The Executive Committee for 2019/2020 consists of:

Debbie Thomas (Auckland) – Co-ordinator
School-At-Home approach
Debbie and her husband, Martin, have been home educating their six children for a number of years now. They currently use ACE curriculum for their youngest three children, but have used a variety of curriculum over the years including Abeka, NZ Curriculum, Unit Studies and Te Kura. They live on Auckland’s North Shore.

Sheena Harris (Waikato) – Government Liaison Team
Eclectic approach
Sheena lives west of Hamilton with her husband Nathan and their three sons. She has woven Charlotte Mason, Classical and unschooling into the tapestry of learning for her children. Sheena has launched many new home educators off the starting blocks by hosting information evenings and assisting with exemption applications. She comes to the NCHENZ committee with a passion to help and support any family who wishes to provide a tailored education in their home and community, ensuring that they enjoy the journey along the way.

Cynthia Hancox (Horowhenua) – Government Liaison Team
Eclectic approach
Cynthia home educated her five children for over 20 years. She has been involved in supporting home educators with their exemption applications for the last 10 years, and is passionate about encouraging home educators and protecting their rights. Cynthia has a broad knowledge of home education in NZ. The Hancox family live on a small lifestyle block in the Horowhenua, and enjoy growing as much of their own food as possible. Cynthia also writes for her various blogs when she has time.

Sophie McInnes (Canterbury) – Meetings Secretary & Social Media
Unschooling approach

Sophie started home educating in 2018 when her eldest daughter’s struggles at school showed no sign of lifting year on year. She also has one husband, young twinadoes, four chickens, and a few thousand bees. The family’s homeschool journey has already morphed from unit studies to something much more like life learning in practice, but she is happy to admit that they are a work in progress. She loves meeting other homeschoolers, both off and online. In her copious free time Sophie enjoys reading and gardening.

Stephanie Pearce (Canterbury) – Incoming Treasurer
Eclectic approach

Inspired by a homeschooling friend’s awesome lifestyle, Steph and her husband Owen decided to take themselves and their son out of the humdrum of primary school life for a year to reconnect as a family along with their preschool-age daughter. Now in their second year of this adventure they feel there is no going back. Drawing from Charlotte Mason’s ideas of nature connection and reading classic literature aloud, and largely inspired by unschooling/self directed learning, the family explore their local and extended world everyday.

Nadia Sole (Canterbury) – Member Offers Team, Website Administrator
Unschooling approach
The Sole family live on a large lifestyle block in Canterbury where they have started an extensive native planting project. Nadia and Gavin have three children and they were always aware that they would probably home educate. Nadia meets regularly with other unschoolers – she believes that creating a community of like-minded people has been the most important aspect of her home education journey.

Astrid Hendra (Manawatu/Wanganui) – Outgoing Treasurer
Eclectic approach
Astrid had always wanted to home educate, and having a daughter with Autism made the decision even easier. Becoming a single parent partway through their journey was an unexpected hurdle. Astrid is self-employed, operating an IT business part-time from home, and is also a committee member for her local home education group. Now with a teenager, Astrid says she is still enjoying the rollercoaster ride!

Tanya Vivier (Taranaki) – Member Offers Team
School-At-Home approach
Tanya and her husband, Chris, started their homeschooling journey in late 2014 when their only daughter began struggling at school. They use a mainly internet-based approach. Home educating also provides them with ample time to focus on their involvement and commitment to St John Youth Cadets which they manage and attend as a family. They enjoy seeing the progress their daughter has made while homeschooling so far, and Tanya loves the opportunity to learn alongside her daughter.

Gin Taylor (Waikato) – Correspondence Secretary
Unschooling approach
Gin has unschooled her children their whole lives, and they are now beginning to explore unschooling for teenagers! As her two girls are growing older, Gin is enjoying the interesting discussions about the future and how unschooling can best serve their dreams and goals. Gin and the children join in with local home educators when they can.

Cathy Norris (Wanganui) – ID Cards
Eclectic approach
Cathy has been home educating since 2008. She has four boys; the eldest went through the school system, but the other three have always been home educated. The family has a Playcentre background, which has led Cathy to take a child-centred approach to the children’s education. She believes in life-long learning, being in the Tertiary system herself for many years now. The family are active in both their local home education community and their wider community

Krystal Ward (Hawkes Bay) – Membership Secretary
Eclectic approach
Krystal, Ian and their three children are located in rural Hawkes Bay and have been home educating since 2016. It was their Playcentre journey that first exposed them to home education. After a few school years, they transitioned their eldest to Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, then, finding their feet, have since settled into their own eclectic approach with the childrens’ interests driving the direction of their learning. Community and the environment are important to all of the Ward family which they interweave into most of what they do.



Can you help? We have vacancies on the Executive Committee for:

Blog Posts – Writing articles every 2-3 weeks for the NCHENZ website on a variety of topics, varying lengths (from short to medium).

For enquiries, please email