Speaker Bios and Topic Details

Saints and Scholars 2001 Family Education Conference

May 26, 2001 at Bellevue Community College

These listings are subject to change.  

Keynote Speakers The Dynamic Duo:

Reed and May Benson

Home Education–The Wave of the Future!

Come enjoy Reed Benson’s wit and wisdom.  His wit will make you laugh and his wisdom will touch you deeply.   Using examples from his own experiences, Dr. Benson will discuss the many advantages and few disadvantages of homeschooling, legal questions, planning considerations, including curriculum and textbooks, and how to teach in your own home with confidence and faith.   He will also share with us how to make the “Lord’s library” the foundation of our home school books.

May Hinckley Benson will share how their “grand experiment” in homeschooling  taught a  fearful mother 10 simple principles that assure any mother that she can teach her own children with confidence.  She will teach us the importance of being humble and being teachable, both as necessary spiritual qualities in the child and in the parent, and how an attitude of humility will naturally enable us to create a happy, successful family education environment.

Reed A. Benson is a professor in the Ancient Scripture Department at BYU and teaches a thousand students a semester. He has written for a national news magazine and lectured widely, with numerous TV interviews and press conferences.  A former Air Force Chaplin during the Korean War, he was the President of the Kentucky, Louisville Mission. He served as Branch President in Oxford, England and in the Israel District Presidency.  Oldest son of President and Mrs. Ezra Taft Benson, he is the father of nine children and grandfather to twenty-four.  He is the author of the first dissertation in the nation on homeschooling, which is still in print.  Write to him for information on obtaining a copy.May Hinckley Benson was honored as Homeschooling Mother of the Year in 2000.  She completed studies at the University of Utah, University of Maryland, and Cornell.  With a great display of courage, for fifteen years she successfully home educated her nine adopted children in the early BSG* days.  She is a popular speaker, and a pioneer in the home education movement. Listening to her speak is like listening to your own “universal Grandmother”.  She provides the wise voice of experience to both veteran and novice home educators.

(*Before Support Groups)  


The Development of a Home School by Reed Benson (dissertation)President Ezra Taft Benson’s son Reed Benson has long been a homeschool advocate and has spoken at many homeschool conventions (including the first Saints and Scholars conference in WA state).  You may have purchased his dissertation on homeschooling if you have attended any of these past conferences.  Brother Benson’s health is now frail and he hasn’t done conferences for some years.  However, as of September 2005, his dissertation is online at this link so you can still read it and share in the tradition.


Jack D. MonnettRevealed Educational Principles and the Public Schools:  Early Church Curriculum

Do you know  what curriculum was used by the church schools in the Utah Territory?   What was the focus in learning?  Dr. Monnett will discuss the history of LDS-based education and how the principles taught in the early church schools can be applied to our home and private schools today.


Jack D. Monnett holds degrees in education from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in the Historical Foundation of Education from the University of Utah. He has taught in the LDS Church Education System as well as in public schools and currently teaches part-time for the LDS Institutes of Religion.  Author of Revealed Educational Principles and the Public Schools, he is the father of thirteen children.  He is the owner of Archive Publishers, which specializes in reprints of rare and out of print writings from the early history of the church.   
Stephen BertucciHomeschool Renaissance and the Great Books Movement:  A Return to the Classics

Perhaps never before has an opportunity for genuine educational reform held such promise of success.  Parents are increasingly seeking out classical materials and support for a return to the roots of Western culture.  The Homeschool Renaissance is beginning in the homes of those who are willing and able to make the sacrifices necessary to educate their children in the classical tradition of Western civilization.

Stephen Bertucci is a Socratic mentor for the Great Books Academy Homeschool Program, and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Classical Homeschooling.  He writes:  “Homeschool parents know the difference between Homer Simpson and Homer; muzac and Mozart; sit-coms and Shakespeare; Mickey Mouse cartoons and Michelangelo; Ronald McDonald clowning and The Divine Comedy; between “neo-Stone Age men” and true gentlemen and young ladies.”  Stephen Bertucci is a founder of The Great Books Academy, and the father of ten children.  He an active member of the Catholic Church.Classical Homeschooling Magazine “analyzes the burgeoning homeschooling renaissance of classical education from A to Z – the great books movement, the liberal arts, the Socratic method, the paideia reforms, modern media and homeschooling, poetic knowledge, legal implications of homeschooling, ancient Greek education, medieval education, reading lists of the classics of Western civilization, restoring education at home, where to begin, and many other capitvating topics.  Enjoy the golden ages of Western Civilization in your own home.”



David AlbertTopic 1:  Learning About Learning:  Conversations with my Violin

David Albert will contrast the rather strange principles that lie at the heart of public education with the actual learning process itself. Using the violin as an example, he will examine the five internal dialogues that take place in both children and adults when real learning is really happening. Lots of anecdotes, show-and-tell, and humor.

Topic 2:  Home Educating the Gifted Child

Or, “How to talk so your child will think you have something worth listening to!”  David emphasizes that home educating  is not just for the kids, but for the learning family. He posits as a goal of all education “the responsible exercise of freedom.”

David Albert holds degrees from Williams College, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago, but says, “The best education he ever received he got from his two amazing kids.” As founder of New Society Publishers, he was both editor and publisher of John Taylor Gatto’s “Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling”, and more than 100 other titles.  Author of And the Skylark Sings with Me, David is an active member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).  He will also be a featured speaker at this year’s WHO convention.


He writes:  “Childhood is such a wonderful time in life.  Kids have so much to explore, and often so much energy to do it on their own or in unusual ways.  They will perform perfectly well without pressure. Gifted children may have an especially difficult time in finding themselves–they are often pushed to develop their gifts, rather than their passions. We don’t have to think out of the box–our children will do it for us.”


Paul HerrickTopic 1:  The Ideals of the Founding Fathers and the Principles of the U.S. Constitution

The traditional concepts of Liberty and the Rule of Law are under attack today. Dr. Herrick will discuss the traditional principles underlying the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and how to teach them to young people today.

Critical information for every parent to understand.

Topic 2:  How to Teach Your Child Critical Thinking and Logic Skills

Dr. Herrick has taught Logic at the college level for 20 years. He will present some of the basic principles of logic and critical thinking, as well as how to teach these principles to young people. The session will touch on modern logic, how to detect fallacies, and traditional Aristotelian logic.

Logic–it may soon be your kids’ favorite subject!


Paul Herrick is the founder of Classical eAcademy, an internet-based academy for home educators.  He teaches philosophy full-time at Shoreline Community College. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Washington, and specializes in political theory, symbolic logic, and the philosophy of religion.  He is the author of Reason and Worldview: An Introduction to Western Philosophy, and The Many Worlds of Logic.  He is the stepfather of one daughter, and the public-minded guardian of a cat named Peter.  He attends Saint Luke’s Catholic Church in Seattle. 


Robert R. NewellTeaching Your Children to Recognize Divine Intervention in Major World History Events

Join Dr. Newell as he discusses the principles of love, agency, and foreordination, and the many examples of divine intervention throughout history.  He will open the door to helping you teach your children to understand man’s struggle for the preservation of his  inalienable rights against tyrannical government, the rise of freedom in America, and preparations for the restoration of the Gospel.

Robert R. Newell, Ed.D., author of the three-volume work, World History for Latter-day Saints, holds degrees from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. He has served in both public and private educational systems as a teacher, junior and high school principal, university professor, and college administrator.  He was professor of education at the BYU-Hawaii Campus, administrative assistant to the president of the College of Eastern Utah, and Director of Personnel and Institutional Research.  He is the father of eight sons and four daughters. 
LauraMaery GoldThe Secret to Using Free Resources

LauraMaery will share her secrets for how to develop a comprehensive curriculum of free educational resources, from reading-readiness activities for preschoolers to science projects for teens.  A wealth of not-to-miss resources.



LauraMaery Gold writes a popular weekly Internet column for home educators and operates one of the largest home education lists on the Internet. She is the author of Homeschool Your Child for Free, Mormons on the Internet, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Excel, A Writing Course For Non-Native English Speakers and several other popular books on business, computers and the Internet. She is the former religion editor of the (Provo, Utah) Daily Herald, and has been a working journalist for more than 20 years. She is the mother of seven children, holds degrees in law and financial planning, and speaks Mandarin, French, and enough Spanish to order tacos at a Mexican restaurant. 


Suzie SteinerTopic 1:  Learning Games:  Why Enjoyment is Such a Powerful Learning Tool

In this carefully thought-out presentation, Suzie will condense her research on learning, motivation, and how to achieve educational goals without telling your children that’s what you are doing..  This is one presentation that can definitely be called fun.

Topic 2:  Homeschooling 101 with Suzie Steiner

Intro to Homeschooling:  Question and Answer Session, with guest panelists.



Suzie Steiner is the co-Director of the Spokane County Homeschoolers and the President of Latter-day Family Scholars. She also owns her own business called Baby Things.  A lifelong homeschooler, she is the mother of two gifted children.  Her favorite saying is:  “If at first you do succeed, try and hide your astonishment.”   Suzie is also a speaker at the WHO convention this year. 

No one travels the homeschooling road alone, at least not when so many have gone before to show the way.  If you are new to homeschooling, or just thinking about it, come join us for Homeschooling 101 with Suzie Steiner.  Suzie has an extensive background in getting folks started off on the right foot.  (Dancing shoes not required).  You’ll be reassured and empowered to make the initial step in home education.

Tari CartwrightEternal Harvest:  Wonderful Memories of a Life Well Spent

Do you have your children study starting at a certain hour everyday? Give them certain assignments to complete? Allow them to work on whatever they are interested in? Try to fit in “educational activities” throughout the day so that they seem more natural? Or do you “do school” and your kids are off the hook when their assignments are complete?

Tari does all of the above for her children at various stages of  their learning and life. She will show you  effective ways to incorporate religious teachings and academics. Her family teaches from advanced texts as soon as the children are able to understand the materials. Two of her children began distance learning college at 14.


Tari Cartwright is the author of Eternal Harvest: An LDS Perspective for Homeschooling and Accelerated Learning.  Twelve years ago, Tari gave up owning  her own computer programming and consulting firm and instead chose to educate her children.  She will help you understand that the Spirit teaches our children truths that we cannot teach ourselves. In this way, she says, the Lord individually tailors the child’s quest for learning, and parents act as mentors and facilitators.  Tari moderates a number of online support groups, and lives with her husband, their three children, three dogs, a cat, guinea pigs, and an assortment of fish in Heber, Utah and Pleasanton, California. She says “The quest for learning and achievement is not ours as parents, certainly not the government’s, but it is the child’s own journey.”  
Marjorie MeyerThe Mote, the (Balance) Beam, and the Resurrection:  “I’m Already Buried–How Can I Homeschool, too?”

To make the commitment to home educate we first  must acknowledge that the Lord has placed mothers at the headwaters of life, in the home. We eliminate the unnecessary and spiritually distracting from our lives, and commit to our spiritual role as the essential shapers of the next generation. In the process, we will be figuratively “resurrected” emotionally and spiritually–  and come to know ourselves and our children more fully than we ever have before.  Our children’s spiritual survival  may depend on what we choose to do with our own lives, our time, and our talents.


Marjorie Meyer is the founder of the School of Abraham.  She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Psychology and completed graduate studies in Instructional Science at BYU and at the University of Utah in School Psychology, prior to serving a mission in Portugal for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  She is an enthusiastic advocate of classical education, and moderates several family education email support groups.  The mother of eight children, she is currently enrolled in Life’s University, where she finds the coursework to be the most challenging she has encountered.  The key to successful family education, she believes, is “having a brain, a heart, and Courage!” — and understanding that ‘There’s no place like home.’ 
Dan HunterHistory Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Dan will share his methods for how to involve our children in creating their own history notebook with historical maps, timelines, classical literature from the time being studied, and writing about people and events which will make history come alive for them.

He says, “Tell children the stories of history, such as General Grant’s salute to General Lee at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, or the vision of Washington about America’s future, or the heavenly messengers who fought for Israel during her 1948 war for independence, and how Napoleon became a great military genius through snowball fights at the Military Academy.”


Dan Hunter is the author of The World Before Christ: An LDS Perspective, The World After Christ: An LDS Perspective, and United States History: An LDS Perspective, and the founder of Living History.  Living History books portray secular and religious history in story form, and include time lines, historical maps, scripture citations, quotations from church leaders, relevant videos, historical novels, and  bibliographies.  This series of world and United States history books will eventually include nine volumes.   An instructor at Benjamin Franklin Academy, Dan serves as a Bishop, and is the homeschool father of five children.



Marianna RichardsonValue Education:  Implementing Religious Instruction in Every Aspect of Learning

As home schoolers, we teach our religious values to our children as we teach all other curricula. Literature, science, history, sports, even math can have religious applications. We should help our children see that secular learning and religious learning are not separate; both allow us to understand truth. The child with special needs can receive help understanding what his religious beliefs have to do with his daily  life.


Marianna Richardson is the mother of twelve children. She holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University in English Literature and an M.S. from Johns Hopkins University in Special Education. She is new to homeschooling and has enjoyed learning about how best to implement it with her children. She is the founder of a private school called Cedar Springs Academy, a vehicle to home school her children and also to provide a home extension service for other home school families. She enjoys teaching, especially teaching the gospel, and implementing religious instruction in every aspect of learning. 
Sharla DanceTopic 1:  Family Music- Making

Learn by doing and demonstration in this class about bringing music into your home.  We will play with wind wands as we sing or dance to music, talk about research and the effect of music on the brain, do partner rhythms, hear songs made up for each child, learn hands-on chording through tone bells, bounce/tap/clap folk chants and songs, use rhythm instruments to create our own band, and more.  Bring the wonder of music alive in your home with your family as the music makers.

Topic 2:  Multiple Intelligences and Homeschooling

What is your child’s greatest strength when it comes to learning?  Are we guiding, offering opportunities to learn, and supporting our children in the ways our children learn best? What is a multiple intelligence approach to learning?  We will answer these questions and more in this hands-on class dealing with the multiple intelligence theory. Resources, ideas offered, and real life experiences will be shared for learning all subjects in a multiple intelligence way.

Sharla Dance has a degree in  Music Education from Brigham Young University and has done her post graduate studies on how children learn.  She has homeschooled each of her five children at one point or another in their lives and has used the multiple intelligence theory with them and every week as she teaches music.  Sharla helps parents understand their child’s greatest strength when it comes to learning by explaining the theory of multiple intelligences, and assures parents that they don’t have to know music for it to be enjoyable and learnable for their family.  Music and movement can be used in teaching anything, even spelling and math.  One mother who has attended her seminars wrote:  “I will never forget Jason spelling with wind wands.  It was something else.  He has to use an !!! (snap) at the end of all the words.”
Doreen BlandingMega Cooking:  How to Cook Once a Month and Eat like a Queen

After this class, you will never again need to open the cupboard and wonder to yourself “What should we have for supper?” (Well, we can hope for that day, anyway, right?) This type of cooking is sometimes called “Once a Month Cooking.” But “Once a Month” still seemed like too much time spent in the kitchen, so Doreen started “Mega Cooking”.   She really cooks this way, and it really works!


Doreen says: “I hate to cook! But I after found out my children would starve if someone didn’t feed them, I had to find a way to feed them and still “not cook.”  With Mega Cooking, I have time to enjoy my well-fed kids, the beautiful outdoors, and do something every homeschooling parent loves to do…READ!  I believe mothers should actively learn, and be teachable themselves, and only then will they be able to effectively teach and guide their children.  The most important book we all must learn from is the scriptures.” Doreen is a Relief Society President and the mother of six young children. Her recipe for managing all the external demands on her time: “I scatter it through the day so it doesn’t seem like too much”.
Fathers Roundtable

To Each His Own:  Why (Wise) Fathers are at the Head of Home Education

OK, just one more time–tell me who it is that is responsible to do  “home teaching” in the church?

This class is not for Dads only~~ bring Mom along for “nudging.”

Doreen Blanding will be the moderator.

Does your husband ever come home and tell you how “you” should be educating the children?  Or does he counsel with you?  Can you count on him to take the kids for an outing and give you a break?  Does he have a special skill or talent that he is teaching to the family?  Will he willingly help carry the load of household chores?  Dads (and moms) need to know that behind every successful home educator there’s a ….Dad.  Come listen to our panel of  fathers talk to each other.  You’ll come away with at least one significant idea that will bless your homeschool, and the Dad at your house may never be the same. 
Robin GoddardSchool of Abraham 2001 Humanitarian Service Project: 

How You Can Participate with your Children this Year


Robin is organizing and overseeing this year’s School of Abraham Humanitarian Service Project, which will be an outreach to the local food bank in your area.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to help your children give service to those less fortunate.  Robin Goddard is the President of Teaching Parents Association, a large home educators support group in Woodinville, WA, a dedicated child-led learning advocate, and the mother of four children.