Founder, Executive Director
Vanessa Knight and Heidi Holycross-Lui are the founders of AnySchoolers. Vanessa is a Kansas City metro local of 20+ years, transplanted from urban Houston, TX, who homeschools four children ages 15 to 5 years. Vanessa's lived on both sides of the state line, and currently resides in and rehabs an old house in the Historic Northeast - east of downtown. Husband Josh is AnySchoolers' Producer and a professional in healthcare media and digital marketing. Vanessa homeschools in a co-parenting relationship with a former spouse and stepmom to their teens. Vanessa's teens spent 4 and 2 years in public school respectively before beginning their homeschool freedom, and her two littles have been homeschooled from scratch. For their family, the homeschooling journey balances structure and informal learning with a strong emphasis on child-directed learning, except for MATH!
A full-time working clinical mental health professional, Vanessa (LCPC, NCC, CCMHC) and her partner Ben Taussig (also a homeschooler) own and operate a private counseling practice called Secure that serves the entire metro, specialising in parenting and romantic attachment bonds, trauma and loss, and turning conflict into connection. Vanessa went to a fine arts high school in Houston studying piano performance, has a BA in English/Creative Writing, minors in music and art history, and a MA in counseling/psychotherapy. Learning never stops, and post-graduate clinical certifications and training are a pastime for her!
Vanessa and her family have three big dogs, a cat, a bearded dragon, lots of fish, a flock of chickens, and an urban agricultural operation in the backyard. With a makerspace in the basement, the family plays with power tools, needles and thread, paint and glitter, grow lights, computers and 3D printering. There are Legos all over the house, mixed with unicorns, dinosaurs, and dress up clothes. Family activities run the gamut from theater and anime and music to rock climbing and online gaming to late night parent/teen binges of The Walking Dead, and this family loves to learn while traveling the world. Having worn hearing aids since childhood tumors, Vanessa also balances a chronic autoimmune illnesses with the needs of the people she loves and connects with other caregivers who push through disease or physical disability to live with no regrets.
Vanessa's favorite things to teach about are relationship science, practical neuroscience, parenting and romantic attachment, sociology and culture, comparative primate psychology, the mothering experience, hand embroidery, chickens and gardening. Starting AnySchoolers comes from a deep desire to see parents empowered to hold on to their gut feelings about what's best for their kids, rather than submitting to institutional norms that can damage kids' confidence, love of learning, freedom to explore, mental health, wellness, and physical safety.
Here are some of Vanessa's favorite homeschooling resources:
This is Homeschooling, Katie Rybakova
How Children Learn, John Holt
Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto
Magical Child, Joseph Chilton Pearce
Motherhood, Lisa Marchiano
homeschoolplanet.com (not paid for this recommendation, just use it all the time and wish they had an app!)
Rotation on librariesofhope.com
The Kansas City Public Library and Hoopla apps
https://kansascity.momcollective.com for local events, ideas, and discounts
Handwriting Without Tears
Dover publications iron-on transfer patterns for hand embroidery