IDEA Curriculum Fair 2018: Speakers with learning workshops

Attendee Welcome Page ~ Anchorage ~ Fairbanks ~ Juneau ~ Soldotna

Adelaide Olguin

Representing TalkBox.Mom

Don't Learn a Foreign Language; Actually Talk in One!

Adelaide worked in the Fashion Industry in Europe until she had her first son and realized there was a large gap in language resources for families. She could conduct a meeting in German but could not figure out how to change a diaper in German. A couple years later, her and her husband started working remotely and traveling the world when Adelaide realized that parents are the greatest language teachers in the world, teaching babies all over the world to talk. She decided to start learning and teaching her family languages she didn't know by following this same pattern--and the results are incredible.

Also following this natural way of learning, her language books in Spanish, German, French, Hebrew, Mandarin, Japanese, and more, allow families to start talking in a foreign language the same day they start. Her monthly TalkBox program helps families to do the hardest thing: stay consistent as they dive deeper and deeper into the language, transforming their entire day into a new language.

Carlita Boyles

Representing Math on the Level

Free to Succeed: Looking at Math from a Maturational Viewpoint
Get Crafty with Math!
Rest for the Weary Ideas for Dealing with Special Needs

After taking a break from speaking at conventions during her final years of homeschooling, Carlita Boyles returns to share her expertise and insights. With over 30 years of educational experience, Carlita has been both a public school Special Education teacher and a homeschooling mom. All three of her children, each having very different strengths and learning styles, have now successfully graduated from high school and are attending or have graduated from college. Carlita and her husband John are the creators of Math on the Level, a math curriculum designed for homeschooling families. Her popular talks address the trials of homeschooling, unique learning situations, and the challenges of teaching math, in order to help families relax and enjoy the homeschooling journey.

Cindy Wiggers

Representing GeoMatters

Making Geography Memorable
Raising a Critical Thinker!

Cindy Wiggers is an author, publisher, and national speaker. She has been involved with the homeschooling movement since 1989 when she and her husband began teaching their three children at home. Few choices of curriculum existed at that time and most were written for classrooms. It didn't take long for her to realize teaching in a homeschool setting with students of multiple ages and levels needed a totally different approach. Cindy has written and created materials to help parents establish an environment that inspires a love for learning and encourages the development of thinking skills. She authored or co-authored The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide, Trail Guide to World Geography, Trail Guide to U.S Geography, Trail Guide to Bible Geography, and created the Mark-It Timeline of History. In addition she has been involved with the creation of the Trail Guide to Learning Series, co-authored by Debbie Strayer and Linda Fowler. Cindy resides in Kentucky where she pursues sustainable lifestyle choices, tends to her garden, helps enrich the homeschool journey of her grandchildren, and is never far from a piece of dark chocolate.

Dennis DiNoia

Representing Mr. D Math

Goal Setting - A Family Event!
How to Speak and Talk Math
Prime Numbers The Gateway to Algebra and Beyond!
SAT Math It's Not the Math, it's the Question that is Confusing!

Dennis DiNoia, M.A.Ed has been immersed in education for almost 30 years.  He holds a M.A. in Education from the University of South Florida and has been a Florida State Certified Secondary Mathematics Teacher since 1988.  He is affectionately known to all of his students as “Mr. D”.

After recording over 500 instructional videos, writing thousands of quiz questions and course practice problems with step-by-step solutions, the Mr. D Math curriculum ranges from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus. His online students are across the United States and Mr. D has worked with students on 3 different continents! This math program infuses problem solving and treating math as a language as the basis for its delivery and offers the equivalent of a personal teacher in one's home or co-op.  Mr. D is a master of distance-learning platforms with his highly successful live online classes for students.

Elizabeth Nicolai

Representing Anchorage Public Library

Best (Free) Online & Print Resources Available at Your Library!

Elizabeth Nicolai is the youth services coordinator for the Anchorage Public Library. She has been a professional librarian for 15 years, most of that time in youth services. She has presented at many homeschool conventions (including IDEA in the past) and taught homeschool programs in libraries in three states.

Jack Pien


Hands-on Robotics Workshop to Build and Learn About a Light Following Robot

Jack Pien is a roboticist engineer and educator with over 20 years of experience as a hardware and software engineer for various companies and research institutions in Silicon Valley such as Intel, NVIDIA, and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Jack is currently founder and Chief Education Officer of (pronounced EE-mee, an acronym for Electrical Engineer Mechanical Engineer) which makes hands-on project kits + online lessons to teach kids electronics, robotics and coding. Jack holds a degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College.

Janet Beckett

Representing Institute for Excellence in Writing

Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum

Janet Beckett and her husband have been home educators for over 15 years, and they have graduated 4 of their 5 children. Janet has successfully used the IEW curriculum for several years and is currently using it with both public and privately educated students. She loves to share how IEW has worked for her family and help others determine if it is right for their students.

Jean Burk

Representing College Prep Genius

The 13 Most Important Soft Skills to Teach Your Children
Free College at Your Fingertips
Teens, Technology, and the Truth!

Author Jean Burk is a homeschooling mother and creator of the revolutionary and award-winning College Prep Genius curriculum which has helped thousands of students prepare for the SAT & PSAT/NMSQT. Her expertise has been featured on FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, WE, ION, Forbes Living TV, UShopTV, and the Homeschool Channel. She has been a keynote and featured speaker at numerous homeschool conferences, schools, clubs, college nights, and is now a Fox News contributor. Jean currently travels across the United States speaking about how to go to college for FREE!

As a homeschooling mom, Jean did not have the financial resources to send her children to college. When she discovered that SAT & PSAT were the keys to getting huge scholarships, she began to research the tests to understand how to prepare her children for them. She discovered that these tests could be taught! They weren’t IQ tests, but rather critical thinking exams. After both her children received full-ride scholarships, Jean began teaching these secrets to other homeschool, public, private and charter school students. Her program College Prep Genius is the culmination of more than a decade of research, classroom experience and SAT experience. Her daughter also earned free grad school and her son earned free law school!

Jessica Parnell

Representing Bridgeway Academy

The Brain Needs PRADA
High Tech Homeschooling in the Digital Age
Hungry Minds: 3 Ways to Inspire Curiosity and Feed Young Minds
The Right Fit: Finding the Perfect Curriculum for Your Child's Learning Style

Author of the series Unlocking Your Child's Genius and the former editor of Homeword magazine, Jessica has a passion for kids and education. As a preferred evaluator in Pennsylvania, she was able to serve as a consultant to homeschooling families for 15 years before shifting focus to Bridgeway Academy. Since then, she has appeared on the David Madeira Show, Christian Work at Home Ministries Radio, the Great Shalom Broadcast, Christian Post Radio, and RCN TV. She was also featured in Yahoo! News, Takepart Media, Natural Awakenings, Successful Homeschooling, and

The recipient of the Stevie Award for Women in Business and the Lehigh Valley Women of Influence Award, Jessica counts it a privilege to work beside educators committed to individual student success.

Julia Renfro

Representing ACPE - Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Parents, Planning, and Postsecondary Planning

Julia Renfro, AKCIS Partnership Coordinator for ACPE, helps Alaskans develop Personal Learning & Career Plans, and encourages parental engagement. Julia shares her career services, human resources, job center, secondary & postsecondary, and corporate training experience nationally by contributing to the development and testing of the CIS system, serving as the President for the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Career Resource Professionals (ACRP) and an Executive Board Member for the national Career Information System (CIS).

Lindsey Wenzel

Representing Raddish

How to Turn Your Kitchen Into a Classroom

Lindsey Wenzel is a homeschooling mom to three wonderful girls. She spends her time cooking, creating, and enjoying the outdoors with her family. Lindsey loves exploring new recipes with her girls, and the whole family enjoys cooking and eating together!

Lisa Weber

Representing TRISMS Curriculum

Homeschooling Multiple Grades and Why Unit Studies Work!

Lisa Weber has been a stay at home homeschool mom since 1995. Her youngest of six children will be graduating this May.

Maren Ehley

Representing RightStart Mathematics

Memorizing Math Facts Without Tears

Maren has a Bachelor's Degree in design and art from North Dakota State University. She is responsible for marketing, convention support, along with other general office functions. She travels to conventions within the US and Canada to help children benefit from using RightStart Math and is co-teaching the online class for middle-school students.

She has 25 years of accounting and customer service experience. Maren is married with three children ranging from elementary to adult. Maren uses RightStart Math with her youngest daughter, who has excelled in math for this very reason. She enjoys painting, reading, camping, home improvements, and landscaping.

Monica Irvine

Representing The Etiquette Factory

Dating for Ladies & Gentlemen
Discipline with Love so We Don't Break Our Children's Spirit
Schedules...Helping Our Children to be Happy
Table Manners' Essentials for the Whole Family

Monica Irvine, president and creator of The Etiquette Factory, LLC, is a master motivator and dedicated instructor who loves to help children and adults see the benefits and rewards of having proper etiquette, mastering professionalism and excelling in social skills. As a Certified Etiquette Instructor and working in the hospitality industry for 27 years, Mrs. Irvine specializes in etiquette and professional instruction to help ensure the success of each individual both personally and professionally.

Mrs. Irvine is the published author of four books on etiquette including Etiquette for Beginners, Etiquette Intermediate, Etiquette Masters and Raising a Generation of Ladies and Gentlemen. She is also the author of A Schedule Makes for a Happy Family. Mrs. Irvine is a national speaker, speaking to thousands of parents, educators and children every year.

Residing in Knoxville, TN with her husband as a retired homeschool teacher, Mrs. Irvine spends her free time playing tennis, running and enjoying her family of three boys and a granddaughter. You may contact Mrs. Irvine at or via her two websites at and

Tanner Bowman


My kids BEG me to let them do homework!

Tanner Bowman is here representing Tech Trep Academy, an online learning platform for kids. Tech Trep's curriculum focuses on helping kids develop their passions for TECHnology and enTREPreneurship. Tanner's been mentoring students for several years, and has loved the opportunity to help them grow their own businesses, learn programming through Minecraft, and enhance their skills as sound engineers and videographers.

Tanner is a certified computer science teacher in Utah, and uses his skills as an educator to develop engaging online curriculum that students can't put down! He loves hearing from parents who talk about how they use the Tech Trep courses as REWARDS for their kids who get their other homework done. He's spent a lot of time researching motivation theory, and will be sharing the three ingredients of a self-motivated student. The exciting part is to hear how easy it is to motivate students, and how ANY parent can use these principles to reach a point where their kids are begging them to let them do homework!

Trish Padgett

Representing Create! Press

Discovering and Creating Powerful Paragraphs!

Patricia Padgett has specialized in the process of learning for over 20 years. Trish’s passion for empowering students, teachers, and families lead to a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Development and training in research-based, multi-sensory instruction. She is currently the owner and Director of Foundations for Reading & Learning and co-author of Writing Adventures®. Her expertise has been applied to professionals working in one-to-one, small group, and classroom settings. The focus on language and process-based curriculum prompted the creation of Writing Adventures. This structured, systematic program applies meta-cognition to teaching the scope and sequence of the writing process: language building, sentence structure, paragraphs, essays, and narratives. Trish has spent the last twelve years training and coaching educators, paraprofessionals, and home school families in the application of research and process-based writing principles. As many teachers feel unprepared to teach the writing process, the primary objective of the coaching is to empower the teacher with the skills to be taught as well as how to teach the skills. Home schoolers all over the world use Writing Adventures to supplement their Language Arts curriculum. Trish provides support via phone calls and emails to assist parents with integrating more writing experiences throughout the day.

Trish is currently the President of Create! Press, Inc., the publisher of the board games, workbooks, manuals, and graphic organizers that comprise the writing system. She has presented several workshops at national and international conferences. As Director of Foundations for Reading & Learning, a private learning center, Trish identifies learning strengths and weaknesses in youths and adults and develops and administers individualized cognitive therapy plans. She also consults with schools and learning centers across the country in the areas of reading, spelling, language comprehension, writing, and arithmetic.