Brian Wasko, Homeschool Speaker
Brian Wasko has been a popular homeschool convention speaker since the early 2000s, entertaining and educating audiences at dozens of conventions across the country. He has been a keynote and a featured speaker.
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. He and his wife, Melanie, homeschooled their four daughters from kindergarten to college.
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!”
The Problem with Education Is Schools
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.
“Why Do We have to know this?”
How often do students ask this question? If we are going to teach subjects, we should certainly be able to answer the why questions. This workshop will look at some fundamental questions about the purpose of education. Why learn at all? And how do we know what subjects are worth our efforts and which are not? In this workshop, Brian will provide a healthy, biblical basis for the pursuit of knowledge and, hopefully, inspire you and your students to believe that it’s good to know stuff.
Note: The first workshops below were designed to be a four part series, but each can also stand alone.
Developing Teen Writers: Principles of Writing Instruction
We all want our kids to write well. It's a vital academic skill. But writing is famously tricky to teach. In this seminar, Brian shares both foundational principles and practical strategies that will get your teens writing better and relieve some of the anxiety you feel about teaching writing. He will discuss the two key components of all sound writing instruction and ten practical strategies for developing confident, self-motivated, effective writers.
Developing Teen Writers: Responding to Your Student’s Writing
I’ve got my student’s paper and I’ve got my red ink pen. Now what? In this seminar, Brian will offer suggestions for coaching students through the various steps of the writing process and explain the four crucial types of comments you should be making on every paper your teen writes for you. Simple and memorable, this workshop will make you more effective in coaching your teenage writers.
Developing Teen Writers: Grading Papers
The trickiest and most intimidating part of teaching writing is grading the papers. In this seminar, Brian will talk about a philosophy of grading and its potential pitfalls. He will also get practical and show you how to use WriteAtHome's unique 3 X 3 + 1 grading rubric in evaluating student papers.
Developing Teen Writers: Grammar and Writing
Grammar is the worst-taught subject in American education. We teach it year after year, and the average graduate still can’t tell you the difference between a transitive and intransitive verb. Grammar is also controversial. Is it necessary? If so, how much do we need to teach? Does grammar instruction help students write better? What about diagramming? The seminar will address these questions and more.
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.
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.
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.
Cinema as Literature: How to teach literary analysis using movies
There are important and obvious differences between a film and a novel, but story is story, and many of the principles of literary analysis are applicable to movies as well. This seminar will show you how to watch movies from an analytical perspective and use popular movies to help teach your students literary terms that will help them better appreciate both movies and books.
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?
Make English Great Again
Is it too late to reverse the decay and debasement of our rich, beautiful language? Will texting and social media be the end of eloquent discourse? The answers may surprise you.
Interested in having Brian speaking at your event? Contact him via the form below.