Homeschool Connections Speakers’ Slate for Catholic Homeschool Conferences

Homeschool Connections is a Catholic homeschool curriculum provider that offers online courses for middle and high school as well as offering free webinars for parents. We recently began Aquinas Connections for adult continuing education (non-credited) with teachers such as Father Mitch Pacwa and Gary Michuta. You can learn more about Homeschool Connections at The following speakers list includes instructors and facilitators with Homeschool Connections. Contact information is provided with each speaker biography and list of talks. Please contact the speaker directly.

Contents.....................................................................................................................2 Walter Crawford..........................................................................................................5 Phillip Campbell..........................................................................................................6 Robert Gotcher, Ph.D..................................................................................................8 Henry Russell, Ph.D..................................................................................................10 Monica Ashour, , MTS; M Hum..................................................................................12

Maureen Wittmann
5771 Fisher Road Howell, MI 48855 517.552.4034 Home 517.402.3549 Cell Speaker Biography: Maureen Wittmann and her husband Rob are parents to seven children who have always been homeschooled. She brings to us not only her 16 years of experience but an excitement and love of homeschooling. Maureen is co-editor and contributing author to The Catholic Homeschool Companion [Sophia Institute Press] and A Catholic Homeschool Treasury [Ignatius Press]. Her newest book is For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects with Real Books [Ecce Homo Press]. She is a contributing editor for the Catholic homeschooling magazine Mater et Magistra. Her articles have appeared in Our Sunday Visitor, Latin Mass, Catholic Digest, Catholic Faith, and more. Maureen is co-founder of Homeschool Connections which provides two services for Catholic homeschoolers. First, online courses for students and adults with Catholic college professors, religious, and working professionals. Second, free webinars for parents to help them in their vocation. You find Maureen at or Talks (45 minutes plus Q&A) If there is a topic that you need for your conference and don't see on the following list, I may be able to accommodate you. I've written on a wide variety of homeschooling topics, and so I’m comfortable developing new talks. I can also serve on parents’ panels. Virtually Homeschooling The internet, used correctly, can be a big plus for your homeschool. This talk focuses on online education but we'll also explore other Internet resources including research options for students, finding homeschool support, and money saving deals. For the Love of Literature Literature isn't just for reading! You can teach math, science, language arts, and more using living books. This always a fun talk! I bring lots of examples with me for ‘show and tell’. My book For the Love of Literature [Ecce Homo Press] is based on this topic. Relax, You Too Can Homeschool. This is an encouraging as well as practical talk for new and wannabe homeschoolers. How to get started, avoid burnout, and even have some fun. It is my sincere belief that any parent committed to homeschooling can do it. Educating God’s Wildflowers.

How to homeschool the learning-disabled child. I share my experience: both my successes and failures in teaching my own learning-disabled children. I have firsthand experience with dyslexia, speech impediments, ADHD, and Asperger syndrome (a form of autism). I also share an abundance of resources. The Art of Reading Aloud. Learn How and Why. Reading aloud to children, of all ages, produces many fruits. This talk will show you how to increase your children's SAT scores as well as create strong family bonds, all while having a fun time! We'll not only talk about the benefits of reading aloud, but how to go about it. The Thrifty Homeschooler. Homeschooling is hard enough without the heavy burden of debt hanging over your head. This talk discusses strategies to save money in your home and homeschool. I have a related listserv, Yahoo! Groups: ThriftyHomeschooler and blog Career Exploration for Teens and Graduates. This is a great talk if you have a teen track. I share my ten years of human resource experience with homeschool students, grads, and parents. In addition to talking about the importance of leading a moral life so that they can hear God's call in choosing their life's vocation, I give a wealth of practical advice on how to search for, get, and keep, a job.

Walter Crawford
6801 Mesa Drive North Richland Hills, TX 76182 (817) 281-3696 Home (214) 734-6920 Cell Speaker Biography: Walter Crawford and his wife Emily are proud homeschooling parents of three young children. He has Bachelor’s of Science in Economics and a Master’s of Science in Applied Technology, Training and Development from Texas A&M and has worked in the finance industry for 14 years as a training consultant. Walter loves the positive outcomes homeschooling has brought to his family, especially his children. This is why Walter is committed to helping other Catholic homeschool families through Homeschool Connections, which he founded. Walter brings his expertise in online learning to your conference. You can find Walter at or Talk (45 minutes plus Q&A) If there is a topic that you need for your conference from a “dad perspective”, I may be able to accommodate you. I can also serve on parents’ panels. Virtually Homeschooling The internet, used correctly, can be a big plus for your homeschool. Estimates are that 40% of high school diplomas and college degrees will be earned online in the next 10 years. Homeschoolers can be ahead of the curve with this new technology. Learn the difference between internet correspondence courses and online education that is live and interactive, as we explore all of the how’s and why’s of online education. (Includes a Power Point Presentation)

Phillip Campbell
1452 Lakeside Dr. Howell, MI. 48843 (517) 522-8794 Speaker Biography: Phillip is a Catholic homeschooling father of three children (soon to be four), Director of Religious Education at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, where he runs the most popular and dynamic Youth Group in the region. Phillip has a BA with a major in history from Ave Maria University and is pursuing further studies in the field of education at Madonna University. Phillip currently teaches history and Sacred Scripture for the St. Augustine Home School Enrichment Program as well as online courses for Homeschool Connections. He is the chairman of a writing club for teenage boys called The Penmoot Society, which is modeled on the Inklings of Tolkien and Lewis. He is also a contributor to the publication St. Austin Review (last published June, 2009, see here) as well as author of the fantasy-epic Tale of Manaeth ( Talks (45 minutes plus Q&A) History as if People Mattered Why do so many people say they love history but hated history class? If teaching history to your homeschooler seems daunting, this talk will guide you through inculcating a love and understanding of history in your child, whether at the primary or secondary level, emphasizing the narrative nature of history coupled with a theme-based approach. The talk will also explore why modern-secular attempts at teaching history are doomed to failure. Building Literary Skills through Writing Clubs Does your child show an interest in creative writing? Learn how to exponentially increase your child's writing and reading skills by forming a writing club. This talk draws on my experience with my own teen writing club, The Penmoot Society, and the extraordinary leaps in literary skills that our boys have demonstrated in the past sixteen months. Christian Historiography: Doing History from a Christian Perspective "He who controls the past controls the future." Why is it important that our children not only know the content of history but understand how to approach historical study in general? This talk explores the discipline of history from a Christian worldview and discusses the importance of retaining a Christian framework in our pursuit of historical studies, as well as training our children to see subtle (or not so subtle) anti-Christian presuppositions in popular portrayals of historic events. These concepts are essential for anyone interested in studying history at the college level and will be helpful for all Catholics, for whom history, tradition and theology are so tightly interwoven.

Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
11246 W Swiss St. Franklin, WI 53132 (414) 427-6972 Speaker Biography Dr. Robert F. Gotcher and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the homeschooling of his children and others, especially in the junior high and high school years. He has taught Latin, literature, physics, astronomy, German, and religion to homeschooled students. He has been teaching theology, logic, writing, and literature for Homeschool Connections since the summer of 2009. Dr. Gotcher served until recently as Associate Professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He teaches theology to deacon candidates for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and for St. Meinrad’s School of Theology. He is censor librorum for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He has a special expertise in the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric. He has published several articles on topics of interest to homeschoolers in Homiletics and Pastoral Review, The Messenger: Missionaries of the Holy Family, Catholic Servant (Minneapolis), New Oxford Review, Caelum et Terra, and Catholic Digest. Dr. Gotcher graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his M.A. in Theology of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1991 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. Talks: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition: The truths of the Catholic faith are not only learned through studying doctrine, but through literature, history, philosophy, and the arts. How can a Catholic home school family incorporate the treasures of Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition into its curriculum? How to Start a Latin Club Based on our experience with the wildly successful Dead Language Latin Club in Milwaukee, this talk gives a practical description and guide to starting and running a Latin club (not a class!). Fathers and Home Schooling What part can a father play in the home schooling of their children? Based on Church documents and personal experience. What Exactly is a Catholic Education? What makes an education Catholic? Especially in light of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The Trivium

What is the trivium? How does one incorporate the classical trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric into one’s high school curriculum? Why is it important? High School Literature Discussion Groups How to organize and run a high school literature discussion group that prepares the students for college-level literature. Homeschooling and Popular Culture: Movies Movies are an important part of American culture. How does a home school family incorporate healthy movie-watching into their lives? Homeschooling and Popular Culture: Music How to cultivate good taste in music in a world dominated by pop/rock music. The New Age: What is it? Does it have any value? What are its dangers? Based on Church teaching. The Meaning of the Mass How does the Bible enrich our understanding of the Mass as Sacrifice, Ingathering of all creation, Wedding Feast of the Lamb? Based on the Church Fathers.

Henry Russell, Ph.D.
2863 E Joy Rd Ann Arbor, MI 48105-9231 (734) 222-4612 Speaker Biography: Dr. Henry Russell and his wife Crystal have always homeschooled their 8 children. Dr. Russell also is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students. He is also the President of the SS Peter and Paul Educational Foundation, dedicated to founding an orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeast Michigan. A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University. Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey. Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman. Dr. Russell teaches clasical literature for Homeschool Connections. Talks: How to Read Literature as a Catholic. General lecture can be given in combination with one or more of the following; Beowulf The Song of Roland Chaucer King Arthur Shakespeare The Scarlet Letter Gawain and the Green Knight The Man Who Was Thursday Lord of the World 1984 Life is a Dream Cantar de Mio Cid Your choice of a classic book The Catholic Shakespeare (to focus on one of the following) Macbeth

Hamlet Midsummer Night’s Dream As You Like It The Merchant of Venice The Tempest Julius Caesar King Lear The Madonna of the Hearth: Woman’s Role as the Bearer of Culture HomeandSchooling: Starting a Part-Time Classical Homeschool Enrichment Program Is Your History Book Telling the Whole Story? The Need for Catholic History Dante as the Center of a Catholic High School Education Why Teach Homer to Your High Schooler The Tragedy of Community College Credits for Catholic Home School Students

Monica Ashour, , MTS; M Hum
972-849-6543 Monica Ashour’s Curriculum Vitae Faithful to the beautiful mosaic of the Catholic Church's teachings, Monica Ashour with her open and creative personality creates encounters for her students with dense dogma, undergirded by Pope John Paul's Theology of the Body which enlighten the mind, strengthen the soul, and engage the will. With 15 nieces and nephews, 9 of whom have been or are being homeschooled, she sees the importance of homeschooling and is delighted to bolster the formation that parents begin in their "domestic church" and "domestic school." Her unique pedagogical style, particularly with her unique Theolograms--diagrams which "incarnationalize" the Church's teaching--creates a different imaginative approach which makes catechesis come alive. Her students often email her with their own unique insights, all faithful to magisterial teachings. All of her teaching is geared toward fostering a personal relationship with Jesus and His Body, the Church, helping students to "own" and understand their faith in a co-natural way so as to prepare them for encounters they have with other worldviews in college. As an online instructor for Homeschool Connections, Miss Ashour sparks a creative understanding the Catholic faith and prepares students with solid theology to counter the various worldviews they will hear about and experience in college. For a sample of her instruction, go to She feels blessed that she can continue to guide students, as her classroom has become ever wider. Miss Ashour is a cofounder of the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team [TOBET; ], a group based in Texas that promotes the late pope’s seminal work with Bible study groups, speaking engagements, and retreats around the nation. As the primary speaker and now executive director of TOBET, she has also helped initiate the Theology of the Body For Teens By Teens, set in motion by young people transformed by her faithful teaching of the Theology of the Body. Before becoming a national speaker, Miss Ashour served as a campus minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Texas A&M University from 1996 to 1999. There she launched the now nationwide Nun Run, in which young women travel around the nation visiting convents. Before and after her stint at St. Mary’s, Miss Ashour enjoyed 18 years teaching theology and literature in the high school classroom, forming young people’s imaginations and translating the implications of challenging catechesis into the modern students’ world. Miss Ashour’s energetic work has been acclaimed by various groups, from being named Bishop Farrell’s Pro-Life Person of the Year in Civic Action to the Catholic Foundation’s Work of Heart award for inspiring teaching. Miss Ashour’s master’s degree in Theological Studies is complemented with a master’s degree in Humanities, both from the University of Dallas; thus, her attention is not only to theology but also to beauty and culture, making her talks on the Theology of the Body truly unique. Miss Ashour lives in Dallas, Texas, where she employs her singleness in ready devotion to her mission: spreading the good news of love through Pope John Paul’s Theology of the Body. Sample of Talks TO ADULTS

“This is my Body, Given”: An Overview of the Theology of the Body. This talk focuses on “overcoming the frontier of solitude” by a vowed life in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The why’s behind the Church’s teachings, especially regarding contraception, are given in a fresh light, ones that have transformed many a listener and have helped provide an apologetic argument to share with others who do not know the Sacredness of Marriage and marital love. “The Interconnectedness of the Sacraments”: The Sacraments from the Perspective of Theology of the Body. Connecting all of the sacraments to the Cross of Christ and entrusted to the Church as the deposit of grace, this talk shows a mosaic of the Church’s sacraments, all intertwined and leading us to an encounter with Christ who brings us to our goal: the Perichoresis—participation in the life and love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “How to Teach Teens the Theology of the Body” In this day and age that young people are faced with a milieu of outright violation of the human person in various asundry ways, The Theology of the Body, presented properly and age-appropriately, serves as a panacea for the Culture of Death. Expert Monica Ashour suggests 4 primary concepts that the young ought to be equipped with in dealing with growing up in this day and age. Parents will be pleasantly surprised with the nuanced approach to the Theology of the Body, quite different from what is often presented by other speakers. TO THE YOUTH Miss Ashour dense knowledge of Pope John Paul’s Theology of the Body affords her a unique perspective regarding content and style. Her emphasis, far from being saturated in sexuality and marriage, begins with what the late Holy Father called one’s “solitude.” We must work on virtuous living; one’s pure heart and bodily actions always corresponding is holiness. Teens hear such a message and can truly begin living the Theology of the Body in their family life. Another important aspect of the Theology of the Body that teens identify with is the concept that the opposite of love is use. They are challenged, then, regarding using shopping clerks, using their brothers and sisters, using their parents, using their coaches—that is, not looking at them as persons but as objects to get something from them rather than persons to love (and, yes, also getting proper help from them). For the older teens, the differences between masculinity and femininity are covered in a delicate way, mainly pointing out that to be feminine is to be mysterious, welcoming, and nurturing and to be male is to protect and provide. This presentation can be expanded into a retreat form which also covers technology, prayer, silence, sacraments, Mariology, among other topics. Teens are sure to benefit from such a presentation. See TOBET’s website for evaluations from teens and adults alike: Miss Ashour also serves as a high school instructor for Homeschool Connections.

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