About Us


Paideia Northwest – camaraderie-builder for Christian (home) educators in  the Pacific Northwest

In 2018, Paideia Northwest got its start when the founder had been feeling a need for some kind of event to encourage community, fellowship, and offer deeper exhortations than what a lot of mothering & educational resources seemed to offer. Previous experience with community via online resources like Read Aloud Revival and Scholé Sisters seemed to prove that such a rich opportunity was possible, but not necessarily locally accessible. As a fulltime homeschooling mama whose family is committed to living on a single income, things like jetting hither and yon across the United States to access conventions and retreats and motherhood seminars were not practical; but nobody seemed interested in bringing an event to the area or starting something new. Multiple people did say, however, that they would be very keen on the idea of such a thing; attending, sharing, supporting.

In July of 2018, Melissa Cummings got the final push she needed by her friend Mystie Winckler’s encouragement – they had originally met at a regional event for Christian women, a Femina seminar at the Grace Agenda conference in Moscow, ID. It was Mystie’s prayers and words of encouragement that gave Melissa the courage to try something new, to bring a small basket of loaves & fish… and then prayerfully watch the Lord do the blessing & multiplication.

Within a month, a business license, LLC, website domain, logo, and inaugural event plans were all well in hand. Registration opened at the end of August for an event called Courage for the Daily, held in November 2018. With 200 women in attendance at this first event, the need for this blessing was solidified – and Paideia Northwest began to put down real roots. This annual event focuses on principles over methods, raising kids for Christ its goal in encouraging regional mamas. While a lot of people still call it a homeschooling conference, it is really much more broad than that. We have so much to learn from each other, regardless of educational niche. Unity in essentials (Christ!), diversity in non-essentials (methods), charity in all things.

Since its inception, Paideia Northwest has continued its mission to build bridges, create community, encourage camaraderie, and facilitate fellowship through annual conferences in the broader Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area. While the goal for Paideia Northwest is to keep our events local to our region, we not only welcome people to attend from other areas, but are eager to see this mission & vision take root in other locations on the map.

In 2021, our first sister community sprouted up in the Southeast region of the US, and we are delighted to see what avenues the Lord opens up for future collaboration and mutual encouragement!


Melissa Cummings headshot

FOUNDER & DIRECTOR Melissa Cummings, alongside husband Steven since 2007, is a second generation Christian homeschooling mother of five: 4 sons & a daughter (and nine other children ahead in glory). She holds a BA from Whitworth University, which she attended after a life of home education in a Christian family. Educating her five redheaded children at home in rural northeastern Washington is now her full time work including banter & beauty, culture & cooking, music & mayhem, reading & recreation, trivium & teatime, worship & wonder. And did we mention books? Lots and lots of books. She directs a small Classical Christian homeschool co op in her rural community, and has recently loved speaking at some regional events. Never a dull moment! She loves to encourage and connect with others through writing, by prayer, and in the annual ministry of planning, coordinating, & pulling off the Paideia Northwest conference for mamas raising kids for Christ. You can find her at JoyfulDomesticity.com or anywhere you connect with Paideia Northwest.


2018~Courage for the Daily

2018 conference

2019~Living Stories

Living Stories 2019 – Paideia Northwest
2019 conference


Disciplined 2020 – Paideia Northwest
2020 conference


2021 conference