Homeschool group panelists discuss the variety of ways homeschoolers can gather to collaboratively educate local children, from L to R: Becky Grant-Widen, MHEA President and moderator, Trisha White, Guilford Christian Academy, Brooke Thompson, HAVEN Homeschool Collective, Maria Pierce, Waterville Homeschool Enrichment Hub, Karen Bolduc, Greenwood Forest Cooperative, Victoria Staples, Root and Bloom Co-op Farmington, and Aimee Maheux, Cooperative Homeschooling. SUBMITTED PHOTO

HALLOWELL —  On Saturday, 30 homeschool leaders from across the state came together at Maple Hill Farm in Hallowell for the First Annual Leader Summit of the Maine Home Education Alliance (MHEA). Three Franklin County members attended, Victoria Staples from Farmington, Casey Dingley from New Sharon and Becky Grant from West Farmington.

The event included a panel with organizers of homeschool groups, a presentation on focus group results of the needs of homeschoolers, and time for leaders to work with people from other parts of the state to come up with actionable activities to meet identified needs. State Representative Heidi Sampson spoke about collaborative leadership, and the need to balance hard work and discipline with taking care of ourselves and our families.

Casey Dingley of New Sharon reports back on her workgroup’s plans to create and offer enrichment programs for teens. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Victoria Staples, founder of Root and Bloom Co-op in Farmington, reflected on the day, “My cup has been filled and I get to return to my community with so much inspiration. It’s always rejuvenating to be around other like-minded people who dedicate their lives to homeschooling, too.”

“The energy and excitement was palpable!” noted Brooke Thompson, MHEA Vice-President and Summit organizer, “One of MHEA’s goals is to LISTEN and on Saturday we did just that. We listened to leaders who are paving the way in their local communities. Feedback from the event has been extremely positive as leaders have reached out to us in gratitude and asked how they can get involved with MHEA moving forward.”

Leaders repeatedly expressed the need for creating educational opportunities as well as social connections for their teens. As a result, Christy Alley, MHEA board member and University of Maine System (UMS) Early College Advising and Student Success Coordinator, agreed to assist with the creation of online workshops and tutorials regarding the Early College Programs at the UMS and Maine’s Community College System.

MHEA, incorporated in 2023, was formed to meet the diverse needs of the growing number of  homeschooling families in the state. For more information about MHEA please visit their website at

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