Used Curriculum & Book Sale, June 14th Homeschooling ~ an adventure of a lifetime

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2016 Conference Speakers
Keynote Speaker and Featured Guest

Dr. Jay Wile learned about his love for chemistry when his dedicated parents bought him his first chemistry set.  Many stink bombs and a few explosions later, he was hooked!  Although he loved chemistry, he also had many other interests.  For a while, he thought about becoming a concert pianist, but unfortunately, his fingers were not long enough (no kidding!).  As he was finishing up his high school years, he became extremely interested in the theater and began to pursue a career in acting.  Partly because he learned the science behind some of the special effects of the plays in which he performed, he eventually went back to his first love: chemistry.

He went to the University of Rochester in upstate New York to study chemistry, and while he was there, he began working on nuclear chemistry experiments.  He became so fascinated with nuclear chemistry that he stayed at the University of Rochester and got a Ph.D. in that field.

For several years, he did research in the field under the auspices of the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. This research led to several grants and many publications. While doing research, Dr. Wile was also an assistant professor of chemistry.

Dr. Wile's love of science is demonstrated by the many awards he has won for excellence in teaching and research. He has also presented numerous lectures on the topics of Nuclear Chemistry, Christian Apologetics, Homeschooling, and Creation vs. Evolution. He has published more than 30 articles on these subjects in nationally-recognized, peer-reviewed journals, and has 13 books to his credit, the latest of which belong to an elementary series that teaches science using history as a guide.

Dr. Wile and his wife of more than 30 years, Kathleen, homeschooled their daughter, Dawn, from the time they adopted her until she graduated high school. Dawn is a Butler University graduate and is currently a long-haul trucker with her husband, James.  You can visit Dr. Wile on the web at


Melissa Baxter, a military wife and mother, has tried a variety of schooling options for her two children to include public, private, and homeschooling.  In the past 12 years Melissa and her husband Jason have homeschooled in four different states: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and now, Nebraska.  Their son has graduated from homeschool and their daughter is returning to homeschool for her junior year. The Baxter family experiences with different types of schools allow Melissa to easily say homeschooling is the best choice for her family.


Linda Goodrich is a veteran homeschooling mother in Omaha, Nebraska.  She and her husband Bill have homeschooled their four children from the start.  Their homeschool journey began in Kearney, Nebraska in 1994 after Linda finished her bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and their oldest child was just 3 years-old. They have since graduated one and look forward to many more years of homeschooling.  In 2001, the family moved back to Omaha when Bill was employed by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Linda is an eclectic homeschooler, using resources from many different areas depending on the need at hand.  She is a volunteer with the Nebraska chapter of Pilots for Christ and also served as a member of the steering committee for the Bellevue chapter of Homeschool Teen Serve in recent years.

Mary Ann Knipp has been a homeschool mom since 1990 when her first child was born.  She and her husband Mickey have graduated all three of their children from their homeschooling experience.  Mary Ann taught her three children to read and write.  The two older children were textbook students.  But when she began to teach her youngest son to read, she knew something was different.  Their family’s journey to learning and dealing with dyslexia led to a whole new world of information.  As a recently “retired” homeschooling mom, Mary Ann now spends her time consulting, screening, and tutoring homeschooled students who struggle with the learning difference of dyslexia. Mickey and Mary Ann’s goal is to give back to the Omaha Metro homeschooling community through her services.  In her spare time she likes to listen to music, walk, read, and spend time with her family.
Mark Leonard has researched the issues involving Creation and evolution since 1979.  Convinced by his scientific findings, he trusts in the truth of Genesis.  He shares his convictions at church meetings, camps, and Christ in Youth conferences, telling how catastrophic events have changed the face of the planet.  He has also authored the book, Let There Be Light.  Mark, together with his wife Sharon, manages Nebowa Christian Camp in Iowa.
Debbie Nordstrom has served on the Nebraska Homeschool (NH-HEN) board for six years: first as a Member-At-Large, then Vice President, and most recently as President.  Debbie has homeschooled in Nebraska for 23 years and runs the NH-HEN New Homeschool Workshop.  She is mom to four biological children and has helped raise many others.  Her passion is to inspire others to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to use homeschooling as a tool to train others to do the same.
Larry Reed and his wife, Karen, have been married 47 years.  They have two sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren.  Larry served in the ministry for 45 years and then “retired” to his current position as a marriage, family, and individual counselor.  He holds a B.A. in Biblical Studies and an M.A. in Marriage and Family Counseling.  Larry has conducted marriage seminars in the United States and Portugal.  He is also a frequent speaker at Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) groups around town.
Gene Walter is a homeschooling father of 17 years who has been actively involved in preparing his children for the ACT test and the college search process.  He represents John Baylor Prep, an on-line ACT and SAT test prep course designed to boost test scores and open the door to the college of your choice—with a goal of graduating with little or no debt.  He has presented at several homeschool events in Nebraska and in Iowa.  Gene and his wife, Becky, and their three daughters live in Norfolk, Nebraska.  Their son, Nathan, graduated from Dordt College in May 2016.  Gene is president of Big Red Printing.