Welcome!

Welcome to Homeschool Out of the Box, (HSoBX), a unique homeschooling co-op experience conveniently located near the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA.

Two aspects of HSoBX set us apart from other quality home school experiences in the Tidewater, VA area: our commitment to high-level secular instruction and our dedication to developing a homeschooling community.

All of our faculty hold college degrees or are experienced practitioners in their field. We are happy to include offerings from Lighting the Way, Konneckt IT, and Mosaic Steel Drums. We also have our very own Girl Scout troop.

Our parent community meets monthly at local restaurants for a Mom’s Night Out. When not in class, students enjoy a lunch/recess hour filled with running outside and card or board games inside. HSoBX hosts Spirit Days which include: Halloween Costume Day, Holiday Craft Fair Day, Curriculum Sale Day, Talent Show Day, an End-of-the-Year Potluck Picnic, and the very popular St. Patrick’s Day Scavenger Hunt. We also host two teen dances a year and an all-ages Father-Daughter dance.

We are known for our passionate instruction and strong bonds. If you’re looking for support, friendships and quality instruction for your homeschooling family, HSoBX is the home for you. We strive to maintain an inclusive, non-religious community, and would love for you to join us! To contact us for more information, please send an email. We would love to talk with you.

Instructor Bios

Ginny Harvey
Ginny is a former pediatric physical therapist, former sailor, current Girl Scout leader, a founder of HSoBX, and a long time homeschooling mom of 2 daughters. With science-related degrees from Stanford and Columbia Universities, her subject of choice is, of course, science.

Andrea Kinnear
Andrea is a former health data analyst for the Children's Hospital
of the King's Daughters. She has a Master of Public Health in epidemiology
from the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University, and her
bachelor's degree in Natural Sciences is from Johns Hopkins University. When
not homeschooling her four children or working on probability problems for
fun, Andrea is in the dojo doing karate forms and jiu-jitsu submissions.

Adrienne Ashby
Adrienne attempts to balance practicing law part-time with homeschooling.  She has a law degree from The University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She has practiced law for 15 years.  Adrienne is in her third year of  homeschooling and is grateful for the freedom and responsibility of teaching her children at home.  When she is not homeschooling or practicing law, she enjoys reading, dancing and hot yoga.

Vanessa Metcalf Wagner
Vanessa is a homeschooling mother of two. She was born and spent the first half of her life on the New Hampshire seacoast, and has subsequently lived in Albuquerque NM, Columbus OH, Bethesda MD, and now in Norfolk VA, where she would like to stay. She has a BA in Linguistics from the University of New Hampshire, and an MA in Linguistics from The Ohio State University, with an emphasis in Theoretical Syntax and Computational Linguistics. (She is in fact ABD, but liked her baby son better than her dissertation topic and that, as they say, was that.) These days she is very interested in native plants and bird-scaping.

Kristen Abney
My degree is in public relations with a minor in business.  Most of my professional years I worked in public relations firms where I managed media relations, internal communications, and business development for a variety of mostly business-to-business clients.  When we previously lived in Hampton Roads, I was the internal communications person for the City of Virginia Beach.  During that time I earned my "Accreditation in Public Relations" (which I've since let lapse!)  But all of that ended (rather unexpectedly) 13 years ago with the birth of our first child.  We've been homeschooling for eight years (since our oldest was in Kindergarten) and we now are mapping out the high school years (yikes!) with rising second and sixth graders also in tow.  For seven of the past eight years I was one of the three-person leadership team for our parent-led co-op in Atlanta.  Though we were a full-on "team" effort for administration and annual planning, I was specifically responsible for recruitment of new members, application/admission of new families, managing the student/parent (teacher) ratios, and the co-op handbook.  For five of those years I was also on the steering committee for our umbrella homeschool group.  I was responsible for our educational initiatives including the annual "presentation" night, "international" night, field trips (recruiting/overseeing the planners for about 40 field trips a year), and developing the communications initiatives for the group, including when we launched a Homeschool-Life website.  Over the years I also presented mom's meeting topics on homeschool organization and participated in mentoring newer homeschooling moms.  Though I have no formal teaching background, I have created, assisted in, and led a variety of co-op classes over the years for preschoolers up to middle schoolers.  The topics have included language arts (mystery book writing and literature studies), art appreciation, sciences, history, etc.


Deva Brockett
Deva is a homeschooling, Suzuki violin, karate mom who lives in
Norfolk. Deva holds a BS from the University of California at Berkeley where
she majored in Business Administration and minored in Fine Arts. Her main
claim to fame is that she can knit like the wind. Deva can often be found
hoop dancing between her karate and jiu jitsu classes, that is of course
when she is not knitting.

Antoinette Croly
Antoinette holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from SUNY Stony Brook.  Frequent relocations by the US Navy have led to many professional reinventions in business analysis, project management, and best practices roles in IT environments. All of which came in handy when a little blond boy came into her life taking away every ounce of control and order she ever knew.
Antoinette loves to be cook, to read, and to travel, and is most happy surrounded by a friend or two, enjoying a glass of wine and having a meaty/meandering/meaningful conversation. Her days are now filled with attempts to wrangle cats on ice skates (aka trying to keep up with her 6 year old son Brogan) and coming up with fun ways to raise a bright, kind, thoughtful and open minded young man to trek through this world with wonder and curiosity and joy and laughter.

Cynthia Dise
Cynthia is a former software engineer for SAS Institute, teaches various classes at another homeschool co-op, runs computer camps and workshops for kids, and is currently working on a bachelors and then masters degree in computer technology systems. She previously studied Mechanical engineering at N. C. State and likes to tinker, craft, and draw in her rare free time.  She has 3 energetic kids ages 8-12 and has been homeschooling for 7 years.

Sally Duncan
Sally has been homeschooling her 5 kids for 11 years. She is also a blogger and kind of addicted to Twitter. In her spare time, she enjoys most anything arts and crafts, and of course, a good book. She spent over 30 years living in Michigan and has no plans to go back. She is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree at Virginia Wesleyan College, studying race and American history.

Bettina Essert
Bettina is an ordained minister and Shamanic High Priestess who holds a BA degree in English with a minor in Anthropology. She has 5 children and homeschooled several of them using Rudolph Steiner’s Waldorf educational approach. Be has taught at HSOBX for many years. She is a Reiki Master and facilitates empowerment and healing circles for girls and women as well as the Shamanic Priestess Process™ at her home, Four Oaks Sanctuary, in Chesapeake.

Robin Frazier
Robin Frazier M. Ed is the managing director of Konneckt IT-Science Mobile Technologies LLC. Robin earned her Master’s in Education from Regent, a minor in Special Education and a General Science. She also received a Master’s Level Instructional Design Certificate from Wisconsin-Stout University. Over the years, Robin was a substitute teacher with Chesapeake Public schools for 7 years, taught math and science in both public and private schools, and several adult education courses. She has further served as a G.E.D. test administrator and tutors occasionally. Girl Scout STEAM badge workshop facilitator, Boy Scout merit badge counselor, Grant writer and Recipient of the 2014 National Girls Collaborative Mini STEM grant for Girls, partnering with Girls INC.  Currently, teaches STEAM classes and camps in Hampton Roads areas, developing project based learning classes to provide skills for 2st Century careers focused on interesting girls in STEAM.  

Renee Geisler
Renee is a former Quality Assurance Manager for Kraft General Foods and
Sales Representative for a Microwave Technology Company with a B.S. in Food
Science and Technology and Chemistry Minor from Virginia Tech.    She has
been homeschooling her son since 2005 and plans to homeschool to college.
She enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading in her spare time.

Christina Havlin
Christina is a Virginia certified French instructor who has taught French and English to children 3-18 in public and private schools and for homeschool families for nearly 20 years in Virginia and in France.  With a passion for communication her courses are dynamic and support a variety of learning styles.  Christina loves raising her two boys Henry and Daniel while keeping her hand in the classroom including teacher and adult education.

Sheri Huddleston
Sheri is a mother of 4. She was born in Oklahoma but has lived in several states due to her husband serving in the Military. She is educated in child development. She has spent the majority of her life working with children. She started nannying when she was 12 years old. That led her down the path knowing she wanted to always work with children. When she isn’t teaching or working within her home, she can be found at her sewing machine, for a part time business, or on the softball field where she and her husband play on multiple co-ed teams.

Tricia Mahlau-Heinert
Tricia has been a homeschooling mom since 2001, living overseas in Japan and Italy and Stateside in MD and CA including 6 months of road schooling in an RV with 4 kids, 2 cats and a puppy. Her family has been living in Norfolk and at HSoBX since 2010. Tricia studied child development at Sarah Lawrence College and has a Masters of Social Work from Tulane University. She did Waldorf Teacher Training in DC and helped write the Enki Developmental Immersion Mastery Curriculum when her oldest was in the early grades. But now she spends most of her time driving her daughter to soccer practice and watching tournaments. With 3 teenagers and a willful 8 year old at home she has no recollection of what she enjoys in her spare time.

Laura Norton
Classically trained vocalist. I started my training at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. I continued my training at The University of Massachusetts, Boston. I play piano but really just for my own enjoyment, I am not a trained pianist. In 2000 I performed with a choir at the Olympics in Australia. In college I was a Theatre major and Music minor. I performed on stage and did a lot of backstage work such as light and sound design. I have performed in many productions including Elizabethan, Musical and Modern Contemporary productions. I also performed in Chambers in college, we performed classical repertoire. Outside of college I performed in mostly Musical Theatre productions and many Cabaret style shows.  

Juliana Perez-Lopez
Juliana has a B.S. degree from Old Dominion University in Sociology and Anthropology, with a Psychology minor.   She has worked in many fields, including childcare, food service, retail, insurance, property management, and journalism.   She has been homeschooling her two boys for six years.    


Deborah Rice
Deborah is the director of Lighting the Way Education in Hampton. She has raised 3 boys as a single mom, homeschooling them. With 8 years experience as an educator with the Virginia Air and Space Center and NASA, she specializes in science. The History and Social Studies educational components of Lighting the Way is the Cyphers Gang. In the Gang, Deborah teaches 1700s Colonial cooking, blacksmithing, and spinning. Deborah teaches Bio-Engineering, Eco-Gardening, and Alternative Engineering classes out of the Lighting the Way office in Hampton.

Patricia Richman
Patricia is a homeschooling and teaching veteran. She was taught at home in
Pennsylvania for grades 5-12. She went on to graduate from Indiana
University of Pennsylvania's Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in
Education. Her teaching certificate is in Special Education, and she's
taught in classrooms for Kindergarten through 12th grade. Patricia now
learns with her five children in their Norfolk home. Their ages range from
14-2, and the adventures never end! Patricia plays the piano, teaches piano,
volunteers as a La Leche League Leader, relishes the organic garden
her husband grows, and hangs clothes on the line all year long.
Nora Lee Smith
Nora has been studying Arabic for the past six years, and is a new resident of Norfolk. She graduated from the University of Maryland (UMD), College Park, with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Arabic Studies and a Bachelor’s of Music in Viola Performance. During her time at UMD, she conducted research on Arab musicians in the Washington, D.C., area. Having been homeschooled through high school, she is excited to share her love of music and language at HSoBX.  

Jenn Taylor
Jenn is a Boston native who settled in Norfolk in 1993 thanks to her husband and the
Navy. She has two sons she home schooled for 8 years. Bradley, 20, is a culinary arts
student at TCC and Zachary, 18, is a visual arts student specializing in glass blowing at
TCC. Jenn has a Master’s degree in speech-language pathology and audiology from
Old Dominion University. She trains and teaches karate and jiu jitsu at Norfolk Karate
Academy. She is a certified Gracie Jiu JItsu instructor through the Gracie Academy in
Torrance, CA and program director for Gracie Bullyproof and Gracie Women
Empowered programs at Norfolk Karate Academy. Jenn also teaches karate as part of
the afterschool programs at Norfolk Collegiate, Park Place School and Granby High
School. She is a Girl Scout leader for her niece’s troop. Jenn also owns a photography
business with her husband, Brad, called Beyond the Mountain Photography. Our next
adventure is opening a food truck in Norfolk! In her spare time, Jenn likes to offer
support to recently diagnosed patients with Crohn’s Disease, which she has been living
with for 18 years, playing with her German Shepard, Nikki and attempting to grow a
bountiful garden.


Misty Thompson
   My name is Misty Thompson. I was born in Norfolk, Virginia and have lived here all my life. I graduated from Norview High School. I graduated from Tidewater Community College and went on to get my Bachelors degree in History from Norfolk State University. I have had a love for history since high school and have always wanted to share my love of history with others. My main interest as a historian is in the Crusades and the medieval church. I spend what little free time I have reading every history book I can get my hands on and doing research.
   I have been married for thirteen years, my husband was the brother to my best friend. We have one child, a sweet little boy name Keiran. I homeschool Keiran and take care of the homestead while the husband is the bread winner. We hope to adopt in the future when Keiran is a bit older and we are ready to have small children again. We have lots of animals; dogs, cats, mice, and fish. This means we have a busy fun house that never has a dull moment.
   I have lots of hobbies, way too many in fact. I like to sew costumes for anime conventions we attend as a family, quilt, crochet, scrapbook, cook, sew medieval costumes for a recreation group we are part of, and write stories. Since we have started homeschooling my hobbies don't get as much attention but I bounce from one to another like a bee to flowers. I enjoy playing video games with my husband and son, watching BBC programming, documentaries, and being outside when the weather is nice.
   I plan on continuing my education to get my Master's Degree in history, so I can continue my research and hopefully get published in more peer review journals. I would love to go over seas and visit the places I have only been able to learn about second hand. I love to travel, and want to do so over the coming years.

Suzanne Wheatley
Suzanne holds a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology and a Master of Social Work with a School Social Work Certification, both degrees she earned from Virginia Commonwealth University.  Before becoming a mom, she was the director of a statewide teen sexual violence prevention program and was a Master Trainer.  She is mom to Nicholas, age 13 and Grace, age 8 and this will be her 7th year of homeschooling.  She's lived in Norfolk since 1993, loves all things outdoors, gardening, hiking, camping, etc.  She enjoys doing all sort of arts, with pottery being her 'first love'.  She has fun working with children and believes they all have creative natures and may need a little help tapping into them.  


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