Keynote Speaker

Laura Berquistlaura-berquist

(bio from thomasaquinas.edu)

In the early 1980s, Laura (Steichen ’75) Berquist began homeschooling her six children. Quietly. Unassumingly. She never dreamed that her experience would lead to a hot-selling book, a consulting business, and more speaking invitations than she can handle. But it has.

Laura and her husband, Marcus R. Berquist, one of the College’s founders, had decided when their children were small to pursue the homeschooling alternative. She had come across Dorothy Sayers’ essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, which describes the development of learning in children. The article resonated with her own ideas about education, but lacked references to specific curriculum materials. “I knew how my children should learn, but I didn’t know in detail what they should read for science and history and so forth,” she said.

So she started experimenting. She found what worked and what did not. She was drawn to classical texts.


Laura’s Talks

9:30 am – 10:15 am 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.


2 pm – 2:45 pm Homeschooling Through High School

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.

Maria HerraraMaria Herrara

Maria Herrera (Camou) is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of 5 boys ages 8 and under, married to her loving husband Marcos for over 10 years. As a young girl, eldest of 5 siblings, Maria went to both public and private elementary schools before being homeschooled starting in 6th grade through high-school. She graduated with an Associate’s degree from Glendale Community College at the age of 17. From there, she went on to ASU West, where she graduated with a Bachelor degree in biology. Maria enjoys the precious moments she has with her boys, grateful for the opportunity to homeschool them. Some of her favorite pastimes include quiet evenings with her husband, as well as reading and playing the piano. She also enjoys sharing her knowledge and joy of the gift of NFP.

Maria’s Talks

3 pm – 3:45 pm Homeschool 101

Have you decide to homeschool? Let this homeschool graduate and mother of 5 walk you through it.

Scott BagshawScott Bagshaw

Scott Bagshaw is an Arizona native whose own high school Life Teen experience encouraged him to serve in youth ministry. A graduate of Arizona State University, Scott is the Coordinator of Life Teen and Founding Coordinator of College Life at St. Patrick in Scottsdale and has served in Youth Ministry in the Diocese of Phoenix for twenty years. Scott is the Phoenix Area Contact for Life Teen International, a certified Life Coach and founder of John 10:10 Coaching, and a sought-after speaker. He resonates with Pope Francis’s call to a Year of Mercy because he himself has experienced the incredible love of God as husband to Jill and father to Payton (13), Faith (11), and Ella (9). In addition to his various ministries, Scott has supported his family’s homeschooling for ten years.

Katy HansenKaty Hansen

Katy Hansen was born in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes.  She, her husband Tom, and their newborn baby moved to Arizona 17 years ago.  They were escaping the cold temperatures of North Dakota where they spent the first 3 years of married life.  Vowing never to homeschool, Katy is 13 years into the homeschool world.   She anticipates with the excitement the high school graduation of her oldest child as a homeschooled student.  Katy has 12 more years to go, God willing, as she continues to homeschool 4 more wonderful children.  She also teaches online biology courses at the community college level and teaches distance learning classes for Mother of Divine Grace.  She enjoys tennis and is the varsity girls coach for the tennis team at Arizona College Prep.  Katy also likes reading and spending time with her husband, kids, and relatives of all ages.

Katy’s Talks

4 pm – 4:45 pm Resourcing & Connection through the middle years

Homeschooling is anything but static. In the Junior High years it becomes more dynamic than ever. In addition to your child’s needs changing, resources and support for this age also change. Rather than seeing these as an obstacle, they are great opportunities for growth. This talk will help you prepare for the middle years and strengthen your homeschool.

Barb Little

Although Barb has written a Catholic homeschool curriculum, History Links, that has been consistently featured in Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks, and she has spoken at numerous homeschool conferences, including the National Catholic Homeschool Conference in DC, and she has done world-wide consulting for kids with learning disabilities; she is most proud of the fact that she has survived her 30 years of homeschooling while preserving (most of) her sanity and her 37-year marriage to Mike. This monumental effort has produced six intelligent young people who love the Lord and their Catholic faith. Now, while working to push the last little chickadee out of the nest, she is also having fun passing on her “wisdom” to the parents of her seven homeschooled grandchildren.

Barb’s Talks

3 pm – 3:45 pm From High School to College

Tips for preparing dynamic transcripts, legitimate diplomas, attention-grabbing college applications, and award-winning scholarships. Barb Little gained her experience from helping her children apply and be accepted at a diverse array of colleges: both public and private, Catholic and secular, small and large—from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology to the Universities of Dallas, Phoenix, Portland, Saint Thomas and Notre Dame, and more. She even has experience helping one child apply and gain acceptance into the US Air Force. We will hit the ground running, so come ready to take notes during this information-packed session.


Fr Paul SullivanFr. Paul Sullivan

Fr. Paul Sullivan is a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix. He was ordained in 2007. Since then he has served in as a parochial vicar, director of a retreat center, high school chaplain and parish administrator. He currently serves as the Director of Vocations. As well, he Administrator Pro-tem of Sacred Heart Parish. Fr. Sullivan grew up in New York and is from a family of eight children. He attended SUNY Albany for college where he earned a degree in accounting. After 3 years of work as a CPA, he entered Saint Meinrad Seminary receiving a Master of Arts in Philosophy and a Master of Divinity prior to ordination. He has supported and served the homeschooling community for years as SHHE’s Spiritual Director.


SisterCaritasCrossSr. Caritas

Sr. Maria Caritas of the Cross Wendt, SOLT, is a Sister with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity and is currently assigned to Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School in Phoenix. Originally from Arizona, she delights in serving in her home Diocese. Since her entrance to the Society of Our Lady in 2005, she lived as a missionary in New Mexico, Seattle, Colorado, England, and Arizona. Her greatest joy is being a spouse of Jesus Christ and a spiritual mother to many souls. She is passionately Marian and Eucharistic in spirituality. She enjoys being in the company of others and her other favorite pastime is reading English Literature novels and playing the guitar. Please keep her in prayer as she seeks to be holy, the consecrated woman that God has called her to be. She is praying for you.


April YeagerApril Yeager

April Yeager has been homeschooling for 13 years. She is a trained catechist in levels one and two of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori–based approach to catechizing young children through age 12. She has five children, ages 25-12 and enjoys writing, singing (especially in senior living facilities), camping, and urban farming with her husband, Scott. Married for 28 years, together they chose the vocational calling to homeschool the remaining 3 of their 5 children, from start to finish. They have never questioned or regretted their decision and are grateful to God for all the blessings and graces bestowed.

Sister Caritas’ & April’s Talks

3pm – 3:45pm – Spirituality of Children
We are all called to be saints. As mothers and fathers, how do we attend to the spiritual formation of our children? This talk will give you practical tips for your children, as well as fire you up in your own spirituality, so that you may guide your children on their path to heaven.

Terrill FamilyDavid & Kelly Terrill

David and Kelly are high school sweethearts married for 26 years and parents of 7 unique individuals age 8-23. They are veteran homeschoolers with nearly 20 years completed and more to come. Always willing to share what they have discovered along the way they have helped and inspired many along their homeschooling paths.

David & Kelly’s Talks

4pm – 4:45pm – Homeschooling Life & Marriage

David and Kelly will focus on “keeping it real”, giving a realistic picture of a homeschool lifestyle. They will talk about how to keep your sanity and your marriage intact while navigating the sometimes stormy seas of homeschooling. This talk will cover the logistics  of maintaining the many roles you must play each day and share ideas on how to wade through the stress and mess to focus on the blessing of living a homeschooling lifestyle.