We want you to leave INSPIRED to start your Homeschool year excited!


Patrick Farenga

Homeschooling Advocate, Consultant, and Author

Patrick Farenga has more than 36 years of fieldwork, advocacy, and personal experience helping parents and children learn in their own ways. Pat is a writer and education activist who addresses academic and general audiences about working with children, not on children, to help them learn.

Pat worked closely with one of the founders of the modern homeschooling movement, the late author and teacher John Holt, and published Growing Without Schooling magazine (GWS). GWS was the nation’s first periodical about learning without going to school, started by Holt in 1977 and published by Farenga until 2001.

Pat speaks as a homeschooling expert at education conferences around the world as well as on commercial radio and television talk shows in the United States (The Today Show, Good Morning America) and abroad.

Pat writes about homeschooling and self-directed learning for a number of publications and operates the John Holt/Growing Without Schooling website, www.johnholtgws.com. He is also a founding member of www.alternativestoschool.com and the www.self-directed.org.

Pat’s books include Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling (Perseus, 2003), The Legacy of John Holt: A Man Who Genuinely Understood, Trusted, and Respected Children (HoltGWS, 2013), and How to Report Unschooling to School Officials (HoltGWS, 2015).

Farenga has also written chapters about homeschooling in Encyclopedia Britannica (2014, 2010), A Parent's Guide to Homeschooling (Mars Publishing, 2002), Creating Learning Communities (FER, 2000), The Handbook of Alternative Education (Macmillan, 1994), The Exhausted School (Oxford Village, 1992), Schooling At Home (John Muir, 1990), and The Encyclopedia of School Administration (Sage, 1988).




We want you to leave INSPIRED to start your Homeschool year excited!


Alisha Brignall

INSPIRED Founding Director

Alisha is a passionate advocate for homeschooling and individualized learning options. She has 4 children and is currently home-educating her 3 oldest using an eclectic unschooling approach. She blogs at Learning From My Kids where she shares her children’s struggles and triumphs with ADHD and other learning exceptionalities. Alisha felt that when starting her own homeschooling journey 8 years ago that there was not enough support for families that were looking for secular resources, curriculum, community, or support. She and Michelle founded Inspired to make sure that going forward there is somewhere for parents like her when starting their own homeschooling lifestyle. Alisha also provides consultation and planning help for families and is currently enrolled in the 2 year after degree program at the Werklund School of Education to help further her knowledge in education. 




Michelle Goulet

INSPIRED Co-conspirator


Michelle is an early childhood educator and special needs mom who found homeschooling after it became obvious her first child would end up surviving school, not thriving in it. She has embraced the differences in her children and their learning styles through a project/Inquiry based approach to curriculum. This includes research, documentation, experiential learning, immersion and fine arts. Her 16 years of experience as an educator has been heavily influenced by the work of Reggio Emilia, play based learning and, more recently, Forest School Canada. She is the director at Wild Child, an alternative education program that offers forest and nature school for homeschoolers in Bragg Creek, AB.



We want you to leave INSPIRED to start your Homeschool year excited!


KD Maynard 

Oak Meadow

1) Fire ‘Em Up! How to Encourage Students to Be Invested and Engaged in Their Own Learning

2) Growing Emotional Intelligence

KD ​Maynard ​is the director of admission/college counseling at Oak Meadow. She has held roles in college admissions, college counseling and financial aid, academic advising, teacher training/curriculum development, and a variety of administrative/leadership positions at Brown University, World Learning, Marlboro College, The Putney School, Community College of Vermont, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. KD’s liberal arts background (AB from Brown and MALS from Dartmouth) provides her with a worldview that seeks to make connections between and among people, ideas, and a sense of a greater good. Her experience includes creating and supervising college-level first-year seminars that incorporated study skills and student success strategies. She loves living in southern Vermont, spending free time in nature, volunteering with the homeless, and spending time with her two grandchildren.


Robyn Robertson 

Honey, I'm Homeschooling the Kids

Educating Adults About Homeschool: Have you ever noticed that the kids ‘just get it’ while many of the adults struggle to comprehend what homeschool is? We’ll discuss effective strategies for communicating about homeschool both ‘in the system’ and in general life.

Robyn Robertson is a fourteen-year education professional, starting as an ESL teacher before accepting a role as private school admissions director. Currently, she’s an unschooling mom of 2, podcast host, and school board trustee. You’ll often find Robyn in the middle of a group of parents and families, dialoguing about how families can improve their educational experience.Robyn is a strong advocate for natural learning. Growing up in multiple countries before age six, Robyn attended private schools from a young age. After returning to Canada, she completed her primary education in the Lethbridge public system before studying Management at the University of Lethbridge.Her experience as a community building home-educator eventually led her to launch her podcast Honey! I’m Homeschooling the Kids, which is a platform for educating adults about the joys and challenges of home education.Today, Robyn politically advocates for home education and bridges the gaps between the homeschool community and local educators.


Elizabeth Beaugrand, MScOT, R.OT

Connecting Dots

Red Flags: Q&A with an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Language Pathologists

Elizabeth has a wide variety of skills and over 10 years of experience and expertise working with children and young adults. She has lived in Calgary since 2011. Elizabeth has a passion for physical activity and spends her free time in the garden, on the ski hill, or at the dog park.

Samantha MacLeod

Resources for your Homeschool

Top 10 Websites and Apps for Homeschoolers

A true multipotentialite and returning INSPIRED speaker, Samantha MacLeod has been actively engaged in child development, politics and is currently the Vice President of AHEPS, Alberta Home Education Parent’s Society. A leader in the home education community in Alberta, this is her 8th year homeschooling her 5 kids ranging in age from five to fifteen. You can find her at Creatively Misaligned Homeschool, a youtube channel she created which details her experiences as a homeschool parent. When not engaged in running a business, politics, her community, vlogging or homeschooling, she also knits, and makes mead.

Kim Firmston

YA author, writing instructor, and director of the AWCS Youth Programs. 

Alexandra Writers' Centre Society

Workshop: Essays made easy. (Jr/Sr High) Break the code! How to make essays easy, fun, and on point with a few easy steps.


Sara Turner, M.Sc.(A), R.SLP, SLP(C)

Connecting Dots

 Red Flags: Q&A with an Occupational Therapist and a Speech Language Pathologists

Sara is a certified member of Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC). Sara has lived in Calgary since 2005. Sara has over 14 years of experience, and she loves to help people of all ages develop their functional communication skills. Sara represents Connecting Dots as an active member of the Autism Calgary Network. In her spare time Sara can be found singing, reading, or crafting, or at the rink for her kids’ many hockey practices and games.


Jade Dykstra

Lasting Strides Equine Assisted Learning

Workshop: Put a Horse in Your Course: Horses as Teachers

Jade grew up riding horses and knowing that she wanted to make a difference in her community.  She starting Lasting Strides in April 2015 after receiving her certifications in the Equine Assisted Wellness field.  Since then it has grown to be her full-time commitment, and she works hard to ensure you are receiving the best-quality coaching.  Her passion lies in working with children and teens to improve their leadership skills and enhance their confidence and self-esteem.
Jade is a certified EAL Facilitator through Equine Connection, and is a certified EAPD Coach through Higher Trails.  In June 2017 she became a founding member of EAL Canada.  She has been working with horses since 2002 and continues her personal and professional development every chance she gets.


Hanna Stroud

My Literacy Space 

1) How to Nurture Growth Mindset
2) Emergent Reader Versus Struggling Reader

Hanna has operated a private tutoring and consulting company in Calgary, Alberta since 2008.  Her background as a Special Educational Assistant and Literacy Assistant for the Calgary Board of Education for over twelve years has enabled her to work with students with a variety of learning styles and abilities in one-on-one, small group and classroom settings.  She is also a National Trainer for Reading with TLC™, a program designed to improve reading skills. She has worked with Lively Letters since 2008 and witnessed how quickly her students have developed phonemic awareness and phonics skills because of the multisensory approach that is used by this program. This approach incorporates imagery, hand and body cues, oral kinesthetic cues, music, humorous stories and mnemonics (memory tricks). Students are able to use their strongest modes of learning to access and hold on to the information they need to acquire and have fun while they are learning.



Gordon Hamilton

Math Pickle

Workshop: Math Games

(MMath, PhD) is a board game and puzzle designer. He founded MathPickle in 2010 to inject unsolved problems into the classroom.  There is nothing he enjoys more than stumping students and having them stump him. Gordon is the designer of the board game Santorini which launched April 2016 with the largest ever kickstarter for a themed strategy game ($700,000).


Josephene Juell

Elan Family Wellness Centre

Workshop: Movement and Milestones-Setting Our Kids up for Healthy Development.
From physical stressors such as prolonged sitting, backpack and tech use, and reduced (or repetitive) physical movement and exercise, to emotional and chemical stressors (social stress, foods, etc), our spine and neurological development are affected from an early age. Learning about our physical imbalances can allow the opportunity to make early corrections and influence further development. During our workshop we will engage in exercises to test ourselves physically through balance, senses and coordination, which you can take home to check your kids! An efficient nervous system is a key part of healthy development for kids.

Be expected to participate with some simple tests and physical exercises!

Josephene Juell is a Chiropractor, Owner of Elan Family Wellness Centre, and Mom to 2 girls (Scarlett & Greta). Her practice focus is using Network Spinal Chiropractic to help her families in care discover & create wellness strategies and to help support the health of her surrounding community. She is a member of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors and International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and has been working in the area of Maternal and Pediatric care for 18 years.