Notes from IHM conference - Laura Berquist, MODG

The IHM Catholic homeschooling conference in Virgina was wonderful again this year! What an effort they put into this finely tuned machine! I was happy to "retreat" there for the entire conference and hope to share notes from many of the speakers. I will first start with Laura Berquist, author of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum and Mother of Divine Grace Curriculum.

I came in a little late to Laura Berquist's talk but it was similar to the one she gave the year before and connected much to her writings in Teaching Tips & Techniques . (This is a great resources.) Unfortunately, it appears that I did not take many notes for her talk. (I did order all the conference talks on CDs - my husband LOVES them!) However, I did write this quote, "Self-control rewards the one who has it." Berquist was speaking about reading certain classics at times when their message and values are needed by our children. For instance, there is a time and age and personality when SENSE & SENSIBILITY needs to be read.

What also sticks with me was what WAS different in this talk and that was her endorsement of the book, HAYSTACK FULL OF NEEDLES by Alice Gunther , the exceptional blogger of Cottage Blessings.

Mrs. Berquist pined that there wasn't much she'd change about all of her years of homeschooling EXCEPT wishing she had read this book back then. She said it centered around socialization but not in the usual ways, it discussed new ideas and offered much reflection. She spoke about this book not just off-handedly but for awhile, really recommending it.

She was her kind, adorable self, trying (but not succeeding) to end her talk without choking back tears, working her table at Emmanuel Books and talking to people. She went to hear Father Fessio of Ignatius Press speak on the Latin Mass and Our Pope's writings to encourage it, the Moto Proprio and Spirit of The Liturgy from when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. She remained afterwards in a line to speak to him personally. I understand her alma mater and the college her husband is affiliated with, Thomas Aquinas College in California (TAC) now offers a DAILY Tridentine Mass! Smartly, no classes are scheduled during Mass times to encourage the students to a Sacramental life, I'm impressed.

She is a fine advertisment for her curriculum. She remarks that her children are all successful and happy and she speaks credibly and intelligently. It is always nice to see her, even if much of the talk is familiar.

Stayed tuned for more notes from Fr. Scalia's talk, Fr. Euteneuer's talks, Fr. Fessio's talks and Dr. Reyes' talk. They were my favorites, if the depth of my excited note-taking is any measure! :)


Christine said...

I look forward to reading your notes. I was very impressed with Laura Berquist when she spoke at the Northwest Catholic Family Education Conference in May. Alice's book is on my wish list.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the rest of those notes too. Thanks for sharing all of this.
God Bless!

Kathy said...

Thank you for the notes and keep more coming. I did not attend the conference because I did not want to get bogged down in the vendor section since I already have my curriculum for the upcoming year. I might have to order the tapes after reading your notes. Thanks again!

Jessica said...

I too loved meeting Laura Berquist at the NWCFEC in May. She was so great, and I gained so much from talking to her and hearing her talk.

Can't wait to hear more!

Renee said...

Great writing, looking forward to the rest of your notes. LOVE Fr. Fessio and his inspiring talks! We first met him at the NWCFEC many years ago, and then we brought him up to our parish several months later to speak to the multitudes. :-) Back then he was motivating people to get back to the Latin mass, imagine? And, he personally spoke to every homeschooling teen present after asking them to meet him in a classroom later in the day. He commended them all for homeschooling, they loved him. And then, he turned to face the altar for mass at the end of the day, blowing away everyone present. Awesome!

+JMJ+ said...

Dearest Renee - Here too Fr. Fessio was VERY pro homeschooling, in fact I think it was Fr. Fessio who said that even if the perfect Catholic school was around the corner, he'd agree with us to keep homeschooling. It's that *right*!

Christina said...

Thanks for sharing these great notes. I had the priviledge of meeting Laura Berquist at a talk in PA last year, which inspired our decision to use MODG for our curriculum. I love Laura for her sincerity, and she makes simple yet profound statements on education and family. I look forward to hearing her talks on CD, and I'm scheduling my calendar for this conference next year. The speakers all seem amazing!

Thanks for the inspiration to keep homeschooling.

Alice Gunther said...

I can't tell you how overwhelmingly grateful I am to Laura for talking about the book. What a marvelous thing.

Many thanks for reporting it here!

+JMJ+ said...

Alice, your new website looks so great and I am so excited to be pre-ordered to recieve your book in July.

Does it feel like you're about to give "birth"? :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Allison, I think I need to order cd's.

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