Brian Wasko, Homeschool Speaker
Brian Wasko has been a popular homeschool convention speaker since the early 2000's, entertaining and informing audiences at dozens of conventions across the country. He is often a featured speaker and occasionally a keynote.
Brian's background is in English education. He has taught high school English for many years in public and private Christian schools. In 2001, he founded WriteAtHome, an online service offering tutorial writing courses to homeschoolers. He also teaches online literature courses through Wasko Lit, where he can share with young people his love for the great books of Western Civilization.
Brian and his family live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2018, he and his wife, Melanie, graduated their youngest of four homeschooled daughters.
These anonymous quotes were part of an attendee evaluation during a recent homeschooling convention in Richmond, Virginia.
“He covered the topic concisely and with an entertaining style. Thank you!”
“My favorite speaker of the entire weekend!”
“Humor while conveying ideas that are understandable.”
“Important information in an entertaining format.”
“Many things – this was one of the best workshops I’ve attended in 12 conventions”
“Speaker was enthusiastic, engaging, funny, and competent.”
“He was very good at getting his point over and was very funny. He even got the audience involved.”
“Witty, informative, very helpful, even to an experienced writer.”
“Interactive, fun, educational. This guy rocks. The only thing he could have done to make it more interesting is to jump out of a cake.”
“Mr. Wasko is a great speaker, making topics that would be dull very fun to learn.”
“He gave errors AND the solutions clearly, using concrete examples. Helpful workshop every parent should hear. Please have him back!”
“Brian Wasko is witty and fun!!”
“Energetic speaker, humorous, timely.”
“It totally lived up to the title of the workshop (The Most Fascinating Discussion of Grammar in the History of the World)
“Get him again!!”
“Wonderful delivery and organization – thorough coverage of the topic delivered with humor!
“Very well done, humorous. Great presentation.”
“Great speaker, very engaging, knowledgeable”
“Great! Informative! Want more!”
“Outstanding! Made me think outside the box. :)”
“LOVED this! Great intro! Wonderful personality. Excellent slides. Looks like you have a NEW FAN! I will be a reformed grammar Nazi. And now I want to work for you. No, seriously, I do. ”
“It was entertaining and thought-provoking.”
“Humorous. Substantive. Helpful.”
“He really enjoys his subject. Keeps your attention.”
“Hilarious and informative”
“Refreshing look at grammar and understanding of why ruled are or are not. And funny!”
Ten Mistakes Teen Writers Make and How to Avoid Them (the Mistakes, Not the Teens)
This workshop focuses on the most common errors young writers make. We dip our toes into some grammatical issues, but the workshop focuses on simple principles of good writing. We examine common problems like redundancy, telling instead of showing, and modifier dependence.
Coaching Young Writers
Unlike most content-oriented subjects, writing is a craft that students develop over time through practice. A key element in this development is effective coaching. Just like a musician or an athlete, a novice writer needs a coach to instruct, inspire, and guide him. This is the key to WriteAtHome’s success. In this workshop, Brian will share some of the principles used by our writing coaches as they train students to become effective written communicators.
Getting Beyond the Five-Paragraph Essay
The emphasis on the five-paragraph essay format is so ingrained in our education that many have come to believe that it’s the one “right” way to compose an essay. What’s odd, however, is that great writers have been writing essays for centuries—brilliant, moving, eloquent essays that are a delight to read—and none of these essays are written in the five-paragraph mode. Why is this? The five-paragraph structure is a good starting place for young writers, but that’s all it is meant to be. This workshop will discuss ways to get students beyond the five-paragraph essay.
Writing Literary Analysis
Nothing we ask of young writers is more difficult than literary analysis. Writing about literature requires insight into the reading and familiarity with the jargon and customs of analysis. This workshop will give you the basics and cover the most common mistakes students make in this kind of writing.
How To Watch Television
Like it or not, television and film are legitimate kinds of art, and some of it is excellent and worthy of appreciation. Sure, there's lots of garbage, but this workshop will focus on how to tell the worthwhile from the junk. It will not encourage more television watching, just more intelligent television watching. Many of the terms and concepts that help us appreciate good books can be applied to watching movies and TV series.
How To Do Literary Analysis that Doesn’t Ruin the Book
There’s nothing worse than dissecting and over-analyzing a book you might have otherwise enjoyed. (Okay, there’s probably several things worse, but it’s still bad, isn’t it? Literary people are so…literal.) This workshop will show you how to do literary analysis so that students end up loving literature more rather than less.
Grammar and Language
The Most Fascinating Discussion of Grammar in the History of the World (or Your Money Back!)
There is perhaps no subject more intrinsically boring than grammar. Maybe that’s why students don’t get it, and we hate teaching it. In this workshop, you’ll learn that grammar ain’t isn’t so hard, and that it can actually (sometimes) be (sort of) fun (ish). Brian will answer the most common questions: why we should teach it, when we should teach it, and how we should teach it. Plus, you’ll get to take the World’s Trickiest Grammar Quiz. But wait! There’s more: Brian will reveal the secret that guarantees that your students will never make a grammar error in their writing again! How can you pass that up?
How to Love Grammar without Being a Grammar Snob
People tend to fall into two categories. They are either indifferent to grammar or they are persnickety sticklers about it. This workshop is about finding a third and better way. Brian will reveal how to be a grammar expert and delight in the intricacies and peculiarities of English without being a snob. You’ll be smarter, happier, and frankly, people will like you more!
The Wonderful World of Words
Words are fun. English is weird and unpredictable. This fun workshop covers just a few of the many quirky oddities of English. We'll cover puns, palindromes, pleonasms, and paradoxes, just to name a few. If you'd like your mind blown and your curiosity provoked, if you'd like a refreshing new look at language arts, give this workshop a try.
Why Schools Are the Worst Places to Learn Stuff
After a recent return to full-time teaching following a sixteen-year hiatus, I am convinced that schools, ironically, are lousy places to learn. We’ll talk about compulsory attendance, the grade game, the design of facilities, the emphasis on conformity and other historic concerns for an educational approach that we have somehow accepted as normal. Most importantly, we’ll talk about what this means for our homeschools and how to avoid some of the same mistakes.
Avoiding the Grade Game
There's plenty wrong with the education system in the United States, but this workshop will focus on one aspect of schooling that is so ingrained that few educators--even home educators--ever stop to think about it. We'll look at the history of grades, the intended purpose of grades, the real-world function of grades, and the potentially dire consequences of grades. We'll also talk about alternatives to grades and practical ways to cope with a culture that demands them.
Don't Look Down! Homeschooling on the High Wire
The homeschooling life can be a circus—chaotic as times, but fun and rewarding in the long run. A homeschooling parent is like the tightrope walker. Getting successfully to the other side is all about focus and balance. Successful homeschooling requires balancing competing demands and expectations. We don’t want to be too protective or too lackadaisical, too rigorous or too fun-and-games. We want our homeschooling plan to be practical without sacrificing creativity. We want to know when our students need discipline and when they need simple compassion. Walking the high wire of homeschooling can be a challenge, but this message is a reminder that it’s also a thrilling, worthwhile adventure.
Interested in having Brian speaking at your event? Contact him via the form below.