooling Lifestyle

Join Karen Knor, a homeschooling veteran of 33 years, as she shares her experience homeschooling her 8 children from kindergarten through high school. While Karen would describe herself as an ordinary mom, doing ordinary life one step at a time, she has a wealth of knowledge and firsthand experience gained from homeschooling through all seasons of life. This session will provide you with lots of practical advice on how to embrace and thrive in your own homeschooling journey. 

TRADES Panel

Tradesmen and women taking time out of their schedules to meet with you and share what motivated them to enter the trades, what the barriers were, and why they kept at it. Circulate among the trades – bring your questions and your ears. 

Cori Dean - Not Just Surviving the Teen Years

Living with teens is always an adventure. Homeschooling them can be a roller coaster. When anticipating the adolescent years, many parents approach with fear and caution but the principles that governed early education can still speak to parenting and teaching our older kids and can even propel us into the best part of this journey yet. Our teens are seeking purpose and vision as they transition into independence. They need the well-established trails of discipline that deliver strong character and spiritual strength. They crave healthy relationships with their family and others. They continue to require inspiration to learn as they blossom into the young adults that the Lord planned for them to be. Join Cori Dean as she shares lessons from her journey of more than 20 years of parenting and homeschooling teens. 

 

Rowan Atkinson - The Importance of Teaching the Delightful Subject of History

History is one of the most significant subjects that we can explore, but it is also one of the most interesting and enjoyable subjects to study in your homeschool. Most of us did not learn a great deal of history in our education and often we feel ill-equipped to teach it. Rowan Atkinson will show you why this subject is so important and then give you practical ways to teach it with confidence so that you and your children can experience the delight of learning history. 

HSLDA (Peter) - A Working Dad’s Vital Role in a Successful Homeschool

Making your homeschool the most successful it can be is a two-parent effort.  It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that teaching is the stay-at-home parent’s ‘job’ (usually mom), while the breadwinner (usually dad) has their own job to attend to and therefore has no responsibilities in homeschooling. However, a successful homeschool truly requires both parents to be engaged with their children’s education.   

 

Andrea McEvoy - How Hard Can It Be? *Interactive

This fun, experiential workshop will provide valuable insight into your child’s struggles by allowing you to step into their shoes. Come and experience a small taste of what it feels like to have a learning disability. 

Mary Ann Meyer - Cultivating Curiosity Through Nature Study

Why is Nature Study important? And how can you easily incorporate it into your homeschool? Nature Study doesn’t need to be complicated! This workshop explores simple things that any homeschool parent can do to nurture wonder and foster curiosity about the natural world. 

Lunch 11:30-1:30

12:30 – 1:30 OCHEC Leadership – Homeschooling: Ask Us Anything

Session 3 – 1:30-2:20

Rebecca Spooner - Homeschooling for the Future

Homeschooling has changed drastically over the years—everything from who is doing it to why and how they go about it. What does the future look like? Do we just keep approaching the same things in the same ways, or is it time to adapt and flip the script? We aren’t raising our children for a world that was written about 20 years ago, we are raising them for the world 10 years from now. Let’s talk about proactive homeschooling and equipping a generation for what is yet to come.  

Laura Page - Introduction to Classical Education

An introduction to the 15 time tested tools of Classical Education that empower parents to Homeschool with confidence. A classical education recognizes we can learn anything by using three distinct arts grammar, dialectic and rhetoric. Exploring the lost tools of learning together parents can see the ebb and flow of learning in tune with the way children naturally learn. 

Yana Zyska - Goal Setting for Teens

This workshop will cover the following: 

– 4 step goal setting process 

– how to breakdown a goal into achievable tasks 

– 2 methods to track goals 

Questions:

-What if I don’t know how to achieve the goal? 

-What if I get stuck? 

-What if I change my mind? 

-What do I do when I achieve my goal? 

Nicole Richards - Homeschooling Through Entrepreneurship (Parent and/or Teen)

Remember the good oldays when neighbourhood kids had lemonade stands? When a friendly neighbour paid $10 for a cup of lemonade, the kids were amazed!  Homeschooling and entrepreneurship are two effective ways to empower children to reach their God-given potential. Learning the benefits and hardships of building a business in their youth, can add to your child’s personalized education while fostering their creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Entrepreneurship can enrich their homeschool experience in countless ways. If your child has ever expressed an interest in being their own boss, this will be a great conversation 

Odelia Chan - Life After Homeschool (Teens Welcome)

Graduating highschool is the easy part. What comes after? How do you navigate living at home as an “adult child”? What happens when you question things you’ve taken for granted as a kid? Should you choose a career and stick to it? Is post-secondary education the only route to a stable, decently-paid job? All this–and more–would be explored as Odelia shares her journeys from minimum-wage jobs to self-employment, from Christianity to agnosticism (and back again), from broken relationships to being best friends with her parents, and from homeschool to university to autodidactism. Come, listen, and be impacted. *Not an informative workshop. Told as a real-life narrative of a homeschool graduate interspersed with first principles, personal opinion, life lessons, and Asian-style drive. 

Interview with the Zwarts

How did we get here? What or who kept us together? What were the hardest challenges? Why are we still here?! And many more questions! Feel free to bring your questions along. 

Brigette Vanhuisstede - Supporting a Crushed Spirit

Based on Psalm 34: 18:  “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” What exactly is a crushed spirit and how does a follower of Jesus cope with oneThis talk identifies some key characteristics of a crushed spirit and provides tips for living with one. 

Jil Koller - Let’s Get Outside

Jil will explain the importance, and benefits, of spending time outside during your homeschool program. She will explore the value of allowing children time to play and imagine outside as well as the joy that can be shared through structure games, sports, and activities. Participants will leave with dozens of creative ways they can engage with their children and the outdoors simultaneously. 

Session 4 - 2:35-3:25

Israel Wayne - Answers for Homeschooling: Top Questions Critics Ask

Many homeschoolers struggle with self-doubt and/or criticism for their decision by well-meaning friends and family. In this session, Israel will tackle some of the top objections people raise about home education and will give statistics and fact-based answers to help give you confidence to defend your choice to home educate. 

Charlotte Mason Panel

Enjoy a talk from four experienced Charlotte Mason homeschooling mothers for help in implementing this inspiring philosophy, even as early as Monday morning! It’s that simple. We will hear about their different journeys, the benefits they have found using a CM-inspired education, and pull from the practical treasure trove of tips they’ve each gleaned through years of walking this out in the trenches. There will be some pre-selected questions, as well as time for an open q & a. 

Dr. Henry Ho - The Origin of Man

“Did we evolve from apelike creatures over millions of years?”  More and more people say “yes”, and our society has changed because of itBut do the fossils we dig up really support this viewCould a close examination of the popular examples such as “Lucy” and “neanderthals” in our textbooks lead to a very different conclusion? Let us explore why the Bible is the true record of the origin of man. 

Diane Geerlinks - Better Late Than Early or Early Than Late?

All children learn and grow at their pace…from rolling over as infants to crawling, to talking, to toilet training, to learning the alphabet. Is this also true for learning to read? Homeschool parents are told over and over again ‘Don’t worry…they’ll catch on eventually’. Although this is somewhat reassuring for a homeschool mom who has tried everything to get their child to read, she wonders, “Is it fact? Do I dare wait?”  In this workshop, Diane will debunk some myths, discuss some red flags and provide a dose of reassurance and support as you navigate the swirling questions.   

Lindsay Tadros - Writing 101 Workshop

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” is a true sentiment, but after you’ve taken the first step, what next? What about the 10th, 100th, and 678th step?? For many homeschoolers, teaching writing feels like a journey of a thousand miles, and they aren’t sure what that journey looks like down the road. This workshop will help you to understand the beginning, middle AND end of the journey that is teaching writing during the primary/junior school years (Kindergarten through Grade 6). Discussing common pitfalls, and equipping parents to make educated decisions about curriculum, assessment, and goals in their child’s writing journey.

Jan Kaikkonen - Intersection of Faith and Education

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) 

Is education at the crossroads? Are schools the only place where students can avail themselves of the collective wisdom of a multiplicity of stakeholders?  And if the ultimate goal of JK-12 education is to provide students with necessary skills, then why do the institutions continually struggle with the most basic questions? As in what are the barriers to student achievement? Why are pedagogical standards declining? This presentation seeks to reframe the current school model as the sole source for learning to a paradigm which includes God, faith, and family as essentials for engaging students in life-long learning endeavours. 

Sarah Hornblower - Mental Health and Homeschooling

Mental health when it’s great it’s great, but what happens when it’s not so great and you homeschool? Usually, the first advice you’ll get is, “Well, this will be so much better if you just put them in school.” But what if that goes against your conviction? Then it leads to more isolation and trying to navigate the piecemeal world that is our mental health medical field. You are not alone in the struggles with either yourself or your children. Having run the gambit of mental health from anxiety to suicide, depression and hospitalization, come and be encouraged this is attainable. How do you keep going when your tank is empty? How do help your child learn when they are stressed to the max? What tools can we offer to help them manage their mental health? I am not a practitioner; I am just a mom who has walked this road many times through the years, sharing what got me through it and how we have come out on the other side. If you are in a mental health crisis, please reach out to the 211 or 988 suicide crisis line.

Entrepreneur Panel

Entrepreneurs – homeschool grads all – are bringing their experience to you. What made them choose this route, is it easy being ‘the boss’, how many decisions in a day need their attention, the frustrations of external regulations! can I do this in an 8-hour working day, did my expectations change? They will share how it’s possible to be your own boss, set your own goals, meet your living needs and have a life? Let them introduce you to an exciting journey! 

Keynote - 3:45-4:30

Rebecca Spooner – Who Do You Answer To?

“Choose this day whom you will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 
Are you walking in bondage or freedom? Following faith or fear? Whether you feel like a slave to your curriculum, systems of thought, the pressures people place on your shoulders, or something else . . . it was for freedom that Christ set us free—and it’s time to walk in it.   

CLOSING - 4:30-4:35