2023 SPEAKERS & TALKS
“Be Not Afraid!” Blessed John Paul II repeated this three times at his instillation. Three times! Do you think he was trying to tell us something? As homeschoolers, we need to take these words to heart. Whether you’re new to homeschooling or need a refreshing look at some basic ideas that will help you get focused for the year, this is the talk you need. Maureen is here to encourage you and give you a few tried-and-true tips for your homeschool toolbox.
Have you ever wished that your house was the place your friends loved to gather, but you hesitate because your house is full of kids and homeschooling materials and—honestly, it’s kind of a mess? No worries, you don’t have to wait for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends. Join us for this talk on Messy Hospitality, with the very relaxed, very hospitable, Maureen Wittmann.
Kerri Davison is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Ken have been married for 35 years and have eight children whom she homeschooled all the way through high school. She and her husband founded Holy Heroes, a company dedicated to publishing catechetical products to help parents “bring the joy & wonder of the Faith to their families.” Flagship products include Glory Stories (true-life dramatized audio saint stories), Holy Heroes devotionals, and many books for children of all ages. Holy Heroes online “adventures” for Advent, Lent, Marian Consecration, Spiritual Adoption, weekly Mass Prep and more reach hundreds of thousands of families, schools, and parishes—all free-of charge. Kerri has two graduate degrees and has authored two books. She believes the greatest use of her time has been in homeschooling her children.
My children have been accused of having an “unfair advantage” for being homeschooled. In this talk, I will reveal what our family has discovered to be the significant academic advantages of homeschooling.
Why and how resourceful parents can find the best spiritual, social, and extracurricular opportunities in homeschooling.
Hello! I am Sara, and I have been a lover of good and great books since my earliest years, largely because of the incredible example my grandfather set for me. As a bookworm introvert, my love for the classics was augmented by my study of Philosophy, Religion, and English at Hillsdale College and the University of Oxford. As a revert to the Catholic Church, I have found G. K. Chesterton, J. R. R. Tolkien, Edith Stein, and Flannery O’Connor to be some of the great influences on my intellectual and religious formation. As a former Catholic high school teacher, I have found the homeschooling years to get better and better as my kids have grown older. I have the privilege of being the wife of Greg and the mama of Michael, Margaret (Greta), and John Patrick (Jack). Our little homeschool family lives in the woods of North East Wisconsin in a home dedicated to hospitality and fellowship. We have three hobbit-sized dogs, Samwise Smalls, Heather Rose, and Cedar (Mistmantle Chronicles). Oh yeah, and we have a cat named Mowgli, plus all kinds of fish that somehow have survived the cat…. And, yes, all of the fish have literary names as well. Our home is affectionately called The Prancing Pony by our friends. I write at Plumfield and Paideia, where we work to help homeschool moms embrace their vocations of marriage, motherhood, reading, and homeschooling with confidence and joy. I am also the co-host of the Plumfield Moms podcast. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and in the free Plumfield Reads corner of the Biblioguides Online Community.
As homeschoolers, our lives are often packed to the gills with commitments, obligations, chores, and tasks that all need doing. How often do we feel like too little butter spread across too much toast? And this life of being pulled in so many directions can also feel so very lonely. Making time for things that fill us up can feel impossible. But, like Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee, much good can be accomplished with a good friend and a simple plan. The Holy Spirit can speak encouragement, love, and inspiration into our hearts when we read. When we read with a friend, the learning and the joy is more than doubled. Join us for a conversation about how to easily and simply build a beautiful and life-giving self-care routine into your life that may do more good than you can imagine!
Book clubs are a wonderful way to foster teen fellowship and encourage meaningful growth. For years, Sara has led teen book clubs with boys and girls giving them what she would have loved as a teen: book clubs that are as much about the club as they are about the book. Keeping the focus on relationships and letting the book be the vernacular, Sara’s teen book clubs have been a place of joy and friendship for dozens of teens in her community. Join her as we talk about how to bless your community with teen book clubs.
Ana Braga-Henebry grew up in Rio, Brazil, the seventh of ten children in a happy Catholic home. Ana received a degree in Art/Art Ed in Brazil before moving to United States and completing a masters degree in Aesthetic Studies/Humanities. She and her husband Geoffrey raised seven children and homeschooled for over 25 years. They moved many times following Geoff’s academic career and currently live in Michigan. Their adult children are professional and educators in different areas and include a reserve officer in the US Marine Corps and a cloistered Norbertine sister. Ana writes and speaks on Catholic life and literature. She is the author of an upcoming Spark/Word on Fire picture book about the life of Ven. Jerome Lejeune.
Drawing from many years teaching at homeschool co-ops and a lifetime of doing art at home with her kids, Ana will show images and speak about projects she enjoyed with her students.
When daily Mass was a struggle with preschool children, Ana remembers admiring an older couple in the front pew who had raised three priests among their many children. What was their secret recipe? Today, Ana understands their answer to her questions over coffee and donuts and will speak about how the homeschool life is able to cultivate a developing religious vocation.
Elizabeth Klein is an assistant professor of theology at the Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, CO. She lives in Aurora with her husband and three children (7, 4, and 2).
This talk will discuss the importance of learning Scripture as a homeschooling parent and integrating it into multiple subjects as well as into family life. It will also discuss the value of Scripture memorization and some practical suggestions for achieving these ends.
After completing a master’s degree in early childhood education and obtaining a license in early childhood special education, Jessica briefly enjoyed working in the Douglas County public schools before having her first baby. When it came time to put that baby into kindergarten, she wondered why there was such a mismatch between what research says about how children learn and the way children are taught in the majority of schools. So she took on the task of educating her child(ren) at home. Twelve homeschooling years later, that baby has completed his senior year of high school and is headed to college in the fall. Jessica also has a rising 10th grader, 7th grader, and 3nd grader. She has a passion for sharing with other moms how simple – and how much fun – educating your kids at home can be.
Have you ever wondered what the research says about teaching children reading, writing, and arithmetic in the early grades of school? Are you anxious to know what skills and experiences early elementary children need to become successful students in the later grades? Are you worried about teaching your children to read or what math curriculum to choose for your 1st grader? This is the talk for you. You might be surprised by what research reveals to be essential components of an early education – and what it shows doesn’t make much difference. You will leave informed, equipped, and encouraged!
Nature journaling isn’t about pretty pictures. And it’s not about finding amazing outdoor spaces. It’s about using the power of observation to make discoveries wherever you are and then recording those observations so you can recall the experiences later. This workshop will guide you through using John Muir Laws’ free nature journaling resources to develop skills and techniques to begin a rewarding journaling habit or to take your current practice to the next level. You will also see and hear examples of how this practice has benefited the writing, observing, speaking, creativity, and confidence of local homeschoolers.
Debbie Nowak is a veteran Catholic homeschooling mother of ten children, whom she homeschooled for 24 years in Virginia, England, and Colorado. Long before she entertained the possibility of marriage, she considered herself a feminist who didn’t need a husband or kids to make her happy. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1985, with the sixth class to include women. Much to her surprise, she met her husband at her first duty station in Naples, Italy, where they courted, married, had their first child and she became Catholic, all in less than three years. Debbie and her husband, Deacon Joe, live in Arvada where they explore running trails in the summer, skiing in the winter, and ample trips to visit their ever-expanding brood as often as possible.
As married couples and parents, God has given us a specific mission: we are to help our spouses and our children get to heaven. The bad news is the battle for our children’s hearts, minds, and souls rages in the world today and evil no longer hides in the shadows. The good news is through the graces of the sacrament of matrimony we have all the resources we need to achieve that mission. Using the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sacred Scripture, and personal experience, Debbie will share with you some insight into the spiritual battle we all face as parents and how love nurtured within the family is the key to achieving mission success.
Early Registration $65 (through May 31st)
Regular Registration $80 (after June 1st)