Welcome to Celebrate Simple!
We're here for YOU!
We are parents like you with full days, diapers, new drivers, and adult children. Having been through life's stages--cradle to shingle--we understand difficult and challenging, but we also know joy and triumph. We are right there with you.
Husband, Wife, Parents
Mike and Cheryl met at Illinois State University; he a senior studying secondary social science education, she a junior focused on little learners. They spent Friday nights rendezvousing at the library studying before visiting the local frozen yogurt shoppe. Easter weekend, eighteen months after they met, they made plans to marry--that August! Ups and downs, trials and triumphs mark twenty-eight years of growing together, parenting eight children ages twenty-seven to toddler. Their marriage has not always been easy. It is a testimony of hard work and imperfections molded together with grace and goodness.
Mike accepted a middle school teaching position where he has remained, steadfast, for twenty-eight years. He is a favored American History teacher with a gifting for guidance and career counseling.
Cheryl eagerly began teaching little learners at the same preschool where she served high school community service hours and later worked as a teacher assistant. Highlights of her work at the preschool included not only teaching but working alongside the director and offering parent workshops.
Quite honestly, Cheryl can’t remember a time when she wasn’t teaching. What started with making her brothers play school evolved to job shadowing and tutoring as a high school student. Through experiential learning, Cheryl’s passion for education grew. She completed post-secondary coursework and internships while attending Illinois State University, first as a special education major and then continuing in early childhood education. Concerned she would miss once-in-a-lifetime milestones in her children, Cheryl decided to leave the classroom and bring learning home. Twenty-four years of homeschooling, eight children—ages twenty-seven to toddler—allow Cheryl and her husband Mike to journey alongside families at many stages of parenting and learning, from toddling to turning tassels.
Mike just started his twenty-eighth year as a middle school history teacher, serving the same school. In fact, this year marks a milestone year! Mike is now teaching the children of his former students.
Evaluators and Consultants
On an evening twenty-three years ago, Mike and Cheryl answered a request to evaluate the progress of a Kindergarten learner. That one answer fueled a passion to encourage families and led to conversations with hundreds of homeschooled children, young adults and their parents. Mike and Cheryl feel blessed to have walked this journey from Kindergarten to high school graduation many times over, first with their own two home education grads and second with a multitude of families they work with. Mike and Cheryl find it thrilling to attend graduations and tassel turning ceremonies for the young adults they have coached, encouraging graduates as they move on to college and career.
Evaluating the educational progress of hundreds of home educated students provides Mike and Cheryl a unique perspective on educational philosophies and methodology, as well as the college admission process for home educated students. This vantage point--combined with their unique educational backgrounds and experience as homeschooling parents--give Mike and Cheryl an extensive knowledge base from which to consult with parents as they navigate life's milestones, particularly the middle and high school years.
Leader and Mentor
New to homeschooling in a church with many home educators but no support group, Cheryl co-founded a group which later became one of the largest in Central Florida. She served on the leadership team for nine years, creating the organizational framework and operating policy, working with a board to plan monthly support meetings, leading monthly meetings, scheduling educational opportunities for parents and children, writing and editing a monthly newsletter, developing an enrichment cooperative for upper elementary through high school, offering parent workshops, and mentoring new leaders. Though not currently on the leadership team, Cheryl does enjoy being a mentor for the group--her heart's home.
For the past six years Cheryl has worked with a team of homeschooling moms to coordinate Books & Beyond, a mid-year conference of encouragement.
Celebrating Simple with YOU!
Cheryl is the author of seven books: You HAVE to Read This One: Raising a Contagious Reader (which is currently being revised!), Check These Out (a multi-level unit study about books and libraries), Flip Three Pancakes with One Spatula, Celebrate High School: Finish with Excellence, Geometry, Measurement and Math Adventures as well as Taking Math on the Road, a thematic math activity folder. Cheryl is grateful to be a regular columnist for Homeschooling Today, a magazine she has treasured since her early years of homeschooling. Cheryl occasionally writes for state and national publications, including the FPEA Connect magazine.
Cheryl is passionate about encouraging parents, whether in a living room gathering, a MOPS event, a co-op kick-off meeting, a church support group special evening, or an educational convention.
Cheryl is a favorite, engaging presenter. She has been a featured speaker at the 2012, 2013, and 2016 FPEA state conventions, a presenter at the 2015 FPEA Leader's Forum, and featured speakers for HERI, Finish Well, and Books and Beyond.
Mike loves to encourage and equip parents and young adults. His passion area is identifying strengths to facilitate learning and walking alongside fathers as they in turn journey alongside wives and children.
Often Mike and Cheryl share the podium, effectively and candidly speaking to mixed audiences whether at local support groups or at conventions.