2014 Speakers

Steve Demme, Building Faith Families

Steve and his wife Sandra have been married for 32 years. They have been blessed w

ith four sons: Isaac, 32; Ethan, 30; Joseph, 27; and Johnny, 24. With God’s help, they have all been home educated.

Steve addresses a variety of topics at homeschool conferences to encourage parents in their God-given responsibilities of raising and training their children for His glory.

As a former math teacher who has taught at all levels of math in public, private, and Christian schools, Steve is also the author and founder of Math-U-See. He has served in full or part time pastoral ministry for many years after graduating from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has served on the boards of Joni and Friends, Christian Freedom International, and Lifework Forum.


Dara Halydier, Abiding Truth Ministries

Dara Halydier has homeschooled for 21 years and just retired!  Her five boys are launched and doing well.  They love the Lord, serve Him, and love to get together as often as possible!  Dara is a pastor’s wife, a Bible teacher, a conference and retreat speaker, a mentor and a friend.  Dara is the president of Abiding Truth Ministry and the author of Practical Proverbs for Younger Students, Practical Proverbs for Older Students, and As They Sit and Stand: A Resource and Guide for Teaching Your Children the  Bible.  Dara has learned life’s lessons the hard way – experience!  She has moved over thirty times, deals with chronic pain, has four boys with learning disabilities, and has overcome a past of abuse and shame to proclaim God’s grace, forgiveness, and freedom.  Dara dances before her King and climbs up in her Father’s lap daily.


Robin Finley, Analytical Grammar

In 1971 I began teaching language arts, which I taught for 34 years in California, Alaska, and North Carolina before retiring in 2003. I began writing Analytical Grammar in 1981. It took 12 years of using my program in the classroom, “tweaking” it and improving it, until it evolved into what you see now. There’s probably not a program anywhere that’s as “classroom tested!” In 1996 I was approached by a private school in my town, asking if my materials were for sale. The rest is history, as they say.

"AG" all came about because in 1981 my department chairs refused to order me another classroom set of grammar books! As a brand new teacher in that school, I was assigned five different classrooms on two floors with no elevators and one wheeled cart! I had one classroom set of grammar books and no way to get the books to my second story students. When I asked for another set, I was told that research showed students didn’t need to know grammar to be good writers! I knew better than to try to argue with their mindset, so I went home that very night and wrote my first unit. Perhaps the Almighty has His best plans for us when we don’t get what we think we want.

Grammar is an important subject, but in my opinion people are starting way too early and spending an unjustified amount of time in its formal study. I am a woman on a mission to convince parents that their students don’t need to be “doing” a grammar worksheet every day, all year long, for years and years and years! If grammar is taught sequentially and logically, there is no need for so much repetition.

Erin Karl, contributing author

My introduction to grammar came in eighth grade when I had my mother for language arts. I was Erin Finley then. I learned grammar from her using her Analytical Grammar program and have always attributed my thorough understanding of the subject to her.

I had an active-duty career as an Air Force officer, where my grammar knowledge helped me produce an award-winning base newspaper.  After entering the Air Force Reserves, I used the GI Bill to get my teaching credential.  Following in mom's footsteps, I taught middle school language arts for a few years and used Analytical Grammar with great success in my classroom.

I now run the company with my mom and am also a major in the Air Force Reserve.  I work at a local base part-time as a public affairs officer. 

My mom and I find great joy in sharing our materials with a wider and wider circle of homeschoolers, as well as private and public school students.


Don Brown

Don Brown is the nationally best-selling author of THUNDER IN THE MORNING CALM, THE MALACCA CONSPIRACY, THE NAVY JUSTICE SERIES and BLACK SEA AFFAIR, a submarine thriller that predicted the 2008 shooting war between Russia and Georgia.

Don served five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps and served in the Pentagon, which gave him an exceptional vantage point into both the Navy and the political workings of Washington. He left active duty in 1992 to pursue private practice, but remained on inactive status through 1999, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Two of his seven novels, TREASON and MALACCA CONSPIRACY, reached #1 on the prestigious Amazon bestsellers list for fiction in 2009 and 2010. He and his family live in North Carolina, where he pursues his passion for penning novels about the Navy.