Educating the heart, mind, and soul in the Catholic tradition

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Home Library Essentials for High School

Building Your Home Library: The Best Books for Catholic Students, Grades 9 to 12
by Maureen Wittmann

My recent post 48 Picture Books for the Well-Rounded Catholic Child was an internet hit. Today I'd like to share a similar list, but for high school children. In essence this list is: 100+ Books for the Well-Rounded Catholic Young Adult.

I tried to choose a wide variety of styles, eras, and genres for a well-rounded selection. I don't believe all of my family's personal books have to be religious in nature, but we do try to choose titles that point toward God in some way or at least give us the opportunity to discern the Good, True, and Beautiful in a positive way.

Whether you homeschool or not, building a home library that is both inviting to children and filled with exceptional books is a necessity. I suggest printing this list and keeping it close when visiting the library, attending your homeschool conference, or perusing used book sales online. If you have favorites I missed, write them on the print out. If there are titles you already own, cross them off. There may be even be suggestions here you don't like and believe do not belong on such a list -- cross those off too.

Filling your shelves with good books will bring peace to you, as you'll know your teen can walk up to that shelf, pull off almost any book, and find something that is enriching as well as enjoyable.

The inspiration for this list are the teens in the local homeschool high school book club that I lead. A few years ago they decided to read a book from a different genre each month. Many of the books they have considered and chosen are below.

Click on the book title (which may contain affiliate links) for ordering information and to read reviews. Some titles will have incidents of violence and worldly themes so, as always, review before giving to your child. You know your child best and what she can handle.

One of the things I love about having teenagers in my house is that they read interesting books. Long gone are the days of Barney books. I suggest setting aside a day and time to talk with your teen about what he is currently reading. In my homeschool, we have a special teen time at the local coffee shop. We have a Socratic discussion -- my job is only to ask questions. They can then pull the lessons from their books themselves.

Side note: A number of the selections below link to Ignatius Press' Critical Editions. These are quite excellent. For a student reading on his own, without the guidance of an instructor, it helps him see the Catholic world view of the text.

Adventure
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad*
The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton*
Toward the Gleam by T. M. Doran
Patriot Games by Tom Clancy

Apocalyptic
Father Elijah by Michael O’Brien
Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
The Children of Men by P. D. James

Apologetics
Making Sense of Mary by Gary G Michuta*
Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel
The One-Minute Apologist by Dave Armstrong
Here. Now. A Catholic Guide to the Good Life by Amy Wellborn

Art
I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth de Trevino
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols by Mike Aquilina and Lea Marie Ravotti
In the Footsteps of Popes: A Spirited Guide to the Treasures of the Vatican by Enrico Bruschini
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting by Sr. Wendy Beckett

Biographies
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Song for Nagasaki by Fr. Paul Glynn
The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde by Joseph Pearce
Life is a Blessing: A Biography of Jerome Lejuene by Clara Lejuene

Classic Fiction
Odyssey and Iliad by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald)*
The Divine Comedy by Dante (Dorothy Sayers edition)*
Beowulf translated by Charles W. Kennedy*
Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer (Vincent Hopper's Interlinear Translation from Barron Press)*

Contemporary Fiction
Will Wilder: The Relic of Perilous Falls by Raymond Arroyo
Midnight Dancers by Regina Doman
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
John Paul 2 High series by Christian M. Frank

Drama
Anything by William Shakespeare*
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles*
A Doll's House by Ibsen

Dystopia
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Faith-Filled Fiction
The Spear by Louis de Wohl
Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain

Fantasy
The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien*
Tale of Manaeth by Phillip Campbell
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Historical Fiction
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne*
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens*
Belisarius by Paolo Belzoni
Kirsten Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

History
The Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina
Dynamics of World History by Christopher Dawson
Seven Lies About Catholic History by Diane Moczar
The Politically Incorrect Guide To American History by Thomas E. Woods

Horror
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe 
Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

Humor
Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth


Modern Fiction
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'Connor*
Manalive by G. K. Chesterton
Huck Finn by Mark Twain*

Music
What to Listen for in Music by Aaron Copeland
The Vintage Guide to Classical Music by Jan Swafford
Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz by John F. Szwed
Brightest and Best: Stories of Hymns by Fr. George Rutler

Mystery
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Father Brown Mysteries by G. K. Chesterton
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers*

Philosophy
The Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo (Ignatius Critical Edition)
The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius (Ignatius Critical Edition)
Reclaiming Catholic Social Teaching by Anthony Esolen
Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy by Jostein Gaarder, translated by Paulette Moller 

Poetry
Doorways to Poetry by Louis Untermeyer
The Romantic Poets by Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge (edited by Joseph Pearce)
Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse by John Hollander*
Trees and Other Poems by Joyce Kilmer

Reference
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Cassell's Standard Latin Dictionary by D. P Simpson
World's Greatest Speeches edited by Lewis Copeland, Lawrence W. Lamm, and Stephen J. McKenna
Guinness World Records 2015 edited by Guinness World Records

Romance
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight translated by JRR Tolkien*
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The King of the Castle by Victoria Holt
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Science
The Savior of Science by Stanley Jaki
E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis
Madame Curie: A Biography by Eve Curie
DK The Way Science Works by Robin Kerrod

Science Fiction
Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis*
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Sparrow: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Spiritual Life
The How-to Book of Catholic Devotions: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You by Mike Aquilina and Regis J. Flaherty
You Can Understand The Bible: A Practical And Illuminating Guide To Each Book In The Bible by Peter Kreeft
Prove It! Prayer by Amy Welborn
Reflections on the Christian Life by Anthony Esolen

Theology
Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas by Peter Kreeft
Understanding The Scriptures: A Complete Course On Bible Study (The Didache Series) by Scott Hahn
Jesus Shock by Peter Kreeft
Catholic Teen Bible by Life Teen

Time Travel
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Sun Slower, Sun Faster by Meriol Trevor
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Writing 
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser
Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success by EB Conroy*
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler*

This is an extensive list, yet there are so many other great books I wanted to add. For now, this is a good place to start. I'm not suggesting you go out and buy all of these books today, but instead to build your library over time. If you enjoy eReaders, a good number of these books are in the public domain and therefore can be downloaded for free.

Let me know what books you would add (or remove) in the comments below.

* Indicates that Homeschool Connections offers a literature course on this book.


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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sheltered Homeschoolers


Why Homeschoolers are Sheltered
By Kaitlyn Ohnimus


The Ohnimus Family
“Those kids are so sheltered.”

“At least I wasn’t sheltered.”

“I would never shelter my kids.”

Wait!!! When did being sheltered become such a bad thing? When did it become socially unacceptable to shelter our children? When did we start being grateful that we came from a background without shelter?

Yes, I know our conditioned and emotional response to those statements conjures images such as a teenage boy so socially awkward he isn’t sure if he should enter the store via the entrance or the exit because his parents never let him go in a store. Naturally, he has large baggy jeans and huge glasses that hide half his face. We imagine a pregnant woman with wild fuzzy hair, wearing a jean jumper trailed by eleven frumpy kids hiding behind her skirt sporting wide buggy eyes staring at the dangerous world they know they should never engage or encounter because “it’s bad.” To be honest I have never seen this in real life, but for some reason that’s what comes to mind when we hear the term sheltered.

Let’s examine the meaning of shelter. First, it is considered one of the three basic human physical needs to which every person, because of their inherent human dignity, has a right. A right that any just society is morally obligated to defend and provide. The other two needs are food and clothing. The specific obligation to provide these needs to children rests with the parents. When a parent fails to fulfill this obligation we call it neglect and abuse while dialing child protective services. To the same extent we acknowledge children have other needs parents must meet. Children require to be fed, clothed and yes even sheltered spiritually and emotionally. Children are fed and clothed spiritually and emotionally when they are given wisdom, education, logic, faith, and training in skills.

Despite what Hollywood and the Disney Channel portray, parents are wiser than their children, even their teenage children. This is why parents feed their children meat and vegetables when their children want candy and sweets. We know children do not have the knowledge nor the maturity to choose the best options, so we rely on parents to choose it for them. Likewise, children often want to play out in the cold longer than is good for them, forcing parents to call them in to get warm before their toes fall off. What kind of a mother, between the months of October and May, doesn’t ask if her child has hat, mittens, and coat in the car before she lets them drive away. As much as 17-year-old Billy rolls his eyes, when the car breaks down he’s grateful he listened to mom. Besides directing what the children eat or when they come in from the cold, parents provide these goods. It is their worry and their work that buys the food, pays the heating bill, and supplies the mortgage. Children simply cannot manage these tasks so they rely on their parents to provide good food, appropriate clothing, and a warm home.

In much the same way, it is a parent’s obligation and responsibility to provide emotional and spiritual shelter for their children. Like dietary choices parents have the life experience and the knowledge to know what is toxic and what will hurt their children. They understand what is too much of a good thing like sweets or TV and when more of something else in needed like vegetables or prayer and family time. They must ensure that their children are not exposed to evils they are too immature or young or naive to handle. Here I think more of a plant in a greenhouse. When the plant is too young and weak it needs to be in a warm, secure and controlled environment (aka sheltered) till it is strong and firm. Once it has been given this chance to grow strong it will be able to stand firm during winter months outdoors and bloom again each spring, but if such a plant is placed outdoors too early it will be destroyed immediately. Just like that plant my parents sheltered me. They used their wisdom to see that much of the media, that certain friends, that certain activities or groups were toxic and would hurt me. They raised me in a safe home where I knew I was loved, where I was allowed to believe in truth and beauty, and where I need not be afraid. They filled me with faith in God and made it the air of our home. So many young people are torn down, hurt, rejected, mocked and scorned in their places of formation and it wounds them deeply. I know this from listening to and sharing with these people.

As my maturity and wisdom would grow, my parents allowed me more freedom to make decisions often even letting me make decisions they knew were not the best so that I would learn from them. They often let me fall, but guess who picked me up. Because of this, I have learned trust. I don’t fear that I will be abandoned. I never felt that I was unable to question or challenge, but because of my trust in them I came to them with those questions and challenges. Now I look at the world and I see a place of good and evil. I know there are things in this world that I never wish to experience and because of the lessons I learned I choose to avoid them. Now that I have the maturity to face hurt and rejection it does not destroy me because I know I am loved and I trust those who love me. I have faith in the Lord and wisdom to trust His Church. I, like a little sapling, was sheltered while I was too weak to face the stormy blast on my own. Now I am able I stand like a tree in the middle of a field and sway but do not break as the storm winds blow.

The truth of the matter is that rather than the awkward picture we conjure, sheltered children are becoming well adjusted and psychologically healthy young adults. We are fast becoming leaders in our communities because we are not broken, because our foundation is strong.

My answer: “What’s so wrong with being sheltered?”



Kaitlyn Ohnimus is grateful to have studied at home for twelve wonderful years with the best teacher in the world, her mom. Kaitlyn and her husband Christian (son of Homeschool Connections' cofounder Maureen Wittmann) are both graduates of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. They recently welcomed their second baby. They also recently returned to Steubenville to raise their family and work for FUS as adjunct professors in nursing. Kaitlyn plans to homeschool her own children when the time comes.

This article originally appeared at The Porch.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Should I Keep Homeschooling?


Yes, I Still Plan to Homeschool Next Year
By Emily Crawford
The Crawford Family & Friends
It’s summer. Finally. I feel as if I have been counting down the days. Between school and all the busyness of life (or I should say my children’s lives), I really needed this break. I can finally collect my thoughts and look at this last year of homeschooling with perspective.

This year, it seems to me, has been a defining year for homeschooling for my family. You see, as my children have gotten older, my confidence about homeschooling has waned. Not because of curriculum or socialization. Not because of the day-to-day challenges with homeschooling (and there are many). No, the real reason was because many of our homeschooling friends are putting their kids in school, and the scary question, “Am I doing right by my kids?” has resurfaced. I know this is an ironic question, considering my husband is the head of a homeschool company. But, when I see everyone leaving for what seems like greener pastures the discerning question becomes, “Should I leave, too?”

As my heart began weighing these thoughts and I tried, albeit not well, to pray for clarity, I found myself leaning back on the reasons for why we decided to homeschool in the first place:  faith; family; and education.


FAITH
The order we placed our reasons for homeschooling is significant. Education isn’t our primary reason. Family isn’t our primary reason. The primary reason we homeschool is our faith.

We live in a culture that claims to be Christian. Yet, the most fundamental things we believe as Catholics are being challenged daily, especially in our schools. Schools have become social experiments for political correctness, tolerance, and gender identity. When we squeezed out prayer to make the few feel respected, our teachers have increasingly lost their ability to reason about the true, the good, and the beautiful with their students. No longer can they point to God in all things. So what can they point to? What do I want them to point my children to?

Faith. The unequivocal truth in a loving God who made my children for a specific purpose. He has made them to love, know, and serve Him.  They are loved and valued because He created them and because He made them in His image and His likeness.  They have a Savior who has redeemed them. His Church is the ark that will carry them to Heaven. He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist. He loves us deeply through His mother’s intercession. Life is valuable from the moment of conception to a natural death.  All that we have and all that we are and will be is because of Him.

I know they will never receive these truths in public schools. They should be able to receive Truth in Catholic schools. It seems even some of our Catholic schools have become battlegrounds for our children’s hearts and minds. And unfortunately, for many - including our family, Catholic schools are financially out of reach, especially if we choose to stay home with our children.

FAMILY
Our family is the second reason we have chosen to homeschool. Our culture and our education system have taken away the value of the family. I read an article this last winter by Julie Machado at Catholic Stand called “Homeschooling and Over-Schooling.”, which speaks to the primary goal of homeschooling – to get our children to Heaven. In the middle of the article Julie points to an unscripted speech by Pope St. John Paul II where he said, “everything exists for the family: different environments, societies, peoples, cultures, social life, economic life … not at the expense of the family.” This one line sums up how I feel. Everything should exist for the family, not at the expense of the family. But do our schools really think about the family when they promulgate alternative world views with questionable science? Do they encourage selflessness or self-preservation, egoism, and individualism?

With homeschooling, we experience what it means to be the domestic church. That means we learn to live in community; love the good, the bad, and the ugly; forgive; pray together, eat together, and play together; work together; learn to put others’ needs before our own and to depend on others strengths when are our weaknesses prevail. To put is simply, we are a family. Can modern schools teach this to our children?

EDUCATION
Finally, the reason I homeschool is for education. With Common Core reinventing how our children should think and learn, standardized testing competing with real learning, and feelings and opinions educating minds away from reason and logic, then, homeschooling becomes the only viable option for my family.

I don’t blame the educators for these problems.  I blame the bureaucrats who think they know how to educate better than local schools and families.

I also don’t pretend to know it all or to have the ability to be everything for my children. I know I cannot recreate a Harvard education for my kids. However, that’s not my goal and it never has been. Thankfully, there are co-ops, tutors, DVDs, and online choices like Homeschool Connections that can help me with the overwhelming task of educating my kids.  And what’s even more reassuring, it’s their education. It runs at their level of mastery. It’s designed by me, a loving parent, who has her children's best interests in mind to guide them in their strengths and help them in their weaknesses. And, hopefully, it’s implemented in such a way, though imperfectly, that my children are given the tools and the desire to learn.

What’s the verdict? Despite all the friends who are leaving homeschooling to place their kids in school, when I lean on the three reasons of faith, family, and education, I know that the decision to homeschool is the right one for our family, and I can say with confidence, “Yes, we still plan on homeschooling next year.”

Emily Crawford is a homeschooling mom (starting her 10th year in the fall) of 5 great children and a proud wife to Walter Crawford, co-founder of Homeschool Connections. She is a Texas Aggie Catholic revert who is passionate about serving others in her parish and in her community and in living out the new evangelization in the domestic church. When she’s not teaching children, doing laundry, singing in the shower, and dreaming about decorating and the perfect household management system, she enjoys drinking coffee, reading a good book, and spending time with family and friends.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Biology and Bioethics Online Courses for Adults and High School



Homeschool Connections is proud to announce that we are adding three new courses for the 2016/2017 School Year with Dr. Gerry Nadal. One course is for adults and the other two are for high school students. I will post the information for the adult course in a separate blog post soon.

Note: Homeschool Connections offers a large variety of science courses. Don't hesitate to email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com to inquire or visit our Course Catalog webpage.

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses

The details for the high school courses are below:

The Biology, Biotechnology, and Bioethics of the Life Issues, Part One
This is Part One of a 2-part course. Students are expected to also register for Part Two offered in the spring semester.
Class dates: Wednesdays, September 7 to December 14, 2016. No class November 23 for Thanksgiving.
Total classes: 14 live classes and 16 recorded lectures
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Duration: 100 minutes (1 hour 40 minutes)
Prerequisite: Freshman-level Biology
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1 full semester Advanced Biology, Science, or Bioethics
Fee: $225 if you register on or before July 15, 2016. $250 after July 15 for all 30 classes. ($275 after August 29)
Instructor: Gerard Nadal, Ph.D.
Course description: The material is at the level of advanced biology, but will not cover all of the material that a student would need to sit for the AP exam in biology. It is ideally suited for any family seeking to synthesize the science and teaching of the Church in a user-friendly manner. It is indispensable for any student aspiring to a career in the health sciences, or in education and ministry. At the end of the course of study, the student will be fully equipped to witness to the beauty of human life and the teaching of the Church in all of these areas. The student will also be fully equipped with all of the scientific evidence that shows how the Church has had it right all along.
            For over a century the Culture of Death has been ascendant, and in all of that time faithful Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, have been accused of not grasping the sciences of biology and  epidemiology. The principled teachings of the Catholic Church are actually rooted in the deepest realities of biology and the effects of behavior human persons. In this year-long course of study, Dr. Gerard M. Nadal brings his years of experience as molecular biologist, medical microbiologist, and Catholic apologist to bear on all of the life issues facing the western world. Each topic will initially focus on the relevant underlying biology, then consider the topic as an application of medical technology. Papers from peer-reviewed research journals, as well as governmental data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be utilized in most topics.  These will be used to illuminate the epidemiology indicating the destructiveness of the practice under consideration. All of the topic materials will be synthesized with relevant teaching from Catholic Encyclicals and teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
As the course progresses throughout the year the topics of cellular biology, molecular and Mendelian genetics, immunology, neurology, reproductive physiology, infectious diseases, pharmacology, epidemiology, embryology and developmental biology will be covered in depth.
Course outline:
In Vitro Fertilization
Genetic Engineering
Three-parent embryos
Surrogate Motherhood
Embryonic v. Adult Stem Cell Therapy
HIV/AIDS
STD’s
Cervical and Endometrial Cancers
Contraceptive methods and ectopic pregnancy
Chemical Abortion***
Brain Death and Organ Donation
Eugenics, Margaret Sanger, and the Population Control Movement
Embryology and Human Development
The link between breast cancer, abortion and the birth control pill.
The epidemiology of psychiatric sequelae after abortion
*** Please note that the methods of surgical abortion will not be treated in any depth, and may only be mentioned in the most general terms. At no time will pictures of aborted babies ever be presented. It is Dr. Nadal’s belief that such imagery is appropriate for college and graduate school curricula, but must be left to the discretion of parents with high school-aged children.
Course materials: TCatholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life 3rd Edition
by William E. May (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1612787029/catholictreas-20). Weekly handouts and resources on the Internet will also be used as the source material (provided free by the instructor)
Homework: Assigned readings from May's text, as well as other assigned reading. About 4 hours of reading per week will be necessary. Weekly quizzes will be multiple choice and true/false, graded by the computer for immediate feedback. Exams will be written essays.

Advanced Biology: College Level, Part One
This course is limited to 15 students. This is a two-part course. Part Two is offered in the Spring Semester. This course has not yet received approval from the College Board to be called AP on your transcript. However, it will well prepare you for the AP test in the spring and for college biology.
Class dates: Thursdays, September 8 to December 15, 2016. No class November 24 for Thanksgiving and December 8 for Feast of Immaculate Conception.
Total classes: 13 live classes and 16 recorded lectures
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 Pacific)
Duration: 100 min. per class
Prerequisite: High School Biology required; High School Chemistry highly recommended and preferred.
Suggested grade level: 11th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester of Advanced Biology or Science
Fee: $250 if you register on or before July 15, 2016. $275 after July 15 for all 29 classes. ($295 after August 30)
Instructor: Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.
Course description: This two-semester course will introduce students to the principles of General Biology at a first year college level. The goal is to provide the most up-to-date treatment of contemporary biology and biotechnology, and to briefly treat the great ethical and moral questions of the day arising from the subject matter; in the classic model of a Catholic liberal arts education that stresses integration of the scientific and the moral magisterium of the Church. Students completing this course will be well prepared for the Advanced Placement Exam in Biology (Monday, May 9, 2016).
Part One (fall semester) will explore the principles of biology at the cellular and molecular level. Fundamental biochemistry, molecular and cytogenetics, transcription and translation, cellular respiration, cellular biology of both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms, cellular and organismal reproduction, Mendelian inheritance, and recombinant DNA technology are all of the main topics. Throughout both semesters, students will be taught how unit topics relate to principles of Darwinian Evolution, as understood and espoused by the contemporary biological community. The principles of Catholic bioethics will also be briefly discussed within units touching on contemporary topics in reproductive technologies.
Course materials: Campbell Biology 10th Edition (ISBN-10: 0321775651 or ISBN-13: 978-0321775658), (Available for rent at a much cheaper cost, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321775651/catholictreas-20.)
Homework: Homework time varies by student, but an estimated 5 to 6 hours per week, in addition to attending the live, interactive classes, is not unreasonable, given the advanced level of material being studied. Homework will involve the outlining of one essay per week, consistent with the structure of the Advanced Placement Exam’s essay requirements.

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses

The Biology, Biotechnology, and Bioethics of the Life Issues, Part Two
This is Part Two of a 2-part course. Students who wish to join us midyear must obtain the instructor's permission first.
Class dates: Wednesdays, January 11 to May 3, 2017. No class March 1 for Ash Wednesday or April 12 for Holy Week.
Total classes: 16 live classes and 16 recorded lectures
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Duration: 100 minutes for live classes (1 hour 40 minutes)
Prerequisite: Freshman-level Biology
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1 full semester Advanced Biology, Science, or Bioethics
Fee: $225 if you register on or before November 15, 2016. $250 after Nov. 15 for all 32 classes. ($275 after Jan. 3)
Instructor: Gerard Nadal, Ph.D.
Course description: The material is at the level of advanced biology, but will not cover all of the material that a student would need to sit for the AP exam in biology. It is ideally suited for any family seeking to synthesize the science and teaching of the Church in a user-friendly manner. It is indispensable for any student aspiring to a career in the health sciences, or in education and ministry. At the end of the course of study, the student will be fully equipped to witness to the beauty of human life and the teaching of the Church in all of these areas. The student will also be fully equipped with all of the scientific evidence that shows how the Church has had it right all along.
            For over a century the Culture of Death has been ascendant, and in all of that time faithful Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, have been accused of not grasping the sciences of biology and  epidemiology. The principled teachings of the Catholic Church are actually rooted in the deepest realities of biology and the effects of behavior human persons. In this year-long course of study, Dr. Gerard M. Nadal brings his years of experience as molecular biologist, medical microbiologist, and Catholic apologist to bear on all of the life issues facing the western world. Each topic will initially focus on the relevant underlying biology, then consider the topic as an application of medical technology. Papers from peer-reviewed research journals, as well as governmental data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be utilized in most topics.  These will be used to illuminate the epidemiology indicating the destructiveness of the practice under consideration. All of the topic materials will be synthesized with relevant teaching from Catholic Encyclicals and teaching from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
As the course progresses throughout the year the topics of cellular biology, molecular and Mendelian genetics, immunology, neurology, reproductive physiology, infectious diseases, pharmacology, epidemiology, embryology and developmental biology will be covered in depth.
Course outline:
In Vitro Fertilization
Genetic Engineering
Three-parent embryos
Surrogate Motherhood
Embryonic v. Adult Stem Cell Therapy
HIV/AIDS
STD’s
Cervical and Endometrial Cancers
Contraceptive methods and ectopic pregnancy
Chemical Abortion***
Brain Death and Organ Donation
Eugenics, Margaret Sanger, and the Population Control Movement
Embryology and Human Development
The link between breast cancer, abortion and the birth control pill.
The epidemiology of psychiatric sequelae after abortion
*** Please note that the methods of surgical abortion will not be treated in any depth, and may only be mentioned in the most general terms. At no time will pictures of aborted babies ever be presented. It is Dr. Nadal’s belief that such imagery is appropriate for college and graduate school curricula, but must be left to the discretion of parents with high school-aged children.
Course materials: TCatholic Bioethics and the Gift of Human Life 3rd Edition
by William E. May (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1612787029/catholictreas-20). Weekly handouts and resources on the Internet will also be used as the source material (provided free by the instructor)
Homework: Assigned readings from May's text, as well as other assigned reading. About 4 hours of reading per week will be necessary. Weekly quizzes will be multiple choice and true/false, graded by the computer for immediate feedback. Exams will be written essays.

Advanced Biology: College Level, Part Two
This is Part Two of a 2-part course. Students who want to join us midyear must seek the approval of the instructor first. Registration is limited to 15 students.
Class dates: Thursdays, January 12 to May 4, 2017. No class April 13 for Easter Break.
Total classes: 16 live classes and 16 recorded lectures
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 Pacific)
Duration: 100 minutes per live class (1 hour 40 minutes)
Prerequisite: Advanced Biology, Part One (fall semester).
Suggested grade level: 11th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester of Advanced Biology or Science
Fee: $250 if you register on or before November 15, 2016. $275 after Nov. 15 for all 32 classes. ($295 after Jan. 4)
Instructor: Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.
Course description: This two-semester course will introduce students to the principles of General Biology at a first year college level. The goal is to provide the most up-to-date treatment of contemporary biology and biotechnology, and to briefly treat the great ethical and moral questions of the day arising from the subject matter; in the classic model of a Catholic liberal arts education that stresses integration of the scientific and the moral magisterium of the Church. Students completing this course will be well prepared for the Advanced Placement Exam in Biology (Monday, May 9, 2016).
Part Two (spring semester) will focus in depth on the various organ systems of the body, their anatomy and physiology, as well as comparative anatomy and physiology with other members of the animal kingdom. Human reproduction and embryology will comprise a special unit within the semester of study, along with a segment on developmental anomalies and the rapidly developing field of fetal surgeries and other interventional therapies. Also treated will be plant physiology and principles of ecology, ecosystems, biomes and conservation.
Course materials: Text: Campbell Biology 10th Edition (ISBN-10: 0321775651 or ISBN-13: 978-0321775658), (Available for rent at a much cheaper cost, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321775651/catholictreas-20.)
Homework: Homework time varies by student, but an estimated 5 to 6 hours per week, in addition to attending the live, interactive classes, is not unreasonable, given the advanced level of material being studied. Homework will involve the outlining of one essay per week, consistent with the structure of the Advanced Placement Exam’s essay requirements.

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Top 10: Online Classes This Summer for Catholic Students

Top Ten List
Using Unlimited Access for Summer Learning


No matter where your children go to school in the fall and spring, you are welcomed to take classes with Homeschool Connections this summer. Whether you want your children to get a Catholic perspective in certain subjects, receive some remedial help in an area, or take an upper-level course not available at their school, we're here to help.

Homeschool Connections offers two types of courses that cover a wide span of subjects. Today, let's talk about our recorded, independent-learning courses that you can take at your own pace and on your own schedule. (If you prefer live, interactive classes for summer we posted about that yesterday here: Online Summer Classes for Middle and High School)

There are many different ways you can use Homeschool Connections' recorded classes through Unlimited Access to keep learning alive and fun over the summer. Here are ten ideas to get you started.

10. Take school with you.
We've had students take classes from hotel rooms, Grandma's house, the library, the car on the road, and even the beach. However, we don't recommend taking your laptop anywhere near sand! All you need for recorded classes is a power source, internet, and a computer. You should add ear buds or a headset to the list if you need privacy.

9. Plug the computer into the television.
This is a really fun way to learn together as a family. Pick a subject that everyone is interested in learning. It may be The Hobbit or World War II or American Sign Language or something completely different. Make some popcorn and watch together. You may need an HDMI cable and a newer TV (Mac users will need a converter). Recently, my teen added Chromecast to our laptop and that's what we use.

8. Pick a time that works best for you.
Recorded classes are available 24/7. You could watch classes first thing in the morning, getting them done early so the rest of the day can be spent outdoors. It you prefer, watch classes during lunch or just before bed in the evening. Pick the time that is going to help you keep up on your work throughout the summer.

7. Audit a course.
Watch a lecture each day and forgo the homework. For example, instead of taking 12 weeks for World History: 12 Inventions that Changed the World, watch the lectures over 12 days. When auditing, pick a subject that is easy for you. (For a course list, click here: Recorded Course Catalog.)

6. Buckle down on tough subjects.
Need help with algebra? Struggled with science last year? If so, buckle down and get to work. Set aside time each and every day (Sundays off!) and stick to the schedule. Complete all of the homework before moving to the next recorded lecture. If you want extra help, sign up for the optional grading support (Instructor Access).

5. Catch up on subjects for September.
Planning on taking Latin II next year but not quite ready? Perhaps illness or something else kept you from finishing Latin I this year. Whether you simply need a refresher or need to make up for lost time, there are a number of "Bootcamps" available in recording (math, Latin, and more).

4. Ask yourself, "What do I love?"
For example, do you get geeked about books? If so, choose a literature course on a book you love. Reread Romeo and Juliet as you watch Professor Pearce's lectures over a couple of weeks. Or Screwtape Letters, or Space Trilogy, or The Man Who Was Thursday. You can choose from over 40 literature courses.

3. Summer is a great time to hone your writing skills
Writing is a key skill for success in all other school subjects. Focusing on writing skills over summer will help you do better in history, literature, and more when fall arrives. Homeschool Connections writing courses range from basic, foundational courses to advanced, college-preparatory courses. Other courses that help you succeed in core subjects include: Note Taking Skills and How to Use Microsoft Word.

2. Keep a schedule and keep it simple. 
How many times have we all laid out grand plans, only to forget about them as the excitement wore off? Write out a reasonable schedule on a white board or print it and post it. Program your computer or phone to remind you each day. Do something tangible to keep you on schedule.

You don't need a complicated schedule to be effective. Pick just one or two subjects. For example, maybe you weren't able to make time for philosophy in the fall and spring, but you know it would help you a lot to learn it and it sounds interesting. Focus just on philosophy courses for summer.

1. Take courses that raise your heart to God. All of our courses are taught through the lens of the Catholic Church. If you'd like to get the Catholic perspective in history or literature, this is the place. We also offer a wide range of theology and philosophy courses that help students experience God's teaching.

Bonus: Unlimited Access means just that!
You have unlimited access to over 250 courses for your entire family. Yes, it's true! You can't beat the price ($30 per month!!!) and you can't beat the convenience. Middle school, high school, and adult students can easily learn year round with this independent learning program. It can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. It's YOUR program.

NOTE: If you prefer live, interactive classes for summer we offer those too. Click here to learn more: Online Summer Classes for Middle and High School

To learn more about our recorded, online, independent-learning classes, click here now:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Online Summer Classes for Middle and High School


We are very excited to let you know we have scheduled several great live, interactive courses for the summer semester. Courses still opened for registration:
  • Professor Joseph Pearce will introduce high school students to G. K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man. This course is almost full, so I wouldn't wait to sign up. Added bonus: the instructor has a great English accent, which really is a necessity when reading Chesterton. Well, at least we think so.
  • Kevin O'Brien will teach  a high school course on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, because we can't ever get enough Lewis and Tolkien in our homeschools! (Mr. O'Brien doesn't have an English accent, but he is an actor so he could fake it if you ask him.)
  • To help our children keep up on their math skills and be ready for the next fall, Emily Nardozzi will teach a Math Boot Camp for middle school students. It's just the right amount for summer, leaving plenty of time for summer adventures outside.
  • Dr. Christine Hamilton will repeat her ever-popular Nutrition Science course this summer. Just for fun, she'll also teach an Entomology (Bugs!!!) course for the middle-school set. This is the course were personally most excited about. Our kids can't wait for this one.
  • Last, but not least, Professor Erin Brown Conroy will teach an upper-level Punctuation and Grammar course to give students a hand up for the fall. Who knew you could take advanced Punctuation and Grammar?! This course will help prepare you for college writing.
(If you prefer recorded, independent-learning classes that you can take on your own time, then check out Unlimited Access.)

This is going to be one fun summer! Here are all of the course details, big and small ... 

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses
Click on Summer 2016 Semester and click on Search

THE SCIENCE OF BUGS! (ENTOMOLOGY) 
Total classes: 8
Class dates: Mondays through Thursdays, June 6, 2016 - June 16, 2016 June 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16)
Starting time: 10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade
Suggested credit: ½ semester Entomology or Science
Fee: $70 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, Ph.D.
Course description: Fun lighthearted study of the insect world.  We will learn about insect type, habitat, sounds and some yummy recipes (really!). Pests, workers, artists—the intrepid insects of the world fascinate, annoy, and benefit humankind. From butterflies to bees to the lowly cockroach, insects are an integral part of the natural environment, making their mark on culture through rhyme and lore. What causes fireflies to blink? Did you ever wonder about the origin of "Sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite?" Let's delve into the insect world and see what we can learn.
Course outline:
1. Fastest
2. Largest
3. Longest
4. Most Numerous
5. Most Spectacular
6. Smallest
7. Misc. (Bioluminescence, loudest, most toxic)
8. Recipes (crunchy, chewy)
Course materials: Everything provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework:  Research insect of your choice for report at the end of the course.

MATH FOUNDATION BOOT CAMP FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS 
Total classes: 8
Class dates: Mondays through Thursdays, June 13 to June 23, 2016
Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Completion of at least one middle school level math course
Suggested grade level: Geared toward 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. However, 9th graders are welcomed who would like to strengthen their math foundation.
Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Math
Fee: $95 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Emily Nardozzi
Course description: The focus of this course will be to strengthen students' skills in working with fractions, decimals, and percents. Fractions are the most misunderstood concept in all of mathematics and many students cringe when they come across them in a math problem. The goal of this course is to make sure that students are able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions, decimals, and percents with ease and confidence.
Course outline:
Mon., June 13: Identify, compare, order, and demonstrate equivalent relationships between integers, rational numbers in decimal, fraction, and percent notation
Tues., June 14: Represent, order, and compare integers and describe their absolute value
Wed., June 15: Identify, compare, and perform the four basic operations relating to rational numbers in fraction, decimal, and percent notation.
Thurs., June 16: Identify, compare, and perform the four basic operations relating to rational numbers in fraction, decimal, and percent notation.
Mon., June 20: Evaluate expressions using order of operations
Tues., June 21: Evaluate expressions using order of operations
Wed., June 22: Solve equations and inequalities
Thurs., June 23: Review
Course materials: None, all materials will be provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework: 1 quiz per day will be given with approximately 5-10 problems, these should take around 10-15 minutes


“I CALL YOU FRIENDS” C. S. LEWIS AND J. R. R. TOLKIEN
Total classes: 8
Class datesMondayTuesdayWednesday, Thursday, June 20 through June 30.
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 AM Mountain; 10:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: ½ semester Literature
Fee: $110 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description: Two of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century were also close friends - C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien - a friendship that awakened Lewis to the Faith, but that also may have faltered because of the demands of the Faith.  We examine the relationship of these two men, the ups and downs of their friendship, and how they influenced one another’s writings.
Course outline

Class one: Overview of the course and of the setting and times into which Lewis & Tolkien were born.
Class twoSelections from Surprised by Joy, the life of C.S. Lewis
Class three: Selections from Joseph Pearce's biography of J.R.R. Tolkien
Class four: Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" and the Night Talk that started Lewis' conversion
Class five: Other influences on Lewis' faith: Chesterton and the Inklings.
Class six: The Inklings and the development of the writings of Lewis and Tolkien: how they influenced one another.
Class seven:  Lewis' marriage and Tolkien's reaction to it: trouble in the friendship.
Class eight: We examine the legacy of each author, review what we've learned, and bring the course to a conclusion.
Course materialsSurprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien: Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce should both be purchased by students and at least one of the two books should be read ahead of time, before the first class session. Other material will be brief selections from works and letters of the two authors, and will be provided free by the instructor in class or as PDF files.
Homework: Completing the assigned reading for each class; taking six quizzes and one essay exam. Estimated homework time each week: 4 hours.


HEALTH SCIENCE: NUTRITION
Total classes: 8
Class dates: Mondays through Thursdays, July 11 to July 21 (July 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19. 20, 21)
Starting time:  10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: At least a 9th grade level of understanding of science.
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: ½ semester Health Science
Fee: $70 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, Ph.D.
Course description: Teaches the basic concepts of healthy eating. We will learn what food means to the body and gain a better understanding of its necessity.
Course outline:
1. Healthy Eating - proper nutrition can help prevent a number of health conditions including (but not limited to); Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and obesity. Planning a balanced diet and understanding nutrition labels.
2. Protein - necessary for muscles, skin and hair.
3. Carbohydrates - the body's primary source of energy converted to glucose.
4. Fats - help synthesize fat soluble vitamins (A,E,D,K).
5. Vitamins - Essential vitamins including; A, B, Complex C, D, E, K and folate.
6. Minerals - essential minerals include; calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and chromium.
7. Water - we are 60% H2O, our brain is 70% H2O.
8. Proper Diet - Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs and other body parts strong.
Course materials: Food for Today: Student Activity Paperback by Helen Kowtaluk, ISBN # 0078616468 (www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0078616468/catholictreas-20).
Homework: Students will be asked to bring a canned or boxed food item to class with them to learn about label reading and meanings. Students will keep a three-day food journal to track short-term eating habits. Expect daily homework at approximately 30-45 minutes each day.

THE EVERLASTING MAN by G. K. CHESTERTON
Total classes: 6

Class dates: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, August 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18.
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 AM Mountain; 10:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: Complete reading The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton before the first day of class
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester credit for Literature or English
Fee: $75 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Joseph Pearce
Course description:  The Everlasting Man is G. K. Chesterton’s classic work of Catholic Apologetics. The book's thesis is ultimately that the Incarnation is central to an understanding of history. Chesterton takes on the claim that man is simply the product of evolution, arguing that Christianity provides the True explanation for the genesis and purpose of human life. Chesterton wrote the book as a rebuttal to popular author H.G. Wells, whose secularist The Outline of History was influential at the time (1920’s). As Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, says, “Of all of Chesterton’s literary monuments, this is perhaps his greatest, for he eloquently and concisely packs the whole human story between the covers of one book.” In this course, we will unpack that story and study it together over six classes.
Course outline:
Class one: Part I, chapters 1-3
Class two: Part I, chapters 4-6
Class three: Part I, chapters 7-8
Class four: Part II, chapters 1-2
Class five: Part II, chapters 3-4
Class six: Part II, chapters 5-6
Course materials: G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (Ignatius Press), 978-0-89870-444-0
Homework: Completing the assigned reading for each class; taking six quizzes. Estimated homework time each week: 3 hours.


HIGH SCHOOLWRITING ESSENTIALS 5: PUNCTUATION AND GRAMMAR II
Fully Understanding Punctuation & Grammar
College Preparatory
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Class dates: Week One: Monday through Thursday. Week Two: Monday and Tuesday. August 22, 23, 24, 25: 29, 30; 2016
Duration:  55 minutes
Prerequisite: HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I
 and HIGH SCHOOL SIMPLIFIED WRITING 1: All-Encompassing Foundational High School Writing Skills (Live, interactive courses or Unlimited Access recorded courses)
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Writing or English
Fee: $99 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description:  This course continues your student’s punctuation and grammar instruction and exercises, taking your student to college-level understanding. Students will move beyond common understanding to mastering the skills. If you want your teen to never struggle with punctuation and grammar and be able to be skillful in upper-level, college-prep punctuation and grammar, this is the course for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: The power of punctuation; what punctuation does (and doesn’t do) for your writing, and how you can harness that power
Class 2: Complete comma understanding and practice: identification of commas with multiple clause sentences (the sentence/non-sentence trick)
Class 3: Complete comma understanding and practice: typical comma errors and editors’ choices with commas
Class 4: Common, unusual, and rare comma placement in common, unusual, and rare places
Class 5: Semicolons, colons, and commas used together correctly
Class 6: End punctuation issues, quotation mark errors, and quotes within quotes issues
Class 7: Citations, references, footnotes, and research-centric punctuation
Class 8: Mastering punctuation in the SAT and ACT
Course materials: TBA, ordering information forthcoming. Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert documents to Word-compatible documents.
Homework: Daily quizzes, which are graded automatically by the computer for instant feedback. Course includes skill-building sheets to complete with corrections guide. Personalized question time will be offered in class to insure a strong understanding of concepts.

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses
Click on Summer 2016 Semester and click on Search


We hope that this selection of summer online classes will be helpful to you and your family. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com. You can visit us online at www.homeschoolconnections.com

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Why Should I Learn Punctuation & Grammar in High School?

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)

Should high school student continue with punctuation and grammar studies? Yes! Too often, we consider such studies to be too basic for older students. However, punctuation and grammar is taught at a completely different level in the upper grades compared to their grammar school lessons. It gives students the tools needed for college and business writing.



Correct punctuation and grammar help others to fully understand us. If you want to do well in school and your job, then mastering punctuation and grammar is critical.

The elements of tone, speed, and even the timbre (such as whispering, rasping, or growling a word) communicate meaning to others. The voice carries power, enabling our message to be fully understood. The plain printed words on the page can’t give us nuance. But punctuation can. With punctuation, our original meaning can be more closely translated to the page.

Grammar refers to both the order of words and choosing the right word. When it comes to certain word orders on the page, there is a right way to write. There are right words to use—a proper choice of words and a proper order of words. However, some words are not appropriate for different audiences or purposes. Grammar gives us a formal, clear way to place our words in order, to get our meaning across to the reader.

Whether we like it or not, based on our words, people judge us. If a person uses grammar incorrectly (not choosing the right word or word order), people catch it. The reader realizes and remembers incorrect grammar. Based on what the reader sees, you may be (unconsciously or consciously) put into a category of educated or not educated. You’re labeled. Whether the label is true or not, we are now viewed with that tar.

The label, not educated, puts you into a category where others may make assumptions about you that, most likely, aren’t true. Judgment may lead others to a lack of respect. Based on incorrect assumptions, poor decisions may be made (like whether or not the person wants to hire you for a job). Grammar matters, for many reasons.

Honing your punctuation and grammar skills in high school will help you beyond writing assignments. It will help you achieve high grades in other subjects. I can confidently tell you this: more often than not, poor punctuation and grammar can sink the ship that carries your top grade. You can have everything going for you, and those small, basic punctuation and grammar errors can mess things up and take away your A, fast.

We hope you'll consider joining us for High School Essential Writing 1: Punctuation and Grammar and/or High School Writing Essentials 5: Punctuation and Grammar II (College Preparatory). Each course is only six weeks, but they are six weeks that will change everything for the better. Below are all the course details for the upcoming semesters. The first course is also available as a recorded, independent-learning courses through our Unlimited Access program. The second will be available in the fall of 2016.

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)


High School Writing Essentials 5: Punctuation and Grammar II *NEW
College Preparatory
Total classes: 6
Class dates: Week One: Monday through Thursday. Week Two: Monday and Tuesday: August 22, 23, 24, 25: 29, 30; 2016
Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Duration:  55 minutes
Prerequisite: High School Writing Essentials 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I
 and High School Simplified Writing 1: All-Encompassing Foundational High School Writing Skills (Live, interactive courses or Unlimited Access recorded courses)
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Writing or English
Fee: $99 if you register on or before March 15, 2016; $119 after March 15 for all 6 classes. ($139 after Aug. 14)
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description:  This course continues your student’s punctuation and grammar instruction and exercises, taking your student to college-level understanding. Students will move beyond common understanding to mastering the skills. If you want your teen to never struggle with punctuation and grammar and be able to be skillful in upper-level, college-prep punctuation and grammar, this is the course for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: The power of punctuation; what punctuation does (and doesn’t do) for your writing, and how you can harness that power
Class 2: Complete comma understanding and practice: identification of commas with multiple clause sentences (the sentence/non-sentence trick)
Class 3: Complete comma understanding and practice: typical comma errors and editors’ choices with commas
Class 4: Common, unusual, and rare comma placement in common, unusual, and rare places
Class 5: Semicolons, colons, and commas used together correctly
Class 6: End punctuation issues, quotation mark errors, and quotes within quotes issues
Class 7: Citations, references, footnotes, and research-centric punctuation
Class 8: Mastering punctuation in the SAT and ACT

Course materials: TBA, ordering information forthcoming. Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert documents to Word-compatible documents.
Homework: Homework: Daily quizzes, graded automatically by the computer for instant feedback. Course includes skill-building sheets with corrections guide. Personalized question time will be offered in class to insure a strong understanding of concepts. 

HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I (HS 9-1)
* This course is offered during four time slots in the fall semester only; the course will not be offered in the spring semester.
* This is a two-part course; take the 9-1 and 9-2 courses together, to receive one full semester of credit (14 weeks of classes).
* Though not required, it is recommended to sign up for 9-1 and 9-2 courses in the same Time Offering (same time slot) within each semester.
Total Classes: 6
Class dates and starting times:

Mondays, September 12 to October 17, 2016
11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
OR
Mondays, September 12 to October 17, 2016
2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 Pacific)
OR
Wednesdays, September 9 to October 14, 2016
10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
OR
Fridays, September 7 to October 12, 2016
10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: No class prerequisites. Your student will need Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document.
Suggested grade level: 9th grade; all grade levels accepted
Suggested credit: ½ semester Writing or English. Combine with High School Simplified Writing 1 for a full semester credit.
Fee: $89 if you sign up on or before July 15, 2016; $99 after July 15 for all 6 classes. ($119 after Aug. 30)
Instructors: 
Lisa Mladinich (Mondays) and Sharon Hamric-Weis, BSEd, JD (Wednesdays and Fridays)
Course description: This is an essential writing course for all high school students. Give your high school student exactly what’s needed for high school and college writing—including the confidence and the ability to use punctuation and grammar well. Don’t let your student struggle—master commas, tense, colons, semicolons, dashes, ellipses, and more. This class will give your student the strong foundation needed to finally master the details that are holding him or her back from writing well. Sentence constructions in the course are upper level, meant to challenge and prepare your student for upper-high school and college courses.
Course outline:
Class 1: Mastering commas in a series and commas with conjunctions using complex sentences
Class 2: Mastering commas and clauses and tough constructions, including multiple ideas, connectors, and transitions
Class 3: Mastering tense, competing punctuation, quotations, dashes, and ellipses
Class 4: Sticky-pair sentence construction (if-then, not only-but also) and tough grammar in upper-level constructions
Class 5: Mastering colons and semicolons with leading sentence constructions
Class 6: Mastering tricky punctuation details, end punctuation, and the most common grammar challenges
Course materials: eBook: Elements of Writing for High School Students by Erin Brown Conroy. Ordering information forthcoming
Homework: Weekly quizzes graded automatically by the computer for immediate feedback. Estimated two to four hours per week for homework outside of class time, depending on the student’s ability.

HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 5: Punctuation and Grammar II (HS X-5) *NEW
College Preparatory 
* This course is for students who want to confirm and excel in their skills.
* This course is offered before school begins, during the Fall Semester, and during the Spring Semester.
* Note: Though offered on different days, this course’s dates fit the schedule to immediately follow the HS 9-1 Punctuation and Grammar I course. Sign up for both Punctuation and Grammar I and II courses during the Fall and Spring Semesters.
Total classes: 6
Class dates: Mondays, October 24 to December 5, 2016. No class November 21 for Thanksgiving Break.
Starting time: 10:00 AM Eastern (9:00 Central, 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Note: Because this course’s dates “fit” the schedule to immediately follow the weeks of HS 9-1 Punctuation and Grammar I, you can sign up for both Punctuation and Grammar I and II courses during the Spring semester if desired.
Duration:  55 minutes
Prerequisite: Required. HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I (HS 9-1). Prerequisite can be taken as a live course or through Unlimited Access. Your student will also need Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document.
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Writing or English. Add another course for full credit.
Fee: $99 if you register on or before November 15, 2016; $119 after Nov. 15 for all 6 classes. ($139 after Oct. 16)
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich
Course description:  This course continues your student’s understanding of punctuation and grammar with instruction and exercises taking your student to college-level understanding. Students will move beyond common understanding to mastering the skills. If you want your teen to never struggle with punctuation and grammar and be able to be skillful in upper-level, college-prep punctuation and grammar, this is the course for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: The power of punctuation; what punctuation does (and doesn’t do) for your writing, and how you can harness that power
Class 2: Complete comma understanding and practice: identification of commas with multiple clause sentences (the sentence/non-sentence trick)
Class 3: Complete comma understanding and practice: typical comma errors and editors’ choices with commas
Class 4: Common, unusual, and rare comma placement in common, unusual, and rare places
Class 5: Semicolons, colons, and commas used together correctly
Class 6: End punctuation issues, quotation mark errors, and quotes within quotes issues
Class 7: Citations, references, footnotes, and research-centric punctuation
Class 8: Mastering punctuation in the SAT and ACT

Course materials: TBA, ordering information forthcoming. Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert documents to Word-compatible documents.
Homework: Homework: Weekly quizzes, with an estimated two to three hours per week for homework outside of class time. Quizzes are graded automatically by the computer for instant feedback. Course includes skill-building sheets with corrections guide. Personalized question time will be offered in class to insure a strong understanding of concepts. 

HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 5: Punctuation and Grammar II (HS X-5)
College Preparatory
* This course is for students who want to confirm and excel in their skills. College preparatory.
Total classes: 6
Class dates: Mondays, February 27 to April 3, 2017
Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Note: Because this course’s dates “fit” the schedule to immediately follow the weeks of HS 9-1 Punctuation and Grammar I, you can sign up for both Punctuation and Grammar I and II courses during the Spring semester if desired.
Duration:  55 minutes
Prerequisite: Required. HIGH SCHOOL WRITING ESSENTIALS 1: Essential Punctuation and Grammar I (HS 9-1). Prerequisite can be taken as a live course or through Unlimited Access. Your student will also need Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert a document to a Word-compatible document.
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested credit: 1/2 semester Writing or English. Add another course for full credit.
Fee: $99 if you register on or before November 15, 2016; $119 after Nov. 15 for all 6 classes. ($139 after Feb. 19)
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich.
Course description:  This course continues your student’s understanding of punctuation and grammar with instruction and exercises taking your student to college-level understanding. Students will move beyond common understanding to mastering the skills. If you want your teen to never struggle with punctuation and grammar and be able to be skillful in upper-level, college-prep punctuation and grammar, this is the course for you.
Course outline:
Class 1: The power of punctuation; what punctuation does (and doesn’t do) for your writing, and how you can harness that power
Class 2: Complete comma understanding and practice: identification of commas with multiple clause sentences (the sentence/non-sentence trick)
Class 3: Complete comma understanding and practice: typical comma errors and editors’ choices with commas
Class 4: Common, unusual, and rare comma placement in common, unusual, and rare places
Class 5: Semicolons, colons, and commas used together correctly
Class 6: End punctuation issues, quotation mark errors, and quotes within quotes issues
Class 7: Citations, references, footnotes, and research-centric punctuation
Class 8: Mastering punctuation in the SAT and ACT
Course materials: TBA, ordering information forthcoming. Word 2007 or later version or the ability to convert documents to Word-compatible documents.
Homework: Homework: Daily quizzes, with an estimated two to three hours per week for homework outside of class time. Quizzes are graded automatically by the computer for instant feedback. Course includes skill-building sheets with corrections guide. Personalized question time will be offered in class to insure a strong understanding of concepts. 

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)