Mrs. Laura M. Berquist, a home schooling mother of six, is founder and director of Mother of Divine Grace School, a distance learning school currently serving over 4000 students. 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 modern classical home school curriculum for grades K-12 that strengthens character and intellect, and reinforces virtue.
Mrs. Berquist is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. She home schooled her six children for 23 years. All of them graduated from Thomas Aquinas College. Four of the six continued on in school, and earned further academic degrees. Additionally, five of the six are now married, and Mrs. Berquist has 11 grandchildren. She also happily reports that most of her children work with her in MODG in one capacity or another, and all say that they will home school their own children.
Successful Homeschooling: Ten Things That Really Make a Difference
Homeschooling is not only concerned with which materials are better, and how they ought to be presented. Homeschooling is also, and more essentially, about raising children, forming them in the right way, academically and spiritually, and achieving these goals with the children’s cooperation. For without the children’s cooperation, these goals can’t be achieved, because the goals are primarily realized in their hearts. So acquiring the cooperation of your children, in the right way, becomes a matter of grave importance. Here are ten techniques that can help you gain the cooperation of your children.
Jane Austen and the Cultivation of Virtue
It is clear that part of our goal as teachers is to cultivate virtue. The question is how, for teaching the moral virtues is harder than teaching the intellectual virtues. We all know how to teach intellectual virtues or habits of thought; it is what we do each day in our classes. But the question of how to teach the moral virtues has occupied man as long as there have been men to think about it. Plato points out that a love of the beautiful and true, and a corresponding distaste for what is ugly and false, can help children order their souls. So our curricula need to include objects of beauty to move the heart, as well as clear truths to move the mind. Great literature, such as the novels of Jane Austen, does this; it moves the heart and prepares the mind for the truth. Jane Austen is an author of remarkable perspicuity, one who is able to teach about virtue without preaching, and who shows her readers how virtue leads to happiness.
KEYNOTE: Educating the Light of the World
Our Lord wants us all to be the leaven in the dough of society. But to do this we need to be properly prepared. Our job as parents is to prepare our children to be lights of truth in the world, ready for the service to which God will call them. This involves forming them in the faith, through teaching them the content of the faith, and providing them with good moral formation. So the way you educate your children and the way you work on the virtues matter. This talk addresses both aspects of formation.
Led by a desire to have a deeper understanding of the Church's teachings on marriage and family, Jaclyn earned a Masters of Theological Studies with a concentration in Marriage and Family from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington, D.C. She is passionate about sharing the beauty and hope of the Church's teachings on marriage and family with the love and humility of a person who is still being converted. She has worked in various capacities of parish ministry for over 15 years. She has received formation in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and currently serves as a level I catechist.
"Help me find God, myself", the call of the child
Maria Montessori, one of the founders of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd work, reminds us that the task of the parent/educator is to fulfill the call of the child. This workshop will aid home educators in meeting this call by: giving insight into the "sensitive periods" of faith formation for every age group; giving an introduction to Maria Montessori's "cosmic education" that easily lays the foundation to the Catholic understanding of "theology of gift" (which is a backdrop to the theology of the body); and giving parents practical, meaningful, and simple ways to live this out daily.
Marisol Rodero has been homeschooling for 9 years and lives in Mexico with her husband and their three girls. She is passionate about homeschooling, and about her Faith, and has created an accredited Catholic homeschooling curriculum in Spanish which follows the Charlotte Mason philosophy.
Joy in our Homeschool
John 15:11 — These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and your joy may be filled. (cf. also Jn 17:13)
I love how the catechism discusses the nature of joy and happiness (paragraph 1723), for indeed, it is not found “outside”. We won’t be happy “when we only get this, when we only get that, when we achieve this or that, when we are recognized, respected, loved”…. true happiness is found in God alone, and only we can make the decision of accepting God, joy, in our lives, independent of what’s going on around us.
Everything we do, we have the choice of doing it with joy, or without it. And that is precisely what I would like to address here, how we can practice choosing joy in our homeschool, with our family, and in our daily lives, and the difference this will make not only in how we feel, but also how we teach, how our students learn, both academic and life values, and also how it will impact our relationship with ourselves, with our family, and mostly with God.
In the end, we do the things we do for a reason, and if we look back, what distinguishes “fun” things that we do from “tedious” things? is it the reason why we do them? is it what we get in return? or is it doing them living in the present and doing them with joy? could everything, no matter what it is, be considered “fun” if we only did it with joy? I think so, and I hope we all remember and practice joy in our lives.
Sr. Maria Kim-Ngân Bùi is a Daughter of St. Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She has a degree in Corporate Systems from Boston College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute. She was the national coordinator of the JClub Catholic Book Fair program and was a marketing associate for Pauline Kids and Teens for three years. She has offered workshops, presentations, and retreats around the country to youth, young adults, catechists, parents, deacon candidates, and retreat leaders. She is a member of the bilingual evangelization team of Sisters serving in Texas.
Divine Mercy in St. Paul: How to Enter Deeply into the Life in Spirit
The Apostle Paul's experience of Divine Mercy marked the course of our Catholic faith and identity. In this talk, we will uncover some of the deep currents of mercy, peace, love, thanksgiving, and joy that are at the very center of our faith. We will look to our tradition for practical tools for remaining 'in Christ' in our day-to-day lives.
Abundantly Blessed: How to Joyfully Maintain Your Faith Amid Passing Currents
No matter what is happening around us, we have a deep source of joy and love. He is the only Teacher who can grace us with everything we need four our journey. He said, "I came that you might have life and have it to the full." In this talk, we will have a chance to speak frankly about how to remain rooted in a relationship with God, and the Saints will encourage us! Get excited!
Tim Gonzalez is a lay Catholic speaker, teacher, and ministry formation trainer with 22 years of ministry experience in a variety of pastoral settings. Tim received his Masters of Divinity degree in 2003 from the University of Notre Dame. Tim is the founder of Multiply 5|2, which focuses on parish pastoral support and ministry development for the new evangelization. He has a passion for sharing scripture, praying with others, and helping families grow in holiness. He and his wife, Niki have 4 children and have been homeschoolers for 7 years.
Faith of Our Fathers
Faith formation is not a homeschool subject, it is a living witness. Come and explore the important role of fathers in leading your family spiritually and practical insights for forming your children's character in Christ.
Matthew is a lifelong Catholic, born in Laredo, Texas and raised in both Texas and New Mexico. He attended St. Anthony Catholic High School during its years as a junior seminary and began discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Needless to say, his true vocation as a husband and father was discovered when he met his future wife, Lisette, at St. Mary’s University during the fall semester of 1999. He received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in 2000 from St. Mary’s University, majoring in Entrepreneurial Studies. Matthew has worked in the Commercial Insurance Industry in one capacity or another for the past fourteen years. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and is extremely active in his Council, raising money for the construction of the Shrine of St. Padre Pio, helping supply wheelchairs for retired nuns and the list goes on. He is currently serving his second term as Deputy Grand Knight. He has enjoyed working in other ministries as well over the years such as ACTS, the St. Padre Pio Prayer Group and the Covenant of Love Date Night program. Matthew sits on the board of directors for The Alexander House and is a passionate advocate for sharing God’s true plan for marriage. He has been a volunteer with the Cub Scouts, a coach for too many sports to list and is an enthusiastic American Heritage Girls Dad! He is the proud father of seven blessings here on Earth and currently serves as the Principal of the Lange Institute of Learning.
Lisette was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and is also blessed to be a “cradle Catholic.” She attended Antonian College Preparatory High School and went on to receive her Bachelor’s of Business Administration and meet future husband, Matthew, at St. Mary’s University. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and is still working on her Masters in Theology from Holy Apostles College. She has received her certification in Bioethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center and has spoken on the topic of our Catholic faith when making End of Life legal decisions many times. She has been a guest speaker for several different groups over the years about her personal journey of faith and various other aspects of her life as a mother, wife, and Catholic attorney. She is a partner in the law firm of Deffenbaugh and Lange and practices law part-time. She was blessed to serve as the President of the Catholic Lawyer’s Guild of San Antonio for four years, has served as an ENDOW group leader for many years and has been involved in various ministries and projects such as ACTS, the Catholic Women’s Conference, the Catholic Women’s Professional Luncheon, the Shroud of Turin Project with the Pilgrim Center of Hope, the St. Padre Pio Prayer Group, many Vacation Bible Schools, American Heritage Girls, a softball and basketball coach, a co-coordinator of VERITAS homeschool co-op, and a TORCH volunteer. She is the privileged mother and teacher of seven precious children.
“Love Lessons 1 to 9: Learning about His Love, one Blessing at a Time”
God has blessed these two of His often clueless children countless times. He has beautifully and patiently revealed His love for us in so many ways over the course of our fifteen year marriage. Once we accepted His invitation to homeschool our children eight years ago, the love lessons we needed to learn as parents and as a family truly began.
Mirella (Micky) Flores has been blessed to home school her children for over eleven years. She has a degree in Animal Science-Genetics from Texas A & M University, which is where she met her future husband Carlos. They have been happily married for over 20 years and the proud parents to four wonderful children. From 2006-2009, Mirella served as a Smoothing the Way facilitator, helping numerous families transition into homeschooling. Her family was a part of PEACE Coop, a classical, academic coop for 6 years. Mirella was also a founder and co-director of Veritas, a Catholic, non-academic co-op. Mirella attends St. Padre Pio where she has been very active in several ministries including serving as a catechist for First Communion and RCIC, helping with Vacation Bible School and currently serves as the Secretary for the Pastoral Council. She is the Troop Coordinator for American Heritage Girls and loves spending time outdoors with her family.
So you’re thinking about Homeschooling? Or maybe you’ve already made the decision? Whether you’ve never homeschooled or have been homeschooling for years, one of the best things is the beginning of the new school year! Mirella will discuss some ways to get your school year off to a great start.