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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Free! Online Classes: Catholic Homeschooling



"What can I do to help my child learn faster, really understand schoolwork, and know how to study better?" As homeschooling parents, we ask ourselves this question all the time.

True, there are many ways to help -- but one thing is for sure: Developing skills and implementing good habits is critical to ensure our children's success. With excellent study, note taking, and test taking skills, our teens can have a successful high school career that  prepares them for life far beyond the teen years.

If our teens can learn how to get homework completed well, remember and apply the information, and ace all their tests, then learning will be easier and more enjoyable.

Here at Homeschool Connections, we want to help your teen accomplish just that.

How to Be an Excellent Student: Note Taking, Test Taking, and How to Get an A is a short-but-powerful course designed for your 7th to 10th grade student by Professor Erin Brown Conroy (author of Simplified Writing 101 and Master Teacher of over 30 years) and presented through Homeschool Connections.

And this course is now totally and completely FREE. 

REGISTRATION IS OPEN
To register, click here: Homeschool Connections 2015/2016 Registration Page.
Then choose the semester and click on "Search".

We are offering How to Be an Excellent Student free over the next three semesters. Here are the dates:

Summer 2015 Semester (daily):
M, T, W, Th May 4 to 7 at 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
M, T, W, Th, June 29 to July 2 at 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific) The June course is full and closed for registration.

Fall 2015 Semester (weekly):
Fridays, September 25 to October 16, 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Fridays, November 6 to December 4 (No class Nov. 27), 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)

Spring 2016 Semester (weekly):
Tuesdays, January 5 to 26, 3:00 PM Eastern (2:00 Central; 1:00 Mountain; Noon Pacific)

The course details are as follows:

How to be an Excellent Student: Note Taking, Test Taking, and How to Get an A

Total classes: 4
Duration: 50 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 10th grade
Fee: FREE
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description: This course is designed to help your student become strong, confident, and able to study for any high school level course with success.
Course outline:
Class 1: Active listening and how to take notes effectively
Class 2: Active reading and how to study effectively
Class 3: Critical reading skills for comprehension
Class 4: Test-taking in a timed setting
Course materials: All materials provided free from the instructor.
Homework: This is a lecture course with approximately 2 hours work per class (reading and automated quizzes).

Please note: Registration is limited. We suggest registering early to ensure a seat. If your circumstances change and you will not participate in the course, please email us to cancel immediately. This way someone who is on the waiting list will be able to step into the course. Please treat this free course just as you would treat a paid course. Students and parents should be actively engaged in the classes. 

Homeschool Connections email: homeschoolconnections@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Summer School: Latin


Latin does NOT need to be drudgery. It can be fun and interesting. There are so many great benefits to learning Latin, from higher ACT scores to understanding the language of the Church and so much more. Why not make it fun to learn?!

Well, we're here to help in that area.

This June we'll be translating Winnie Ille Pu (that's Winnie the Pooh for you non-Latinistas) and we hope you'll join us ...


REGISTRATION IS OPEN
(Choose "2015 Summer" semester.)

Here are course details for you:

Winnie the Pooh in Latin 
Class dates : Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, June 2nd - June 18th (June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18)
Total classes : 9
Starting time: 7:30 PM Eastern (6:30 Central; 5:30 Mountain; 4:30 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Latin 2 (both parts 1 and 2) or equivalent.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester Latin
Fee: $100 for all 9 classes
Instructor:  Emily Henry
Course description: Students who have taken Latin 2 (or higher) with Mrs. Henry will enjoy a laid back summer course of translating portions of Winnie the Pooh from Latin into English. The course will help students sharpen their grammar and translation skills without the pressure of a regular class or grades. This engaging and fun course will allow students to see Latin in a different light.
Course outline:  Translating a designated number of lines in preparation for class.
Course materialsWinnie Ille Pu (Latin Edition) (Click on title for ordering information: affiliate link)
Homework: Students should plan to spend up to an hour on their homework in preparation for each class.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Online Classical Education Courses



The Trivium is a time-proven method for educating children. It is a model that recognizes God's design and how He created children to learn. For this reason, Homeschool Connections has created engaging, online classes that are classical in nature and also raise students' hearts to God.

We currently offer middle school (logic stage) and high school (rhetoric stage) courses. Grammar school courses are in the planning process. 

We work very hard to keep our courses affordable for Catholic homeschool families. The typical live, interactive online course is $550 to $1,300 per year. Homeschool Connections live, interactive courses average $360 per year. The typical recorded, independent-learning course is $400 per course per year per student. Homeschool Connections' recorded, independent-learning courses are only $330 for 150 courses for the immediate family. (Yes, 150 courses for your entire family!)

Just a few of our classical offerings:
Biblical Greek
Latin
Philosophy
Formal Logic
Shakespeare
Myths and Drama
Greek Literature
Ancient History
and so much more.

Our instructors include: 
Professor Joseph Pearce, Catholic speaker and author of many books on Shakespeare and Tolkien.
Dr. Henry Russell, Creator of the Shakespeare Audio Series from Kolbe Academy
Dr. Jean Rioux, Chair of Philosophy at Benedictine College 
Dr. Robert Gotcher, Contributing author to Why Should I Learn This: "Why Should I Learn Using the Trivium" and "Why Should I Learn Formal Logic".

Please don't hesitate to email us at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com with your questions and suggestions. Or, leave a comment for us below.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How to Rock High School: Free Study Skills Classes


What is the number one way to rock your high school career? Great study skills! If you can learn how to get homework done in a breeze and ace all your tests, then you have it made.

You can do that. With good study, note taking, and test taking skills your high school years will be much easier and more fulfilling. Plus, a successful high school career will prepare you for life far beyond your teen years.

Here at Homeschool Connections, we want to help you accomplish all you can accomplish in high school. We want to help you develop good skills and implement good habits that will ensure your success.

Along with Professor Erin Brown Conroy (author of Simplified Writing 101), we created an online course just for you: How to Be an Excellent Student: Note Taking, Test Taking, and How to Get an A.

Now, here's the crazy part ... it's totally and completely FREE.

This course is designed for 7th to 10th grade students. So if you're looking forward to high school in a year or two and want to be prepared, or if you're already in high school looking to improve, we have you covered.

Now for all the course details ...

REGISTRATION IS OPEN
To register, click here: Homeschool Connections 2015/2016 Registration Page.
Then choose the semester and "search".

We are offering How to Be an Excellent Student FREE over the next three semesters. Here are the dates:

Summer 2015 Semester (daily):
M, T, W, Th May 4 to 7 at 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
M, T, W, Th, June 29 to July 2 at 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)

Fall 2015 Semester (weekly):
Fridays, September 25 to October 16, 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Fridays, November 6 to December 4 (No class Nov. 27), 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)

Spring 2016 Semester (weekly):
Tuesdays, January 5 to 26, 3:00 PM Eastern (2:00 Central; 1:00 Mountain; Noon Pacific)

The course details are as follows:

How to be an Excellent Student: Note Taking, Test Taking, and How to Get an A

Total classes: 4
Duration: 50 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 10th grade
Fee: FREE
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description: This course is designed to help your student become strong, confident, and able to study for any high school level course with success.
Course outline:
Class 1: Active listening and how to take notes effectively
Class 2: Active reading and how to study effectively
Class 3: Critical reading skills for comprehension
Class 4: Test-taking in a timed setting
Course materials: All materials provided free from the instructor.
Homework: This is a lecture course with approximately 2 hours work per class (reading and automated quizzes).

Please note: Registration is limited. We suggest registering early to ensure a seat. If your circumstances change and you will not participate in the course, please email us to cancel immediately. This way someone who is on the waiting list will be able to step into the course. Please treat this free course just as you would treat a paid course. Students and parents should be actively engaged in the classes.

Homeschool Connections email: homeschoolconnections@gmail.com




Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten: Catholic Homeschooling on Pinterest


by Maureen Wittmann

Why Pinterest is Worth Your Time
I love Pinterest. When people describe it as nothing more than a "time sucker", I'm perplexed. Used correctly, it is a great time saver. It can be used to save recipes, home repair ideas, academic articles, Catholic apologetics information, and so much more.

For our purposes here, I'd like to share how Pinterest can save you time and improve your homeschool. I also include a Top-10 List of Catholic Homeschool Pinners at the end.

How It Works
I use Pinterest as a virtual filing cabinet. After you set up your new Pinterest account, you can set up "boards". View these as your virtual hanging folders. Label your boards as you would label file folders. For example, if you're using Pinterest to store homeschool ideas you may label your boards with names such as "Homeschool Planning Forms", "Catholic Arts and Crafts", and " Free Math Worksheets".

As you come across resources for planning, crafts, and worksheets you can "pin" (save) them to your board instead of printing them out and filing them in your desk. For example, this will be particularly helpful when a friend posts resources on Facebook that you don't need at the moment but will need in the future. Someone may share the perfect planning forms in October but you don't need them until May.

When planning time comes around, all you need to do is go your board where everything is saved in one simple place, making it easy to access on a moment's notice. Or, when you're ready to do that perfect Advent craft that you stumbled across last Lent you can find it easy schmeasy. Or when your child finishes schoolwork early and you want to keep her busy with a few math worksheets. Hop on Pinterest, pull up your Free Math Worksheets board and start printing.

Tool for Successful Pinning
To easily pin resources to your board, you'll want to download the Pinterest Browser Button. This little gadget will make it extremely easy for you to save favorite web pages. It appears next to the web address on your browser. You simply click on it, choose a board, and it's saved for future reference.

Following Pinners and Boards
Another interesting aspect of Pinterest is the ability to follow other pinners. Now, this is where Pinterest's reputation as a time sucker comes in. If you spend countless hours surfing Pinterest, checking out what everyone else is pinning, you'll soon find that it's dinner time and you haven't homeschooled yet.

What I do is limit myself to 10 minutes every morning (when I'm checking email and Facebook messages) to see what's new on Pinterest. Often I find interesting articles or great tips that are helpful to my homeschool or provide the inspiration I need. The key is to follow only pinners or specific boards that are of interest to you. Plus, you must be disciplined enough to exit out of Pinterest after just 10 or 15 minutes.

Now for that Top-10 List ...
To help keep you focused on Catholic homeschooling pinners and boards, here are my favorites. You can follow all of their boards, or you can pick and choose only the boards that pertain to you and your homeschool.

Allison Girone
You may recognize Allison's name from her blog Totus Tuus. Allison has been on Pinterest for years and has almost 10,000 followers. She has twenty-three boards dedicated solely to Catholic homechooling. She has them neatly organized by grade level and by subject.

Grace Days
Grace Days is a brand new initiative started by Michele Quigley and myself. One of the missions is to help local homeschool groups offer one-day retreats for Catholic homeschool mothers. You will not find much here on how-to-homeschool information. Instead you will find inspiration and spiritually-uplifting resources.

Sweetness and Light
This is the Pinterest account of Meredith Henning. As the author of Homeschooling High School: It's Not as Hard as You Think, Meredith offers a treasure trove of resources for the high school years in addition to many other boards for other grade levels.

Catholic Inspired
Jennifer of Catholic Inspired has 81 boards for all things Catholic, including homeschooling and the liturgical year. With more than 3,000 followers she offers families many great resources.

Catholic Icing
Lacy of Catholic Icing is the queen of crafts for littles. Her 20,000 followers can attest to that! You'll also find other homeschool helps here, especially for the elementary years.

Shower of Roses
Ideas for holy days, Little Flowers Girls Club, and more. If you like to sew and/or do crafts, the saints dolls board alone is a must to follow.

Homeschool Connections
This is HSC's business Pinterest page. We have over 50 boards dedicated to Catholic homeschooling, from preschool to high school; from classical education to unschooling; and from art to writing.

Emmanuel Books
There is something here for everyone -- whether you're looking for lapbooking ideas for your preschooler or information on college prep for your high schooler.

Behold Publications
If you have a Little Flowers Girls Club or Blue Knights Boys Club in your homeschool group, this is the place for you.

Catholic Homeschool Adventures
A little bit of everything is here. From modest clothing links to homeschool organization to teaching specific school subjects.

In Closing
This is my personal Pinterest page: Maureen Wittmann. It's where I keep my recipes and home improvement ideas filed. (My home needs a lot of improvement.) I didn't include it in the Top 10 because it's not heavy on homeschooling. I keep most of my homeschooling resources stored at Homeschool Connections. However, it will give you some ideas on how to organize a personal Pinterest account for items other than homeschooling.

If you have a favorite Catholic homeschool pinner that I've missed here, please leave a comment and share below.

I pray that if you're currently using Pinterest, or plan to give it a try, you'll find it to be a useful tool that enhances your home life.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Online Summer School 2015


Addendum: we need to change our graphic to: 6 GREAT SUMMER COURSES. We've added a Latin II/III course where students will be translating Winnie the Pooh. Now, you can't tell me that won't be fun! See below for the details.

Summer is a great time for light learning. It gives students the opportunity to keep their minds fresh as well as provide them with a head start when the fall semester rolls around again.

Our Unlimited Access program offers 150 recorded, independent-learning courses that can be taken at your own pace. It's a great way to keep learning alive year round.

Additionally, we have scheduled several live, interactive courses available for the summer semester. Teens are able to interact with their instructor and fellow students just as though they were in a physical classroom together:
  • How to Read Great Literature with Joseph Pearce
  • Christian Architecture through the Ages with Phillip Campbell
  • Health Science: Nutrition with Christine Hamilton, MS
  • Health Science: Physical Fitness with Christine Hamilton, MS
  • SAT Test Prep (updated for new changes in the SAT) with Erin Brown Conroy, MFA
REGISTRATION IS OPEN
(Choose "2015 Summer" semester.)

Here are course details for you:

Winnie the Pooh in Latin 
Class dates : Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, June 2nd - June 18th (June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18)
Total classes : 9
Starting time: 7:30 PM Eastern (6:30 Central; 5:30 Mountain; 4:30 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Latin 2 (both parts 1 and 2) or equivalent.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester Latin
Fee: $100 for all 9 classes
Instructor:  Emily Henry
Course description: Students who have taken Latin 2 (or higher) with Mrs. Henry will enjoy a laid back summer course of translating portions of Winnie the Pooh from Latin into English. The course will help students sharpen their grammar and translation skills without the pressure of a regular class or grades. This engaging and fun course will allow students to see Latin in a different light.
Course outline:  Translating a designated number of lines in preparation for class.
Course materials: Winnie Ille Pu (Latin Edition) (Click on title for ordering information: affiliate link)
Homework: Students should plan to spend up to an hour on their homework in preparation for each class.


Health Science: Nutrition 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th. June 8 to June 18, 2015
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Health Science
Fee: $50.00 for all 8 classes
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, MS
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 materials: Provided free by the instructor.
Homework: 1 hour per day.


How to Read Great Literature 
Class dates: T, W, Th, June 23, 24, 25, 30, July 1, and 2, 2015
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour per class
Prerequisite: The desire to read great literature.
Suggested grade level: 10th grade and above (including adults).
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester
Fee: $75 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Joseph Pearce
Course description: Professor Pearce will outline and explain the basic rules for reading and understanding the deepest level of meaning in the great works of civilization, including Homer, Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hopkins, Eliot, Lewis and Tolkien.
Course materials: Class Notes will be made available during class
Homework: Suggested preparatory reading and online quizzes on each of the six classes

Health Science: Physical Fitness 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th. July 6 to July 16, 2015
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes per class
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Health Science
Fee: $50.00 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, MS
Course description: Foundational program that introduces teens to physical fitness and strength training. We will learn fitness training and put concepts into practice for each class. Program is designed for home, backyard, park or anywhere with minimal space requirements.
Course materials: Weights, 3 lb, 5 lb or soup cans.
Homework: 30-45 minutes per day.

Christian Architecture through the Ages 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th, July 13, 14, 15, 16
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes per class
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/4 semester World History
Fee: $65 for all 4 classes.
Instructor: Phillip Campbell
Course description: This course will acquaint students with the basic components of Christian ecclesiastical architecture, beginning with the basilicas of the late patristic era and moving through the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic.
Course outline:
Day 1: Late patristic basilicas,
Day 2: Romanesque and Gothic,
Day 3: Renaissance and Baroque elements,
Day 4: Revivalism and the Modern Descent
Course materials: Any course materials will be provided free by the instructor.
Homework: Minimal amount of reading; test at the end of the week with suggestions for further reading.

The New SAT: What you need to Know to Score Well
Note: The new SAT is scheduled to start in the spring of 2016. However, the new PSAT is scheduled for October 2015. This course will also help students taking the PSAT.
Class dates: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, June 22, 23, and 24.
Total classes: 5
Starting times June 22 and 23: Two 45-minutes sessions back-to-back each day at Noon and 1:00 PM Eastern, with a 15-minute break between (11:00 and Noon Central; 10:00 and 11:00 Mountain; 9:00 and 10:00 Pacific)
Starting time June 24: One 45-minute session at Noon Eastern Time (11:00 Central; 10:00 Mountain; 9:00 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes per class
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/4 semester, Student Success Skills/Study Skills
Fee: $75 for all 5 classes
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description: This course acquaints students with the new components of the re-designed SAT, to become comfortable with the test content and style in order to score well in each test section. The course will also give examples of question types found on the test, help students to identify strategies to raise scores, and give practice opportunities so that the student can be fully prepared for the test.
Course outline:
Session 1: An overview of the test, including reading, writing, math, and eight key changes in the test
Session 2: Relevant words in context and command of evidence
Session 3: Essay writing and analyzing a source
Session 4: “Math that matters” and problems grounded in real-world contexts

Session 5: Analysis in science, history, and social studies, including founding documents and “great global conversation”
Course materials: All course materials are provided at no additional cost.
Requirements: Students must be able to use the Internet, to access practice tests and materials online.
Homework: Minimal amount of reading, including practice tests, with suggestions for further practice.

Monday, March 9, 2015

History Scope and Sequence: Sixth to Twelfth Grade


History Scope and Sequence
Middle through High School

Parents sometimes ask us about the order in which our courses should be taken. We answer these inquiries by focusing on the needs of that particular family. Based on recent questions from parents, we offer you two different history scope and sequences here.

The first was developed for a family who wanted to begin 7th grade with Ancient History and move chronologically, ending with World History in the 12th grade.

The second was developed for a family who wanted to learn American History beginning in 6th grade and then cover other eras in high school.

Note the order of these courses is only a suggestion and can be adjusted to suit a family's specific needs and interests.

Chronological History Scope and Sequence
 
7th Grade 
Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia (12 weeks)
The Glory of Ancient Greece (12 Weeks)

8th Grade 
The Life and Time of the Ancient Romans (12 weeks)
Making of the Modern World, Part One (12 weeks)

9th Grade 
Making of the Modern World, Part Two (12 weeks)
Foundations of Christian Historiography (4 weeks) 
An Archaeological Survey of the Old and New Testaments (10 weeks)

10th Grade 
Catholic Middle Ages (12 weeks)
Roots of the Revolt (1417-1560) (6 weeks)
The Age of the Religious Wars (1560-1648) (6 weeks)

11th Grade 
Early American History (1492 to 1763); Discovery to the Dawn of Revolution (12 weeks)
U.S. History: Revolution, Republic and Union (1763-1865) (12 weeks)

12th Grade 
Modern American History; 1865 - 2000 (12 weeks)
World History; 12 Inventions That Revolutionized the World (12 weeks)



World History Scope and Sequence

6th Grade 
The American Revolution; Liberty! (10 weeks)
The Civil War; A Nation Divided (10 weeks)

7th Grade
World War I; What Price Glory? (10 weeks)
World War II; Allies and Axis (10 weeks)

8th Grade 
Making of the Modern World (24 weeks)

9th Grade 
Foundations of Christian Historiography (4 weeks)
Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia (12 weeks)
The Glory of Ancient Greece (12 Weeks)

10th Grade 
The Life and Times of the Ancient Romans (12 weeks)
Catholic Middle Ages (12 weeks)

11th Grade 
Roots of the Revolt (1417-1560) (6 weeks)
The Age of the Religious Wars (1560-1648) (6 weeks)
Early American History (1492 to 1763); Discovery to the Dawn of Revolution (12 weeks)

12th Grade 
Modern History; 1865 - 2000 (12 weeks)
World History; 12 Inventions That Revolutionized the World (12 weeks)

Monday, February 23, 2015

6 Forms for Successful Homeschool Planning



Homeschool Planning
Maureen Wittmann

(If you’d like to read more on this topic, see “Scheduling: Finding Order in Chaos” by Maureen Wittmann in The Catholic Homeschool Companion [Sophia Institute Press].)

Every homeschool parent approaches planning the school year a little differently. The following ideas and forms are only suggestions. Take what works for you and your homeschool. Tweak and adjust until it fits your family dynamic.

I suggest setting aside dates on your calendar or daily planner for your homeschool planning days. It is a task that takes considerable time and thought. Plan ahead so you can block out time to meet with individual children. You'll also need alone time. See if you can have your spouse or a grandparent take the children for extended periods of time so you can have quiet time to peruse your homeschool catalogs, review online classes, check with local support group leaders about co-ops, etc. Then, put it all to paper.

Here are a series of forms to help organize your school plan for the year. Each form includes instructions and examples. They will automatically download as Word (docx) files. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.

6 Steps for Successful Homeschool Planning:

STEP 1. As the current school year begins to wind down, take time to prayerfully reflect on the success of your school year. Write down what worked well and what didn’t.

Use this form: Reviewing Last Year

STEP 2. Before the beginning of the school year, put together a “course of study.” I suggest June, when everything is fresh in your mind but you’ve had a chance to reflect on the year. Your “course of study” will include all of the courses you want to tackle throughout the entire school year. This is a broad plan. You’ll write down goals, books to be used, and enrichment ideas.

Use this form: Annual Course of Study

STEP 3. Take your annual goals and break them down month by month.  By looking at the year month by month, you can make arrangements for holidays and preplanned events.


STEP 4. At the beginning of the each quarter, write out a quarterly course of study. This is similar to what you did for the year, only with more detail. This gives you the opportunity to review your current achievements and make adjustments for any unforeseen events. You can also make adjustments for children who are advancing at a different rate than expected.

Use this form: Quarterly Course Plan

STEP 5. The final scheduling form is the weekly itinerary. Every weekend, sit down and complete the plan for the next week. If your child is older and self-directed, then he or she can complete this step alone. This itinerary is then given to each child on Monday morning. They can check off tasks as they are completed.

Use this form: Weekly Itinerary

STEP 6. If you are scheduling your day hour by hour, then I have a daily planning form for you. This is important to use if you have time commitments such as live, interactive online classes, lessons outside the home, club meetings, etc.

Use this form: Daily Itinerary 


Note: I am not the original creator of some of these forms.  A friend gave them to me when I began homeschooling twenty years ago. Ever since, I’ve been tweaking them, sharing them far and wide, and making excellent use of them in my own homeschool.  It is my hope that you will be able to make excellent use of them as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Homeschool Planning: Reviewing Last Year

20 Questions to Ask Before Planning Your Homeschool Year


Before beginning to plan the next school year, it's important to first review the current year. Here is a form to help you reflect on your successes and failures: Reviewing My Homeschool Year (will download as a Word file). By honestly answering these questions, you can begin the process of making next school year your best year ever!

Here are 20 questions to ask yourself about this school year:
  • What were our greatest successes? 
  • Where did we fail? 
  • Am I happy with our homeschool “philosophy”? 
  • What was our best homeschool day? 
  • What was our worst homeschool day? 
  • How was my time management?
  • What subjects were completed successfully? 
  • What subjects are still uncompleted? 
  • Does my husband have any concerns? 
  • Do my children have any concerns? 
  • How was discipline handled? 
  • How was our home management? 
  • How was our spiritual life intertwined into our homeschool?
  • What was each child’s greatest success? (List out each child.) 
  • What social activities benefited our family and our homeschool the most? 
  • Do any of my children have special needs or learning disabilities that needed to be addressed? 
  • Did I experience burnout? 
  • Did the children experience burnout?
  • Did we utilize local support? 
And finally ...
  • Why do we homeschool? List all reasons, big and small.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top-10 Tips for Homeschool Planning for High School



Over the next week, I'll be writing a series of posts on planning the school year. Once the series is complete, I'll pull the posts together into one cohesive document to share on the website. I will also include actual planning forms to give you solid, practical help.

To start, here are some basics for making a multi-year plan along with the first of the planning forms:

Top-10 List:
Planning the high school years with Homeschool Connections.
  1. Determine what courses are needed to meet basic graduation requirements. Here is help to get you started: Basic Scope and Sequence for College-Bound Catholic Students. You could also use your state's requirements as a base to start.
  2. Review your child's coursework to date. On your scope and sequence, cross off courses completed so far.
  3. Make a list of courses still needed for graduation. Determine how you will spread them out over the remaining high school years.
  4. Ask your child about future goals. A student who wants to be a programmer will take different courses than a student who wants to be a chemist. 
  5. Determine your student's strengths and weaknesses. For example a student who struggles with language, but learns well using a multi-sensory methods (dyslexic children often fall into this category), may do better with American Sign Language than with Spanish. 
  6. Take into consideration your student's loves. An example here is a student who loves to write stories. That student should take more of our fiction-writing courses. They will still learn important writing skills in addition to learning litererary analysis. The bonus is that they will enjoy learning it more in a creative-writing atmosphere. 
  7. Once you have taken the above steps, you will have a strong idea of where you want to go in the future. Now open and save the HSC course catalogs and review all the options available to you. 
  8. Look for other resources to help you and your child meet goals. Books; websites; local co-ops; other online course providers; etc.
  9. Seek out advice from other homeschooling parents. If you're having trouble with a needed course or can't decide on the best path to take, go to your local or online support group. We're also here to help you at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com
  10. Free planning forms can be found at: Homeschool Planning Forms

Use this form to complete these steps successfully: Planning High School with HSC (Word document will download automatically).

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Catholic Homeschooling Book

**UPDATE**
Why Should I Learn This is now available in Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats. To download, visit Free Homeschool eBook.

Repost from Maureen Wittmann

There's a new Catholic homeschool book in town. Though, really, it would be great for any family with school-age children. I've always said "We're all homeschoolers, no matter where our children get their academics." After all, where did your children learn to walk and talk? To respect you and to love Jesus? Umm, at home, right?! And, to be honest folks, if you're not engaged in your child's education, they won't be as successful as they could be in school. Conversely, if education is important to you, if your children see you reading, if you and your children explore and question the world together, and if your children witness your joy when you learn something new, by golly, they will be successful in school -- no matter where that school is located.

Now that I've gotten that off my mind, I want to tell you about this new book. It's something that is very close to my heart. It's something that started in a little coffee shop in Howell, MI when I was brainstorming with my dear friend Erin Brown Conroy (also master writing instructor at Homeschool Connections). I was feeling frustrated that more students weren't taking philosophy and logic courses. Courses, I personally feel are vitally important to every child's education.

That's when Erin said, "What about a book called something like Why Should I Learn This?" So, I said, "Sure! Let's do it!" So we did. That brings me to today. To this big announcement ... two years later. Why Should I Learn This: A Guide for Homeschool Parents and Students has been released and is currently available at Homeschool Connections eBook.

Eventually, we'll put the book to print. However, today, it's a free eBook. It's currently available as a PDF that you can download to your hard drive or read online. Next week, we'll make it available for Kindle. We're also looking into other formats for you.

You may be asking, "That's nice, but what exactly is the book about and why should I take time to read it?"

Why Should I Learn This is a compilation of essays written by a wide variety of authors, much like my previous books A Catholic Homeschool Treasury and The Catholic Homeschool Companion. It includes great authors such as Joseph Pearce, Mike Aquilina, Carol Reynolds, Mary Ellen Barrett, Gray Michuta, Monica Ashour, and so, so many more.

The book demonstrates the importance of a variety of subjects. For example, if your child were to say to you, "Mom, algebra is stupid. I don't see how it'll help me in life." you could read the chapter Why Should I Learn Algebra together. If you and your spouse are debating whether or not formal logic should have a place in your homeschool, you could read Why Should I Learn Formal Logic and see what Dr. Robert Gotcher has to say on the subject.

Why Should I Learn This also has a chapter on educational approaches (pedagogy). If you've been hearing about Charlotte Mason education or classical education, and you want to know more, you can open that chapter and get the scoop.

You don't have to take my word for it. Here are the reviews that have already started coming in:
“Here’s the answer to many of the Why’s you (or your children) have asked about education. Whether you homeschool or not, this book is a treasury of well-crafted answers that will leave you with answers and, amazingly, even entertained!” —Sarah Reinhard, author and blogger, SnoringScholar.com and CatholicMom.com 
“Every homeschooling parent has faced the question: “Why are we doing this?” Whether it’s asked by a grumpy child or simply a feeling that lingers in the air at the end of a frustrating day, it’s inevitable that sometimes you (or your children) will wonder if what you’re learning really matters. That’s why this book is such a great resource: With beautiful writing about the relevance of each subject, Why Should I Learn This will rekindle the passion for education—not just for your students, but for you, too.” —Jennifer Fulwiler, author and blogger, ConversionDiary.com 
Why Should I Learn This is a reminder that education is not merely a stepping stone into the work force, but a good in and of itself. Education is an important facet of encouraging our children to flourish as human beings made in the image of God. I found myself nodding along as the contributors articulate what makes the subjects I love so valuable. They also challenge me to look at the subjects I’ve never been inclined to with new appreciation. Why Should I Learn This will inspire you to dive into learning right along with your children.” —Haley Stewart, author and blogger, CarrotsForMichaelmas.com 
So, head on over to Homeschool Connections eBook and get your copy today while it's free.

Let us know what you think in the comments. We're already planning a sequel, so don't hesitate to tell us what we missed. And, finally, humbly, we know there are a couple of typos in the PDF. The great thing is that we'll be able to fix them before the next edition.

Praying you have an amazing 2015 and that Why Should I Learn This helps you and your children in a special way.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free Kindle Fire Giveaway




To celebrate our soon-to-be-released eBook Why Should I Learn This, we are giving away a free Kindle Fire.

Why Should I Learn This is a 2-year project in the making. A $9.95 value, the eBook will initially be offered for free.

If you'd like a preview, you can download a sample chapter at: Free Homeschool eBook.  You can also sign up to receive notification when the entire eBook is ready (estimated date of release is December 15, 2014).

The sample chapter is Why Should I Learn Punctuation and Grammar by Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA. It is a terrific chapter to read whether you have grade school or high school children.

Why Should I Learn This is a compilation of essays written by over 30 authors including Joseph Pearce, Michele Quigley, Mike Aquilina, Professor Carol, and more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Creative Writing: Poetry

This is a great course that will help your high school student be a better writer and have a greater appreciation for beautiful poetry, as well as lift his or her heart up to God.

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(click on course title to register)

Note: Only 20 students accepted in this course.
Class dates: Mondays, January 5 to April 20, 2015. No class Feb. 16 or April 5.
Total classes: 14
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 Mountain; 10:00 Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Poetry or Literature/ Creative Writing
Fee:  $210 for all 14 classes.
Instructor: Sally Thomas
Course description: An introduction to the craft of poetry writing, including examination of traditional English verse forms and free verse, and experimentation with rhetorical techniques. Though this is a writing-intensive class, students will also be immersed in the reading of poetry. Through their experiences in examining how poems work and putting their observations into practice, students will prepare themselves for the challenge of college by developing heightened sensitivity as close readers and a greater command of rhetoric in their own writing, whether poetry or prose.
Course outline:
Class 1: Introduction
Class 2: Verse Systems
Class 3: Accentual Meters
Class 4: Syllabic Verse
Class 5: Forms in Free Verse
Class 6: Ode Forms
Class 7: Quantitative Verse
Class 8: Repetitive Structures
Class 9: Comical Schemes
Class 10: Rhetorical Schemes
Class 11: Variation and Mimesis
Class 12: More About Rhyming
Class 13: Uncommon Schemes
Class 14: Poetry Festival
Course materials: Rhyme’sReason, John Hollander.
Homework: At least one chapter in Hollander each week, plus additional poetry readings, provided by the instructor. One poetry-writing exercise per week.