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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keeping Teens Tuned In

Lisa Hendey Wrote a lovely piece about the Homeschool Connections summer courses over at Faith and Family Live.
When my boys were younger, the routine for “summer learning” was much more simple. I’d head off to the school supply store and purchase some standard workbooks for math and language arts. I’m not a homeschooling mom, but I always recognized the strong need for my boys to maintain their skills over the summer months. We would spend about an hour per day on “school” during the summer, working our way through the books and supplementing with frequent trips to the library.

With both boys in their teen years now, things have become a bit more complicated. Eric actually takes summer courses at our local community college and has a hefty summer work load for Academic Decathlon and his AP classes. Adam, in transition between 8th grade and high school, needs to work on music theory and Latin this summer in advance of starting his freshman year. Helping both of them learn to manage their time and be better organized is also a priority for this summer.

I was very happy to hear about a great program of summer studies being offered by Maureen Wittmann and Homeschool Connections. I wanted to share Maureen’s announcement with you and invite you to check out the terrific course offerings. This seems like the perfect option for teens like mine who are looking for stimulating summer learning options.

Thank you Lisa!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

American Papist on Homeschool Connections

Thanks go to Thomas Peters who gave Homeschool Connections a plug this morning.

Some of the courses are taught by Dr. Henry Russell, a former professor of mine. Your children are in the best of care with him. All the teachers are completely loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Oh, and for those of you looking for little Amp tidbits - I'm a proud product of home education.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time Management for Moms

I'm am so very excited to announce that Michele Quigley of Family Centered Press recently recorded a FREE webinar: Time Management for Moms 101 (scroll down and click on View). She did an awesome job. I really appreciated her real life approach, recognizing that most of us can't live up to the perfect ideal but we can take steps to make life run a little smoother and a little more joyful.

If you don't know Michele (if that is possible), she produces those ever-so-lovely planners for Catholic moms, dads, and students. We all use them here at my house and I highly recommend them. Though, you do need to order them early. Michele only prints so many since they're date sensitive and they seem to go fast since they're so beautiful as well as functional.

Michele is also co-author of the free Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum Mater Amabilis. Thank you Michele for all that you do!

Now, for the sound bite on Michele's free webinar:

Effective time management is the key to getting the most out of your day and avoiding burnout. As moms we have an office that never closes and an inbox that never empties, whether we work outside the home or not.

Michele will share her strategies for prioritizing tasks, overcoming procrastination, improving concentration and dealing with frequent distractions.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hands-On Science: Static Electricity.


Kris Correira's first ever Hands-On Science webinar went great! It was so fun to watch her do live experiments for us as she explained what was happening and why. She kept an eye on the chat and answered our questions through it all. I can't wait until the next one in the series.

In this first webinar of the Hands-On Science series, Kris Correira will explore the power of static electricity and share how you can bring the same science experiments to your home either for fun or for homeschool.

Kris Correira is a homeschooling mom to 3 boys. She works part time as a physician assistant in an busy emergency department and a paramedic instructor at a community college; she is also a volunteer science teacher for her local homeschool co-op. She has inspired a love of science in her children through lots of hands-on learning and science books without any textbook or curriculum. See what experiments she has for fun hands-on science homeschooling.
To view Hands On Science: Static Electricity just click here and scroll down to click on View. Watch with the kids if you can.

Loves School Reviews Homeschool Connections Webinars

The Loves School blog has a nice review of Homeschool Connection's free webinars. Thank you Kysha.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Homeschool Summer School

Excitement is building in the blogosphere for Homeschool Connections' summer school courses. See what everyone is saying:

Mary G. at St. Athanasius Academy
Michele Q. at The Family Centered Life
Ana Braga-Henebry's Journal
Alicia at Studeo
Suchi at Rejoice in Hope

Thank you Ladies!

(NOTE: Look to the sidebar for links to individual courses.)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Fr. Pacwa, Kids, and Religion


Father Pacwa's webinar yesterday went fantastic. He was wonderfully witty as well as wise. You can listen to the recorded version for free at: Father Mitch Pacwa Answers Questions on Faith & Children.

Catholic Homeschool Support Reviews Webinars

Yet another positive review of Homeschool Connections free webinars. This one is from Catholic Homeschool Support. Thank you!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer School: Space Trilogy

Update: These live courses have concluded and are available now as a recorded courses through our Unlimited Access! Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows. To subscribe or learn more, click here now: Catholic Homeschooling

Course Name:
The Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis
(click on the hyperlink to register)

Course Description:
This is a seminar in which we will discuss the Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis—Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. The first session will be an overview. Then we will spend two session discussing each volume. The final session will be a discussion of the entire trilogy. Juniors and seniors.

Professor's Biography:
Dr. Robert F. Gotcher most recently served as Associate Professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the home schooling of his children, especially in the junior high and high school years. He has taught Latin, literature, physics, astronomy, and religion to homeschooled students. He has a special devotion to the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric, especially as they pertain to the written arts.

Dr. Gotcher graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his M.A. in Theology of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1991 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. In his adult life he has done everything from volunteering with the poor in Appalachia, to religious education and youth ministry, to desktop publishing and computer related responsibilities at a law firm. At the seminary he taught introduction to theology, the doctrine of God, one and three, theological anthropology (creation, sin, redemption, grace, four last things), life principles, and human sexuality and has given public presentations on Vatican II, the encyclicals of the pope, social justice, life issues, human sexuality and the theology of the body. His publications focus on family issues, lay spirituality and issues related to the Second Vatican Council. He is involved in the secular Franciscan order, home schooling, and pro-life activities in the Milwaukee area and nationally.

Dr. Gotcher blogs at Heart, Mind & Strength, Classic Catholic and Love2Learn.

Fee:
Eight-week course for $120.

Dates and Time:
Classes will begin Tuesday, June 16, 2009 and meet every Tuesday through August 4, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:30 PM Eastern.

Enrollment Period:
Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 15 students.)

Course Materials Needed by Students:
The Space Trilogy by C. S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength)

Equipment requirements:
Because this is a discussion course, students are not only required to have high-speed internet but also a headset with microphone. If you do not own a headset, you can find them for a reasonable price at Amazon.

Course Access:
All Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months.

Other 2009 Summer Courses:
http://tinyurl.com/tolkienfairystories
http://tinyurl.com/beowulfchrist
http://tinyurl.com/catholicliving
http://tinyurl.com/collegewriting
http://tinyurl.com/catholicmacbeth
http://tinyurl.com/massexplained

Summer School: College Writing Preparatory

Update: This live course has concluded and is now available as a recorded course through our Subscription Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows.To subscribe or learn more: Online Catholic Courses

Course Name:

College Writing
(click on the hyperlink to register)

Course Description:
What are the characteristics of excellent writing in the eyes of college professors? This course will use the rhetorical arts to help turn competent writing into impressive writing. What are the essential components of an excellent piece of nonfiction writing? How does one write a compelling introduction and conclusion? How does one argue effectively for one’s position? What are important mistakes to avoid? The course will work with previous writing samples of the students, as well as composition exercises, culminating in the writing of a short argumentative essay. Juniors and seniors.

Professor's Biography:
Dr. Robert F. Gotcher most recently served as Associate Professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the home schooling of his children, especially in the junior high and high school years. He has taught Latin, literature, physics, astronomy, and religion to homeschooled students. He has a special devotion to the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric, especially as they pertain to the written arts.

Dr. Gotcher graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his M.A. in Theology of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1991 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. In his adult life he has done everything from volunteering with the poor in Appalachia, to religious education and youth ministry, to desktop publishing and computer related responsibilities at a law firm. At the seminary he taught introduction to theology, the doctrine of God, one and three, theological anthropology (creation, sin, redemption, grace, four last things), life principles, and human sexuality and has given public presentations on Vatican II, the encyclicals of the pope, social justice, life issues, human sexuality and the theology of the body. His publications focus on family issues, lay spirituality and issues related to the Second Vatican Council. He is involved in the secular Franciscan order, home schooling, and pro-life activities in the Milwaukee area and nationally.

Dr. Gotcher blogs at Heart, Mind & Strength, Classic Catholic and Love2Learn.

Fee:
Six-week course for $120.

Dates and Time:
Classes will begin Monday, June 22, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 27, 2009. The time will begin 12:00 PM Eastern and end at 1:15 PM Eastern.

Enrollment Period:
Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 20 students.)

Course Materials Needed by Students:
None

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet. A headset with microphone is preferred but not required. If you do not own a headset, you can find them for a reasonable price at Amazon.

Course Access:
All Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months.

Other 2009 Summer Courses:
http://tinyurl.com/massexplained
http://tinyurl.com/beowulfchrist
http://tinyurl.com/spacetrilogy
http://tinyurl.com/catholicliving
http://tinyurl.com/tolkienfairystories
http://tinyurl.com/catholicmacbeth

Summer School: MacBeth

Update: This live course has concluded and is now available as a recorded course through our Subscription Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows.To subscribe or learn more: Online Catholic Courses

Course Title:

The Catholic Shakespeare: MacBeth
(click on the hyperlink to register)

Course Description:
The course will explore the play on four levels: 1) What is literally happening and why that is often surprising; 2) What main Christian moral messages are being embodied in the play; 3) The Biblical references that enrich the meaning of the work; and finally, 4) How Shakespeare is presenting the challenges and duties of the Body of Christ within the Elizabethan police state. Suitable for anyone who can read the play and enjoy it. It is preferred that students have pre-read the play before the first day of class.

Professor's Biography:
Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine's Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students.

A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University.

Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College's Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Dr. Russell's works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand's groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Fee:
Four-week course for $60.

Dates and Time:
Classes will begin Monday, June 29, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 20, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.

Enrollment Period:
Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)

Course Materials Needed by Student:
MacBeth by William Shakespeare

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone. If you do not own a headset, you can find them for a reasonable price at Amazon.

Course Access:
All Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months.

Other 2009 Summer Courses:
http://tinyurl.com/beowulfchrist
http://tinyurl.com/spacetrilogy
http://tinyurl.com/catholicliving
http://tinyurl.com/collegewriting
http://tinyurl.com/tolkienfairystories
http://tinyurl.com/massexplained

Summer School: Beowulf

Update: This live course has concluded and is now available as a recorded course through our Subscription Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows.To subscribe or learn more: Online Catholic Courses

I've been very busy scheduling summer school courses for you and your teens. You won't believe the awesome professors and course offerings Homeschool Connections has put together! I hope you're all up to keep the learning going over summer because you won't want to miss the seven online classes we'll be offering to you.

For now, I'm just going to share the first class since it starts in only two weeks. Yes, you heard that right -- only two weeks.

I'm swamped today with Michele's webinar Time Management for Moms, Fr. Pacwa's webinar tomorrow, and homeschooling the kids but I promise to have all the other courses posted within the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, here is the information on that first course:
Course Title:
Beowulf and Christ
(click on the hyperlink to register)

Course Description:
This great mini epic will be explored as an allegory that teaches the Anglo-Saxon world how to transform pagan heroic ethos into a pattern for Christian heroism and how to re-envision blind Fate as Godly Providence. The Charles Kennedy translation is suggested. Be careful not to get a web version that cuts out the Christian elements. This is a book that lies behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s depiction of Edoras as well as the warlike virtues of Gondor. Suitable for any high school student who can read the poem and enjoy it. It is preferred that student have pre-read the poem before the first day of class. There will be no homework assigned for this course.

Professor's Biography:
Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine's Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students.

A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University.

Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College's Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Wiiting Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Dr. Russell's works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand's groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Fee:
Four-week course for $60.

Dates and Time:
Classes will begin Monday, June 1, 2009 and meet every Monday through June 22, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.

Enrollment Period:
Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)

Course Materials Needed by Students:
Beowulf, preferable the Kennedy translation.

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone. If you do not own a headset, you can find them for a reasonable price at Amazon.

Course Access:
All Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months.

If you want a peek at the other courses, here are the links. I'll post more detailed information soon.
http://tinyurl.com/catholicmacbeth
http://tinyurl.com/spacetrilogy
http://tinyurl.com/catholicliving
http://tinyurl.com/collegewriting
http://tinyurl.com/tolkienfairystories
http://tinyurl.com/massexplained

Review: Art and Music Appreciation with Living Books

Mary G. at the St. Athanasius Academy blog wrote a terrific review of the Art and Music Appreciation webinar. Thank you Mary!

Did you make it to the Wittman webinar on Wednesday evening (try saying that 5 times really fast)? What a GREAT time was had by all.

This is the first on-line conference I've attended and, although I'm a tech-head, I was a bit wary of the whole concept. I mean, c'mon, I love sitting in front of the computer like most folks but an hour and a half of just sitting (albeit, I'd be knitting), listening and watching ... sounded a bit over the top.

Well, let me tell you -- this is pretty slick. I got to sit and listen to Maureen and her presentation about teaching art and music using living books. AT THE SAME TIME, I could ask questions, chat with others or generally cut-up through the chat feature (just typing, no mike needed). Maureen, pro that she is, was keeping one eye on her presentation and one eye on the chat window so she could add her two bits too! VERY COOL.

Maureen's presentation was, as usual, excellent. Many of the books mentioned are in her classic, living teaching book, For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects with Literature. As a matter of fact, on of the participants had the forethought to have the book available so she could stick post-its as fast as Maureen commented on one book after another. But more than just repeating what she has in her book, Maureen did a great job of "playing to her audience" by keeping the flow going, by responding to questions or comments lobbed in the chat window, by generally giving us her "full monty" from the comforts of our own homes. I was surprised how quickly the technology took backstage to the presentation and it was almost as if she were in my living room giving the talk!

Walter Crawford, the brains behind the Homeschool Connection idea has partnered with Maureen to increase the number of webinars, making them all free. Additionally, the team is devising on-line classes for high school and middle school students. The first course will be a government course taught by the head of the Michigan pro-life committee! Check out the Homeschool Connection website for further information ....

All the webinars are now free, thanks to some amazing homeschool resource suppliers. For instance, the webinar on Wednesday was sponsored by Love2Learn.net and Margot at Hillside Education gave away THREE one-year subscriptions to her amazing Catholic homeschool quarterly, mater et magistra. I'm proud to say that I write the handcrafts column for this beautifully edited one-of-a-kind magazine!

In addition, you can actually download past webinars (including the one I attended), and you can replay it at your leisure. You'll get not only the presentation but you'll also have the actual "chat room" text that occured at the same time. You can save the webinar to your computer and replay it whenever you feel the need to spunk up your home-education adventure.

I love this stuff!

To view this recorded event: Bringing an Appreciation of Art and Music to Your Homeschool

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: Math and Science Webianr

Thank you Mary Ellen for the lovely review of the recent Math and Science webinar.
Webinars

Do you know what these are? They are like mini-conferences or seminars that you can participate in right on your computer. Live. It is totally cool.

The first webinar I listened to was the lovely and talented Danielle Bean. It was an evening thing and I sat in bed with my cuppa tea and my laptop and joined Danielle's live presentation which included a bit of discussion among the participants. It was easy and fun.

On Monday of this week I listened to Maureen Wittman's Bringing Joy to Math and Science (that's two separate links). It was wonderful. Maureen is an engaging speaker, interesting and knowledgeable, and the subject matter is one that often baffles the homeschool mom. She gave tons of suggestions for living books to make math and science less intimidating. Chris and I were both listening with the Amazon window open and we both made several purchases. We were IM'ing each other through the webinar as well.

Ahhh technology.

Check out the Bringing Joy link above, the webinar is still available to listen to for free and there are others both archived and coming up. Check it out and join us all next time.

To view the recorded event: Bringing Joy to Your Homeschool Math and Science Lessons

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prayerfully Approaching Homeschool Planning

UPDATE: Jenny Bales took her group's experience and created a 2-part series of free webinars for Homeschool Connections.

One thing that I really need to remember to discuss in future organization/planning webinars is the importance of prayer. I just read about a homeschool group that recently held a Day of Reflection for moms in preparation for planning the next school year. This is an awesome idea!

They developed a self-evaluation survey for the mothers to complete beforehand. They were to do so prayerfully, preferably in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The questions covered personal spirituality, successes and struggles from this year, and goals for the next year.

This is to be done before you sit down and plan for next year, to help put things in perspective, and is something they encouraged the mothers to take to their Holy Hours and spend several weeks completing. It was a tremendous blessing to everyone involved.

This is the Catholic homeschooling community working together at it's best. We are here to build one another up and support each other in our vocation.

You can read more here: Heart of a Mother: Day of Reflection for Homeschooling Mother

Monday, May 11, 2009

Homeschooling Science: Static Electricity


Kris Correira of At Home Science fame has developed a series of free webinars to help homeschoolers teach science. These should be way fun as Kris will be performing live experiments you'll be able to see on live streaming video. All brought to you by Homeschool Connections.

Science At Home: Static Electricity

In this first webinar of the Hands-On Science series, Kris Correira will explore the power of static electricity and share how you can bring the same science experiments to your home either for fun or for homeschool.

Kris Correira is a homeschooling mom to 3 boys. She works part time as a physician assistant in an busy emergency department and a paramedic instructor at a community college; she is also a volunteer science teacher for her local homeschool co-op. She has inspired a love of science in her children through lots of hands-on learning and science books without any textbook or curriculum. See what experiments she has for fun hands-on science homeschooling.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Homeschooling Art and Music Appreciation

Free Recorded Webinar: Bringing an Appreciation of Art and Music to Your Homeschool

Literature isn't just for reading! You can teach math, science, language arts, and more using living books. This is the second in a series of three talks on the topic of teaching through real books. Do you have a love for beautiful art and music? Would you like to share that love with your children? Would you like to learn about all of the beautiful books available for children and young adults? Do you yearn for uplifting books that not only teach but help to create a joy for learning? If so, this is the talk for you. Maureen will bring lots of books with her for show and tell. You'll leave this online seminar loaded with book titles, fresh ideas, and practical tips. You won't want to miss it!

Maureen is the author of published by For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects with LiteratureEcce Homo Press, available from your favorite bookseller or www.maureenwittmann.com.

A very special thank you goes to our sponsors Love2Learn and mater et magistra. Without them, we would not be able to bring these webinars to you free.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Homeschooling Math and Science


Bringing Joy to Your Homeschool Math and Science Lessons

This is a remake of the original webinar with the same name. Since we experienced some audio and visual challenges with the first one we wanted to improve your experience by trying it all over again. It worked! Enjoy!

Literature isn't just for reading! You can teach math, science, language arts, and more using living books. This is the third in a series of three talks on the topic of teaching through real books.

Have you ever said out loud, "I hate math!" Or, "Math was my worst subject!" Was science always a tough subject for you? Do you struggle wondering how you can bring the fullness of the subject to your children? If so, you've come to the right place.

In this talk Maureen Wittmann shows you how to let go of your math and science phobia and keep from passing it onto your children. Math can be fun and interesting. Really. You just need to look at it in a new light. Science can go beyond the kitchen experiments and come alive in a child's imagination. Really.

Maureen brings lots of books with her for show and tell. You'll leave this online seminar loaded with book titles, fresh ideas, and practical tips. You won't want to miss it!

Maureen is the author of For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects Through Literature published by Ecce Homo Press, available from your favorite bookseller or maureenwittmann.com.

To sign up for other live webinars from Homeschool Connections, please visit https://homeschoolconnections.webex.com.

To view recordings of past webinars, please visit http://tinyurl.com/pasthomeschoolwebinars.

Thank you to our sponsors who make it possible to bring these webinars to you for free:
Living Math
Ecce Homo Press

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Homeschool Organization 102

Last night's live webinar Homeschool Organization 102 was fantastic. The audience was great -- participating to the fullest, sharing their best tips, advice, and websites.

The event was recorded and you may view it for free: Homeschool Organization 102. Enjoy.

Thank you to the sponsors of this event who make it possible for Homeschool Connections to bring it to you for free:
Ecce Homo Press
Love 2 Learn
Living Math

Click here for more free webinars on homeschool planning and organization.

Monday, May 4, 2009

We Need Your Input: Homeschool Classes and Webinars


Homeschool Connections is spending the month of May scheduling courses, seminars, and free webinars through the end of 2009. We'd like your help if you don't mind. In fact, this is a great opportunity for you, as you will have a direct input on what we schedule.

Click Here to take survey

Our goal is to serve the homeschool community and prayerfully this survey will help us do just that. Please feel free to pass this link onto other homeschoolers.