HLA Counselor since 2003
Counseling Team Leader
HLA Archway & Nest Director,
Admissions Counselor, SE Counselor,
Hello from the Knowlton family. My husband, Jimmy and I raised our two children on a small farm east of Memphis, Tennessee. Although we began teaching our children from birth, our homeschooling journey officially began in 1998 when our firstborn became school age. Our daughter, an HLA graduate, is now graduated from college and married. Through the CollegePlus program, our daughter was able to continue homeschooling while she pursued her first Bachelor’s’ degree. At eighteen years of age, she had earned her HLA High School Diploma and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. In 2011, she went off to college and earned a second Bachelor’s in math and physics. Our son received his HLA High School diploma in May of 2014 and is now away at college pursuing a bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems.
Over the years, there have been a couple of sayings that have helped me focus on the big picture. My husband’s grandmother used to say, “Honey, never let school get in the way of a good education”. The other was a quote I saw one time but never forgot. Einstein quoted, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. These two sayings helped shape my philosophy of education. Homeschooling was not something our family did from 8:00-3:00, Monday through Friday; it was a way of life, every day. Instead of simply filling our children’s heads with random facts, we viewed all of life as part of their education. Consequently, we focused on the foundational skills of our children’s education and Godly character, trying to stay focused on our goals and keep a big picture perspective in mind. Ultimately, we wanted our children to be leaders, thinkers and problem solvers. We also wanted them to be able to learn information from reading, to be able to communicate effectively both verbally as well as written, and be able to understand and solve problems.
We also wanted our children to learn how to learn, as well as be self-disciplined, self-motivated, and able to take responsibility for their own education. Most importantly, We wanted to keep a balance between academics and allowing our children to pursue whatever God was calling them to be. By prayerfully choosing the most important formal academics (reading, writing, and arithmetic), we allowed more time for them to pursue their areas of interests, gifts, and talents. In addition, they had time to travel and be very involved in church and leadership activities. Although our children’s education looked different from our friends’ children, whether homeschooling or not, it was unique to our family. It enabled our children to discover and develop their passions as they began to seek God’s will for their lives.
Homeschooling was a learning adventure for my husband and me as well……We learned to listen more to the voice of the Holy Spirit for guidance and to pray for Godly wisdom. In addition, we learned not to worry so much about what everyone else was doing but rather to pay attention to each child’s learning style and adapt accordingly. We learned to train our children in the way God wanted them to go…not in the way my friend’s children should go. God’s plan for your child is likely very different from any other child. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do things differently than your friends, neighbors and relatives. God created your children uniquely and has a special plan for each one.
We are here to help you succeed with your homeschooling goals. If you need assistance my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you and your family.
HLA Counselor since 2003
Senior High Counselor & Post-secondary Support,
Military & Military Academies, Dual Enrollment, NCAA & NAIA,
Recommendation Letters, Governor’s School,
College Scholarship Applications & Financial Aid
Beta Club, NSHSS, TN Scholars, Presidential Service, and Other Awards
Hi, my name is Lani (pronounced like Loni, but with the Hawaiian spelling) and I would like to share a little about my homeschooling journey through the years with you. My husband Christopher and I were thrust into the homeschooling adventure with our older daughter mid-way through her tenth grade year way back 1990/1991. I didn’t know anything about homeschooling then and had no friends who did, but our daughter had friends who had just begun homeschooling and had decided that was what she wanted to do. After a brief stint with the public schools, I soon began homeschooling our other three children also and never looked back. I started an academic co-op in Fayette County, TN, in 1996, and was the director and one of the main teachers for over 12 years. I have been teaching classes at two tutorials in the Memphis area since 2005, and have done many workshops in my 25 years of homeschooling. I became HomeLife Academy’s High School Guidance Counselor in June of 2003, and I feel that this is the job God has been preparing me for my entire life.
I am by no means an expert on home education, but I have encountered many of the situations new home educators face. I have discovered that if you are just going to homeschool for one or two years, you do it differently than if you are certain you will never put your child in school again. If you are not committed to homeschooling your students through graduation, you are constantly comparing what you are doing at home with what the school system is doing, and you worry that they will be behind if or when you send them back to school. I knew when I started homeschooling my older son in Kindergarten that I would be sending him back to school in the second grade because my younger son wanted the same Kindergarten teacher and also “big brother” wanted to go to protect his little brother. (Now that I look back, that seems rather sad.) I was constantly asking myself if he was “up to par” with what he would be doing in school. At that time, I had a three-year-old and a new baby at home, so we learned things by doing puppet shows and taking imaginary trips to Africa, by digging in the dirt, and singing songs. We played dominoes, played counting games with jars of beans, we made cookies, and watched PBS. But I need not have worried about him being behind, because when he did go back to school in the second grade and his teacher asked everyone at the end of the year what they had learned, he respectfully (but honestly) told her “nothing.” I could see that he had learned something though – he had learned to hate learning. All of that changed, however, when I told him we would be homeschooling from then on!
My philosophy is that you make learning fun so that kids love to learn, and then they will learn to love. It’s like a never-ending circle. The more they learn about God and His creation, and the closer they are drawn to Him, the more they love Him, and in turn love others. Even if they didn’t learn anything else, I would homeschool for that reason. The added bonus is that they developed a love of learning in all areas, so they were way ahead of their peers who attended public and private schools. I also believe that children need to play – unstructured play time is where kids rehearse for adult life and learn to work out life’s problems. Psychologists have learned that the reason so many children are suffering from stress is because they don’t have time to just play. So I always let my kids structure their own time as much as I could, leaving them as much free time as possible. It was hard with the busy schedule we kept, but I never wanted to just imitate the school system.
Most parents need de-programming when they first begin to homeschool, so that they can think outside the box and give their students a better education than they had – a real education, where the world is their classroom and their children are not just learning to make an A on the test. Once the parents get the vision of homeschooling and realize the flexibility they have, I know they will be successful. Home education is not mainly about the books or curriculum, so do not stress over these things – you will not ruin your child’s future by using the wrong curriculum! At our house, if Dad was home, the boys were usually busy working with him. We have over five acres with an acre lake, so there was and still is constant yard work. Since my husband, who is a carpenter, was rebuilding our entire house one section at a time, there was constant work on the house as well. Good, hard work is wonderful for kids in many ways, and I considered their work with their dad just as much (if not more) a part of their education as what I taught them. To me, the focus of home education is not the books – it’s raising up Godly men and women as future leaders and parents.
So, if I were to give families one piece of advice it would be to grab on to the tremendous opportunity we have through being with our children every day to notice those areas of strengths and interests, that with some nurturing will grow into passions and ministries, as our children become the men and women God created them to be and the leaders of tomorrow. Over the years, I have learned how to help students prepare for and apply to the service academies, ROTC programs, and military, since our older son graduated from the Air Force Academy and is now an Air Force pilot, and our younger son is an AFROTC graduate and now a Missileer with the Air Force (soon going into the CyberSpace program). I have also walked many students and parents through the NCAA and NAIA process in getting sports scholarships. Our older daughter is a business entrepreneur with two daughters and a son of her own, all of whom have homeschooled from the beginning. Our youngest daughter graduated Univ. of Memphis last year and is now living her dream by being a Kindergarten teacher at the school where she did her student teaching. The teacher she worked with last year was a wonderful Christian mentor to her – she told my daughter every day that God created her to teach these little ones, something I saw in her also at a very early age and was able to help foster, encourage, and feed through our homeschooling.
I am here to help you with high school questions and to inspire you in your own homeschooling journey. Please check the High School pages first and if you don’t find the answer to your questions just email me at email@example.com or call me. Better yet, come by so we can “face talk” at the Curriculum Fairs! May God bless you and your family, strengthen you in your journey ahead, and fill you with His joy and peace.
HLA Counselor since 2006
Senior High Counselor & Florida Support
12th grade Transcript Reviews, Graduation Approvals
FL Bright Futures, FL Virtual School,
SAT/ACT Special Accommodations,
Common Application & SendEDU for College Admission
I have been a high school counselor with HomeLife Academy since 2006. I homeschooled my four children through high school and believe it is the best decision I ever made. As a single mom, I believe strongly when God calls, He equips. All four of my children attended college on full academic scholarships and have no problem with socialization! As the Florida High School Counselor, I am working hard to support our homeschooling families in Florida. One thing remains the same no matter which state you are in: homeschool families want their students to reach their maximum potential to do what God has planned for their life. I teach regular local workshops on preparing your student for college and enjoy encouraging families on the promise of Romans 8:28. You may email me at any time firstname.lastname@example.org.
HLA Team Member since 2013
Counseling Support, Records/Applecore Support
11th Grade Transcript Reviews
Hi, I’m Phyllis Lerro and I am proud to say that my most rewarding career has been being “my kids’ mom”. My husband and I have two sons and a daughter who all graduated from Homelife Academy. It took a lot of sacrifice and faith for us to decide for me to step out of the workforce in 1994 leaving a successful career with lots of pats on the back, job security, and great benefits, to stay home and be a full-time mom. In 1998 we began homeschooling “for just a couple of years” and then we blinked! The next thing we knew it was 17 years later and we were graduating our last student from HomeLife Academy!
I was a very “traditional school-minded” person when we first began, and although that style suited ME very well it was the last thing that was needed by our students at the time. I became extremely discouraged and frustrated within just a couple of months, and was just about to give up when I received some great advice from a veteran homeschool mom who encouraged me to spend some time just “learning to be together again”. Thus began my REAL education about learning styles, different philosophies of homeschooling, and figuring out what was going to be the main focus and purpose for our homeschool. I did lots of reading and spent lots of time on homeschooling message boards figuring out what principles resonated with me until I felt like I had the answer to the most basic question of “Why are we doing what we are doing?”.
For our family, we decided that the MOST important thing in our homeschool was the relationships…..our individual relationships with Christ, with each other within our family, and with the community around us. Although we worked hard on academics when we sat down with pencil & paper, they were secondary, and we made activity and curriculum choices that would allow us to keep our relationship priorities in tact. For us, that meant using a lot of Unit Study type curriculum where we could all be learning the same topics together but at different levels (and when I say “we” I do mean me too!). We had read-aloud time pretty much every day and it became a favorite time of day for all of us. We took advantage of every real-life learning opportunity that we could find and did lots of field trips and outings, even when they weren’t really relevant to what we were learning about in our studies. We balanced the more structured subjects like Math with the subjects that lent themselves to a more holistic approach and could be intertwined with each other instead of separated out and unrelated to each other. As the kids got older and into high school we used a local tutorial for some of their classes that we didn’t want to do at home. Every one of the kids even spent at least a year in regular school, but the flexibility of homeschooling called us back every time.
Homeschooling has been one of the most important and rewarding experiences of my life, and my kids’ lives. When you are in the midst of it, sometimes it is difficult to be able to see if you are doing the right thing and to figure out how this “big experiment” is going to end. I would always think about how Abraham went into a far land because God called him to do so. He didn’t really know what was ahead but he trusted and followed that call. Looking back now, I can say that we made the right choice to follow what we felt we were being urged to do by God. Now, I am honored to be in a position to help other families who are also trying to find their way along this journey! If I can help you in any way, please let me know. My email is email@example.com.
HLA Counselor since 2013
11th Grade Transcript Reviews
10th & 11th Grade Counseling Support
Whether your student is preparing for public school, private school, or continuing to home school through graduation–most parents agree that entering the high school arena feels like a whole new ball game. While I have home educated my own children through elementary and middle school as well as into high school years, I definitely feel that the middle school years are key to laying a solid foundation for whatever God has planned for a student in high school and beyond. As a volunteer and mentor for youth groups and parent ministries for two decades, I am convinced that God knows how to communicate to and through teens in today’s culture. Over the past 20 years, my husband Brian and I have shared a passion for equipping parents of adolescents to share the journey alongside their students. As a homeschool support group discussion group facilitator, God has allowed me to talk with hundreds of parents about their experiences with homeschooling through the teen years. One thing stands out as a key thread–regardless of your situation, God has a plan for your family and it is worth discovering.
Living in the suburbs of Memphis, my family has leaned towards a traditional-style education (classic literature, math, history) as well as independent online learning, but we also find that God keeps us on our toes with a hands-on approach to life overall (camping, rock climbing, snow skiing, traveling, church planting, mentoring, visiting missionaries abroad, etc.) This blend fits our family perfectly since I am a visual and kinesthetic learner while my husband is an auditory learner, and our children each tend to overlap with all three learning styles. Over the years, God has astounded me with his plan for our family to live out John 10:10, “I have come that they might have life abundantly.” In the bigger picture, I also love helping other families figure out how their home school experience can help them to lead, mentor, and educate their own children by discovering God-given personalities, learning styles, and aptitudes.
Coming from a background with a bachelor’s degree in Communications/Journalism and graduating summa cum laude, I have experienced the dedication it takes to excel in academics, but I also have discovered the value in being involved in things that help students connect with who God made them to be–like making time for art, music, science experiments, public speaking/drama, sports, and play groups. In my children’s words, “The things that make life worth living!” I hope you will feel free to come by and chat with me on one of the HLA couches at an upcoming homeschool event, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HLA Counselor since April 2015
7th, 8th, & 9th Grade Counseling Support,
9th & 10th Grade Transcript Reviews
I am originally from Mt. Airy, NC. I graduated from Kings Business College in Charlotte, NC and at my first full time accounting job in Greensboro, NC, I met my husband; we married in 1983. Our deciding to home educate in a time when it was an almost unheard of thing to do was a calling of God. Without faith in God who called us and kept us, we would have never survived. I had only heard of two other people at that time that did this “homeschooling thing.” My public school teacher in laws thought there was no way I could teach my children to read, much less teach anything else without certification. My sister tried to convince my parents that my children would be social illiterates.
We began officially homeschooling in 1989. However, our oldest son was born 1984 with a very high IQ and was talking and recognizing letters by 2 and reading by 4. So “schooling” him began at birth. We learned that having a gifted child is not as easy as one might think. Then child 2 came into the world very tiny but determined to learn what she wanted, when she wanted to learn it. The year our oldest son turned 5, my husband felt called to ministry, stepped out in faith, and we moved to Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia for Bible College. This move was so totally a God thing. We had just moved to a county where the teachers in the local public school system were on strike and the home school group had grown to about 200 families. What awesome support, wisdom, encouragement was available there. We met people who had actually home schooled 8 years by that time. We used CLASS workbook curriculum our 1st year and then I believe Bob Jones. There wasn’t a lot to choose from back then.
Being analytical, my son managed all the workbooks just fine, except with his reading ability he was going through 2 years of curriculum in one year. He needed something more challenging. We realized our daughter was never going to make it with all those workbooks. Our daughter was very artistic and creative and needed a more” hands on” curriculum to meet her needs. I attended a homeschool curriculum fair and met a woman who explained KONOS unit study curriculum. She then came to my apartment at Bible College where I had got some other mothers together who were interested in homeschooling and explained it even more. This opened not only a whole new way of teaching for us, but we realized that all these activities would be better done working together in a co-op situation.
So I have organized, led and/or taught in co-ops in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan most of the last 25 years. I have had the privilege of working with families and students from many diverse backgrounds, learning styles, disabilities, and religious beliefs. I have worked with parents/ grandparents who barely got out of high school to the certified school teachers to the highly educated, performance-driven parents, hopefully, helping them navigate their home school experience. All have taught me something that I could carry forward to help other home educators. We just moved to TN last year and I think the tutorials and umbrella schools here are a wonderful support network for homeschoolers. I am so blessed to be a part of the counseling team at HomeLife Academy.
Mac and I have had 6 children and we would not change the wonderful opportunity God gave us to give each of them a good education catered to their different learning styles and prepared them for their life goals. One is a business owner, one studies engineering in the Navy and works on big machinery at locations all over the country, one served 6 years and became a sergeant in the Marines, one is in nursing school, one is graduating this year and will be continuing her college education as Vet-tech, and the youngest is still finishing high school looking forward to college with plans to go into medical engineering. However our highest goal for each of them is that they would serve God with ALL their hearts and glorify Him with ALL their lives.
I am located in the Middle TN area, and you can always send me an email email@example.com, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions!
HLA Team Member since 2013
10th Grade Transcript Reviews,
Counseling Support, AppleCore Support/Assistance
Greetings from the Gatti family. My husband and I have been married since 1993. After receiving my Elementary Education degree from Pensacola Christian College, I went right into the journey of teaching. I taught 4th grade for a year and then 6th grade for a few years. When my oldest was school-age we decided to homeschool and then we were off on a new journey! We have been homeschooling for the last 14 years. Our oldest is a graduate of HomeLife Academy and we have three more on their way. We absolutely love the freedom we have with homeschooling. Being able to incorporate the opportunity to travel through several states a few years ago into the curriculum for all the students was a wonderful time for our family. It has been said before that homeschooling is not necessarily between the hours of 8am-3pm and we definitely found that to be absolutely true. We would get the essential subjects taken care of early but found that there was learning going on everywhere we turned.
It is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to work in the HomeLife Academy office. In 2013, I began working as the receptionist with the responsibility of transferring calls to the appropriate departments. I have recently started working in the records and counseling departments. I love being able to not only homeschool my own children but also help other families on their homeschooling journeys. I LOVE my job because I don’t consider it a job. Each day is a new opportunity for me to help make a difference in the lives of families just beginning their home schooling journey to helping a veteran family with getting through the process of graduating their student. I also love the fact that I can come into the office and share a burden, prayer request, or praise with fellow Christians. There is nothing like the feeling of working in a Christ-honoring environment.
In the Spring of 2014 I began teaching the Elementary History class for HomeLife Tutorial and have had the pleasure of continuing that opportunity for the 2014/2015 school year. I am looking forward to the new school year and being able to add an Elementary Language Arts class to my roster. My plan is to continue teaching with HomeLife Tutorial as long as possible.
I am so blessed with a wonderful family, church family, and work family. I am so thankful that the Lord has placed HomeLife Academy in my life at this time. I work at the Jackson, TN office, but I’m accessible any time via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know how I can help!
HLA Team Member since 2011
K-6th Grade Counseling Support
Teaching has been my passion ever since I could remember. I have been a teacher since I began teaching Bible classes at age 14. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology/Education in Illinois. I started out as a preschool teacher, going from there to a Music teacher and then into Special Ed and Elementary Ed teaching. While home schooling, I continued teaching English as a Second Language in various aspects. My husband, Bob who works in the HLA Records Dept., and I were married in 1987. We are members of the Old Hickory Church of Christ. We have two daughters, who are HomeLife Academy alumni and who both received degrees from Florida College (one of them was student number 39 with HLA way back when HLA first began). Our older daughter and son-in-law, have just blessed us with a grandson, so life is GRAND!!
I am the HLA K-6th grade counselor, assisting parents in any aspect they need, from “where do I start?” to “I have a struggling adolescent, what shall I do now?” Often I will remind a mom to relax, take a deep breath, and have faith in themselves; reminding them that this is a “marathon not a sprint.” Sometimes parents just need a small reassurance that what they are doing is what is best for their child. Hearing a sigh of relief, or feeling the shoulders relax with the moms I talk to, is the greatest joy in my position as a counselor with HomeLife.
There is nothing like teaching your own children and then seeing them grow into mature, prolific learners and adults in our world! If you ever need anything, please email me at email@example.com.
HLA Counselor since 2008
My family and I live on a farm in West Tennessee. My husband Michael is a farmer and it has been our joy to raise 3 beautiful girls. I began my homeschooling journey in 2000 when my oldest daughter Andrea, now attending University of Memphis Nursing School, was in the 2nd grade. My decision to homeschool came at the perfect time. I started my middle daughter, Chesley in Kindergarten and it went so well that the next year I pulled Andrea from her private school and began my homeschool adventure. Little did I know that my middle daughter would receive a 2nd diagnosis at age 6 of brain cancer in February of the 2001 school year. She was first diagnosed at age 3. This was a devastating blow to our family, but all along I knew that God had his hand on the timing of my homeschool beginning and He would be with us every step of the way. I would never have wanted to send Chesley to school after her surgery and treatment for her cancer. It was truly a gift from God for me to have my girls at home with me and to know that Chesley was safe and could learn at her own pace. Reading was difficult for her due to her treatments and homeschooling was the perfect match for her struggles.
We were blessed with the arrival of our third daughter, Alana, in 1999. What a blessing! So, of course there was no doubt that she would be homeschooled as well. She is now in 11th grade and thriving academically. Our family has faced many struggles, including the passing of Chesley in 2007, but God has sustained us through them all and has blessed us beyond measure. Homeschooling my children has been the biggest blessing of them all. There is no substitute for the time spent with them, watching them grow into strong Christian young women.
God provided an opportunity for me to counsel homeschool families through HomeLife Academy in 2008. This was just what I had been praying for, as I was praying God would use me in a powerful way to minister to others. I wanted to use my trial to be a blessing to others. It gave me insight to the fears and insecurities of life and I was thrilled to pray and counsel new families through the fears of that first step into homeschooling. Please, contact me if I can be of service in any way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HLA Team Member since 2016
HLA Archway Counselor and Teacher, Onboarding