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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

SAT and ACT Prep Courses

Update: This live course has concluded and is available now 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:Adult and High School Catholic Online Classes

I am so very excited to announce that Homeschool Connections will be offering SAT/ACT preparatory classes this summer.

We are offering a two-part series. You can take Prep I for an introduction or take both Prep I and Prep II for an in-depth study that will fully prepare you for both the SAT and ACT. The maximum number of students for Prep I is 30 and the maximum for Prep II is 20 so seating is limited and you should register as soon as possible.

Please see below for full descriptions of both courses as well as links to register:

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
The instructor will be available via email in between classes for questions and comments.
Recordings of classes are provided to students within 24 hours and available for 6 months.
Homeschool Connections does not provide record keeping services.


(click on the title above to register)

Class dates: Monday & Thursday—July 19, 22, 26, 29
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time (6:00 pm Central)
Duration: 2 hours
Fee: $80 for entire 2-week course.
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 10th, 11th, and 12th grade
Course description: This course aims to provide the student with a thorough introduction to the format and content of the SAT and ACT as well as to introduce him to the key strategies to use when approaching the various types of problem that he will encounter. The course will be intensive, requiring a significant amount of work outside of class (1–2 hours per day). Class time will involve the systematic presentation of test sections and the strategies necessary for them followed by limited practice problems as time allows. Methods will include everything from solving the problems using traditional means to the various ways of “gaming” the questions, answering using strategies that are more cognizant of the special format of the tests. Homework will include practice problems and vocabulary acquisition. Once completed, the course will provide the student with a thorough knowledge of exactly what is on the test and the various theories to use in approaching the test.
Course outline: (Tentative)
Session 1: Overview, Essay Writing, Science Section
Session 2: Math Section
Session 3: Reading Section
Session 4: Writing Section
Homework: Practice Problems and Vocabulary
Course materials:
If you plan to take only the SAT or only ACT, you need only purchase that particular test book.
ACT: The Real ACT Prep Guide, 2nd edition
and
SAT: The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition
Available new and used through many providers, or your library.



(click on the title above to register)

Class dates
: Monday & Thursday—August 2, 5, 9, 12
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time (6:00 pm Central)
Duration: 2 hour
Fee: $90 for entire 2-week course.
Prerequisite: SAT & ACT Prep I
Suggested grade level: 10th, 11th, and 12th
Course description: This course aims to provide the student with extensive practice in the use of strategies introduced in part one. The course will be intensive, requiring a significant amount of work outside of class (1–2 hours per day). Class time will be spent working through problems as a group, especially those that have proven troublesome in the homework prepared for the session. Methods will include everything from solving the problems using traditional means to the various ways of “gaming” the questions, answering using strategies that are more cognizant of the special format of the tests. Homework will include practice problems and vocabulary acquisition. Test sections will be graded by the students; those problems that the students miss will be communicated to the instructor prior to class to aid him in preparing. Two practice essays will be graded by the instructor. Once completed, the course will provide the student with a real, hands-on familiarity with all of the content and strategies involved.
Course outline: (Tentative)
Session 1: Science and Math Sections
Session 2: Math Section
Session 3: Reading Section
Session 4: Writing Section
Homework: Practice Problems and Vocabulary
Course materials:
If you plan to take only the SAT or only ACT, you need only purchase that particular test book.
ACT: The Real ACT Prep Guide, 2nd edition
and
SAT: The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition
Available new and used through many providers, or your library.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Seven Reasons to Learn Latin

Latin is the one subject I've always had to seek out help to teach. I know the importance of teaching it to my children but I have a mental block when it comes to foreign language, especially Latin. If you'd like some help teaching Latin, Homeschool Connections is offering a series of high school and middle school Latin courses for summer, fall, and spring. But first, let's talk about Why Latin?

1. It's the official language of the Church. As Edward Peters has stated, "A working knowledge of Ecclesiastical Latin affords one direct access to nearly two millennia of accumulated Christian wisdom"
2. Higher SAT scores. Latin students score 160 points higher than non-Latin students in the verbal section of the SAT. They also have significantly higher scores in math. An investment in Latin can translate into college scholarships!
3. Builds character. Learning Latin can be challenging. It takes perseverance and dedication.
4. Builds vocabulary. At least 60% of words in the English language are derived from Latin, often through middle French, 30% of English words are of Anglo-Saxon origin, and 10% from Greek and other languages.
5. Scientific and medical terminology often come from Latin. Did you know that most, if not all, of the 206 bones in your body are Latin words?
6. English grammar. To learn Latin well, you must learn the grammar. In Latin the word order won't help you as it is a highly inflected language with lots of endings to learn.
7. Logic skills. Latin trains your mind and memory. Translating a Latin sentence is an exercise in logical thinking.

To learn more, please visit our website or drop us an email. All of our online courses are interactive -- the student sees and hears the professor. The student easily communicates verbally or through chat. Homework is graded for you or an answer key is provided. Plus, the professor is available between classes for help. The summer camps are a great way to keep Latin alive during the break so you don't spend weeks in review come fall.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Foreign Language and SAT Scores

We've all heard how the study of foreign language increases SAT and ACT scores. Are high test scores our end all goal in homeschooling? Of course not, but they sure are helpful when it comes time to apply for college and scholarships. Also, higher scores tell us that our children are learning which is the end all goal.

The chart linked here shows the difference foreign language makes in the verbal portion of the SAT. It's pretty significant -- up to 25% higher.

Studies conducted by the Educational Testing Service show that Latin students consistently outperform all other students on the verbal portion of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)
Year: 2004
All students 508
Latin 674
French 642
German 627
Spanish 575
Hebrew 630
This summer and next school year Homeschool Connections will be offering Latin and German for middle to high school students. As you can see from the chart above, Latin students average 166 points higher on their SAT and German students 119. That's a nice plus in addition to all the other benefits to learning languages.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Online Classes: Job Search Skills

Update: This live course has concluded and is available now 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: Adult and High School Catholic Online Classes

As a former Human Resource Manager and Corporate Recruiter, I cannot stress enough the importance of good job search skills. During my career I saw a lot of wonderful individuals go unemployed or underemployed because they did not have strong job search skills. There is not a lot to learn but it is all important. From being able to create an eye-catching resume to standing out in a job interview to getting that interview in the first place, and more.

This is ever so much more important in the current job market. This 4-day course will teach a high school and college students the skills necessary to put them in the driver's seat of their future.


(Click on title for registration information)

Class dates: Monday through Thursday, May 24 to May 27, 2010
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 8:00 pm Eastern Daylight (7:00 pm Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Instructor: Derek Prentice
Fee: $60 for entire 4-week course
Recommended Age: 10th grade to college
Homework and Course Materials: Mr. Prentice will provide free online resources. There will be no graded homework but to make the most of this course you will want to practice the techniques learned in class on your own. Mr. Prentice will be available via email to help you with questions.

Course description:
Be a Beacon of Light in the Workplace!

Obtaining victory in an employment world that is full of Serpents and Traps. Are you prepared for the challenge? Your parents have given you a great education in your homeschool. Some of you may be on your way to college. Are you ready to take your education and skills to the workplace? Join Mr. Prentice and Homeschool Connections to learn how to find and get your dream job.

Have you ever wondered "How in the world did that person get that job?" or "Wow, that is the coolest job in the world. I would have never thought that a person could get paid to do that!" Find out how you can be that person. The mainstream media continues to tell us that the "Sky is Falling!" Well if you like to follow the "Pied Piper" and listen to the symphony of employment destruction ... be my guest. However, if you have the "No Guts, No Glory!" attitude, then read on and seriously consider joining us in this career search course.

In this course you will learn about:
-- Resumes / Electronic resumes
-- Applications (90% are now online)
-- Interview skills (How to become an expert at phone and face to face interviews)
-- Online Job Boards such as Monster, Career Builder, Indeed and many others
-- Social Media and how it can be used for and against you
-- Reputation Management and Networking
-- Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.
-- Questions potential employers like to ask
-- Confrontational Interviewing and other types of interviews you may encounter
-- Other Grassroots / DYI marketing yourself ideas
-- Creating your own Unique Selling Proposition

Course Outline:
Class 1) Overview of the current market and how it is changing
Class 2) Commonsense and Mistakes that Kill
Class 3) How to create a great marketing blitz – for yourself
Class 4) How to utilize social media and what not to do.

Presenter's biography:
Derek Prentice is a graduate of Hope College with a B/A in Communications, Business and Art. An accomplished and integrity-driven professional with over 14 years of business success with Fortune 500 organizations and start-up companies, specializing in technology, automotive, power sports and consumer electronics.

Equipment requirements:
Attendees are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Cost of a Quality Catholic Online Education

Homeschool Connections Fees

Live courses:
Prices vary from $40 to $180 for individual courses. The price is based on several factors:
  • Length of the course
  • Whether or not homework is graded by the instructor
  • The instructor’s degree and experience
  • Whether or not you take advantage of the Early Enrollment Discount
Prices are shown with each course listing in the course catalog.

Recorded courses (Subscription Service):
Our 200+ hours of classes plus content are available for only $1 for the first seven days and then only $30 per month thereafter. The subscription fee is an automatic deduction each month. You can cancel anytime, subscribing for as long or as short as you need. During your subscription period you have unlimited access to all of the available recorded courses and supporting materials. Live courses become available to subscribers 3 to 6 weeks after their last class, so new content is always being added.

Course materials:
To help you keep your costs down, we provide most of our materials free online or as a PDF file. In the case of the literature courses, the books should be easily available from your library. A few courses do require the purchase of lab materials or a textbook. In those cases, we provide information to find them inexpensively or used. See individual course listings for required course materials.

Equipment:
Students are required to have high speed internet (not dial up) and a headset with a microphone. Headsets can be found for as cheap as $11. However, we recommend a quality headset that plugs into your USB port. These run about $30.

Additional fees:
None. We do not charge registration fees, late enrollment fees, or any other extra fees.

Early Enrollment Discount:
We do provide a discount for early enrollment. Early enrollment helps our instructors plan their courses more efficiently. The discount ranges from $10 to $30. The discount for individual courses is found in the course catalog under each course listing. The deadlines are:
  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring: November 1
  • Summer: April 1

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Homeschool Planning

It's that time of year again. Many of us are looking back over the school year and thinking about our plans for the next. Some have already laid their 2010/2011 plans in stone. Others are putting it off until September.

In a beautiful effort to help us all with this task (that some of us love and others of us loathe) Jenny Bales presented a webinar series on the topic last year. Those webinars were recorded and can help you get it together this year. Prayerfully.

Jenny's homeschool group holds a Day of Reflection for moms in preparation for planning the next school year. They developed a self-evaluation survey for the mothers to complete with questions covering personal spirituality, successes and struggles from this year, and goals for the next year.

Jenny brings that experience to the entire Catholic homeschool community via two free webinars. These are ones well worth your time.

Prayerfully Reflecting on Last Year
Here is a chance to really step back from the busy-ness of family life and pause to reflect on the previous academic year's highs and lows. The focus will be to take some time to ponder our personal spiritual growth and our successes and challenges from the past year of homeschooling with a goal to prayerfully discern what, if anything, needs to change for next year. Participants are provided with a thorough self-evaluation survey at the close of the webinar to complete on their own time, which has been an inspiring process for all who have done it, so far! This webinar is part one of a two part series, continuing with Prayerfully Planning for Next Year but one can be attended without the other, if desired.

Prayerfully Planning for Next Year
Regardless of what stage of planning for next year moms have completed, this will be an opportunity to consider our plans in light of God's will through prayerful discernment. Having evaluated the previous academic year in the webinar Prayerfully Reflecting on Last Year, our goals for this discussion are to ask the Lord for guidance in choosing materials and preparing lessons for next year and setting some goals for ourselves, our family, and each individual child that truly reflect our priorities. This webinar is part two of a two part series but one can be attended without the other, if desired.

Presenter's Biography
Jenny is a richly blessed homeschooling mother of two children, with a baby boy due in June. Her daughter is finishing second grade and her son is finishing pre-Kindergarten. Previously a middle school and high school English/Language Arts teacher, youth retreat director, and strategic planning consultant (among other things), her enthusiasm for and experience with personal and curriculum planning has been a great asset to her own homeschooling way of life. She cannot wait to share with you the process she developed with her local homeschooling group to evaluate each homeschooling year and make plans for the next year all focusing on God's will for our families and raising holy children in Christ-centered homes!