TOS: Todd, this year you are attending
my state’s homeschool convention once
again, The FPEA Annual Convention.
What keeps bringing you back to the
Todd: Well, it’s that last part: It’s the
Sunshine State! I love Florida, and I
wish they could make me an honorary
citizen. I don’t know what you can do
about that . . .
TOS: I will see what I can do for you.
Todd: Great! We just love the Florida convention. There is going to be so
much energy. It’s going to be at the Gaylord Palms, and my kids love that place.
We have been to FPEA four times—this
is the best convention in the whole
country! My encouragement to those
who are even thinking about coming but
who haven’t gone before is, “Don’t miss
out, because this is so much fun.”
. . . This is the best
convention in the
TOS: I agree. I love to walk around
the vendor floor at FPEA and meet the
people responsible for encouraging me
throughout the year. I know you like to
meet families who come to your booth.
What is the best story a family or parent
has shared with you of how your talks
and books have helped them along the
way in their home education journey?
Todd: I love when people come by. I’m
in the booth most of the time. I want everybody who reads this article to come
by and say hi. Also, stop us when you see
us out walking around. Feel free to pull
us aside and talk to us. We love it!
I love hearing a mom on the verge of
quitting say to me, “I came here know-
ing I was not going to do this next year,
but after I listened to you, I’m going
to continue.” I love hearing moms and
dads say: “I have been playing the game
for a long time trying to portray a cer-
tain image. I’m not going to do that any
more” and to have a dad say: “I didn’t
even know what was up. I didn’t know
everything I was saying was discourag-
ing my wife. I realize I need to step up to
the plate. I’ve been working too much,
and I need to be home more.”
I love all of those comments, and that’s
kind of the theme of the convention. It is
about marriage, about family, and about
strong relationships. I like that.
TOS: You are one of the keynote speakers. What are you looking forward to the
most about being a keynote speaker at
FPEA, and what will you be discussing
Todd: Again, I love the energy. I love
the size! I really get jazzed and pumped
with a crowd, and almost all the workshops are large. I love the excitement of it.
The keynote session is great because
I get to start off the convention. I get
to set the tone, the whole tone for the
excitement and freedom, for joy and
for what really matters, and that’s what
we’re going to talk about. The things we
really believe. I take it as a great honor
and privilege to begin the conference.
TOS: I am really glad that you are getting to set that tone. I think you have the
right vision for where we need to keep
our minds and hearts focused.
Todd: It’s hard to keep our focus there;
we are running out of time. We must do
what we believe, and that is the message I
want to encourage moms and dads with.
TOS: There are going to be a couple
of fun surprises as well. For those who
don’t know who Dean Butler is, he portrayed the character of Almanzo Wilder
in the television series Little House on
the Prairie. Dean is also going to be joining you on stage during your keynote
address, Todd. How fun is it going to be
to share a stage with him?
Todd: I am so pumped about that, and
I know my kids are excited, especially
my 16-year-old daughter. She thinks it
is like meeting Justin Bieber! We are big
Little House fans. He is never going to
find an audience that is more receptive
than the homeschoolers here. I hope
we actually talk about other things
with him (besides being Almanzo.)
As the keynote speaker, I am afraid I
will get sidetracked. I hope it is fun for
TOS: Todd, you write for Paul and
Gena Suarez in our weekly newsletter:
The Homeschool Minute. How long have
you been writing for them?
Todd: I have written exactly 254 articles for them, because I remember
the number I wrote down yesterday.
years now. I write for them not just because they have a great magazine (and
them. I like their kids; they have a great
family. I like their passion, and even
though we don’t see each other very often, I sure feel very like-minded when
we get together. I am glad to be on their
team. I think it is a great team to be a
TOS: The TOS team will have a booth
this year at FPEA, and I have heard that
Paul and Gena will be having a special
party on Friday afternoon by RSVP
only. They are very excited about this.
Can you tell us how people will be able
to attend this FREE Party and how to receive their tickets to meet Dean?
I want everybody who
reads this article to
come by and say hi.
Todd: I have been told that all you have
to do is email Gena at Publisher@The
HomeschoolMagazine.com and she will
email you a ticket to attend this event.
It’s going to be a great event, but space
will be limited. Make sure you get those
tickets while you can.
TOS: That’s great! What is the best advice you can give to a family who is attending a convention for the first time
and just beginning their homeschooling
Todd: For the first-timers I’d say: “God
made you smart enough to figure all
this out. You are going to hear lots of
advice from lots of people who know
some things, but I believe that God has
made you best suited for your children
and better for them than anybody else.
Don’t feel guilty or think that you have
to do what all of the speakers say you