Laura Berquist
"Eternal Reasons to Homeschool"​

Why do we homeschool? Without comparing the answer to why parents do not homeschool, the reason is simple: because education has eternal consequences.  In the larger picture, we homeschool because we love our children and want what is best for them. We think this way of education is best for our children or we would not give ourselves to the task. In fact, homeschooling provides an excellent education, real socialization skills, as well as valuable life skills.  The homeschool environment promotes family life skills and provides, most importantly, more opportunities to develop a relationship with God. It is my judgment that no other educational venue provides the same opportunities for excellent formation. The eternal reason to homeschool is not only to educate these young minds but also to guide and nurture these young souls to holiness and to His Divine Will.

"Why Homeschooling is Better Than Classroom Education" 
Laura Berquist explores the reasons why homeschooling is better than classroom education, even when both use an excellent curriculum. Through examples and studies, she shows how environment has a great impact on the outcomes one seeks in developing an educated person. The evidence provided supports the conclusion that the natural learning situation which occurs in the midst of family life is superior overall.

Mrs. Laura M. Berquist, a home schooling mother of six, is founder and director of Mother of Divine Grace School, an accredited  distance learning school serving more than 4000 students, and providing ongoing training to parent educators. Mrs. Berquist is the author of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum and editor of The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum. Based on the philosophy of the classical Trivium—grammar, logic, and rhetoric—she developed a classical curriculum for grades K-12 that strengthens character and intellect, and reinforces virtue. Inaugurated in 1995 with 75 students, MODG now offers various levels of programs for students, summer classes for students and parents and workshops for parents throughout the school year.

Louise Caballero

“Navigating the Road to College and Scholarships”
Thinking about the college entrance process often instills fear into most parents, let alone homeschooling parents who now have to wear the hat of a guidance counselor.  “Which tests to take and how to register?”  “When do we apply to college?” “How do we apply for financial aid?”  “How do we find scholarships?”  This session will give a quick rundown of the answers to these and many other questions.  Louise will share with you some tips and strategies she has learned along the way, as well as provide you with a handout of pertinent information to help you navigate the college process.

Louise Caballero and her husband Dan have been homeschooling their three children for 15 years in the north Orange County area. The oldest two have graduated and are both attending college.  The youngest will begin his junior year of high school in the fall.

​Fr. James Costigan

"Go to Saint Joseph - Help With the Challenges of Fatherhood"

​Father James Costigan, born in 1951, was raised and educated in Los Angeles, California. He has an M.A. in English from Cal Poly, Pomona, and a Master of Divinity from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, Cromwell, Connecticut. A carpenter and a teacher, Father Jim also has many years experience as a prayer warrior and counselor outside of America’s abortion clinics. He made his first religious vows in 1997 and was ordained to the priesthood for the Fathers of Mercy in 2002. Having served one year as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Russellville, Kentucky, he now travels America giving parish missions and retreats, especially missions aimed at the establishment and promotion of Eucharistic adoration in chapels and churches.

Inspiring Catholic Speakers

Sandy Sutherland

"Introduction to Homeschooling"

​“Is it legal?” “How do you do it?” “What about socialization?” Sandy will navigate through the ins and outs of homeschooling in the state of California. She will discuss the importance of knowing your own reasons for educating your children at home.

"Homeschooling Under Difficult Circumstances"

Homeschooling comes with its own challenges. When outside circumstances affect our homeschool, additional stresses are felt within the family. Whether these challenges are financial, medical, include learning disabilities, caring for extended family, job loss, are permanent, or temporary.  Join Sandy as she shares her time tested tips for Homeschooling Under Difficult Circumstances.

Sandy and her husband, Todd, have been happily homeschooling in Southern California for 18 years. Their oldest three children have graduated from homeschooling and have continued their education at various colleges. They continue to homeschool their youngest, just finishing her freshman year of High School.  As a founding member of the Southern California Catholic Home Educators and Chino Hills Co-op, Sandy has enjoyed mentoring other homeschooling moms.

Carolyn Forte
"Break out of boring!"

Teaching your children science, math, geography, or any subject, does not have to be boring or full of tears.  Come and discover the amazing resources available to you to engage your children in a fun an encouraging way and develop positive learning experiences that they will truly remember for a lifetime.

Carolyn Forte is a homeschool pioneer and has been involved in, and influenced, the direction of the California homeschool movement for over 30 years. She homeschooled her two daughters for over 14 years and currently owns and runs the EIE Academy resource center and private satellite program with her husband, Marty Forte. Her specialty areas include out of the box approaches, learning styles, special needs homeschooling, delayed academics, and the importance of play in learning. Carolyn is the author of "The Game Curriculum: Guide to Using Games in the Elementary Grades."

Lita Hsia

"Simple Strategies for Helping Students with Learning Challenge"  

Do you have a child who is a struggling learner?  There are real, permanent solutions to your child’s learning challenges.  Come and learn concrete ways to help your child immediately.  The talk will include: (1) strategies to enhance reading accuracy, fluency, comprehension and enjoyment; (2) spelling strategies; (3) Math Triangles; (4) COPS: Proofreading strategy; (5) test and study strategies; and (6) attention and “brain break” strategies to help focus and efficiency, and SO MUCH MORE!  We will actually practice these techniques together and you will walk away with real knowledge of effective solutions to help your child!

Ms. Hsia is the Community Liaison at Stowell Learning Center (SLC). She joined the SLC staff as a clinician, working directly with students, and later moved into the community liaison position as she is passionate about getting the word out that there is hope and real, permanent solutions to learning challenges. She is a mother of two, one of whom was diagnosed with a speech and language learning challenge and went through the program at the center. Prior to joining SLC staff, she trained and worked as an Occupational Therapist in Sydney Australia and overseas.

Break Out Speakers

Dr. Lisa Klewicki
“How My Marriage Got Better While Homeschooling (and Yours Can Too!)”
You don’t have to wait for the last child to leave the nest before re-focusing on your marriage.  This presentation will help support and lift up your marriage in the midst of the homeschooling years.  Whether you have been married for 1 year or 50 years, this talk will help enhance your marriage while you homeschool your children.
“Homeschooling for Love”
This presentation will help you to understand that while the ways in which you love each other in a family might be different, the outcome of growing in love is still enhanced relationships.  She will address how to grow in love while homeschooling a family.

Dr. Lisa Klewicki is a licensed Clinical Psychologist.  She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and a Master's Degree in Theology.  Lisa has over 20 years of experience speaking to both lay and academic audiences around issues of relationships, marriage, family life, parenting, and child development through the integration of sound Psychology & solid Theology. She also writes for the Catholic Digest magazine. Lisa is a part-time Associate Professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences within Divine Mercy University.  She has also maintained a small private practice in Falls Church, Virginia. Lisa & her husband, Ken homeschool their 16 year old daughter who will be a senior this fall.  Through her homeschooling, Lisa ran a Catholic homeschool play group for 10 years and co-op for 5 years, while her husband taught science courses in her dinning room for years.  2.

Diane Sweeney
“Homeschooling High School – Why On Earth Do That to Yourself”

Many moms make their decision to homeschool when their children are very young. Some decide to homeschool in order to avoid the public school system and give their children a qualityeducation, or because they want to spend more time with them and teach their children values.  But then once their children reach high school, a lot of moms come to a halt. They’re scared. “My teen won’t listen to me anyway, I’m not about to fight about school all day long too,” “They want to be in high school sports,” “What about the SAT/ACT,” “I can teach addition and subtraction, but I can’t remember calculus!” In Diane’s talk she wants to take you back to the roots – why did you decide to homeschool your children in the first place? What has changed?  Though it may not seem like it, high school is the time your children need you the most. It is your last chance to impart your faith, practical tools and wisdom before they go off in the world and make their own lives as adults.

Diane Sweeney, California native, earned her BA in Liberal Arts and Psychology from Long Beach State and now resides in Arizona. After spending 10 years in the professional workforce being both a manager and trainer, she settled down to raise 6 children and has been homeschooling them K-12 for the past 20 years (5 have graduated high school, just one to go!). She has also been a Consultant for Mother of Divine Grace, an accredited Catholic homeschool curriculum, for 15 years helping inspire and give confidence to many homeschool families throughout the world.

Supporting Catholic Home Education

Patrick Simons
"Saint Benedict's Advice for Homeschooling Dads"

What does a Sixth Century monk have to say about leading a homeschooling family?  Plenty!  Patrick Simons, husband and father of nine, will share parts of the Rule of Saint Benedict that are sure to change your family for the better.

"Troops of St. George"
Come hear dads share how they've grown in their relationships with their sons and in the Faith through the Troops of St. George.  A fully Catholic alternative to scouting, the Troops of St. George is a unique combination of outdoor activity, faith building, and service that cultivates virtue in boys as they mature into Catholic men.

Patrick Simons and his wife, LuAnn, have been married for twenty years.  They have been blessed with nine children from the age of twenty years to a baby born just two months ago.  Their eldest daughter recently entered a monastic Benedictine community which sparked an interest in the Rule of Saint Benedict.  Regular updates from their daughter from the cloister confirmed for Patrick and LuAnn how the home life of a homeschooling family can be greatly enriched by incorporating aspects of the Rule of Saint Benedict.  Patrick and LuAnn reside in Orange County, California, and sporadically share their reflections on life, marriage, and parenting in their blog​