A wonderful collection of workshops from seasoned Homeschool Mums

Debbie Petrie

When the Tank is Empty

I’m Debbie Petrie from Motueka. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. I am a mother of five wonderful children aged 32-13 yrs old, a great son-in-law and a sweet little granddaughter who is nearly two. I have had two seasons of home schooling covering nearly 20 years and am now on the home run with my last son. I love to spend time in God’s word, knitting and playing games with my family. My passion is supporting and encouraging women to be who God created them to be.

I’m offering practical ways to lighten the load during our home school years. When you get to the end of the road and you have no more to give, what do you do to carry on your journey?

How many times does it get late in the day and you still have no idea what your family is eating for dinner? And what about spending time with God? Come along and glean some ideas to these real questions we all face at different times in our life. Know that you are not alone. 

Lauretta Dunkirk

1. Light in the Dark - Mental Peace

Lauretta Dunkirk

1. Light in the Dark - Mental Peace

The other night, the power went off and our house was plunged into utter darkness. We live in the country so there were no streetlights to illuminate the darkness inside. It was a cloudy, moonless night, so there was not even the gentle glow of stars. It was so dark, I couldn’t even see my hand held up in front of my face. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do the dishes. I thought about playing the piano in the darkness – the only thing I could do in the dark without electricity. 

Sometimes our mind can be plunged into utter darkness, a darkness so deep it hurts and death seems the only way out. Or sometimes it can be like driving in the fog, so thick you can barely see 20 meters ahead. Depression can be like a fog, a heavy cloud of sadness that, like the winter cold, curls its way through gaps in the door frames and wraps its fingers around your heart, stopping you from doing anything, from loving anything or anyone.

How do you play music in the dark? How do you find warmth in the fog? How can you live in the struggle of mental instability and find joy and peace?

If any of this resonates with you or you have a friend who struggles whom you want to understand better, come along to this workshop on mental health.

2. Drawing All-Sorts from Picture Books

Who doesn’t love cuddling on the couch with a good picture. Maybe 10 books later, you might be getting a bit tired… but you can get a lot more out of a picture book than just a fun story and a bit of quiet bonding time with your child. You can turn it into a rich educational experience. 

We’re going to look at how you can draw all sorts of things out of the deep wells of picture books – not only literary features, but also, other subject areas such as Geography, History and incredibly, Science. Science??! How do you use an ordinary picture book to teach scientific concepts? Come along and find out.

Gwenda Smithies

The Gathering in of the Lord's Harvest

How do you nurture a heart in your children for evangelism? 

I will be providing you with ideas and stories relating to this topic, having firsthand experience with my 12 children. 

Rosie Boom

Staying connected with your Teen

Rosie Boom

Staying connected with your teen

Many of the seeds we sow in our children’s hearts ripen to maturity during the teenage years. Rosie will share practical tips, inspiration and encouragement on how to manage and gather in that valuable harvest while staying connected with your teenagers and enjoying these all important years.

Deb Wilson

Finding our Way back to Joy

I’m Deb Wilson. A follower of Jesus, wife and Mum. Homeschooling for 22yrs and counting. Formally a Community Mental Health Nurse and a Volunteer Food bank Coordinator for 11 years. I’m passionate about encouraging others to see Christ’s grace in their lives and extending it to others. I love having people over for dinner and am in the process of facilitating community dinners with a friend. I’m also an avid forager, I can often be spotted in the wild, gathering rosehip, hawthorn, St John’s wort, evening primrose and more. I make and sell natural sunscreens, deodorants, insect repellants and run a little Air BnB studio from our home. My children are forever embarrassed about my aptly named email account “quirky homeschooler”. 

Many of us feel that because we’ve chosen to homeschool, life ahead will be smooth sailing. Homeschooling has been a wonderful experience for our family, but not without significant challenges. For myself and the women around me, there have been many struggles; the death of children, drugs, alcohol, sexual confusion, ill health and infertility to name but a few. I’ve seen many women become significantly discouraged and silent about their struggles for fear of judgement from their peers.

How can we best support those travelling alongside us? And how can we find our own way back to

Philippa Ashton

Cultivating a Holistic Homeschool Lifestyle. Luke 2:52

Philippa Ashton

Cultivating a Holistic Homeschool Lifestyle - Luke 2:52

As little people our lives look a bit like a baby’s board book with just a few easily turned pages, we speedily progress to short stories, and happy days on to our first chapter books. At 62, having entered the Autumnal season, life is an ever expanding series of books, loaded with interwoven stories of excitement & drama, joy & grief, vision & letting go. Steadfastly at the heart of these ‘books’ is an ever faithful God, the one who always has our back, the one who walks with us today and forever across the mountain tops and through the deepest valleys. I’m married to Pat who I’ve grown up with since I was 14. We’ve got 8 awesome, grown up children. I’m a Mum in law to another 8, and Nana of 12. For over 20 years, the day to day nuts and bolts of a holistic, rural lifestyle-focused homeschool, was my ‘full time passion and career’. I’m excited to delve into some of those chapters with you at HEART South 2023 while casting a retrospective glance at things we’d do again being real about a few things we’d do a bit differently.

Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice. Psalm 50:5