Keynote Speaker – Leigh Bortins
Founder of Classical Conversations and Homeschool Mom of Four Children
Classical Conversations – www.classicalconversations.com
Leigh Bortins was a brand-new mom in 1984, an aerospace engineer, recently graduated from the University of Michigan. She had the drive and the degree to become very successful, and she and her husband, Rob, both accepted lucrative positions with Boeing in Seattle. But the young couple decided they wanted something more than corporate daycare for their young son. As soon as her initial contract was up, Leigh resigned from Boeing to stay home and care for her son.
Not only did she want to care for her son herself, but she decided she wanted to educate him herself, as well. While Robert Jr. was still a toddler, Leigh began researching homeschooling, even though homeschooling was still considered illegal in some parts of the U.S. She read books, attended conferences and studied classical education.
She discovered that there weren’t many educational materials out there for the homeschooling parent and almost nothing based on the classical model of education. Leigh decided she could produce a better curriculum for her sons, so she did.
In 2012 Leigh stepped away from the leadership of the program she had created 15 years earlier, but it was Classical Conversations’ very first student, her oldest son, Robert, who became the new CEO.
In addition to constantly revising and enriching its curriculum, CC has also added additional services for homeschooling families, including an online bookstore, practicum training for parents, standardized testing services, test prep classes, an academic transcript service, academic counseling services, college credit through the CC+ program, and national academic competitions in memorization and math.
“Our stretch goal is 1 percent of all students by 2021, which would be about 580,000 students,” Robert said. “In order to have enough leaders to reach this goal, we will need to hire and train about 50,000 tutors, directors and other leaders. It is scary, honestly. We set goals to reach, but, ultimately, if we continue to strive to meet our mission of helping ‘families pursue classical, Christian education by learning to know God and to make Him known,’ the rest will come.”
Featured Speaker – Todd Wilson
Founder of Familyman Ministries and Homeschool Father of Eight Children
Familyman Ministries – www.familymanweb.com
Familyman Ministries started with this mission: “to remind dads of what’s most important.” How to accomplish this mission has grown, along with the ministry. The original weekly email (the Familyman Weekly) sent out to just over a hundred dads is now sent out to thousands of dads across the country. There are also many encouragement products available for moms and dads.
Take a look around this website. There’s lots of cool stuff like top ten lists, cartoons, articles for men, and directions on how to make a potato canon (most of it is stuff women won’t get). Remember, being a dad is the most important job you’ll ever have, and you only get one shot at it!
TODD WILSON, author of Help! I’m Married to a Homeschooling Mom and The Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons, is a dad, writer, conference speaker, and former pastor. Todd’s humor and gut-honest realness have made him a favorite speaker at homeschool conventions across the country and a guest on Focus on the Family. His articles have appeared in various magazines. Christianity Today also posts his weekly column (The Familyman Weekly) on their website.
Todd and his wife Debbie, along with their eight children spend several months of the year traveling the country encouraging moms and dads. His humor, realness, and straight talk to men (& women) have become his trademark.