About Us

We began collaborating on informal homeschool workshops, classes, and activities in 2008. As we worked together, we found that we shared a similar educational vision for our families. The following year, as our oldest children prepared to graduate from high school, we set out to develop a curriculum program that would help us reach the goals we had set. Through the years, lessons and curricula have been tested and evolved but our purpose remains the same: to nurture a love of learning and to prepare students for academic opportunities at the college level and beyond. 
  • Dee Chapman (Co-founder, 2009; Instructor, 2009-present) - Dee and her husband Bill have six children, with three of them spanning three levels of the Academy.  Their oldest daughter is in her senior year at the University of Illinois, double majoring in computer science & math, and psychology.  She also interned with Apple Computer in Cupertino, CA during the summer 2014.  Their next two oldest children take dual-credit courses at Parkland, in addition to attending JiL Rhetoric classes.  Dee's family started homeschooling in 2005 after having sent three of their oldest children to a private school in Champaign, IL from 1999-2005.  The Chapman family spends time in sports and dancing with the Champaign Urbana Ballet.  Their oldest son attended an intensive with San Francisco Ballet in summer 2014, and will be attending UIUC in fall 2015 to study Dietetics.  Dee has degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and enjoys teaching math and science, and learning along with the children in other subjects. Her husband, Bill, is a lecturer in the UIUC Computer Science department. Additionally, he does climate research (private consultant), and has previously taught Earth Science at JiL.  Dee’s personal passions include planning and developing curriculum, spending time with her kids and family, attending her children's activities and events, exercising, and listening to public radio shows.  She also freelances as a computer programmer for a text book publisher.  Dee's homeschooling goal is to create lifelong learners who are happy, curious, thoughtful, brave, and motivated to follow their interests and passions.
  • Naomi Young (Co-founder, 2009; Instructor, 2009-2014) - Naomi and her husband David have two children who have always been home schooled. After completing two years at Parkland College, their son is majoring in graphic design at the University of Illinois and works part-time as an online content creator for a text book publisher. He is a third-degree black belt and an instructor at Illini HMD Tae Kwon Do. His interests include playing piano, photography, and gaming. Their daughter is a JiL Rhetoric student and takes dual-credit classes at Parkland College.  She has studied classical ballet for ten years at the Royal Academy of Dance and danced for eight years in Champaign Urbana Ballet productions of The Nutcracker at Krannert Center. As well as being a student intern at Royal Academy of Dance and a docent at Krannert Art Museum, she enjoys reading, art, chemistry, and fashion.  This past summer, she attended a Bay area, CA seven-week Girls Who Code summer immersion program, and was selected as a QuestBridge Finalist. Naomi has a B.A. from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, where she studied theology, French, and business, and now has a home-based business tutoring English, French and test prep. She holds a Senior Belt in tae kwon do and has sewn costumes for productions at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Virginia Theater for the past 10 years, serving as a costume lead at Champaign Urbana Ballet for two years.  She has enjoyed home schooling immensely and appreciates having been able to share many experiences together with her children.  
  • Yael Gertner (Instructor, 2011-present) - Yael and her husband have one child who has always been homeschooled and is currently a student in the Grammar classroom.  Yael has taught history, literature, computer science, math, and science over the past four years in the group.  She has Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PhD in Computer and Information Science from the University of Pennsylvania.  Her thesis was in Cryptography.  Most recently, she was a Beckman Fellow at UIUC and conducted research on language acquisition and child development.  Yael has taught computer science classes at MIT and UPenn and Psychology classes at UIUC. Yael's husband, Mahesh Viswanathan, is an Associate Professor in the UIUC Department of Computer Science.