Keynote Speaker: Jo Dunn
Jo Dunn is married to Nick and the couple have 3 children aged 17, 19 and 22. She is a southerner from Sussex, and Nick a northerner, a genuine Geordie, from Wallsend. However, they have lived- somewhat marooned in the “middle” , between Nottingham and Derby- for the last 27 years. Nick is an engineer and Jo a History graduate. They decided to home educate their eldest child -“just until she was 7”- because the new national curriculum for the early years had just come in and it seemed like something of little benefit , and to be avoided if possible. However, 18 years, and 2 more children later, Jo’s discovery of SO many more wonderful reasons for home educating kept her in home education, and she is now approaching the end of her time as a home ed mum.
17 years ago, along with 3 other Christian families, Jo set up and coordinated East Midlands Christian Home Educators Group and is still involved in a supportive role with the group, where she can enjoy watching the next home hd generations growing up and thriving.
Jo feels it is vital that those who are no longer in the “thick” of hands-on home educating, use some of their time and brain space to advocate for home education in community and in the political sphere. It is a precious freedom which should not be taken for granted.
Nick and Jo are members of Stapleford Baptist Church, where they lead some of the youth work. She and her children helped out with their church’s Seniors group for a number of years and Jo is now also involved in leading a Brain and Soul Boosting for Seniors group, aimed at those living with dementia.
Jo’s idea of relaxation is her allotment or a good crime drama!
Fiona Nicholson’s son was home educated all the way through and is now 25. For the last 12 years Fiona has been analysing topical issues for home educators. Fiona carries out research into local authority arrangements for dealing with home educating families, including where children have special needs. Other areas of interest are access to examinations for private candidates, 14-16 college and navigating the benefits system, as well as the impact of Ofsted on local authorities’ children’s services. Fiona has given oral evidence on elective home education to several Government Committees and helped with running the All Party Parliamentary Group for Home Education at Westminster. You can read more about Fiona’s work here http://edyourself.org/ http://www.ehe-sen.org.uk/ http://edyourself.org/articles/blog.php
Christina grew up in South East London and began married life with Tony in Australia where their first child was born. Tony and Christina have been married 34 years and are parents to John (31) Patience (29) and Nathanael (18).
Christina says she can’t remember a time she has not thought about home education. She has a memory of herself, as a small child, asking her own mother why she could not be taught at home, and simply telling the authorities their house was a school!
While in Australia, Christina read a book by an Irish lady who had educated a large family herself at home. Discovering that home education was an option was an amazing discovery to the Eastwoods, who wanted to give their children a Christ-centred education.
Christina’s favourite reading matter is junior fiction – she prefers Beatrix Potter or A.A Milne to Tolstoy or Dickens any day. She has always loved playing with children. She says: “I’m never happier than when down on the floor with the wooden bricks and the Brio, so why should I hand my children over to someone else when I could be enjoying their company?”
For almost the last thirty years now the family have lived in Wales where the children had the great blessing of growing up roaming the mountains and countryside on bikes or on foot. They have filled their big old house with old books (and have far more junior fiction than the local library!)
Christina was involved with the local group HE Christian Education for Deeside from its beginning and was also instrumental in starting the CED Exam centre that functions at Mow Cop in Cheshire where CED members’ children can sit Cambridge International IGCSEs, O levels and A levels.
An enthusiast for old fashioned educational materials, Christina has also put together a Christian curriculum for home educators – The Mothers’ Companion – which is available on a flashdrive.
The Story of God’s Dealings with our Nation, a two-volume history of England and Wales (Ichthus Resources, 2007)
Trasna na Dtonnta or a Tale of Three Cities, historical novel (Mothers’ Companion Publications, 2017)
Not Without Tears, biography of Mrs Favell lee Mortimer (John Ritchie, 2018)
Holly has been married to Josh for nearly 20 years, and they have four little women – Emily (16), Lucy (13), Jemima (8), and Amelia (4). Holly and Josh have been home educating for almost 6 years, and Holly has been an active member of Christian Home Educators Warwickshire almost as long. Holly loves to cook, bake and craft, and has previously been a keynote speaker at Learn Free.