SPEAKERS

Rhiannon Appelgrijn EMBARK Homeschool Conference

 Rhiannon Appelgrijn 

Teacher, The Academy at Bright Ideas Press

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Rhiannon Appelgrijn is a Long Islander, raised by an Englishman, married to a South African, and currently residing in Florida! She and her husband have been married for sixteen years and have three lovely and energetic children! She loves being a stay-at- home mom and desires to raise her kids to have a deep, enduring relationship with Jesus. Before having children, she taught sixth through ninth grade Language Arts, Literature, and Musical Theater classes at Dayspring Academy for Education and the Arts. Most recently, Rhiannon has taught a high school level literary analysis class and a middle school writing class for two online Christian academies. She is known for teaching grammar rules through rhymes she has written to make the lessons more fun and memorable. She is thrilled to be teaching English I and IV for The Academy at Bright Ideas Press! She prays that God will use her to ignite a lasting love of literature, language arts, and above all, the LORD in the lives of her students.

Jarrett Carter Embark Homeschool Conference

 Jarrett Carter 

Homeschool Graduate

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Jarrett Carter is a homeschool graduate, having been homeschooled from 3rd grade. He is the eldest of five and, thus, the experimental child. In addition to being homeschooled, Jarrett grew up travelling with his parents as they spoke at homeschool conferences across the US and Canada. A native New Yorker, Jarrett is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York, holding a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. During his time there, he became a Bill Gates Millennium Scholar, Ronald E. McNair Scholar, and Dean’s’ List student. Additionally, he served at the Public Relations Chair for the campus chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

Upon completing his masters degree in Educational Technology at Adelphi University, Jarrett relocated to the Washington, D.C. area to take a job as an Instructional Systems Designer at the University of Maryland University College. In his role, Jarrett coordinates online course development and ensures that courses meet the diverse needs of the student body– mostly made up of military students and adult learners.

Outside of work, Jarrett sits on the national board for the Gates Millennium Scholars Alumni Association as a regional advisor for the Mid-Atlantic region. Jarrett is also an active member of Cornerstone Church, serving on the leadership board for the DOULOS Young Adults Ministry– a diverse community of 18-35 year olds. In his spare time, Jarrett enjoys biking, cooking, music, and researching the history of transportation infrastructure in the United States.

Amy Craven

Owner, Quality Writing Svcs. and
Teacher, The Academy at Bright Ideas Press

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Amy Craven teaches English for The Academy at Bright Ideas Press. She is also the owner of Quality Writing Svcs., which provides essay feedback for homeschoolers as well as writing, editing, and proofreading for projects ranging from curriculum guides to marketing materials. She earned her BA in English from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. After obtaining her teaching credential, she returned to her high school alma mater and taught freshman and sophomore English for five years. While teaching, she also earned her MA in education with an emphasis in secondary curriculum and instruction. Her master’s project focused on using close reading techniques to improve student writing.

Amy and her husband have always homeschooled their children and are beginning their second decade with students in lower elementary through high school. The primary goal of their homeschool is to seek truth, beauty, and goodness, all of which flow from God, the author of every good thing. Amy cherishes the fact that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4) and agrees with William Nicholson that “we read to know we are not alone.”

Steve Demme EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Steve Demme

Creator, Math-U See

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Steve and his wife Sandra have been married since 1979. They have been blessed with four sons, three lovely daughters-in- law, and three special grandchildren. Their fourth son John has Downs Syndrome and lives with them in Lititz, PA.


Steve has served in full or part time pastoral ministry for many years after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served on the board of Joni and Friends Eastern PA.


He is the creator of Math-U- See and the founder of Building Faith Families.

Hannah Eagleson EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Dr. Hannah Eagleson

Event Coordinator, InterVarsity’s 
Emerging Scholars Network (ESN)

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Hannah Eagleson writes, edits, and coordinates events for InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). In that role, she supports Christians in the university, from undergraduate students to professors, as they seek God’s Kingdom and love their neighbors in the university and beyond. Hannah launched the Scholar’s Compass devotional project for academics at the ESN blog in 2014, and it has become one of the blog’s most widely read features. Hannah holds a PhD in Renaissance literature from the University of Delaware, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, and a BA in English from Thomas Edison State College. Before that, she was happily homeschooled throughout her pre-college career. As the first of four children in a family in state homeschool leadership, Hannah has enjoyed participating in countless homeschool conventions, and she’s also quite experienced at sticking stamps on envelopes.


Hannah has written a wide variety of homeschool curriculum, including contributing to The Young Scholar’s Guide to Poetry with Bright Ideas Press, co-designing the Walking to Wisdom Tolkien and Lewis study guides with Classical Academic Press, and collaborating with Debra Bell on the first volume of Writers in Residence for Apologia Educational Ministries. Hannah is also at work on a novel about a dragon who sells tea in eighteenth century London. With teaching experience ranging from coaching 4-year-olds on the harp to teaching British Literature 1 to college students, Hannah loves facilitating group discussions and teaching in many settings. 

Linda Lacour Hobar Bright Ideas Press

Linda Lacour Hobar

Author, The Mystery of History​ 

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Linda Lacour Hobar, author of The Mystery of History, is a passionate follower of Jesus Christ, a genuine “people-person”, and a fan of comfortable high-heels. Through homeschooling her children, and service as a missionary, she discovered a deep love for world history where famous and infamous men and women have left their mark on time through the sovereignty of God. In the year 2000, Linda sensed a clear call to write The Mystery of History series for her children, grandchildren, and generations to come that they might know “the mystery of God . . . in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col 2:3)

In its 13th year of worldwide circulation, The Mystery of History has been well received by all ages. While fact-filled and historically accurate, Linda’s writing style remains warm, personable, and thought provoking. The “Chronological, Christian, Complete” program is user-friendly and includes activities for multiple ages, timeline work, mapping exercises, quizzes, literature recommendations, audio books, and much more to fully engage students of all learning styles. The Mystery of History series has been awarded “Best Homeschool History Resource”, Cathy Duffy’s “100 Top Picks”, Mary Pride’s “Practical Homeschooling Reader Award”, and The Old Schoolhouse “Excellence Award.”

A native-born Texan, Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University, where she first fell in love with world history. She presently resides in Tennessee where she continues to study, teach, write, and obsess over matters big and small.

Tyler Hogan President Bright Ideas Press

 Tyler Hogan 

President, Bright Ideas Press

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Tyler Hogan is the president and chief curriculum designer at Bright Ideas Press. He resides in Dover, Delaware, with his wife, Helen, and their adorable children, Kaylee,  Avalon,  Sierra, and Aiden. He and Helen are both homeschool graduates and now homeschooling parents. Tyler has spoken, performed, and taught classes around the world on homeschooling, geography, the arts, and worldview. He serves as president of  Grace for Dover, a nonprofit Christian community development organization. In his “spare time,” he teaches homeschool co-op classes, reads good books, and drinks tea. He has a BA in theatre from Belhaven University and always enjoys the adventure of lifelong learning.

Amanda Hunter EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Amanda Hunter

Teacher, The Academy at Bright Ideas Press

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Mrs. Hunter has her Doctorate in Pharmacy from Purdue University and is a Pharmacist and Certified Health Coach. She has been teaching children’s Bible classes for over 15 years, local nutrition classes for 4 years, and most recently, is in the 2nd year of teaching online science classes. Amanda has been married to her high school sweetheart, Sean, for 14 years. The Lord has blessed them with 2 daughters, ages 8 and 10. They share their 5 acres in Central Illinois with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Their biggest goal in life is to share the love of Christ with everyone who crosses their path. Mrs. Hunter is also a distance runner. The half-marathon is her favorite distance. She also loves hiking, gardening, cooking, and playing board games. As a homeschool mom and teacher, she is passionate about teaching students the amazing way God designed the human body and how best to take care of it – all to bring honor and glory to God, our awesome Creator. She hopes to inspire students to care for appreciate the body God gave them and to possibly spark an interest in a career in the healthcare or holistic health & wellness field.

Kim Kautzer EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Kim Kautzer

Creative Director, WriteShop

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Kim Kautzer is WriteShop’s creative director and co-author of WriteShop I and II. More than anything, Kim loves to encourage and equip homeschool moms who have a tough time teaching writing. From her own experience, she can identify with the feeling of failure that follows when blank paper, reluctant child, and insecure parent share the same space. Her inspiring workshops help you discover that teaching writing is more objective than you think, and with the right tools, you can guide and motivate your struggling writer.

Kim and Jim homeschooled for 15 years, graduating their youngest in 2003. Bitten by the travel bug, the Kautzers trek as far away as England to visit their kids and grandkids. The rest of the time, they make their home in Southern California, where Kim enjoys reading, growing veggies, tinkering with the Sunday crossword, and drinking tea. Award-winning WriteShop, her unique and successful writing program, has been honored as one of Cathy Duffy’s 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.

Tracy Klicka EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Tracy Klicka

Director of Development, 
Homeschool Foundation

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Tracy Klicka homeschooled her seven children K–12. All of her children have graduated and several are married, and she loves this new season of being a grandma.

As a seasoned homeschooling parent and a gifted writer and speaker for over 20 years, Tracy has addressed thousands of parents at homeschool conventions and women’s events to encourage families in the joys and blessings of the homeschooling lifestyle. She writes regularly for Homeschooling Today and other publications, and she has appeared on television both nationally and internationally. She has contributed to her late husband’s several books on homeschooling, and blogs at www.tracyklicka.com as well as for HSLDA’s Everyday Homeschooling blog column.

Currently serving full-time as Director of Development for the Home School Foundation, Tracy works with Foundation supporters to help families homeschooling through hard times.

Tracy lives in northern Virginia.

Joanna Martinez EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Joanna Martinez

Teacher, The Academy at Bright Ideas Press

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Joanna grew up as a missionary kid in Colombia, South America, and learned Spanish so she could communicate and play with neighborhood kids! She earned a degree in Music Education from Malone University and loved opening a new world of expression to middle school band students, but found she loved her own children more. Since becoming a stay at home mom in 2000, Joanna has served the homeschool community with both the music and Spanish skills God has given her. She started a band for homeschoolers which grew from one beginner’s class to three full bands and many solo and ensemble groups over the course of a few years. As this took over her life she handed the program off to another homeschooling band mom and focused on schooling her own children as well as Spanish classes for both elementary and high school ages. Joanna lives with her husband Armando, who she “imported” from Colombia, in Dalton, OH. She has always homeschooled her four children, and her passion for a high quality, well-rounded education has increased each year. Currently they are working on grades 12, 10, 8 and 2.

Marji McIlvaine EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Marji McIlvaine

Teacher, The Academy at Bright Ideas Press

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Marji McIlvaine (and her husband Rick) homeschooled all their six children from K-12, even though she was just going to “try it for one year” with her first five-year-old.  The children are all graduated and several are college graduates (Summa Cum Laude), some are in college now, and some are in the work force, each one walking a God-directed pathway. She has a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Florida, with graduate hours in linguistics and testing and assessment (ECU). She began her college career as a pre-veterinary major and garnered many college hours enjoying science.  Growing up in south Florida, she went to SeaCamp in the FL Keys where her passion for marine science was ignited through snorkeling, scuba diving and the hands-on study of ocean life.  She has been teaching other homeschooled students in a variety of subjects for almost her whole homeschooling life.

Marji has studied seven languages (Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, and Arabic) and worked at UF as a bilingual secretary to a professor in the Animal Science department, thereby fusing her interests in science and language.  She teaches Spanish 1-4, French 1-3, elementary Spanish classes, a unique language survey class, and middle school chemistry and marine science classes to homeschoolers of all ages in the mountains of western NC.  She also teaches high school marine biology classes, Spanish, French, German, Forensics (speech), writing, and a broad spectrum of history classes to all ages as well.   You might say that she is living proof that God will use whatever interest we give him to advance His purposes, and that nothing we give to him is in vain.

Marji is an advisor to the Board for the Henderson County Homeschool Association, administers the Woodcock-Johnson IV test to area homeschoolers, and is honored to have been included as a workshop speaker at the NCHE Homeschool Conference for several years.  One of her joys is helping her children and other students see the fingerprints of God in every discipline we study – science, foreign language, communication, and history, and helping them learn to use their God-given gifts and interests for His purposes in their lives. There is always more to learn and more to explore – every subject we study is an adventure into some facet of the world and of God!

Caryl Veloso EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Caryl Veloso

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Caryl Veloso graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts, with a Major in Writing and a Minor in Speech Communication from The University of the Philippines (UPLB). Her academic concentration revolved primarily around Literary Criticism and Stylistic Analysis. She was subsequently given one of the highest scores for an undergraduate paper in the UPLB Humanities Department during that semester and was honored with the rare privilege of being exempted from defending her thesis before the department faculty panel. Although merely a face among hundreds of more talented students, she holds it a unique honor to have survived and have been educated in one of the highest ranking universities in the Philippines as well as Asia. In 1996, along with their firstborn son, she and her husband migrated to America in a small, snowy Michigan town near Lake Huron. After building a close friendship with a wonderful, retired missionary couple, Caryl and her husband felt a compelling desire from the Lord to pursue home education as a ministry to their children. As a result, after they moved to Middle Georgia in 1998, she began her rich journey as a home educator and lived a relatively quiet and unfettered life teaching her children at home. Since then, she has actively been part of six major home education associations in Georgia, where she enjoyed the profound fellowship of many pioneer homeschooling families.

She is sadly at the twilight of her homeschooling journey and is savoring her last semester as a home educator to her youngest son, Josiah. Currently, she has found much enjoyment in her ministry as a private tutor, mentor, college admission counselor, and test-prep coach to students around her area. She feels blessed that her schoolroom is filled with the gaiety and eagerness of young minds and especially pleased when they come over and visit just for the pure joy of having hot cocoa and cookies.

During her spare time she is a freelance copy writer, editor, and publication consultant for the local businesses of her good friends. She has a heart for missionaries, dreams to be a Bible translator, and loves reading historic books on Christian discipleship. Together with her husband, she serves as a Married Community Group leader at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA.

Hal and Melanie Young EMBARK Homeschool Conference

Hal & Melanie Young

Raising Real Men

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Hal & Melanie Young are the award-winning authors of Raising Real Men, My Beloved and My Friend: How to Be Married to Your Best Friend Without Changing Spouses, and several other books. They are publishers, writers, bloggers, and popular conference speakers internationally, known for their Christ-centered focus and practical, real-life stories. They are the parents of six real boys (four grown!) and two real girls and live in noisy, messy happiness in North Carolina.


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