About Us | Homeschool Connections
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– Our Mission –

Our mission at Homeschool Connections is to support, encourage and advise parents as they educate their children; to provide a variety of innovative and quality educational opportunities; to help prepare students for their future; and to have a profound impact on the educational society.

About

Welcome to Homeschool Connections! Here, we hope you find more than just information and classes. We hope you find a program that meets the standards of any classical education, yet flexible enough to accommodate any homeschool style. More than that, we hope you find a place to connect with others. A place to belong.

With a background in education and educational counseling, Homeschool Connections was founded by Tarla Gernert in 2002 as a means towards filling a need for her own family. Since her own children have graduated, Tarla has continued to grow Homeschool Connections to multiple campuses across southeast Michigan, all providing classes of the highest quality taught by experts with a passion for passing on their knowledge and experiences to future generations.

In addition to weekly classes, families have the opportunity to participate in field trips, support meetings, discounts and more. Homeschool Connections services also include educational counseling & advising and transcript assistance.

We invite you to join us at one of our information meetings, events or at one of our many locations to experience a program dedicated to serving your needs as a homeschooling family.

Our Values

At Homeschool Connections, we hold to nine core values that drives what we do and how we do it.

Connecting and Belonging, Quality of Products and Services, Innovation and Creativity, Customer Delight, Valuing our Employees and Partners, Resourcefulness, Impact on Society, Consistency and Stability, Considerate Christian Worldview

Learn More
Transcript Services

Whether you need a homeschool transcript for college admissions or an academic record of classes, we can help.

Private Tutoring

Our dedicated faculty can provide one-on-one private tutoring for children that need a little extra help or want a little extra challenge.

Graduation

Graduating high school is a big step for students and parents! You don’t have to do it alone. We offer counseling, graduation ceremonies, and more.

Advising

Advising services are available by appointing for any family in need of guidance, recommendations and resources.

Our Faculty and Staff
Vogler, Lora
Vogler, Lora

My name is Lora Vogler and I have been a Campus Supervisor for Homeschool Connections since 2011. I will be supervising at the new Clarkston Campus in the fall. I have two kids that I homeschooled from the beginning with my son now 19 going into his second year of college and my daughter who will be a senior this upcoming school year. I love my job at HC especially getting to greet and meet all the new and returning families and look forward to another great year!

Vallus, Katie
Vallus, Katie

Katie Vallus loves her job as campus supervisor at Homeschool Connections and is starting her third year at Rochester Hills, also frequently filling in at the Shelby Township campus, too. Katie and her husband, Jason, have homeschooled their 3 children since 2005, the oldest two having graduated. They live in Shelby Township where her husband runs a small business. Katie is active in her church where she teaches in the children’s Sunday School department.

Thompson, Becky
Thompson, Becky

Becky Thompson started working with Homeschool Connections in 2012 as a Campus Supervisor. She is now the Director of Corporate Operations. Becky is passionate about making Homeschool Connections the best we can be in order to serve our families and positively impact our community. Previous to working at Homeschool Connections, she was in sales and management and was a stay-at-home mom for 12 years. Becky loves enjoying the setting of her country home with her family, reading, crocheting and generally relaxing in her free time. She is also the worship leader at her small country church, Addison Township Community Church, where her husband is the pastor. They have 4 wonderful children, the youngest of which attends Homeschool Connections, and she has one energetic and adorable grandson.

Opel, Anna
Opel, Anna

Anna Opel has worked with Homeschool Connections since 2013. She helped start their Royal Oak Campus and served as a Campus Supervisor there for two years. She also worked for 2 years at the Farmington Hills campus. In 2017, she became a Campus Supervisor at the Troy Campus where she currently works. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in Elementary Education and taught in the Saginaw Public School System for 3 years. She is a mother of 2 sons whom she homeschooled their entire education. Her oldest son is a Sophomore at Spring Arbor University and her younger son is entering his Senior year of high school and attends Homeschool Connections. For 21 years, she has been married to her wonderful husband Kurt, who works as an IT Consultant and is the worship leader at their church. Anna loves to travel and has had the opportunity to live in China, Sweden and Russia. Her family also lived in Istanbul, Turkey for two years.

McMahon, Shelly
McMahon, Shelly

Shelly and her family have been involved with Homeschool Connections from its inception. Throughout the years, her kids have attended classes while she worked part time as a teacher. In 2013, she stepped up to become a Campus Supervisor. Shelly is now the Director of Campus Operations for all of the Connections’ campuses and is part of the administrative team.

She is a graduate of Michigan Christian College with over 25 years of homeschooling experience. She enjoys tennis, biking and loves going on vacation, especially in the winter. She has been married to Mike since 1987 and they have 7 children, who are all homeschool graduates. They also have four grandchildren who are now homeschooling.

McCoy, Michelle
McCoy, Michelle

Michelle McCoy is a campus supervisor at our Auburn Hills and Clarkston campuses. Michelle has a degree in psychology from University of Michigan-Dearborn but remains a Spartan at heart!! The McCoys made a conscious decision to homeschool in 2003. The journey has taken many twists and turns but has been really rewarding. Michelle, her husband Mark, their five children, ages 16-21, and two puppies, live and learn in Pontiac. Michelle teaches and writes curriculum for Kensington Church in Troy and enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with her family.

Koskinen, Pam
Koskinen, Pam

Pam has been a part of Homeschool Connections since 2005, when her children starting taking classes. Over the years she has had many different roles within Homeschool Connections and currently is the Director of Finance. She has an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Oakland Community College. Pam married Dan in 1989 and they have 3 adult children. They homeschooled all of her children from kindergarten all the way through to their high school graduation! Pam and her family live on a farm in Dryden where they have 4 horses, 3 cats and their favorite dog, Oakley! She enjoys living life in the country, being with her family, biking, tennis & going up north. She and her husband are members of Oakwood Community Church.

Joslyn, Ruth
Joslyn, Ruth

Ruth Joslyn taught various classes at Homeschool Connections for 2½ years and has joined the administration team to provide helpful support to our Fabulous Teachers. She went back to school later in life and graduated in 2011 from Liberty University with a B.A. in General Education. She taught several years in Christian schools before “being promoted” to a homeschool teacher for her daughters in 2015. Ruth, her husband, 3 girls, and her father-in-law live together in Oxford—the town where Ruth and Mike met in 1983 and (much later) got married in 1999. Her oldest daughter is enrolled with Liberty University and her two younger daughters are enrolled at HighPoint Hybrid Academy in Clarkston

Hensler, Carrie
Hensler, Carrie

Carrie Hensler began with Homeschool Connections as a campus supervisor in 2015, but soon transitioned to the administrative team in 2016 to help with data management. She has an Associate in Business Administration from OCC and a B.S. in Human Resources – Training and Design from Oakland University. She has enjoyed working for companies such as Compuware, GTE Telecom, and a few non-profit organizations before coming to Homeschool Connections, and has always been a very active volunteer in her church. She has been married to her best friend, Keith since 1997, and began homeschooling her 3 children in 2010.

Gernert, Tarla
Gernert, Tarla

Tarla Gernert Started Homeschool Connections in 2002 because it was a program that she needed to help educate and homeschool her own children. She wanted a program that brought in experts to teach her children in specific areas, and (along with several other families) Homeschool Connections Educational Services was created. The program quickly grew to multiple locations serving hundreds of families and continues to offer high-quality classes taught by passionate teachers to this day.

More recently, she felt the need to start a program that met more frequently and gave parents more help. This became a reality when HighPoint Hybrid was created in 2017. HighPoint is a two-day-a-week program that is similar to a part-time private school, where the students are taught in class and parents are guided on what to teach at home the rest of the week.

Tarla earned her B.S. Degree in Education at Liberty University and has taught in a variety of schools including public, private, and homeschooling programs. Her true passion is helping people figure out how best to educate their children and prepare them for the rest of their lives. She is very knowledgeable about a wide variety of programs and services available in this area and understands the challenges when children are not thriving in their current educational situation. She is available by appointment to give guidance, recommendations, and share resources to help you develop a plan that will work better for your child.

Davis-Poeder, Michelle
Davis-Poeder, Michelle

Michelle Davis-Poeder has been a campus supervisor at Homeschool Connections since 2015. She has a B.S. in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Michelle is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. She lives with her husband, 16 year-old son, 13 year-old daughter and two dogs. She has been homeschooling her children for 3 years.

Cuyler, Karen
Cuyler, Karen

Karen Cuyler joined Homeschool Connections in 2017. She is a pastor’s wife and mother of five adult children and proud to be a grandma of many grandchildren. She is a former homeschooler. She will be at Rochester Hills and Shelby campuses. She enjoys serving alongside her husband at Living Rivers in Shelby Township. In her free time you will find her reading and spending time with family and friends.

Zwerlein, Nicole
Zwerlein, Nicole

Nicole Zwerlein has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and minor in Marketing from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). She’s worked as a designer for the SVSU Communications Department, Detroit Regional Chamber, Sun Communities, Clayton & McKervey, Doner Agency, among many other freelance clients. She carries over a lot of her agency experience to her current client base and students. She’s worked with a wide range of software; such as WordPress, MailChimp, Hootsuite, Adobe Premiere, and is strongest in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop/Lightroom. In addition to her design/marketing background, Nicole began West Coast Swing dancing in 2009. After many years of training and being an international competitive routine and improv follower, she now travels regularly to teach, judge and compete on the West Coast Swing circuit. She brings her experiences and knowledge back home with her to teach Michigan dancers the art and technical movement of West Coast Swing!

Yaquinto, Joe
Yaquinto, Joe

Sensei Joe Yaquinto has been a dedicated Martial Artist since he was a young teenager. He has visited and trained in Japan many times, being culturally adaptive and multilingual. He has received black belts in multiple arts and passes his knowledge onto his students. He has competed at a national level and has been awarded 3 grand championships in Karate and Kobudo. He is always encouraging of students to achieve their goals and dreams, making sure each student is recognized for their efforts.

Wiltsie, Brittany
Wiltsie, Brittany

Wife and mother of two, Brittany Wiltsie is a Michigan-based artist and art instructor. Her goal is to inspire an appreciation for the arts and ignite creativity in the children in her classes. Art can bring forth confidence and unlock a world of possibilities.

Warnos-Tocco, Kelly
Warnos-Tocco, Kelly

Kelly Wamos-Tocco brings her warm smile to all of her PE classes. She loves making exercise enjoyable. She teaches students how to play team and individual sports—inside and outside. Her PE background allows for her to present PE in a fun way.

Thelen, Wauketa
Thelen, Wauketa

Hello, my name is Wauketa Thelen. I am a child of God, wife, homeschool mom of two, pet parent and an avid cook. Though my job experiences cross many professions, each career move prepared me for the life I’m living now. I worked at the same credit union, twice! Once as a teller and the second time as the Cash Manager, where I had the pleasure of directing and overseeing the tellers. The credit union taught me the importance of member service and money management. I worked for General Motors as an electrician where I learned problem solving skills and how to work in a high stress environment. I owned a vending company for about 7-years, which showed me the importance of response time and listening to customers’ needs. I also held a position in the General Education Department at Baker College where I learned how to teach and how to assist the adult learner with math anxiety. At Baker College, I was awarded Adjunct of the Quarter, because my entire class nominated me. I joined the Homeschool Connections family in 2016 where my original position was a math instructor. My own struggles and triumphs with math made this position a great fit.

Other experiences include mentoring with Winning Futures, leading Rochester Church of Christ Meal Ministry team, and regularly volunteering at Gleaners Food Bank. I have a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies from Wayne State University and a Master’s of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University. If I’m not educating my own children or someone else’s, you will find me volunteering in my community, traveling, or in the kitchen. My goal is to get to all 50 states before I die, and between you and me, I’m almost there!

Taddiken, Lisa
Taddiken, Lisa

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Lisa Taddiken. I am a mother of three children who were educated at home from first grade through the completion of high school. My son successfully went on to obtain an M.S. in Mathematics, my oldest daughter holds a B.A. at Oakland University, and my youngest is currently a graduate student.

Before having my own children, I was a 4-H Leader and started several special interest clubs during my ongoing years of service in Oakland County. In 1995 I was invited to participate in the organization and vision of the third “Home Team” in Oxford, MI. The co-op transitioned into Thomas Prep Academy in later years, offering more rigorous course work to prepare students for upper-level high school and college. During those years I developed curriculum and instructed a variety of classes from preschool through high school.

Having taught for many years in a variety of environments, I understand the needs of children and homeschool families. Not only am I passionate about education, I also have the background necessary to confidently orchestrate classroom studies and activities that provide engaging and enriching experiences for students of all ages.

It is an honor and a blessing to have been chosen to teach at Homeschool Connections and I am looking forward to this school year!

Szczesny, Kris
Szczesny, Kris

Kris Szczesny (Sez-nee) got her Teaching Certification in 1990 from Eastern Michigan University after attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Year 2018 marked her retirement from Livonia Public Schools and the beginning of her adventure with Homeschool Connections. Besides having her own Upper Elementary classroom for years, she has taught a wide range of enrichment courses for kids through Schoolcraft College beginning in 1995. Since then, she has also helped children reach their full potential through various tutoring sessions. It’s integral to students’ success to have supportive adults and peers, open communication, and a positive balance of work and play throughout their day. Bringing just about any subject to life, and learning about the homeschoolers around the area is what she’s looking forward to this year at Homeschool Connections. Any form of math, writing, technology, or science fuels her passions, and she loves to pass on that interest, drive, and desire to learn to her students. In her spare time, she loves to sing, read, dance, talk and eat with friends, practice her voice acting-recording-editing skills, and also cuddle with her cat, CiCi.

Summers, Jennifer
Summers, Jennifer

Jennifer Summers is new to Homeschool Connections this year and is excited to be working with homeschoolers in a teaching capacity. Jennifer graduated from Bob Jones University with a degree in Social Studies Education. After teaching for 10 years in public education, she has homeschooled her children for the last 8 years. She recently graduated from Oakland University with a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts. For the past 4 years, she has tutored students in reading and writing. As a dyslexia specialist, she helps students of varying abilities to overcome reading challenges to succeed in all areas of life.

Jennifer has been married to her husband, Todd, for 20 years and they have 5 children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, making crafts, and spending time with family and friends.

Strickland, Charles
Strickland, Charles

Charles grew up in a small rural town in Georgia where he actively participated in United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments, traveling across the United States to play competitively. As a young adult, he moved to Atlanta and opened a commercial construction company where he was mentored by Ted Turner and ultimately became one the youngest, most successful key players in the building of Atlanta in the mid-1980s. Despite his success in contracting industry, Charles was called to work in the non-profit sector in the early 1990’s when he moved to Florida and founded the National Aids Awareness Center and the Children’s Wish Come True Foundation, and later he sat on the board of the American Red Cross. After moving to Michigan, he combined his heart for ministry and head for finance to help low-income families become homeowners.

He and his wife, Christina (publisher of http://ModernHomeschoolFamily.com) have been married for 26 years and homeschooled two daughters. Their oldest daughter is currently in college in the Master’s program at Northwestern University Chicago and their youngest daughter exploring careers in the medical field.

Hermez, Zina
Hermez, Zina

Zina Hermez is a new teacher with Connections and will teach writing and grammar courses. She’s been an educator for over fifteen years. Zina received a B.A. in English with a minor in History from Oakland University as well as an Associate’s Degree in General Studies. She tutors English as a Second Language to adults (mostly engineers) and their families in both the corporate and private (home) settings and also teaches classes at a Language center. She has tutored and homeschooled children in subjects like Reading, Phonics, Writing, Grammar, Math, Science, and Study Skills. Some of her hobbies include writing in her journals, listening to music, taking road-trips, and being social with family and friends.

Smith, Therese
Smith, Therese

Therese Smith is a mother of two children. Her son is a freshman in college and her daughter is a junior in high school. She has been married to her husband for 24 years. She’s been a Christian her whole life and has served in her church in various ways throughout the years. She holds a BA from Northwood University in Business Administration and Management, having graduated in 2008. She homeschooled both her children for 4 years for middle school and high school. She has a background in business, sales, and banking. She has her own marketing and referral business, specializing in contractor insurance work and will bring a practical experience to Homeschool Connections.

Seguin, Emily
Seguin, Emily

Emily Seguin grew up in Macomb, MI. After high school she attended Oakland University where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education K-12. While in college Emily worked as a caregiver to children with Autism. After graduating she worked as a substitute art teacher in Chippewa Valley and L’Anse Creuse districts. In her spare time she enjoys reading, painting, hiking, boxing, and watching movies.

Seamon, Cathie Jo
Seamon, Cathie Jo

If Cathie jo Seamon only had two lines to tell you about herself, this is where she would start:

Science Mom. Wife.
Christian. Lover of Life.

If you want to stop there, that’s a good summary. If you want to know more, here are a few other tidbits. I am an engineer by training with both a Bachelor’s Degree (University of Michigan – BSE) and a Master’s Degree (Wayne State University – MSE). I worked in the auto industry for almost 25 years as an environmental engineer. About 7 years ago I found out what I really wanted to do when I grew up – bring Science to kids. Initially I maintained my engineering job and teaching at homeschool programs. Last year I decided to teach more and I gave up my engineering job. It’s been the best thing I ever did. I love my job.

I believe that science should be fun. I think that it should be made fun in its presentation and that most kids learn better with some hands-on experiments. In my classes, I love when the students are involved and our “lecture” is more of a “discussion”. I love that my engineering background often lets me show the students where all this “stuff” will be used. My own kids often question why they have to learn different facts and with my experience, I can often explain where it will be used when they’re older. Last year was my first year teaching Algebra with Homeschool Connections and I loved bringing math to kids too. I found it really helped to enhance and make relevant the chemistry we were learning. The 2018-2019 school year will be my fourth year with Homeschool Connections.

I have two teenage children: Matthew is 16 and a Junior at Bishop Foley Catholic School and Clare is 13 and an eighth grader at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic School. I have been married to my husband (also an engineer) since 1995. We all live in Birmingham, MI with our Crazy Cooper Dog – who is also my Guardian Angel Dog.

I hope to have your child in class someday. I do my best to surprise and delight the students – while still making sure they learn something.

Schonfeld, Leslie
Schonfeld, Leslie

Leslie Schonfeld teaches Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Biology at Homeschool Connections. She is a 1985 graduate of Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Biology Education with a minor in Physical Science. She has been with Connections since 2009.

Leslie is married to David and the mother of three, Mark 25, Elizabeth 22, and Hannah 19. She enjoys speaking and writing about God’s Word. She founded Dragonfly Ministry in 2008. A published author, “What’s In a Name? Jesus in the Book of John” was released in 2012 and “Legacy” in 2016 and the “Legacy Workbook” in 2018. In addition she has an Associate Degree in Biblical Studies.

Royer, Karly
Royer, Karly

Karly Royer is a certified ESL teacher with a background in linguistics, literature, history and dance. She has taught at Palaestra for many years and has taught at Homeschool Connections for three years. Karly’s middle-school aged daughter keeps her on her toes, as she teaches to enjoy science, specifically chemistry. Karly really enjoys teaching writing and literature; her goal is to show students that writing can be–if not fun–at least tolerable. When not “dance momming” or teaching, Karly is usually knitting.

Ritzrow, Heidi
Ritzrow, Heidi

Heidi Ritzrow is a new teacher at Homeschool Connections for the 2018-2019 school year; although she is not new to teaching. She will be teaching MS/HS Sciences, HS Social Studies, and several HS Business Electives at Connections. Heidi earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Finance, and a minor in Social Science from Tennessee Technological University in 1997. She taught in the Utica Community Schools District for 3 years before taking the honor of becoming her daughter’s full-time homeschool teacher over the past 3 years. She lives in Shelby Township with her husband, son, daughter, and adorable 2 year old Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie) dog named Winston.

Rector, Judy
Rector, Judy

Judy Rector is a multi-talented teacher. She teaches many of our language arts classes, but also teaches French for beginners and a class entitled “People, Places, and Cultures” which is a geography course. You will enjoy her extensive talents and abilities as you learn from this fascinating lady.

Phillips, Greg
Phillips, Greg

My name is Greg Phillips and 2018 will be my first year at HSC. My nephew has been taking classes through HSC for years and I have also previously been a substitute teacher. I have been married for 14 years (Kimberly) and have a 12 year old (Faith) and a 10 year old (Ruth). For the last 12 years, I have been a stay-at-home dad. Prior to that, I was in the banking industry and have a degree in marketing from Michigan State. I will be teaching P.E. and sports-related games and activities at HSC.

Since I was a kid, I have loved all sports. I have played organized soccer, baseball, basketball, football and tennis. Watching and playing sports has always been a passion of mine, and I look forward to sharing that with your kids.

Pate, Michelle
Pate, Michelle

Michelle Pate dreamed of teaching since she was a small child. She is happily married to Craig Pate and they have 4 children and 2 grandchildren. Michelle started homeschooling in 1998. So far, she has successfully graduated 3 of her children and they have gone on to be productive members in society–one of them being a diplomat! Three down, one to go!

Michelle has been teaching various classes for all grade levels at Enrich Christian Homeschool co-op since 1998. She came on board with Homeschool Connections in 2016. Her passion is family! She graduated from Impact Bible Institute in 2013 and has taught and led classes on marriage, parenting, and discipleship.

Michelle especially enjoys working with middle school/high school aged people. She is insistent that learning should be an enjoyable experience. Her out-of-the-box style of teaching encourages students to be engaged and participate. She loves working with art and literature, and has been specializing in history. Grammar and writing skills are honed in with both literature and history classes. She is insistent that doodling is essential and ADHD stands for Attention Differences Having Delightfulness.

You will find her teaching various classes, most of which will be classes that her youngest son will need. Her classes being offered this year are in Art, History, Geography, Literature, Paper Plane and Rubber-band engineering!

Oskioian, Ellen
Oskioian, Ellen

I have been working on writing a couple of books over the past few years (one of comedic short stories based on personal experience, and another an adaptation of a traditional Russian fairy tale). My goal is to actually finish them, as staying focused on such a task can take its toll. I am also in the process of breaking into the voiceover industry to work in book narration, which has been a dream of mine for a long time.

I have worked extremely hard to reach some of these goals, and they were met over time with much persistence. You never really know where God will take you, and sometimes it’s in a completely different direction than we may think! I know that my life’s journey is far from over, and I’m excited to see what is in store this coming year!

In addition to these hobbies, I have always loved the magic of movies and animation. Learning how cartoons have changed over the years, how the perfect character voice was found, the development of the art of scenery and casting, and everything in between has been a fascinating discovery for me over the decades. My history of art and study of film-making will finally pay off in my upcoming film study and art of animation courses – two new classes I am very excited to begin. There is always more to learn, so I’m excited to create these courses as I’ll undoubtedly discover even more fun facts to share.

Twenty years of experience working with infants to adolescents, along with my history of multifaceted creativity, have led me to the privileged position of a Homeschool Connections teacher, a role I am very blessed to fulfill. I have always loved kids and very much look forward to helping your children reach their full potential as creative individuals through crafting, designing, discovering, and writing. We will be learning and discovering together, and that is what I enjoy most about connecting with your kids. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.

Osis, Sue
Osis, Sue

Hello, I would like to introduce myself to those who don’t already know me. I have been a computer instructor with Homeschool Connections for several years now. I have truly enjoyed working with the students, and getting to know many families over the years. Tarla and her staff have been supportive in every aspect. One of the many benefits of working with the homeschoolers is getting to know the children individually, their strengths and enabling their creativity to continue and develop with the many unique technology classes we offer. My background and education are in Occupational Therapy. I worked mainly in the public school system for several years with Physically or Otherwise Health Impaired (POHI) students and developmentally delayed students. I have conducted individual and group therapy sessions, planned fundraisers as well as special events. I also owned and operated a home-based floral design business, specializing in wedding florals.

I have been married for 35 years and have two beautiful daughters who are young adults now. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, swimming, crafts, computer technology. I am looking forward to a great year working with the Homeschool Connections students.

Necula, Sabina
Necula, Sabina

Sabine Necula will be teaching German this year. She is a Native German, born and raised right in the heart of Germany about 100 miles north of Frankfurt. Sabine went to business school in Kassel, Germany. After finishing school, she worked as an Industrial Sales Representative for a company in Kassel, taking care of customers in Europe and Canada.

In 2006 Sabine moved to Michigan to be with her husband T.J. They have two daughters; both have been homeschooled since pre-school and have attended Homeschool Connections for several years.

Navarro, Meg
Navarro, Meg

As a homeschool senior in 2007, Meg Navarro began teaching art. She now teaches photography, art, and dance at HC and runs her own business: The Fun Reading Tutor. Meg’s art teaching method empowers anyone to draw accurately by strengthening the right side of the brain. Meg enjoys the shocked smiles on students’ faces when they realize they can create lifelike drawings. To see her students’ work, visit: http://megapixelsart.wix.com/artlessons.

In the past, Meg has:
-Founded an art school: Megapixels School of the Arts
-Wrote “Realistic Drawing Made Easy” (available on Amazon)
-Worked as head theater muralist, created a 36 ft. x 18 ft. painting
-Volunteered for Beautiful Day, designing and painting murals at a school
-Taught English and subbed at private schools
-Studied under professional artists, including Ann Kullburg’s colored pencil workshop and Matt Bowman’s chalk talk class
-Graduated with honors with a double BA in communications and humanities – art and writing
-Launched a swing dance club

Nalian, Cheryl
Nalian, Cheryl

Cheryl Nalian has a degree in Early Childhood Development and Liberal Arts. She has Continued Education credits at Oakland University and has attended other training and seminars for art and education. Cheryl has worked with children for over 25 years. Her experience includes being a child care center director and working in preschool programs and elementary-age programs for Troy Public Schools. She is very active at her church where she has helped in Sunday School classes, Awana, and taught homeschool art classes.

Cheryl has been married over 21 years. Her husband, who has a doctorate in theology, is a missionary and is the founder of the Stand Strength Team (http://www.standstrengthteam.org/). Together, they have been homeschool parents for over 10 years. Cheryl believes children learn best when using all their senses and she incorporates this in her lessons. Her goal is to help children develop a love of learning.

Marsh-Hatty, Suzi
Marsh-Hatty, Suzi

Suzi Marsh-Hatty has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama and is a professional
vocalist who has travelled the world performing in disparate venues – from Arenas to intimate jazz clubs. She has produced and performed on many albums (8 of her own) plus been involved in several music and acting projects.

Suzi’s passion includes imparting her wisdom and experience through engaging educational programs and teaching fitness techniques to help her students get stronger in every way–confidence is the key to success.

When your students attend her fitness or vocal classes, they will be given the tools and techniques to be confident onstage and offstage.

Suzi’s voice class provides a compelling and inspiring program that incorporates breathing, physical, and vocal exercises for the students. They learn goal setting, proper technique for protecting the voice, and confidence-building skills. Suzi has developed a
comprehensive offering that keeps students engaged and excited. The Barre Strength and Tone class provides core training and breathing (imagine: ballet meets Pilates meets child -appropriate dance music). It’s an awesome class that uses chairs as stabilizers and any fitness level/ age group may participate.

The Cardio Dance Class allows for movement, free expression, and interaction with classmates. The movements are kid-friendly and, seriously, it’s a blast of a class!

All of these classes rely on the concept that when you have the tools, you can do anything! Your students will create their full potential while having so much fun; they won’t even realize that they are learning!

Locke, Deb
Locke, Deb

Deb Locke has a life-long interest in science, history, literature and music. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science with concentrations in Early Childhood Education and Business Administration. Her professional work experience has centered on the automotive industry, with 20+ years at General Motors in various engineering/integration capacities. She is co-owner of Sarai Music Ministries which has been offering custom curriculum designs for homeschool programs and community enrichment workshops for the past 10 years.

Deb is active in the Lapeer Concert Community Choir, is a musician/vocalist in the Praise Team- Rejoice, supports the Children’s Choir and leads the Women of Faith Bible Class at her church. Deb has been teaching in the Homeschool Connections program almost since its inception. It has been a gratifying and rewarding experience over the years and a blessing to know the many students who have passed our way!

Leone-Paulk, Josie
Leone-Paulk, Josie

Josephine Leone-Paulk has been an innovator, creator, and educator for the past sixteen years. Josie has spent most of her career teaching elementary education, with her most recent position being a 4th Grade ELA teacher. She is very excited to join the Homeschool Connections family this year where she will be teaching a variety of classes which will cover topics in Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts. Currently, she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, which she acquired from Oakland University in 2001. Josie also received her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University in 2013.

Besides having a strong passion for education, she is a blessed and devoted mother to two amazing little boys. She looks forward to working with your children this year to help them become well-rounded, responsible, and successful individuals.

Lane, Virginia
Lane, Virginia

Virginia has been in education for over 30 years. She has had the opportunity to teach in many different settings and in a variety of subjects. Virginia has a BA and credits for her master’s degree from Oakland University. She is trained and certified in the Montessori method, as well as Orton-Gillingham instruction. She possesses certifications in Reading and Language Arts. She has taught for Homeschool Connections since 2012. Before working for HSC, she was employed by Computer Explorers. Some of her classes include Robotics, Engineering, Video Gaming, Clay Animation, Digital Movies, and Green Screen. Virginia also teaches Language Arts, History, Geography, Science, STEM classes and Higher Order Thinking skills. She incorporates a multi-sensory and cross-curriculum approach in her teaching style.

LaBruzzy, Terri
LaBruzzy, Terri

Terri LaBruzzy is passionate about education and has been involved in her children’s schools since preschool. Whether a supporting role in the classroom or managing reading/comprehension programs, Terri has found great purpose in working with a multitude of students and fostering their growth. With growing, active kids, she and her family focus on healthy habits and lifestyle. Building on that, Terri and her youngest daughter have bonded over their Crossfit programs. Terri, her husband, and three children live in Clarkston and she will be teaching PE classes at our Clarkston campus. Terri graduated from the University of Michigan, but is proud to be a Spartan Mom as her son heads to Michigan State in the Fall. Her daughters will be a Freshman and Senior.

Krall, Denise
Krall, Denise

My name is Deniese Krall and I’m new to Homeschool Connections. My husband and I have been married 28 years and we have 3 adult children: Bryan has his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Wayne State University; Beverly is currently completing her Masters of Occupational Therapy from Wayne State; and my baby, Donnie, just graduated from Utica High School, Magma Cum Laude. Education has always been important to me and my husband. I facilitated all kinds of homeschool classes in my home when my children were young. I taught all subject areas and I have worked with a wide range of different learners. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. I returned to Eastern Michigan University and received a Literacy Specialist Degree. I have worked closely with Eastern Michigan’s Reading Diagnostic Program. I am trained in Reading Recovery, Phonemic Awareness and Michigan Literacy Progress Profile (MLPP). I am trained utilizing the Qualitative Reading Inventory. This assessment not only concentrates on reading fluency, but also comprehension in both narrative and expository texts.

I have tutored for thirty years and recently have been working with students taking the MCAT and SAT Assessments. I have worked one year at Huron Academy, teaching creative writing, and tutoring reading. I have also been a guest speaker in Utica Schools trying to generate student interest in reading and writing.

I feel the best way to generate a love for learning is by example. In 2012, I published my first Christian Fiction book. I have since written two more books in the series. These books were featured in Nashville, Tennessee on the show Bridges, hosted by Monica Schmelter. I have been mentored by my agent, Keith Carroll, Jerry Jenkins (21 times New York Best Selling Author), and Scott Rutherford, my friend and editor. In 2011, I was the winner of the Xulon Press, Nationally Acclaimed Writing Contest. My fourth book, Letters from the Other Side, is expected to be published soon.
I have traveled all over the state of Michigan speaking while engaging in book signings. My books have been used for Bible studies throughout the world and I am currently facilitating my own Bible Studies in my home.

Koskinen, McKenna
Koskinen, McKenna

This year, she will be teaching high school “Public Speaking” and “Adulting-Learning What You Need to Know.” With just being out of college and taking on the responsibilities of being a full-time adult, she would like to share some tips and tricks to help students succeed in the upcoming chapters of life. The lower elementary classes she will be teaching are “Animals Animals” and “All about Horses.” Since growing up on a farm with multiple different animals, she can’t wait to share what she knows with the class! She looks forward to working with the students this coming school year!!

Knaggs, Jennie
Knaggs, Jennie

Jennie Knaggs is a composer, vocalist, and instrumentalist based in Detroit, Michigan. She has performed extensively in The United States and Europe in a wide range of musical styles, including classical, folk, pop, and new music.

With 18 years of teaching experience in music, songwriting, and theatre arts, Jennie helps each student fuel their creativity with a strong back bone of technique, providing a language of music perfect for any genre.

Under her guidance, her students have participated in Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) Honors Choir and Solo and Ensemble; Blue Lake International Choral Ensemble; won vocal scholarships from Lake Orion School District, as well as awards in local songwriting competitions.

Jennie and her husband own Orion Music Studio (Lake Orion), and several Homeschool Connections students have lessons there. When she is not performing, writing or teaching, she is enjoying motherhood with her 1 year old.

Khalil, Daniel
Khalil, Daniel

Sensei Daniel Khalil has been involved in the martial arts his entire life. He started karate (all because he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle) in 1993. He has gone from student to assistant to teacher to chief instructor, and now Sensei. Sensei Khalil has always worked his way up, perfecting his skills in multiple martial arts. He has achieved great success through training, tournaments, demonstrations, and, most importantly, teaching classes.

Through traditional subjects such as Basics, Kata (forms) and Self Defense, he focuses on teaching physical skills for better fitness, health, and over all well-being. Sensei Khalil uses the physical skills as a means to teach the intangibles, such as confidence, self-control, hard work and discipline. He feels these are the real benefits of training in the martial arts. His teaching is structured to help his students reach a level of confidence and peace for the mind, body and spirit.

His goal is to pass on what he has learned and enhance the lives of all of his students, their families and our community.

Kearney, Danielle
Kearney, Danielle

Danielle Kearney taught various classes at Homeschool Connections for the 2017-2018 school year. She earned her teaching degree in elementary and special education from Eastern Michigan University and her master’s degree from Marygrove College. She taught for 13 years as a special education teacher in Livonia Public Schools. She loves teaching math and helping students use critical thinking skills to solve all sorts of problems. Danielle and her husband live in Farmington Hills where they can frequently be found on a baseball field or football field cheering on their two sons.

Kapusta, Wendy
Kapusta, Wendy

I am Wendy Kapusta and I have been a teacher for over 25 years! I’ve taught in the public schools and have homeschooled. I currently teach at both at Homeschool Connections and HighPoint Hybrid Academy. I also do tutoring. I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old and it is one of the greatest joys in my life. I have 4 wonderful children who are in various stages of high school and college. We also share our home with a guinea pig named Miss Sprinkles and my dog named Sniper.

Jagod, Jessica
Jagod, Jessica

Jessica Jagod started working with Homeschool Connections as a substitute teacher in 2017 at the majority of the campuses. She taught a variety of subjects at the elementary and middle school levels. She has taught the past 6 years at the Downriver Christian Co-op in the areas of History, Science and English. She has home educated her three children for the past 17 years. She attended Western Michigan University and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor’s Degree, majoring in Communication. Jessica, her husband and 2 children reside in Clarkston. Her oldest son attends Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. Jessica met Scott in 1994 and got married in 1996.

Howe, Autumn
Howe, Autumn

Hi! My name is Autumn Howe and I have been with Homeschool Connections since 2016. I teach grades Pre-K through 5th. I am a wife, a mom to Jack, and a dog lover (we have 3)! I spend my free time gardening, crafting and traveling with my family in the Summer. I have an Associate Degree in Education from Schoolcraft College, as well as my CDA (Child Development Associate) with a preschool concentration. Prior to joining Homeschool Connections, I was a Pre-K teacher for five years. I believe in creating a happy and positive environment for learning. It’s going to be an amazing year, filled with fun, lots of learning, and new adventures.

Houck, Lisa
Houck, Lisa

As a homeschool mom of over 20 years, Lisa has been teaching grammar, writing, and history/science classes for many years, and has a passion for seeing children well-educated and set-up to succeed. Having experienced children who were either struggling learners or advanced learners, she strives to make her classes a positive and encouraging environment, and is happy to work with parents who have struggling or advanced learners, and will make accommodations in classwork whenever possible. She loves the freedom for delight-directed education, being creative, and wants students to have more time for the things they enjoy, yet she also understands the importance of setting them up to succeed for high school/college/career training by giving them some structure, taking quizzes in an environment that is out of the home, learning to follow directions, and meet assignment deadlines. She believes these activities in small doses helps prepare them for their future, and build their confidence through success!

Hoffman, Crystal
Hoffman, Crystal

Happily married with three beautiful daughters, Crystal Hoffman has been teaching in a number of populations since 2009. God has led Crystal and her family through many exciting adventures, including moving to the Michigan area in 2012 from Pennsylvania. She graduated from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in dual majors of Special and Elementary Education. Crystal also has a Master’s Degree from Saginaw Valley State University in Early Childhood Education. She has taught students from birth to age 21, including those with special needs. While she has a gift to teach young children, Crystal possesses a unique passion for sharing her skills and knowledge with older students – teaching them how to care for young children.

Some of her favorite things to do outside of teaching include being an active member of her church, traveling, gardening, shopping, and spending time with her family

Hartman, Alyce
Hartman, Alyce

Alyce Hartman attended Ohio State University. She majored in Journalism and minored in Art History. She worked 19 years as a marketing and public relations consultant, is a children’s book author, and has more than a decade’s experience as a freelance writer.

She homeschooled her four children and currently oversees a literacy program for a non-profit organization, serving youth, on the east side of Detroit. Throughout the year, she facilitates camps for kids, works with homeschooling families, and writes STEM, nature, and garden-based curriculum for preschool and elementary school students.

Alyce brings her joy of teaching and creativity into the classroom and fully engages her students in the learning process.

Foster, Cathy
Foster, Cathy

Cathy Foster has more than 30 years’ experience teaching children. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Oakland University and earned her Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts from Michigan State University.

She has always had a belief that children learn best in a comfortable, fun, hands-on environment. She has always loved teaching science and has had an interest in technology.

She became inspired when teaching a coding class using the robots Dash and Dot. She watched children fully engaged in the learning process while still having fun. This class motivated Cathy to start a business called TechKnowKids in 2016. Cathy has a collection of robots and teaches coding and STEM classes in a variety of settings. She is excited to be teaching coding and STEM classes Homeschool Connections!

Cathy has a husband and enjoys traveling and cooking!

Ellis, Erin
Ellis, Erin

Erin Ellis is an art educator who joins Home School Connections in September 2018! She will be leading a variety of classes, sharing her vast creative interests with our students. Prior to teaching with HSC, Erin taught K-8 art for 6 years. She has also worked with a variety of community organizations, teaching art in a wide range of locations, from recycling centers to boxing gyms! She has an art degree from Wayne State University and a teaching certificate from the College for Creative Studies.

Erin lives with her husband in Detroit, where she spends time renovating her “new” house, riding her bike, reading on Belle Isle Beach, and tending to her plant collection.

Ekstrom, Heather
Ekstrom, Heather

Heather has been teaching mathematics with Homeschool Connections since 2014. She and her husband, Lee, have been married for 25+ years. Heather and Lee have been blessed to be able to homeschool their four sons. One is graduated from college, one is attending college, and two continue with Homeschool Connections. Heather and her family are members of North Oaks Community Church. Heather holds her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Mathematics Education from Wayne State University.

Davis, Jon
Davis, Jon

Jon Davis is one of our Beginning Karate instructors.  He likes to make his classroom fun and friendly, while teaching new techniques and skills to students.

Cleland, Elizabeth
Cleland, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Cleland began teaching for Homeschool Connections in the winter of 2018.  She teaches social studies and language arts classes. She graduated from Hillsdale College with a major in History and minors in English and French in 1992 and then completed post graduate work at Wayne State University to obtain her teaching certificate. After teaching in Catholic and private schools for 7 years, she “retired” in order to stay home with her now 16 year-old son. She also has a 14 year-old daughter and an 8 year-old daughter. While at home with her children as babies, she finished her Master’s degree in Reading, earned at Wayne State University. She lives in Grosse Pointe with her husband, kids, and dog, Watson.

Clay, Ray
Clay, Ray

Ray Clay has taught with Homeschool Connections for 2 1/2 years and is very pleased to be returning for another. He has a very wide and varied education from when he was in school, pursuing degrees in mathematics, teaching, history, computer programing, engineering, and science. He has graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, but has decided his talents and calling remain in the field of teaching. Ray is also an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, and uses the knowledge he gained from that program to provide outdoor survival skills classes, in addition to the core classes he teaches.

He also has coordinated the Homeschool Connections Science Fair for the past 2 years, and we all look forward to him doing it again this year. In his spare time, Ray enjoys many modern board games. His collection now includes 197 games and expansions, and the collection continues to grow.

Clay, Diana
Clay, Diana

Diana Clay teaches crafts, wood shop and food classes.  She personally enjoys all kinds of crafts and enjoys showing students the different areas available to express their interests.  Sewing and stained glass are the two crafts she enjoys the most.  Diana has worked in the offices of several schools in Texas and Minnesota in a support capacity.   She is married to Ray Clay III and has a son, Ray Clay IV, who also teaches at Connections.

Boyer, Amy
Boyer, Amy

Amy Boyer began teaching with Homeschool Connections in 2018. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and moved to Michigan with her husband in 2005.  She is a consultant for small/mid-sized businesses and has a passion for organization and finance.  She has two children, ages 9 and 2, and has been homeschooling since 2012.  She recently moved to Ortonville and has been learning what country living on 10 acres is all about.

Her family has been part of the Homeschool Connections Family since 2014 and she is excited to swap roles and join our Fabulous Faculty, bringing subjects and learning to life for our students.

Bentley, Emily
Bentley, Emily

Hello! My name is Emily Bentley! I have been teaching with Home-school Connections for 3 years and High-Point Hybrid for 1 year. I mainly teach elementary and middle school math. You will find me at our Shelby campus for Home-School Connections and both of our campuses for High-Point Hybrid. I have been teaching for a total of 7 years; 4 years in public school and 3 years collaborating with parents to make their homeschooling experience enjoyable. I have a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in teaching students with different languages.

I believe God has led me to make a difference in lives, and making an imprint on a child’s education is what I feel called to do. Alongside of making a difference, my husband and I have just become foster parents and are very excited to help other children who need a loving home. Whether in the classroom or outside of work, I love to be with children and help them succeed. I can assure you, your child will feel loved in my classroom by me and their peers, because we develop an education as well as a family. I am very excited to meet you and cannot wait to work with you to help your child succeed in education

Avalos, Carlos
Avalos, Carlos

Luis Carlos Avalos was born and raised in Torreon, Mexico, and has an Electronics Engineering degree from Instituto Tecnologico de la Laguna University. He moved to Michigan with his wife and son in 2011. His hobbies are playing soccer, riding bikes with his son, and puzzles. He has been teaching with Homeschool Connections since 2016. He teaches Spanish for Elementary through High School at several of our campuses.

How Can We Help You?
I Want To:

We are proud to be a strong, valuable resource for those who choose alternative methods of teaching their children. To that end, we maintain thriving campuses in Michigan, each with warm, welcoming environments where people learn, connect and belong.

Our classes are the foundation of our program. We are extremely proud of our science, math, writing and technology programs, which are high-quality and provide both applicable skills and excellent preparation for future learning. However, we are as dedicated to providing quality fine arts and performance arts classes as we are to covering the three Rs.

We work hard to feed the mind and the spirit via classes that reflect the interests of students, with an all-inclusive atmosphere that encourages the development of lasting connections, and through the support we offer our students and their families.

While classes are important at Homeschool Connections, we also provide a well-rounded experience for our students, their families, and the community by offering events, advising and other services.

Our vision is also one of forward thinking. We are always looking forward to developing new classes that meet our students’ needs and encourage their love of learning, opening additional locations, starting unique programs and finding new ways to partner with parents as they build a lifestyle of learning.

CONTACT

We’d love to hear from you!

By Mail:

Homeschool Connections
P.O. Box 198
Lake Orion, MI 48361

By Phone:

248-710-0360

By Email:

Info@MiHomeschoolConnections.com

 

Homeschool Connections