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Prosper Noggin is an enrichment center for homeschool private and public school students


By Cathy Womble
Lake Okeechobee News

OKEECHOBEE — Prosper Noggin meets an educational need some did not even realize they had.

Homeschool mom Melinda Wherrell began her enrichment center, Homeschool Noggin, last fall. “We are Christ-centered,” she said. “But obviously, we want to interact with all people, so they don’t have to be Christians to come here.”

“While we (parents) are the most important factor in their homeschool education, I don’t think we should be the only source.” She went on to explain that for her son Cooper, she enlisted the help of her dad for math. She said for some subjects, the stern approach of a grandfather has worked great. It helps her son to be less emotional as well. “I have always pulled in outside resources through my homeschool journey,” she explained. There is a woman, who lives across the street, and she is a loving, wonderful woman who gives Melinda’s daughter, Olivia, sewing lessons. They were also able to utilize a teacher friend, who wanted to take a few years off and stay home with her won children while they were little. “We looped her in for a couple hours each week to pour her knowledge into the kids.”

Melinda said she is always trying to make what she thinks of as a soup. “I don’t want it to be just a ‘me’ soup. I want it to be carrots and potatoes and onions. I think that the more good people you can pull in, from both a spiritual aspect and an intellectual aspect, the richer their experience can be.”

Prosper Noggin is Melinda’s “soup” for not only her children, but also for the children of the community.

Prosper Noggin can be broken down into four different pieces, explained Melinda.



  • Homeschool drop off program: In the fall, they plan to launch a homeschool program. This will be set up for parents who want to drop their children off in the morning and then pick them up later. This program is intended to come alongside parents who are either intimidated by homeschooling or don’t feel like they are fit for it. She even plans to have special needs resources available. Two full-time teachers start in the fall, and she
  • Tutoring/Academic Support program: Prosper Noggin has a pool of teachers to be matched with individual children based on the child’s age and the subject. The tutors are all certified teachers, and tutoring is offered any time of the day convenient to the child and the tutor.
  • After-school elective type classes: The first class Melinda added to her program was Fit and Fun which is a PE type class, where they just do some old fashioned playing. Recently, they added a Young Aviators class to the schedule.
  • Assessments: After suffering a traumatic brain injury herself, Melinda found cognitive ability testing fascinating. These tests are used to find out how children (or adults) process things. She explained these tests can be used to tell you WHY your child struggles to learn to read. They will also offer reading assessments. “Sometimes children need to be taught that they aren’t bad in a certain subject, they just proccess in a different way.”

“We definitely can’t compete with the coast, but I think there are resources here that we just aren’t connected with yet,” said Melinda.

Melinda wants the children to learn “soft skills,” things like communication, problem solving, life skills, not just long division.

“It’s a passion of mine. Just getting kids ready to go out into the world. I really want to address the whole child.” She said she wants them to know how to change a tire and use a checkbook. “I ask people online what they want to see the kids learn.”

Most likely, they will shut down for the summer but plan to come in full force in the fall.

If paying for the courses is a problem for you, Melinda can help with that. After educating herself on school-choice scholarships, Melinda wanted to share this knowledge with the community. She said there are unique abilities, educational options and personalized education scholarships. Some of these can be used by homeschool families to supplement their children’s education experience, and if you are interested, she can walk you through it. Prosper Noggin is a direct-pay provider which means they can be paid directly by scholarship. If you do not use a direct-pay provider, you pay up front and are reimbursed later.

If you are interested in any of these programs, call Melinda at 386-338-2171 or look for Prosper Noggin on Facebook. They are located behind Pizza Heaven in the big blue Wherrell building.

“We believe all children have unrealized potential. Prosper Noggin empowers families to build up the next generation by crafting customized plans to address children’s ‘gifts and gaps,’” said Melinda.





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