Meet Our Speakers

Stephanie Walmsley

Stephanie Walmsley

Stephanie is a teacher by profession, with classroom experience in New Zealand and England. She and her husband, Philip, started homeschooling their five children in 1985. The older two had a couple of spells in school; the younger three never went to school.  She worked as a volunteer for over twenty years, supporting mothers in their mothering and homeschooling, then in 2002 she started writing and conducting courses for homeschooling parents because she saw a need for good, professional, homeschool help available from someone who has ‘walked the talk’.  Stephanie has been a speaker and workshop leader at conferences in Auckland, Whangarei and Christchurch, she has written a series of online courses for homeschooling mothers, and recently wrote a book about teaching Charlotte Mason’s ideas in the home.  Stephanie’s passion is to support parents with their children and especially in their home education.   Read more about Stephanie’s new book at http://homeschoolfamilylife.com/charlotte-mason-made-easy-the-book/.  Stephanie lives outside of Auckland on the Waikato/Auckland boundary.

Marian Lane

Marian Lane

Marian grew up on a busy Waikato dairy farm with only her dad and two younger siblings.  Without her own mother’s presence and example, the path to becoming a home-schooling mother was a journey of discovery for Marian.  Initially through being a primary school teacher, and then by home-schooling her four children, Marian discovered she needed to be the person she was made to be rather than a copy of someone else.  This led her to becoming a StrengthsFinders Coach and then gaining a Diploma of Professional Coaching.  Her passion is encouraging individuals and groups to become aware of their talents and uniqueness and to discover how to turn those talents into Strengths and, in the process, become more satisfied and successful in all they do.

Cassandra Shepherd

Cassandra Shepherd

Cassandra grew up on sheep and cattle farms in the North Island.  She has a degree in Management Studies, spent time in the army, the agriculture industry, farm education and business lending before becoming a full time parent and home educator.  Cassandra is married to Richard and their three children have now graduated from homeschooling – either studying at Waikato University or working.  Cassandra currently works with the Institute for Cultural Communicators (ICC), based out of Singapore until May 2020 when they returned to Hamilton after nearly nine years abroad.  She was home schooled herself for several years and is passionate about equipping and empowering the next generation.  She has had the opportunity to share her passions with audiences in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, USA and UK, and can’t wait to connect with you soon.

Natalie Donaldson

Natalie Donaldson

Natalie has been home-schooling since 2004.  She and her husband, Mark, have five children; currently three are at university and two are still being home-schooled.  They live in Auckland, although Natalie originally hails from a dairy farm in Taranaki. Natalie has been an active member of the broader homeschool community in Auckland, holding the Government Liaison role with Auckland Home Educators for the last five years.  She has seen the value of meeting face to face with others to support and encourage each other and feels she has benefitted greatly from past conferences and speakers.  It is now her desire to be able to help others feel confident and excited about their own home-school adventure ahead.

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