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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Literature: The Hobbit; There and Back Again

We are very, very happy to announce a third Hobbit course!!! Below are all of the wonderful details. The first class starts soon, so sign up today ...

(click on title for registration)

Class dates: Thursdays, Sept. 13 to Oct. 18, 2012
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Ability to read the book with pleasure at about 3 chapters per week.
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade.
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester. Follow with Fellowship of the Rings for a full semester.
Fee: $100 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 materialsThe Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
Homework: One to one and one-half hours per week. Weekly Quiz, Midterm, and Final. Answer keys provided for parental or self grading.

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.

(click on title for registration)

Monday, August 27, 2012

High School: American Elections: Democracy in Action

I have great news to share! Due to popular demand, we've opened up a second American Elections course on Mondays. You can now choose to take it on Fridays or Mondays -- whichever one best fits your homeschool schedule.

Here are all the details for the Monday course:


GOVERNMENT: AMERICAN ELECTIONS; DEMOCRACY IN ACTION 

(click on course title for registration information)

Class dates: Monday, Oct. 8 to Nov. 12, 2012.
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 4:00 pm Eastern (3:00 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: $90 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)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Apologetics Reading List: Defending the Bible

Gary Michuta provides the materials for all of his Catholic apologetics courses free of charge. We have found that students love the topic of apologetics and hunger for more reading material. For this reason. Mr. Michuta always provides an optional reading list for students who want to continue to learn after class time has finished.

Here is the Recommended Reading List for Apologetics: Defending the Bible in Modern Times. Click on the title for ordering or download information:

Classes 1-2 
Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger: The Untold Story of the Lost Books of the Protestant Bible, Gary Michuta (order from: Grotto Press).
Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church, Rev. Henry Graham (FREE download) 

Classes 3-4
Is the New Testament Reliable? Paul Barnett, IVP.
Evidence for Our Faith, Fr. Joseph Cavanaugh, University of Notre Dame Press, 1959 (out of print).

Classes 5-6
Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation), Vatican II (FREE download)

Classes 7-8 
100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scripture, David Armstrong (Catholic Answers)
By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition, Mark Shea (Our Sunday Visitor).

Class 9 
Divino Afflante Spiritu, Pope Pius XII (FREE download)

High School Apologetics: Defending the Bible in Modern Times

We, at Homeschool Connections, feel very blessed to have the best instructors come to us. Gary Michuta's life's work has been Catholic apologetics, traveling the country, appearing on EWTN and Catholic radio, and writing books. He is as engaging with teens as he is knowledgable in his field. It is indeed a great blessing to have the opportunity to offer this course to the Catholic homeschooling community.

Photo compliments of
www.publicdomainpictures.net

click on course title to register

Class dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Nov. 14, 2012
Total classes: 10 Starting time: 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 10th
Suggested high school credit: 1 semester credit with extra reading
Fee: $140 for all 10 classes
Instructor: Gary Michuta
Course description: Learn how the Bible came to be (OT and NT canons), how to explain and defend Sacred Tradition, and why the Bible Alone (Sola Scriptura) is unbiblical and unworkable.
Course outline:
Class 1: How do we know which books belong in the Old Testament?
Class 2: Why are Jewish and Protestant Bibles missing seven Old Testament books?
Class 3: How did the New Testament form?
Class 4: Can we trust the New Testament? Is the New Testament authentic and reliable?
Class 5: What is Sacred Tradition? Can we trust it
Class 6: Answering Objections: Are there "lost books" of the Bible? Can tradition err?
Class 7: Does the Bible teach that it alone is our sole rule of Faith?
Class 8: What does the Bible teach regarding its proper interpreter?
Class 9: Answering Objections: Are there errors in Scripture? Why are there so many translations?
Class 10: How to answer commonly attacked Scripture (e.g., Creation in Gen. 1, Noah's flood, etc.).
Course materials: Provided free by the instructor. An additional reading list is offered for students who want to expand on the course lessons here: Apologetics Reading List.
Homework: Weekly quizzes graded by the instructor.
Note: Mr. Michuta will be continuing with apologetics in the spring. Advanced Catholic Apologetics starts in January.

Instructor biography: Gary Michuta is the author of Why Catholic Bibles Are Bigger: Did the Catholic Church Add Books to the Bible? Gary’s latest book is How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide to Keeping Your Kids Catholic. This book gives Catholic parents and educators valuable insights into the deceptive tactics used by anti-Catholics and concrete suggestions on how to combat these methods. Mr. Michuta was also the co-host of the radio show Hands on Apologetics Live. He is a frequent guest on various Catholic radio and television shows, and he also worked as an uncredited consultant for Steve Ray’s Footsteps of God video series. Since 2003, Mr. Michuta has developed apologetic material for the Eastern Church Re-Evangelization Commission (E.C.R.C) to aid the Chaldean Catholic Dioceses. Gary currently offers classes on Apologetics to Catholic parishes around the country.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc: Mr. Michuta will be available via email and phone 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

Friday, August 17, 2012

Online Spanish for Middle and High School

Last year our Spanish I course was a wonderful success. Mrs. Schmitt is back this year to teach Spanish 1/2 and Spanish II. Last year's Spanish I is available to students this year as a recorded course through our Unlimited Access! service.

Spanish 1/2 is being offered with two different students in mind:
  • The younger student who is in 7th to 8th grade.
  • The high school student (9th to 12th grade) who has no experience in foreign language.
Spanish 1/2 will incorporate much of the same material taught in Spanish I, but at a slower, more gentle pace.

Spanish II is of course a continuation of Spanish I. It is offered to students have had a year of high school level Spanish and ready to move to the next level.

To take advantage of our independent study program for Spanish I, please click here:  Unlimited Access!

For information on the two live courses, Spanish 1/2 and Spanish II, please see below:

(click on the 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: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2012. No class Oct. 31 or Nov. 21.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 11:00 am Eastern (10:00 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 8th grade. Older students up to 12th grade accepted if they have no experience in foreign language and understand that this is a basic course.
Fee:  $195 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Irma Luz Schmitt, M.A.
Course description: This is an introductory course for younger students who are taking Spanish for the first time. We will practice pronunciation, learn vocabulary, and memorize many of the most common and useful phrases used in the everyday speech in Spanish as well as our Catholic prayers. We will also learn some of the basics of Spanish grammar. All of this serves as a solid foundation for Spanish I.
Course materials: Spanish (100 Series). Click on book title for ordering information.
Homework: It is suggested that the student practice at least 1 hour each school day. Students will submit a recording each week to the instructor. Homework graded by the instructor. If you are not sure if you have this capability, please email homeschoolconnections@gmail.com for specifics.

(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: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2012. No class Oct. 31 or Nov. 21.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 1:00 pm Eastern (Noon Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Spanish I. Students should come to class knowing the basics of Spanish grammar: conjugations of ar, er, ir verbs in present tense, subject pronouns, the concept of articles, nouns, adjectives, question words, comparisons, possessive adjectives, verbs ser and estar, and basic vocabulary.
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $195 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Irma Luz Schmitt, M.A.
Course description: This is a course with intense grammar. You will learn the present tense of stem-changing verbs, the preterit of ar, er, ir verbs, the present tense of some irregular verbs, direct object pronouns, indirect objects pronouns, demonstrative adjectives, and more. You will have the opportunity to increase your vocabulary and to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing in Spanish.
Course materials: Exercises in Spanish Grammar (click on title for ordering information).
Homework: It is expected that students will practice Spanish at least one hour each school day. Homework graded by the instructor. Students will submit a recording each week to the instructor. If you are not sure if you have this capability, please email homeschoolconnections@gmail.com for specifics.

Instructor biography: Mrs. Schmitt was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico. She graduated from the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Monterrey Institute of Technology) with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Education. In 2005, she earned a certification from Cambridge University in England to teach English as a second language.
Mrs. Schmitt has worked as an accountant at Catepillar, Cedetel and Sorteo Tec and she worked at Universidad Virtual del Tec de Monterrey as part of a team that initiated online courses in Accounting. Mrs. Schmitt has taught accounting, humanities, and Latin American studies at Universidad LaSalle in Ciudad Victoria. Additionally, she taught English as a second language in the Centro de Lenguas de la Universidad Autonoma de Tamaulipas. While there she also participated in a distance-learning program to train teachers who teach English in elementary public schools. Mrs. Schmitt and her husband live in Delaware where they homeschool their 7-year-old-daughter.

New Student Orientation

New students are invited to join us, along with their parents, to learn how to use the technology for the Homeschool Connections online learning experience. We will provide tips on working with your instructor and using our educational software so that you may have a successful school year.

An email has gone out to all of the students enrolled for the Fall 2012 semester. Below are links to the two scheduled New Student Orientation sessions. Click on the day/date to register:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012, 2:00 pm Eastern Time (1:00 Central, Noon Mountain, and 11:00 am Pacific)

Thursday, August 30, 2012, 8:30 pm Eastern Time (7:30 Central, 6:30 Mountain, and 5:30 Pacific)

We will post here if additional orientation sessions are added to the schedule.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Writing for High School: Online Classes for Homeschoolers

Due to the popularity of our writing courses, we've added a second live high school writing course for the fall semester. All of our Elements of Writing and Simplified Writing courses are filled for the upcoming semester. They will be offered again in the spring and are also available through our Unlimited Access! service (recorded courses).

For students wishing to take a live writing course beginning in September, please scroll down for information on our Writing for High School course with Robert Gotcher, Ph.D. This course has been offered in the past and also filled up before the first day, so we recommend registering soon. Registration is limited to 15 students.

All course materials are provided free as part of your registration fee. Dr. Gotcher grades and comments on all assignments, leaving Mom free for other subjects.

A link to the registration page is below. Please don't hesitate to drop us an email with questions at homeschoolconnections@gmail.com.

(please click on title to register)

Dates: Tuesdays, September 11 to October 30, 2012
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 4:00 pm Eastern (3 pm Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Fee: $180 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 10th
High school credit: 2/3 semester. Parent can assign additional writing assignments for full semester credit.
Course description: This course is designed to help the student develop the skills and habits that make for good writing at the high school level. The emphasis will be on creating good paragraphs, introductions and conclusions, organizing the paragraphs, and outlining.
Course outline:
Class 1: The essentials of good writing
Class 2: The paragraph
Class 3: The introduction
Class 4: The conclusion
Class 5: The argument
Class 6: The outline
Class 7: The five-paragraph essay
Class 8: Wrap-up and final assignment
Course materials: Everything provided FREE online or by Dr. Gotcher.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments. Final 3-5 page paper on topic of student’s choice. Graded by Dr. Gotcher.

Instructor's biography: Dr. Gotcher is an independent educator and scholar. He has taught at a major seminary, graduate and undergraduate students, lay ministry students, diaconal candidates, and high school students, both online and in the classroom. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the homeschooling of his children, especially in the junior 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 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 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University. Dr. Gotcher teaches literature, theology, writing and logic.

Equipment requirements: Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.
Misc: Dr. Gotcher 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, August 10, 2012

Logic II: Advanced Formal Logic Online Classes

How to Turn Your Teenager into a Genius!

   


   Homeschool Connections currently offers Logic I: Introduction to Formal Logic as a recorded course through our Unlimited Access! service. Logic II: Advanced Logic is being offered as a live course starting this September.

   But why learn Formal Logic? One way to look at it is to think of it like weight training. It makes you stronger. That in turn makes getting around and doing even everyday things easier. Practicing formal logic helps you think more clearly. That in turn helps to bring clarity to even everyday discussions, from politics and religion to convincing a child to do his chores. Formal logic makes your thinking clearer, more accurate, and more robust.

 Here are all the details on Dr. Gotcher's upcoming Logic II: Advanced Formal Logic course:

Philosophy / Logic 
(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Thursdays, Sept. 13 to Dec. 13, 2012. No class Oct. 25 or Nov. 22.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 10:00 am Eastern (9:00 Central)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Logic I: Introduction to Formal Logic (Unlimited Access!) or equivalent.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $175 for all 12 classes.
Instructor: Robert F. Gotcher, Ph.D.
Course description: This course continues the exploration of formal logic begun in the "Introduction to Formal Logic" course. It looks closely at a wide variety of syllogism. such as Enthymemes, conditional, disjunctive, conjunctive, polysyllogisms, sorites, and dilemmas. Examples are taken from famous philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, and Hume.
Course materials: Traditional Logic, Book II: Advanced Formal Logic (Classical Trivium Core Series) by Martin Cothran (Jun 1, 2000) and Traditional Logic II, Key by Martin Cothran (Jun 1, 2008).  See Emmanuel Books for ordering information.
Homework: Assigned exercises to be graded by Dr. Gotcher. Or do all the exercises, self-graded. 

Instructor's biography: Dr. Gotcher is an independent educator and scholar. He has taught at a major seminary, graduate and undergraduate students, lay ministry students, diaconal candidates, and high school students, both online and in the classroom. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the homeschooling of his children, especially in the junior 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 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 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University. Dr. Gotcher teaches literature, theology, writing and logic.

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


Philosophy / Logic 
(click on course title to register)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Environmental Science: Answers to Questions About Overpopulation, Global Warming and More

Open up the newspaper on any given day and you are sure to see headlines and stories that are related to environmental science: climate change, population growth, green energy, carbon footprints, and more. What do all of these things mean? Does the mainstream media get it right? What does all this mean in the context of our Catholic faith?

Homeschool Connections is offering a new course next semester to help upper high school students make sense of it all. Learn from an environmental scientist who will not only teach the scientific facts, but also share the Church's teaching on environmental issues and what it all means to you in today's world.


(click on course title to register)

Class dates: Wednesdays, Sept. 12 to Dec. 12, 2012. No class Nov. 21.
Total classes: 13
Starting time: 8:00 pm Eastern (7:00 Central)
Duration: 1 hour (45 minute lecture with 15 minutes for Q&A)
Prerequisite: Earth Science and/or Biology
Suggested grade level: 11th to 12th (ages 16 to 18)
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester
Fee: $185 for all 13 classes.
Instructor: Matt Watkins, MS
Course description: The course will be a combination of several scientific topics including ecology, geology, physical geography (oceanic and atmospheric processes), and hydrology. It will keep to scientific theory and the laws of nature. The course will culminate with an investigation and discussion of the current environmental issues.
Course outline:
Class 1: Catholic Social Teaching on the Environment – Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
Classes 2 to 4: Ecology
Classes 5 to 7: Geology
Classes 8 to 10: Physical Geography
Classes 11 to 13: Current Environmental Issues
Course materials: Vatican documents (found free online) plus the textbook Environmental Science: How the World Works and Your Place 3rd edition found at www.lebel.com/environmental.htm. Also search for it used online or see if it's available through your public library's inter-library loan.  ISBN: 0920008488

Homework: Mr. Watkins will grade homework each week. Student should expect to spend 4 hours per week outside of class time.

Instructor biography: Matt Watkins is a homeschooling father of 11 children (ages 24- to 4-years old) along with Rachel Watkins, creator of Little Flowers Girls Club. The family has been homeschooling for 18 years. His two older daughters both hold Bachelor of Arts degrees and his next two children are attending college. Matt works as an environmental policy analyst and works an advocate for the housing industry on environmental issues. He holds his Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Policy. While this is the first semester Mr. Watkins will be teaching online, he has been a student in many online courses. He hopes he does not have the same pitfalls as some of his first-time online teachers.


(click on course title to register)