2011 Speakers

Alison BernhoftALISON BERNHOFT, Ojai, CA
Back by popular demand! Many of you will know Alison as a long-time member of St. Thomas More Home Educators and a homeschooling mother extraordinaire. During those years, Alison generously shared her talents in literature and drama with local families through cooperative learning opportunities. Now, after two decades of experience, Alison has authored a home school memoir ~ Entropy Academy: How to Succeed at Home Education Even if You Don't Homseschool. This memoir demonstrates--in a humorous but thoughtful way--how homeschooling sometimes parallels the reality of the second law of thermodynamics, which states that, left to themselves, things tend to a state of greater and greater disorder. We are pleased to announce that  Entropy Academy will make its debut and be available for purchase at this conference.

Presentation: Memories are Made of…Joy!
It may come as a shock to you, but one day, your homeschooling career will be over.  Your tiny nursing baby will be a fully developed intellect, racking up tuition bills to rival the national debt, and all you'll have left will be memories. Who doesn't want those memories of homeschooling to be happy and long-lasting? But realistically, what mother hasn't had days where her prayer as she falls into bed is, PLEASE . . . let them forget!  Looking back over more than twenty years of educating her own, Alison can tell you what worked and what didn't. In the light of new research, she can also evaluate why doing the things that brought her family joy also taught the lessons that last.


Jay RichardsJAY RICHARDS, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Discovery Institute and a Contributing Editor of The American at the American Enterprise Institute. (www.american.com). He is the author of several books including God and Evolution; Money, Greed, and God; and The Privileged Planet, with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez. He has a B.A. with majors in Political Science and Religion, a Master of Divinity and a Master of Theology, and a Ph.D. (with honors) in Philosophy and Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. Jay recently moved to the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Ginny, and their two daughters.

Presentation: Teaching Science and Economics as if God Mattered

Description: Natural science and economics are two subjects that give many homeschoolers fear and trepidation. Both seem to require advanced knowledge of technical details. And both fields often appear hostile to the faith. But the truth is quite different. You can teach these subjects as if God mattered. In this session, Jay demonstrates effective ways to separate the chaff from the wheat in both subjects, acquaints his listeners with valuable materials now available for homeschoolers, discusses how our faith can cast light on science and economics, and how the evidence from science and economics can strengthen the faith of our students.


Dawn EdenDAWN EDEN, Washington, D.C.
Dawn Eden Goldstein was born into a Reform Jewish household. Her talent with words led her to journalism where she worked as a rock music historian. An agnostic in her 20's, Dawn underwent a dramatic conversion to the Christian faith at age 31, which eventually led her to enter the Catholic Church. With her new faith came a change in lifestyle as she discovered the truth and beauty of Church teachings on chastity. In 2010 Dawn published her Master's Thesis, Towards a "Climate of Chastity": Bringing Catechesis on the Theology of the Body into the Hermeneutic of Continuity, a thoughtful and thorough critique of Christopher West's version of John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Presentation: A Maze of Grace ~ How God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines

Description:Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste and a Jewish convert to Catholicism, draws upon the lives of the saints and her own experiences to explore how God's grace guides each of us as we live out our vocation to holiness. Dawn is also a panelist with Mark Shea, Bonnie Landry and Robert King for the talk entitled: Poverty, Chastity and Obedience ~ a Foundation for Life



Harrison AyreHARRISON AYRE, Victoria, B.C.
Ayre is a seminarian for the Diocese of Victoria, located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia Canada. He is a convert to the faith, after living a secular life, until God brought him home in early 2004.  He is a graduate of the Tertio Millennio Seminar in Krakow, Poland, a three week seminar on Catholic Social Teaching run by, at the time, George Weigel and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus.  It was at this seminar that he finally answered the call to enter the seminary, and has been a seminarian since September 2008.  He is currently in his third year of a five year formation program at St Joseph's Seminary located in Edmonton, Alberta.  

Presentation: The Evangelical Counsels as the Basis for the Christian Life

Description: When we hear about the Evangelical Counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, we tend to see them as something only for professed religious.  Yet, when we look deeply at the scriptures and the early Church Fathers, we see a rich teaching on how these great counsels, lived out perfectly in the life of Christ, are really the center and core of every vocation.  This talk will demonstrate how the counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience can be lived out in any vocation, for they are an attempt to live and imitate Christ in our lives.
As an added treat, Harrison will also provide a Charleston/Swing dance exhibition performace just prior to his talk.



Tena and her husband Robert home school their six children. Tena is President and Owner of Fast Track Communication, a consulting firm specializing in individual and organizational effectiveness. Tena works with individuals, businesses, schools, and government agencies to improve communication, resolve conflict, and develop skills in individuals for improved organizational effectiveness. She has a degree in Oral and Written Communication from Seattle University and a Master's degree in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University. Tena has served as a volunteer mediator for the King County Dispute Resolution Center and Director of Chapter Programs for the Puget Sound Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development.

1st Presentation: Perfect Communication~ Love Never Fails

Description:“But I shall show you a still more excellent way”… these are the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians.  What he told them has much application in our lives and homes.  Paul’s letter to the Corinthians provides a backdrop for our continued discussion of the 4 Communication Muscles (Direct, Narrative, Logical, and Empathetic).  We will look at Paul’s advice to the Corinthians, make applications to  the different muscles, and look at how we can develop more loving communication in our homes.

2nd Presentation: Blessed are the Pure of Heart

Description: Cultures of the past didn’t let children just grow up; they were raised. These cultures also punctuated moments in their children’s lives to make an indelible mark that a transition had taken place. We call these rites of passage. The Church in her wisdom has given Christian parents inspired opportunities to make a mark on their children’s lives if we, as parents, will only be purposeful.
Memorably and intentionally turning to the sacraments to create rites of passage is the theme surrounding this encouraging and inspiring presentation by Tena Crosby. Tena will detail her experience in creating purposeful rites of passage for her own children, what these ceremonies are and why they are important, and why you, as a Catholic parent, may want to recapture rituals for your children!

Communication Consult with Tena: Do you have a question about how best to manage communication with your toddler, teenager, spouse or friend? Want to develop a loving strategy that will clear the air, increase understanding, and be supportive of all concerned? Then book a consult with Tena. $20 per half hour. $35 per hour. Sign up by sending an email to info@nwcatholicconference.com.



Robert KingROBERT KING, Seattle, WA
Robert received his MA from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. He has worked in youth and campus ministry, as well as school administration, and currently teaches and tutors in the Seattle area. He is preparing his Master's Thesis on St. Augustine's definition of love and is currently writing a memoir about the virtues his grandmother has shown him. He blogs at www.virtue-quest.com. When Robert discerned that he was a lazy, gluttonous, greedy, impulsive, short-tempered, and (yes) lustful guy, he decided to try living a better life, a more human life. He found that the way to overcome vice is by replacing it with virtue. So he started out on a quest--a quest for virtue. Now he's learning about and working on Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance, as well as Faith, Hope, and Charity. Robert will be available for consultation on both Friday and Saturday. Book a spot by sending him an email: Robert .
"I had a session with Robert and I was very pleased. He listens well, reads between the lines, gently guides you until you are looking in the mirror (so to speak) rather than focusing on something or someone else, and then he helps you develop a simple plan for taking that first step toward a new and better you. It was the best $35 I've spent in a long time!" Julia M. Fogassy

Presentation: The Quest for Virtue in Daily Life

Description: When life is tough or confusing, how do you know the best thing to do? And once you know, how do you find the strength to do it? Throughout the generations, the virtues have provided guidance and support in living life that is both holy and happy. Robert King presents a practical approach to developing the cardinal and theological virtues in your everyday life.
Robert is also a panelist with Mark Shea, Dawn Eden and Bonnie Landry for the talk entitled: Poverty, Chastity and Obedience ~ a Foundation for Life


Mark SheaMARK SHEA, Seattle, WA
Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. His most recent work is the acclaimed Mary, Mother of the Son trilogy. An award-winning columnist, Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register and his regular feature on InsideCatholic.com. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio and he is also a guest each Tuesday on "Heart, Mind, and Strength" radio and each Friday on “Sound Insight” with Dr. Tom Curran. He has also maintains the popular blog Catholic and Enjoying It. Finally, Mark is Senior Content Editor for Catholic-Exchange.com. He lives in Washington State with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

Panel: Poverty, Chasity and Obedience ~ a Foundation for Life

Panelists: Mark Shea, Bonnie Landry, Robert King, and Dawn Eden
Description: Lead by Mark Shea, the discussion will focus on the role of parents and other adult mentors in the formation of young people with a view toward assisting them in discerning and embracing the vocation God intends for them and how the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience fit into that process.



LandrysBONNIE LANDRY, Cobble Hill, BC
Mother of seven and a 20-year veteran of home schooling, Bonnie is a gifted and engaging speaker and author. In her home diocese of Victoria, BC, she and her husband, Albert, work closely with their bishop in providing both marriage preparation courses and on-going support for young married couples. Bonnie and Albert also organize many events for their local home school group including an annual camp-out and an annual ball.

Panel: Poverty, Chasity and Obedience ~ a Foundation for Life

Description: Lead by Mark Shea, the discussion will focus on the role of parents and other adult mentors in the formation of young people with a view toward assisting them in discerning and embracing the vocation God intends for them and how the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience fit into that process.


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