Marie Fignar

An Answered Prayer: Homeschooling My Children with Special Needs

Homeschooling a child with special needs is especially daunting and is not for the faint of heart! Marie will share her grace-filled journey homeschooling her three foster-adopted children with ADHD, Autism, behavioral challenges and mental illness. Her talk is aimed to encourage you and inspire your own homeschooling journey. 


Marie Fignar is an adoptive mother of 3 children that are ages 19-12. She has been married to her husband, Rodger, for 19 years.  She has been a homeschooler since 2005 and has taught her children from elementary school through high school grades. Her children have struggled with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and mental illness throughout their schooling years. She is a proponent of self-care and "dates" her husband often to stay balanced. Her favorite Bible verse which she often prays for strength and faith is, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:13


Mary Dannielle Barber

Bringing Scripture into the Home

Mary Barber will speak about using Scripture in your family prayers. She will speak about using the Scriptures as the basis for meditation on the Rosary and on using the Psalms and Scriptural Hymns as ways to praise God.


Mrs. Barber holds a Masters degree in Theology and conducts at least three Bible Studies every week. She and Terry, her husband of over 30 years, host a weekly radio program, Bible with the Barbers, which opens up the Scriptures to help deepen our Faith and bring souls closer to Jesus Christ and his Bride, the Holy Catholic Church.


Especially for Dads

2019 Inspiring Catholic Speakers

Rimini Esser

Introduction to Homeschooling

​“Is it legal?” “How do you do it?” “What about socialization?”  Rimini 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.


Rimini Esser is a mother of seven children ages 3-21 years old and has been homeschooling for 17 years. Her eldest son is a recent graduate of Thomas Aquinas College. Her second son attends St. Michael 's Preparatory School. The youngest five children are all currently homeschooling. There have been many ups and downs in her personal homeschool journey. Through God's mercy, Rimini has found a homeschool path which enables her and her children to delight in this calling to homeschool. She is excited  to share this path with others!

Veronica & Bernadette Richards
The Effect of Music on a Child's Development


Veronica Richards, is a certified Suzuki Violin Teacher and a conductor for the Orange Coast Musical Arts homeschool orchestra. She will be presenting this much-needed presentation along with her sister, Bernadette, who is a certified Kindermusik teacher.

Both girls were homeschooled from Kindergarten through High School graduation. They have been going to Mass every day of their lives at St. Michael’s Abbey as a way to start the homeschooling day, and now that they have both graduated, they currently have violin students and Kindermusik classes going on every day of the week. They have a very entertaining and enjoyable presentation on music and homeschooling.

Laura Berquist

Catholic Homeschooling: The Hope of the Church
We live in difficult times. Our firmly held, Catholic beliefs are no longer mainstream. We have become marginalized. Public education is both the receiver and the conveyer of what is now mainstream. This is why the millennial generation 1982- to 2004 and beyond has replaced faith with religious indifference or atheism. But there is hope! Our homeschooling children are the hope of the future. They are being raised in a living Catholic culture, within a loving family that models conflict resolution and lifelong commitment. They have real life preparation. They are different than the mainstream, because they are being raised differently. In this lies our hope. Only those who are inspired by truth and motivated by principles can be leaders. Only those who are willing to leave the crowd can direct the crowd. Homeschooled children are able to be faithful Catholics and generational leaders because of their formation. Our homeschool graduates can impact the world. This is, in fast, already happening. Many of the homeschool graduates I know are doing just that.


Homeschooling Through High School: Why and How?
In the early years, until our children are about eleven or twelve, it is relatively easy to be confident that we are providing the best education for our children. At the junior high age doubts often arise. This may happen either because of the children’s change in attitude or our concerns about our own abilities. This talk address both of those issues and points out that the most important help we can give our adolescent children is our time and conversation. Homeschooling through high school makes it easier to do this.


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.


Aileen Blachowski

What's Up with the New SeXXX Ed? Understanding the California Healthy Youth Act, Who's Behind It, and What YOU Can Do About It

Aileen Blachowski is a wife and intermittent homeschooling mom to her six children.  Married to her husband, Tim, for 22 years, she is a self-described cultural entrepreneur and Catholic activist for life, religious liberty and the dignity of the human person and the family.  Informed by the Church’s authentic teaching on social justice she says, "Raising a family according to Judeo-Christian values today requires active engagement in current events and participation in the public square."

She is a co-founder of Informed Parents of California, a Facebook group turned grassroots movement of parents, community members and faith leaders taking on the fight against the state-sponsored push for graphic "SeXXX Ed" in schools and the indoctrination of children in scientifically unsubstantiated gender fluid theory.  Aileen is currently working with the Diocese of Orange, Archdiocese of San Francisco and the California Catholic Conference of Bishops to organize the Church’s response to laws and cultural conditions in public-funded schools, which are impacting children, families and the very future of the Church.

Blachowski received a BA in Journalism/Public Relations from San Diego State University.  For more than 15 years she has consulted for non-profits and grassroots cultural causes promoting life, authentic freedom, human dignity, religious liberty and a parent’s right to direct their child’s education. She lives in Orange County, and worships Jesus in the Eucharist at San Antonio de Padua Catholic Church in Anaheim Hills.


Doug Barry

First Line of Defense: Catholic Masculinity

Men must have the will to fight to defend their families.  Today, the family is under constant spiritual attack.  Doug will motivate you to be engaged with your family in body, mind, and soul in order to properly fulfill your role as a man.


Doug Barry is the founder and director of the Catholic apostolate RADIX, as well as a husband and father.   Since 1992, he has traveled throughout the United States along with journeying to several other countries, spreading and defending the Catholic faith. With a dynamic and explosive style, Doug has spoken to thousands through television, radio, and live appearances.  He is best known for his powerful one-man performance of the Passion of Christ, seen regularly on EWTN and other Christian channels throughout the world. Pulling no punches in his presentations, Doug goes after the issues that confront us all. Raised Catholic from birth, Doug never really embraced his faith in his youth.  It wasn't until a powerful experience involving the Blessed Mother that Doug was finally awakened to reality.


Vendor/Workshops (patio)

LuAnn Simons

Organizing for Success: How to Structure Your Physical Environment and Your Time
Homeschooling is a full-time job.  The more efficient you are, the more successful (and happy) your homeschool experience will be.  LuAnn will walk through several practical methods and models to help you determine the best approach for your family.


LuAnn Simons and her husband, Patrick, have been married for twenty-two years.  They have been blessed with nine children from the age of twenty-one to a two-year old toddler, and have been homeschooling since 2002.  Although she earned a degree in elementary education with a minor in parent education, LuAnn has learned infinitely more about education and parenting during her seventeen years of homeschooling.  Their grown children are either in the religious life or in college.  Patrick and LuAnn reside in Orange County, California, and sporadically share their reflections on life, marriage, and parenting in their blog practicalponderings.wordpress.com.

Carolyn Forte
Speed Up Learning with Games


It's a little known but documented fact that play greatly speeds up learning.  The key is in choosing the right games and activities for your children's needs.  You can use games instead of many parts of your curriculum and teach multiple children at once.  Learn how to make learning fun and far more effective with games. 

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."

Terry Barber

How to Effectively Share Your Faith

Terry will give his Eight Laws of "How to Effectively Share Your Faith," as it applies to the family, which is a great talk taken directly from his book How to Share Your Faith With Anyone. It’s a no-nonsense approach utilizing personal testimonies and real-life stories of conversion to give examples of God’s Love with clarity and enthusiasm.


Terry Barber is an internationally known speaker and founder of four Catholic organizations: Saint Joseph Communications, Lighthouse Catholic Media, The Catholic Resource Center and most recently, Virgin Most Powerful Radio.  Barber is a co–host of The Terry and Jesse Show, formerly on EWTN Radio and the Immaculate Heart Media\Relevant Radio network.  Before the much-anticipated merger, this show was one of the highest-rated radio shows on the Immaculate Heart Radio Network.  Now, Terry and his co-host Jesse Romero continue their weekday broadcasts on the new Virgin Most Powerful Radio network.  His most recent book, How To Share Your Faith With Anyone, was published by Ignatius Press in October 2013 with endorsements from Most Rev. Jose H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, author/speaker Stephen Ray and Catholic Answers founder Karl Keating. Terry is a true pioneer of Catholic evangelization and currently lives in Southern California with his wife Danielle and their four children.


Patrick Simons

Confronting this Confusing World: How to Prepare Your Children

With the world seemingly getting crazier by the day, what is a homeschooling family to do? Although we must protect our children, we must also prepare them to be strong defenders of the Faith and of truth. Dads, our duty is to lead that effort. Come and learn simple yet effective steps to help your children stand strong now and as adults in the future.


Patrick Simons and his wife, LuAnn, have been married for twenty-two years.  They have been blessed with nine children from the age of twenty-one to a two-year old toddler, and have been homeschooling since 2002.  In particular, Patrick teaches a current events class to their teenagers in which they grapple with the oftentimes troubling news of the day.  Their grown children are either in the religious life or in college.  Patrick and LuAnn reside in Orange County, California, and sporadically share their reflections on life, marriage, and parenting in their blog practicalponderings.wordpress.com.

Laura Loroña-Kays

What is a Private School Satellite Program and will New Laws Affect Me?

You’ll learn what a private school satellite program (PSP) is and how it supports the independent Catholic homeschooler. What services do you receive? Are you free to choose your own curriculum and course of study? Can you use co-ops and online classes? Will your grad receive a diploma? Current legislation threatens Catholics in all secular public schools and beyond, and parents are feeling now it’s time to make a change. A good PSP may be your answer!

Laura is honored to be the fourth director to serve Regina Caeli Academy families in its 25-year history. She and her husband are life-long homeschoolers to their three sons, having graduated the eldest last year. Religious and homeschooling freedoms and parental rights go hand-in-hand with our faith and she is active in preserving these rights.

Supporting Catholic Home Education