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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thomistic Philosophy for High School

UPDATE: This course is now being offered for half price!

Homeschool Connections is committed to a classical education. We offer a number of courses to help parents give their children a solid foundation from classical literature, Latin, logic, philosophy, and more. Students can engage in live, interactive courses or recorded course for self study.

One of these courses is our fall 2012 philosophy course: Thomistic Christian Philosophy; An Overview with Dave Palmer. Click on the video to meet Mr. Palmer.


Here are the details for the course:

(click on course title to register) 

Class dates: Fridays, Sept. 14 to Dec. 14, 2012. No class Oct. 26 and Nov. 23
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 75 minutes (1 hour 15 minutes)
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $195 $97.50 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Dave Palmer, Master of Theology
Course description: An overview of the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas based on his masterpiece, the Summa Theologica. Blessed Pope John Paul said ‘What is owed to man is the truth about man.’ This course aims to provide an introduction to Thomistic philosophy, in common language, so that beginners can better understand the principals of Christian philosophy that have been largely abandoned by our modern culture. They will learn the truth about man, how we relate to God, the angels and other creatures and most importantly to God, and how through a life based on virtue, we can achieve our ultimate end, union with God forever in heaven.

Course outline:
Class 1: The One God and the Blessed Trinity
Class 2: Creation, the Angels and Matter
Class 3: Man and the Government of Creatures
Class 4: Man’s Last End, Human Acts, Passions and Habits
Class 5: Vice and Sin
Class 6: Law and Grace
Class 7: The Theological Virtues
Class 8: The Cardinal Virtues
Class 9: The Incarnation
Class 10: The Life of Christ
Class 11: The Sacraments
Class 12: The Resurrection

Course materials: Summa Theologica can be accessed FREE on line or borrowed from the library, so no need to purchase the Summa unless you so desire.
Homework: Reading plus assignments graded by the instructor. Estimate 2 hours per week.

Instructor's biography: Dave Palmer, MTS Dave Palmer received his Master in Theology degree from the University of Dallas. Dave has spent the last three years studying the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and has written several papers on Thomistic philosophy. His specific area of interest is the restoration of Christian philosophy according to the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dave also holds a Bachelors degree in Communications/ Journalism from Southern Methodist University and Masters in Broadcast Meteorology from Mississippi State University. He’s currently the General Manager of the Guadalupe Radio Network Catholic radio station in North Texas. Dave has also taught theology (Sacraments and Scripture) at Bishop Dunne Catholic High School in Dallas. He is married to Paula and has two daughters, 7- and 3-years old. The family worships at St. Mary the Virgin Catholic Church in Arlington, TX.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Mr. Palmer 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.

Also live for the 2012/2013 school year is Logic II in the fall with Dr. Gotcher and Philosophy of God with Dr. Rioux in the spring. Recorded philosophy courses include: Introduction to Philosophy, Philosophy of Beauty, Early Modern Philosophers, Fallacies & Paradoxes, and more. Please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions!

(click on course title to register)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Human Biology in the Catholic Tradition: High School

(click on course title to register) 

Class dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Dec. 5, 2012. Exam dates Oct. 17 and Dec. 5. No class Nov. 21.
Total classes: 10 lectures plus 2 exam dates.
Starting time: 3:30 pm Eastern (2:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour (plus 15 minutes before most classes for weekly quiz)
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $160 if you register on or before August 1, 2012. $180 after Aug. 1 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Kris Correira, PA-C, MHP
Course description: Anatomy and physiology focusing on the musculoskeletal system and nervous system infused with Catholic thought and history.
Course materials: A FREE electronic book will be provided.
Homework: Students will have weekly quizzes and two exams as well as weekly labs to complete.

Instructor biography: Kris Correira, PA-C, MHP
Mrs. Correira has a long background in medicine and teaching. She is a physician assistant who worked in a busy emergency department for sixteen years. She has been teaching in the paramedic program at Quinsigamond Community College since 1993, and now also teaches a lab in Human Biology for Non-Majors at Eastern Connecticut State University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biological Sciences and Computer Science from Wellesley College, and her Physician Assistant Certificate and Masters of Health Professions degree from Northeastern University. She is currently working towards her Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Higher Education online from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc: Mrs. Correira 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 course title to register)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Geometry and Algebra II Summer Help

Here is a great way to get ready for the upcoming school year! These 2-week summer math camps help students lay the necessary groundwork for their fall and spring studies so they are successful and reduce struggles and disappointment with learning a new math discipline. What a wonderful way to jump right into the school year running! Mrs. Hoeft loves math and her love is so contagious, that her students can't help but catch her enthusiasm

Two camps still open for registration ...
Scroll down and learn more! 

(click on the camp title to register)

Class dates: Mondays through Thursdays, August 6 to 16, 2012
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 am Central)
Duration: 1 hour each
Prerequisite: Algebra 1/2 and Algebra 1
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th
Fee:$100 for all 8 classes.
Course description: We will review all of the geometry concepts we know so far to get ready to take Geometry in the fall
Course outline (week by week):
Week 1: Perimeter, area, surface area and volume of figures
Week 2: Review of proof formulas and properties of shapes.
Course materials: Paper, pencil, calculator (if needed). No textbook. Worksheets provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework: One worksheet each night to be corrected in the following class period.

(click on the camp title to register)

Class dates: Mondays through Thursdays, August 6 to 16, 2012
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 am Central)
Duration: 1 hour each
Prerequisite: Algebra 1
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th
Fee: $100 for all 8 classes.
Course description: We will be reviewing all of the Algebra 1 concepts that we can to get ready for algebra 2 in the fall.
Course outline (week by week):
Week 1: Solving linear equations using inspection, substitution and elimination.
Week 2: Non-linear equations including quadratic, absolute value and exponential
Course materials: Paper, pencil, and calculator. No textbook. Worksheets provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework: One worksheet per day to be corrected on the following day in class.

Please don't hesitate to email (homeschoolconnections@gmail.com) or leave a comment if you have a question or suggestion. Visit our website at www.homeschoolconnections.com

Instructor biography: Jean Hoeft, MA Mrs. Hoeft has been a math and algebra teacher for 23 years. She has a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from Marygrove University. Jean has taught the confirmation class at her Catholic parish for 28 years. She loves gardening, sudoku puzzles, raising chickens, reading, knitting, and everything Catholic.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Mrs. Hoeft 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 camp title to register:

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Early Enrollment Price Ends Soon

Homeschool Connections offers a discount for families who register early for our live, interactive classes. You can save $10, $20, and even $30 per course for the fall semester if you register on or before August 1st. (December 1st for the spring semester.)

The discount is automatic when you register. There are no special codes to remember, no hoops to jump through. Just visit the website and register today!

Click here now for registration links:
Middle School Online Classes
High School Online Classes

Monday, July 16, 2012

High School History: Early American History

So that families can study the same historical period together, Homeschool Connections is offering American history for both middle and high school throughout the 2012/2013 school year. For information on the middle school fall course click here: Liberty! for information on the high school course, please scroll down.

(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2012. No class Oct. 31 or Nov. 21.
Total classes: 12 Starting time: 4:30 pm Eastern (3:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Fee: $160 if you enroll on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $180 after Aug. 1 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Phillip Campbell
Course description: This course will take students through the formative years of our continent, beginning with the Spanish and Portuguese explorations of the New World, leading up through the settlements of Jamestown, Plymouth, and the Jesuit missions in New France, and culminating in the great war for the continent waged between France and Britain from 1755 to 1763, setting the stage for the American War of Independence one decade later, highlighting specifically the contributions made by Catholics in the settlement of North America.
Course outline:
Class 1: Pre-Columbian Peoples: A survey of the North American continent prior to the arrival of Columbus.
Class 2: First Contact: The history of Columbus' voyage and some of the early expeditions to the Caribbean.
Class 3: Spanish Dominion: The story of Cortez's conquest of Mexico and subsequent Spanish incursions into North America.
Class 4: Jamestown Colony: England's first attempt at colonization in the New World.
Class 5: The Puritan Experiment: The tale of the colony at Plymouth and the foundation of Massachusetts.
Class 6: Indian Wars: The friendly contact with the New England natives turns bloody as colonists encroach on native lands.
Class 7: Catholic Maryland: The history of Lord Baltimore and the founding of the Catholic refuge of Maryland.
Class 8: Missionary Efforts in New France: The history of the French settlements in Canada and northern Michigan, featuring the tale of the North American Martyrs.
Class 9: Religious Discord in the Colonies: A survey of the religious demographics of the colonies, the settlement of the religious refuge of Pennsylvania, and the anti-Catholic laws of the time.
Class 10: At the Turn of the 17th Century: History of the colonies from 1680-1750, including the missions of Fr. Serra in the west.
Class 11: Slavery: Origin and Growth: A survey of the origins of slavery, its legal status in the colonies, and an account of its growth.
Class 12: The French and Indian War: How competing interests brought France and England to war over their colonial empires.
Course materials: All materials provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework: Weekly reading and quizzes.

Instructor biography: Phillip Campbell 
Mr. Campbell holds a BA in European History from Ave Maria University and recently completed a certificate program in Secondary Education through Madonna University. He has a background as a Youth Director and RCIA instructor. He teaches history and Scripture for the St. Augustine Homeschool Enrichment Program. Mr. Campbell is the author of the popular fantasy-epic Tale of Manaeth. His writings have also appeared in such publications as St. Austin Review and The Distributist Review. Most recently, Mr. Campbell was elected Mayor of Howell, MI. Mr. Campbell and his wife of nine years homeschool their four children.

Misc.
Mr. Campbell 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.

Middle School History: American Revolution

(click on course title to register)

Note: Follow with Mrs. Stanley's course on the Civil War in the spring semester for a full year of American history. Mr. Campbell will be teaching high school American history so that families can learn the same period of history together this school year.

Class dates: Tuesdays, Sept. 11 to Nov. 20, 2012. (No class Oct. 23)
Total classes: 10
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th
Fee: $135 if you enroll on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $150 after Aug. 1 for all 10 classes.
Instructor: Alison Stanley, JD
Course description: Students will explore the following:
-- The Road to the Revolution.
-- What makes people push for change?
-- What was the cost of British troops in the Colonies?
-- What was the cause and effect of the Stamp Act?
-- The Boston Massacre
-- The Boston Tea Party
-- Declaration of Independence
-- What does it mean to be American?
-- How has society’s perceptions of liberty changed over time?
-- Colonial Leaders
-- British Heroes
-- Great Battles of the Revolutionary War
-- Daily Life of a Revolutionary War Soldier
-- The Treaty of Paris
Course materials: Provided FREE by the instructor.
Homework: Short written essays, reading assignments, and final, graded by the instructor.

Instructor biography: Alison Stanley, JD 
Mrs. Stanley has a B.A. from Michigan State University and a law degree from the University of Michigan. She loves to study history, especially how it pertains to legal and political issues of today. Mrs. Stanley is a mother of five children, all who have been homeschooled at some point.

Misc.
Mrs. Stanley 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 course title to register)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Online Math: Geometry

(click on course title to register)

Note: This is a 2-part course. Students are expected to also register for Part Two in the spring semester.
Class dates: Tuesdays, Sept. 11 to Dec. 4, 2012. No class Oct. 23.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 4:00 pm Eastern (3:00 Central), with optional office hours on Thursdays, 2:30 to 3:00 Eastern.
Duration: 75 minutes. First 15 minutes is dedicated to answering students’ homework questions.
Prerequisite: Algebra I (Unlimited Access!)
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $160 if you enroll on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $180 after Aug. 1 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Jean Hoeft, MS
Course description: Students will learn the use and application of shapes and their attributes to the world around them. This course will include proofs of angles theory as well as other triangle proofs. We will be applying our knowledge of algebra to the use and calculation of shapes, lines, angles, etc.
Course materials: Saxon Geometry, text and homeschool pack
Homework: Students should spend 6-8 hours a week on homework with a test each week. All homework and tests will be submitted to the instructor for grades and corrections.
 
Instructor biography: Jean Hoeft, MA Mrs. Hoeft has been a math and algebra teacher for 23 years. She has a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from Marygrove University. Jean has taught the confirmation class at her Catholic parish for 28 years. She loves gardening, sudoku puzzles, raising chickens, reading, knitting, and everything Catholic.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Mrs. Hoeft 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 course title to register)

Online Math: Algebra 2

(click on course title to register)

Note: This is a 2-part course. Students are expected to also register for Part Two in the spring semester.
Class Dates: Mondays, Sept. 10 to Dec. 3, 2012. No class Oct. 22.
Total Classes: 12
Starting time: 4:00 pm Eastern (3:00 Central), with optional office hours on Thursdays, 2:30 to 3:00 Eastern.
Duration: 75 minutes. First 15 minutes is dedicated to answering students’ homework questions.
Prerequisite: Algebra I (Unlimited Access!)
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $160 if you enroll on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $180 after Aug. 1 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Jean Hoeft, MS
Course description: We will complete the advanced topics in Algebra beginning with linear functions and moving through quadratic, as well as other non-linear functions, radicals and finishing with an introduction to logarithmic functions. Students should have a lengthy knowledge of variable equations and their graphs.
Course materials: Saxon Algebra 2, third edition with the test and homeschool pack.
Homework: Students should spend 6-8 hours a week on homework, taking a test once a week. Homework will be submitted to the instructor for grading and credit.

Instructor biography: Jean Hoeft, MA Mrs. Hoeft has been a math and algebra teacher for 23 years. She has a BA from the University of Michigan and a MA from Marygrove University. Jean has taught the confirmation class at her Catholic parish for 28 years. She loves gardening, sudoku puzzles, raising chickens, reading, knitting, and everything Catholic.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Mrs. Hoeft 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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Online Course: Middle School: Microsoft Word

We have found that many of our younger students struggle with Microsoft Word when turning in homework. To help them, so they can focus on their assignments instead of the software, we are offering a basic course on Microsoft Word for middle school students starting August 6th. This will help them be prepared when schoolwork begins in September.


(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Monday through Thursday, August 6, 7, 8, 9
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 12:30 pm Eastern (11:30 am Central)
Duration: 60 minutes (one hour)
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade. Highly recommended for middle school students but open to any student who needs instruction in this area.
Fee: $50 for all 4 classes.
Course description: This is an essential skills course for all students. For all future education, your student will need a strong knowledge and skill level in Microsoft Word. Give your student confidence and the ability to use all of the basic functions of Word before the school year begins. Instruction will be in Word version 2007 and above.
Course outline:
Class 1: The keyboard and using functions on the HOME tab: cut, paste, copy; font type and size, color, highlighting; centering, bullets, numbers; spelling and grammar check
Class 2: Page layout, margins, and columns; indenting and spacing; inserting headers and footers, page numbers; sizing and view;
Class 3: References: inserting citations, footnotes and endnotes, and comments
Class 4: inserting pictures, shapes, clipart, and charts; borders and color
Course materials: You will need Microsoft Word version 2007 or above. Everything else is provided FREE online from Professor Brown Conroy.
Homework: Daily practice assignments of approximately ½ to 1 hour, for the four days



(click on course title to register)

Instructor biography:  Erin Brown Conroy, MA, is the professor of College-Level Writing and Writing and Research for Patrick Henry College (five years) and taught writing at Cornerstone University for seven years. She is the author of several non-fiction books, including Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Writing Success, and has designed four college writing courses, including an AP English Language and Composition course for PHC Preparatory Academy online. Professor Brown Conroy also privately coaches ACT English prep live and across the US via Skype and phone conferencing and has spoken at conferences regarding the teaching of writing. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, she is also a fiction writing coach for high school and college students for the last ten years and has judged writing contests. She is also a freelance professional writer and ghostwriter. Professor Brown Conroy also authored True North Reading: The Complete Mastery Reading and Spelling Program, a five-level multisensory learn-to-read program for children ages 3 to 15. Mrs. Brown Conroy lives in Howell, Michigan and is a member of Old St. Patrick's Parish. She has been homeschooling for 27 years. Mrs. Brown Conroy enjoys her two Australian Labradoodles, playing the Irish wooden flute, and homeschooling five of her 13 children who still live at home.

Misc.
Mrs. Brown Conroy 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 course title to register)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

ACT and ACT Writing Online Classes Start Soon

ADDENDUM: Please note that the SAT essay writing is very similar to the ACT. Therefore, the ACT English and Writing course information will transfer to SAT.

(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Monday through Thursday, August 6-9, 2012
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 2:00 pm Eastern (1:00 pm Central)
Duration: 1 hour each
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Fee: $60
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA
Course description: In this ACT Test Prep Course, your student will learn information in two critical areas that will allow for success with the ACT: 1) about the test itself: what happens in an ACT testing situation, what is on the test, how long the testing sections last, what students are and are not allowed to do, and how the test is scored, and 2) how to study for the ACT: how to approach questions, tricks and tips to score well, and what to do to be fully prepared for the test.
Course outline:
Session 1: about the test itself: what happens in an ACT testing situation, what is on the test, how long the testing sections last, what students are and are not allowed to do, and how the test is scored, and general preparation
Session 2: Math and Science: how to study, how to approach questions, tricks and tips to score well, and what to do to be fully prepared for the math and science portions of the test
Session 3: Reading and English: how to study, how to approach questions, tricks and tips to score well, and what to do to be fully prepared for the reading and English portions of the test
Session 4: Writing: how to approach the essays, tricks and tips to score well, and what to do to be fully prepared for the writing essays on the test
Course materials: Paper and pencil.
Homework: Assignments each day.
NOTE: This course tells the student what to study but does not work on increasing your student’s skills with personal feedback. If you want personal feedback to increase skills in the reading, English, and writing portions of the test, sign up for the ACT English and Writing Test Prep course that is scheduled August 13 and 14, 2012. The English and Writing course will give your student direct feedback on your student’s skills, as well as specific suggestions for improving your student’s scores.

(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Monday and Tuesday, August 13 and 14, 2012
Total classes: 2
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 2 hours each
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Fee: $60
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy
Course description:  In this ACT English and Writing Test Prep Course, your student will get personal help with his or her English writing skills in a way that enhances their ability to score well on the ACT English and Writing portions of the exam. Students will view actual ACT English and Writing test questions, analyze the questions, and learn how to approach the questions for success. Students will also learn how to analyze a writing prompt, sculpt a good essay, and use their writing time to produce a high-scoring essay.
Course outline:
Session 1: The English Section: types of questions on the English portion of the test; how to analyze questions; how to read the questions for hints regarding the answers; practice test questions; introduction to the writing portion of the test
Session 2: The Writing Section of the test: analyzing numerous prompts; analyzing well-written essays; creating essays together, live; words and phrases to avoid/words and phrases to use; “diamond words” and their use in writing an essay; and what to do to be fully prepared for the writing portion of the test
Course materials: Paper and pencil
Homework:  There will be homework for this Test Prep Course on the evening of Monday, August 13, that will take your student approximately one hour to complete.
NOTE: This increases your student’s skills with personal feedback. Your student will have homework the evening of the first class, to be sent in by midnight of that day; your student will then receive direct feedback on his or her skills, as well as specific suggestions for improving his or her scores.


Instructor biography:  Erin Brown Conroy, MA, is the professor of College-Level Writing and Writing and Research for Patrick Henry College (five years) and taught writing at Cornerstone University for seven years. She is the author of several non-fiction books, including Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Writing Success, and has designed four college writing courses, including an AP English Language and Composition course for PHC Preparatory Academy online. Professor Brown Conroy also privately coaches ACT English prep live and across the US via Skype and phone conferencing and has spoken at conferences regarding the teaching of writing. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, she is also a fiction writing coach for high school and college students for the last ten years and has judged writing contests. She is also a freelance professional writer and ghostwriter. Professor Brown Conroy also authored True North Reading: The Complete Mastery Reading and Spelling Program, a five-level multisensory learn-to-read program for children ages 3 to 15. Mrs. Brown Conroy lives in Howell, Michigan and is a member of Old St. Patrick's Parish. She has been homeschooling for 27 years. Mrs. Brown Conroy enjoys her two Australian Labradoodles, playing the Irish wooden flute, and homeschooling five of her 13 children who still live at home.

Misc.
Mrs. Brown Conroy 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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

High School: American Elections: Democracy in Action

Happy Fourth of July everyone!!!! Before heading out to celebrate the birth of our country, I want to share this new course we just scheduled this week. After all, American Elections fits right into Independence Day.

Mr. Rivet's government classes are very engaging, interesting, and even fun. I hope you'll take advantage of this special course designed with the 2012 Presidential Election in mind. Get high school credit while learning about your civic duty as an American citizen!

Government: American Elections; Democracy in Action 

(click on course title for registration information)

Class dates: Fridays, Oct. 5 to Nov. 9, 2012.
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of American government.
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester Government (For additional credit, see our other government courses -- both live and recorded.)
Fee: $80 if you register on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $90 if you register after Aug. 1 for all 6 classes. 
Instructor: Ed Rivet, MPA
Course description: This 6-week course will explore the "ins and outs" of the American electoral process, with a special emphasis on the upcoming presidential election. We'll begin class 5 weeks prior to the November election, with our last class a wrap up, just 3 days after we've elected a new president. (Well... hopefully we won't have a repeat of the year 2000 "hanging chad" debacle.) Along with weekly lectures, there will be some interactive features during the class time. Perhaps we'll have a little "prognostication" contest on the outcome of certain elections.
Course outline:
Week 1: Elections: Overview of Constitution & Laws
Week 2: Comparisons: Local v. State v. National Elections; Partisan v. Nonpartisan; Jungle Primaries; U.S. System v. other countries
Week 3: The Electoral College - Should It Stay or Should It Go?
Week 4: Anatomy of Campaigns: Operations, PACs & Super PACs, Polls & Pundits
Week 5: How Issues, Incidents & Outside Events Affect Campaigns
Week 6: Post-election Analysis - What drove the results? How accurately did we foresee the results? What are the implications of the results?
Course materials: Provided free by the instructor or online.
Homework: Students will have a variety of "home"work assignments – reading, research, some essays, etc. Students are going to be STRONGLY encouraged to volunteer at least a couple hours of their time to any candidate or issue campaign of their choice during the 6-week period. Essays graded by the instructor.

Instructor biography: Ed Rivet has a B.S. in Pre-Law and Public Policy and a Master’s in Public Administration both from Michigan State University. For 23 years Mr. Rivet has served as the Right to Life of Michigan’s Legislative Director. He has written and helped enact dozens of laws, including the nation’s first complete ban on human cloning, and banning assisted suicide in the face of the assault on human life by Jack Kevorkian and Geoffrey Fieger. Mr. Rivet has done countless media interviews, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, plus live interviews on CNN and Good Morning America.

Equipment requirements: Classes are online, live, and interactive. Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc: Mr. Rivet 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.

Government: American Elections; Democracy in Action 

(click on course title for registration information)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for Middle School

We have been getting a good number of requests from parents to add younger students to our Tolkien courses. Therefore, we've added a second set of courses.  Dr. Henry Russell will now teach the series for middle school as well as high school.

Both sets of courses will take place on Tuesdays, with high school (9th to 12th) starting at 10:00 am Eastern and middle school (6th to 8th) starting at 11:30 am Eastern. Both sets of courses will have the same course outline, with the high school classes going deeper into the material and lasting one hour (middle school classes are 45 minutes).

Here are the course details for each of the middle school courses:


(click on title for registration)
 
Class dates: Tuesdays, Sept. 11 to Oct. 16, 2012
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book with pleasure at about 3 chapters per week.
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade.
Fee: $80 if you register on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $90 after Aug. 1 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Course description: Tolkien’s The Hobbit was written as a children’s story and retains much of the clarity and light-heartedness of its kind. But Bilbo Baggins’ world is slowly made richer and deeper both by the author’s use of the Catholic elements from the great medieval saga of Beowulf and the background world of Tolkien’s deepest Elvish imaginings. By the end of the novel, Tolkien’s life-long themes of 1) a long-fought history that shapes the needs of every modern day; 2) the need for heroism from simple people; 3) the necessity for constant moral vigilance by those who are destined to lead; 4) the conquest of charity over greed; and 5) the sorrow and beauty created by these first four themes, have penetrated to the heart of the reader. The success of this novel convinced Tolkien and his wise and humane publishers, Allen and Unwin, that the modern world was ready to hear more of the complex moral and supernatural world which Tolkien once thought was of interest mostly to scholars of the ancient like himself. We will both discuss the book and welcome comments about the new movie coming out in December.
Course outline:
Class 1: An Unexpected Party—A Short Rest
Class 2: Over Hill and Under Hill—Out of the Frying Pan into the Fire
Class 3: Queer Lodgings—Flies and Spiders
Class 4: Barrels out of Bond—On the Doorstep
Class 5: Inside Information—Fire and Water
Class 6: The Gathering of the Clouds—The Last Stage
Course materials: The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Homework: One to one and one-half hours per week. Weekly Quiz with answer keys provided for parental or self grading.

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Class dates: Tuesdays, Oct. 23 to Dec. 11, 2012
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book and ask questions. Since most students will have seen the Peter Jackson films and will want to make comparisons, it is probably a good idea to see them.
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade
Fee: $90 if you enroll on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $110 after Aug. 1 for all 8 classes
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Course description: This trilogy of novels is too well known for any brief description to be of use here. They are the most popular books of the twentieth-century and quite likely to be among the central books of Western literature. The poet Auden thought they compare well with Milton’s Paradise Lost. We will discuss the volumes in their outer form of a mythologized hero struggle of the kind with which Classical Liberal Education is replete (from Homer’s Iliad, and Virgil’s Aeneid through the Norse eddas and Anglo-Saxon poems and Arthurian romances). At the same time we will read them in light of Tolkien’s unambiguous declaration that "The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” As such they reflect an imagined world that parallels clearly with the world of suffering and redemption shown forth in a book as deep as the Bible. 
 The Fellowship of the Rings takes us from the Hobbit world of ordinary comfort into confrontation with the evil that has always plagued the created world. It asks for individual sacrifice from several creatures only to show them that they are linked into a vast body of those who strive to keep goodness alive, each on very different levels of culture and consciousness. This ancient body is full of poetry, beauty, and varied forms of virtue. The fellowship forms to do the impossible and the seemingly suicidal, and in the mines of Moria and on the banks of the river Anduin, the band is made to pay a terrible price for thoughtlessness and to fall apart from individual sin.
Course outline:
Class 1: Biography of Tolkien;
Class 2: A Long-Expected Party--Three is Company
Class 3: A Short Cut to Mushrooms--Fog on the Barrow-downs
Class 4: At the Sign of the Prancing Pony- - Knife in the Dark
Class 5: Flight to the Ford—The Council of Elrond
Class 6: The Ring Goes South—The Bridge of Khazad-dum
Class 7: Lothlorien—Farewell to Lorien
Class 8: The Great River—The Breaking of the Fellowship
Course materials: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R.Tolkien
Homework: Two hours per week. Weekly Quiz with answer keys provided for parental or self grading.


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Class dates: Tuesdays, Jan. 15 to Mar. 12, 2013. No class Jan. 22 or Feb. 19.
Total classes: 7
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book and ask questions.
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade.
Fee: $85 if you register on or before Aug. 1, 2012. $100 after Aug. 1 for all 7 classes.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Course description: The Two Towers creates a clear contrast between a culture based on selflessness and regard for the common good with an anti-culture based on pure selfishness and the desire to domineer over others. The anti-culture controls both the two literal towers of Saruman’s Orthanc and Cirith Ungol—both of them forced to serve the even greater tower of Sauron’s Mordor. The civilization of good offers the Mark of Rohan as its immediate heroic defender, backed by more ancient forces of the Ents and the Elves, to some degree coordinated by the towers of the city of Gondor. Yet the battles between these titanic forces are always being compared to the personal willingness of two hobbits to give everything they possess for the sake of the good that they love.
Course outline:
Class 1: The Departure of Boromir—The Uruk-Hai
Class 2: Treebeard—The White Rider
Class 3: The King of the Golden Hall—The Road to Isengard
Class 4: Flotsam and Jetsam—The Palantir
Class 5: The Taming of Smeagol—The Black Gate is Closed
Class 6: Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit—The Forbidden Pool
Class 7: Journey to the Cross-roads—The Choices of Master Samwise
Course materials: The Two Towers. J.R.R.Tolkien.
Homework: Two hours per week. Weekly Quiz with answer keys provided for parental or self grading.

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Class dates: Tuesdays, March 19 to May 14, 2013. No class Mar. 26 or Apr. 2.
Total classes: 7
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book and ask questions.
Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade
Fee: $85 if you register on or before Nov. 1, 2012. $100 after Nov. 1 for all 7 classes.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Course description: The Return of the King reaches into the realm of Arthurian Romance (which is itself based on the resurrection of the Christ), to offer a vision of Armageddon and world war where defeat means unguessed centuries of darkness, although victory means holding the darkness only at bay while creating a new civilization that will be attacked again someday. Here again, the personal agon and faithfulness of individual creatures is the central necessity for the victory of massive institutions and allegiances. All literature is moral in its center, and great literature reflects great moral truth. It was Tolkien’s genius to express the great truths of Christian civilization in a way, which could re-inspire and re-invigorate an age where many have lost immediate contact with those Christian roots.
Course outline:
Class 1: Minas Tirith—The Passing of the Grey Company
Class 2: The Muster of Rohan—The Ride of the Rohirrim
Class 3: The Battle of the Pellenor Fields—The Last Debate
Class 4: The Black Gate Opens—The Land of Shadow
Class 5: Mount Doom—The Steward and the King
Class 6: Many Partings—The Grey Havens
Class 7: Open Topics
Course materials: The Return of the King. J.R.R.Tolkien.
Homework: Two hours per week. Weekly Quiz with answer keys provided for parental or self grading.

For information on the LOTR Series for high school, please click here: The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for High School.

Instructor 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. He is also the President of the SS Peter and Paul Educational Foundation, dedicated to founding an orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeast Michigan.
          A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University. Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.
          Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series available from Kolbe Academy. 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.

Equipment requirements: Classes are online, live and interactive. Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc:
Dr. Russell 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.