Educating the heart, mind, and soul in the Catholic tradition with online classes

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free Kindle Fire Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Creative Writing: Poetry

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

(click on course title to register)

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

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why Should I Learn Punctuation and Grammar?

A 2-year project in the making, Homeschool Connections will be releasing it's new eBook Why Should I Learn This? next month (December 2014). A $9.95 value, the eBook will initially be offered for free.

If you'd like a preview, you can download a sample chapter by clicking here: Free Homeschool eBook. You can also sign up to receive notification when the entire eBook is ready.

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

Why Should I Learn This? is a compilation of essays written by over 30 authors:
Joseph Pearce; Gary Michuta; Mike Aquilina; Alicia VanHecke; Christian Ohnimus; Ana Braga-Henebry, MA; Alison Stanley, JD; Ed L. Rivet II, MPA; Joan Stromberg; Phillip Campbell III; Allison Gingras, MEd; Emily Henry; Irma Luz Schmitt, MEd; Suchi Myjak, MS; Mary Ellen Barrett; Nancy Carpentier Brown; Henry Russell, PhD; Dayspring Brock, MHum; Cay Gibson; Jean Hoeft, MA; Mary Gildersleeve; Carol Reynolds, PhD; Michele Quigley; Margot Davidson, MEd; Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA; Robert Gotcher, PhD; Jean Rioux, PhD; Dave Palmer, MTS; Mary Daly; Matthew Watkins, MS; MacBeth Derham; Monica Ashour, MTS, MHum; Lisa Mladinich; Maureen Wittmann.

Subjects included:
Economics; Geography; The Constitution; Government, Elections, and Politics; Using Historical Fiction; Christian Historiography; Medieval History; American Sign Language; Latin; Spanish; Computer Skills; Critical Reading and Thinking Skills; Organizational Skills; G. K. Chesterton; Classical Literature; Modern Literature; Using Picture Books; Shakespeare; Tolkien; Algebra; Arts and Crafts; Music History; Using a Charlotte Mason Education; Using Montessori; Organizational Skills; Phonemics; Using the Trivium; Philosophy; Formal Logic; Thomistic Philosophy; Astronomy; Environmental Science; Science and its Relationship to Faith and Reason; Geology; Nature Studies; All Theology through The Theology of the Body; Apologetics; the Early Church Fathers; Heresies; Theology of the Body; Communications; Fiction Writing; Punctuation and Grammar; Rhetoric and Writing.
More information to come as we near the publication date ... 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Reading List: Math and Living Literature

"I hate math!!!" Have you ever heard this from one of your children? Perhaps it was you yourself who you heard screeching in frustration. We want to introduce you to a new idea -- Math Appreciation. Yes, really, "appreciation".

If you signed your child up for piano lessons, would you sit her down to learn piano without first ever hearing beautiful music? Would you give your child a canvas and oil paints without first viewing beautiful art? We are suggesting you do the same for math.

Before introducing your child to complicated math lessons, build an appreciation. One way to do this is through living literature. Yes, there is a thing such as math lit -- real books as opposed to textbooks. We are not saying textbooks are not important. They do have their place. However, it's vitally important that they be approached with a love of learning if they are to have significant success.

Below is a math reading list from Homeschool Connections math instructor Jean Hoeft, MA. These are Jean's favorites. If this list whets your appetite, scroll to the end for other math lit resources. Trust us, give it a try. You may just end up saying, "I love math!!!"
Maureen Wittmann

Mrs. Hoeft's Top-20 List: Math Lit for All Ages

Grade School

Math Curse by Jon Scieszka 
How Much Is a Million? by David M. Schwartz

Grapes Of Math by Greg Tang

Middle School

Fantasia Mathematica edited by Clifton Fadiman

A Gebra Named Al: A Novel by Wendy Isdell

TheNumber Devil: A Mathematical Adventure by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

ThePhantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Book of Numbers by John Horton Conway and Richard K. Guy

High School to Adult

More math lit lists for you ...

For the Love of Literature: Teaching Core Subjects through Literature by Maureen Wittmann

MacBeth's Opinion

Living Math

Bonus: A Great Math YouTube Channel (Fun!)

Numberphile: You'll see numbers a little differently after taking advantage of these videos. As always, with anything online, preview first.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Win Unlimited Access to Online Classes for Catholic Families!

TAN Books is hosting a contest! WIN 4 free months of Unlimited Access to online courses for Catholic families from  Three winners and you can enter everyday! To enter, scroll down and follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. That's it. Then, share with all your friends and family to get extra entries.

Not just for homeschoolers, is an online Catholic curriculum provider.

Whether you're a middle school student looking to improve your writing skills, a high school student interested in learning the Catholic perspective in history, a college-bound student in need of ACT or SAT test prep, or an adult thirsting for a deeper understanding of Catholic theology, Homeschool Connections has the course for you. 

You can learn online, at your pace, on your schedule, anytime of day or anytime during the year. For just $30 a month, your entire immediate family will have Unlimited Access to 150-plus courses from Theology to History, from Math to Science, from Writing to Philosophy, and so much more. You can try it out for 7 days for only $1!!! 

Improve your grades, expand your mind, and raise your heart to God. Visit to learn more. 

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Thank you TAN Books for sponsoring this contest and for all you do in publishing great Catholic books!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Raffle: Free Unlimited Access to Online Classes!

TAN Books is hosting a contest: 3 lucky winners will receive a free semester (4 months!!!) of Unlimited Access. Yes, the best deal in Catholic homeschooling -- Unlimited Access to over 150 online courses for your entire family (mom, dad, kids!). These are recorded, independent-learning, easy-to-use courses covering all school subjects.

So, here's how you enter to win ... follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. That's it. Then, share with all your friends and family to get free entries. Plus, you can come back everyday for extra entries.

If you already subscribe to Unlimited Access, that's okay -- we'll give you 4 extra months if you win. So, if you want to sign up for Unlimited Access today, go ahead and get started today learning in a dynamic way with the best instructors in the country.

Good luck everyone!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you TAN Books for hosting this contest and for all you do to help Catholic families!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beginning Latin for Homeschoolers

Due to requests from parents, we have added a Spring Latin I, Part One course starting in January. To register, please click here: Homeschool Connections Registration.

Here are the course details:
Latin I (Wheelock), Part One
Class dates: Mondays,
January 5 to March 30, 2015. No class Feb. 17.
Total classes: 12
Starting time: 11:00 am Eastern (10:00 Central; 9:00 Mountain; 8:00 Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: High school
Suggested high school credit: 1 full semester Latin or foreign language
Fee: $175 for all 12 weeks.
Instructor: Emily Henry
Course description: High School students new to Latin will be introduced to all verb and noun forms and will translate famous Latin anecdotes as well as passages from Wheelock (plus other material supplemented by the instructor). English grammar will be emphasized in addition to discussing Roman history.
Course outline: We will be covering the first ten chapters in Wheelock. We will have two class periods in particular that will be dedicated to review, implementation, etc. There will also be a number of quizzes and a final exam.
Course materials: Wheelock's 6th or 7th Edition. It is mandatory that students have a functioning headset with a microphone.
Homework: Students will translate practice sentences, phrases, and passages provided in Wheelock and the Wheelock handbook (supplemented by the teacher). Students will need to be prepared to dedicate one hour a day to homework assignments and studying forms/vocabulary. The instructor grades the homework.

 Email us with any questions at

Monday, October 13, 2014

Free Webinar: The Value of a Catholic Liberal Arts Education

Catholic College Month continues at Homeschool Connections with free webinars for parents and students. All of the webinars are recorded, so you have two options. One, you can attend the live, interactive webinar so that you can ask the presenter questions and get answers right away. Second, you can watch a recording of the event at a convenient time for you.

(click on the title to register)

Presenter: Dr. David Williams of Belmont Abbey
Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Time: 8:00 pm Eastern
Webinar description:
o   Why Liberal Arts
o   What Liberal Arts does for a  career
o   The unique experience of Belmont Abbey College Liberal Arts
o   The impact of our monastery on the educational experience
o   The Honors Program/Hintemeyer/Thomas More programs
o   The experiential aspects of those programs.

About our presenter: Dr. David M. Williams is the Interim Dean for Academic Affairs at Belmont Abbey College. After earning doctorates in Political Science and Theology, he came to the College as a member of the theology department in 1999. Dr. Williams has served the College in a variety of capacities: as Chair of the Theology Department, and of the Government & Political Philosophy Department, as Chair of the Professional Affairs Committee which reviews applications for tenure and promotion, and as Chair of the Faculty Assembly. Together with Donald Beagle, the Director of Library Services, Dr. Williams was instrumental in the development of the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Promoting Information Literacy Over Time (PILOT), as a way of helping students learn to navigate the many streams of information that deluge the 21st century.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Generation Next Giveaway!

To celebrate Catholic College Month, we're giving away a copy of Phil Lenahan's Generation Next: A Catholic Guide to Financial Freedom for Young Adults (scroll down to the end for the contest widget).

As our homeschooled students head off to college, it's important they understand the importance of being financially responsible as well as have the practical tools necessary to handle their personal finances.

We also want to help you with college planning. Therefore, we are offering a series of free webinars throughout the month of October:
To register, click here now: Homeschool Connections Catholic College Month 2014. If you cannot attend a live event, you can still register to receive the recorded webinar to watch at your convenience. 

Bring your questions to the live events and the presenter will be able to help you then and there!
  • How to Create a Masterful College Transcript meets on Monday, October 13 @ 8 pm ET with Lucy de la Garza, University of Dallas 
  • The Long Term Value of Liberal Arts meets on Wednesday, October 15 @ 8 pm ET with Rolando Rivas, Belmont Abbey College 
  • The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in the Professions Date TBA with Nicholas Trout, University of Mary 
  • Paying for College – Using Admissions, Financial Aid, and Alternative Funding Strategies to get the job done without breaking your bank meets on Monday, October 20 @ 8 pm ET with Katherine O’Brien, MA CCPS 
  • The Persuasive Homeschool Transcript meets on Tuesday, October 21 @ 8 pm ET with Professor Jeremy Holmes and Owen Sweeney, Wyoming Catholic College 
  • Getting Help – What a College Planner can do for your family, how to select one, and when to hire one meets on Monday, October 27 @ 8 pm ET with Katherine O’Brien, MA CCPS 
  • Navigating Financial Aid meets on Wednesday, October 29 @ 8 pm ET with Martin Harold, John Paul the Great University

About Our Prize:

Generation Next: A Catholic Guide to Financial Freedom for Young Adults 

A personal finance program for young adults that is packed with wisdom for life and money. Designed to help young people grow into responsible adults by understanding God’s way to financial freedom. 

With the Church’s teaching serving as its platform, Generation Next provides young people with the practical skills and values they need to navigate life successfully.

“Effectively managing money comes down to a few basics,” Phil says, “and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.” As you unpack the teaching and tools at your disposal in Generation Next, you’ll learn about: 
  • The critical link between faith and finance 
  • The advantage of setting goals • Creating a financial plan that works 
  • Wealth: how to create it and how to use it 
  • Understanding and managing debt • Relationships and money 
  • How to be a savvy consumer 
  • The role that generosity plays in one’s financial and spiritual life 
  • And much more
This prize was donated by Behold Publications, creators of Little Flowers Girls Clubs, Blue Knights Boys Club, and so much more.

Now for our contest ...

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Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Prepare Your Homeschool Transcript for College Admission

Catholic College Month is back! We are planning a whole series of free webinars for parents throughout the month of October. We will be posting detailed information about the individual webinars here on the blog over the next several days. To see a complete list, along with a link for registration, please visit:
Homeschool Connections College Month

Our first webinar will be ...

(Click on the title and then click on the Participate Now button to register)

Bring your questions and interact with our presenter at this live event.  
If you cannot make the designated day/time still register. You will then be sent a link the next day to the recording of the event to watch on your own time.

Presenter: Lacy de la Garza, Homeschool Admission Counselor, University of Dallas
Date: Monday, October 13, 2014
Time: 8:00 pm Eastern (7:00 Central; 6:00 Mountain; 5:00 Pacific)
Webinar description: Ever wondered how to create a transcript for college applications? Join Lacy from the University of Dallas as she uncovers how to give an accurate picture of what your student has accomplished in high school. She will discuss using an accredited vs. a non-accredited curriculum, taking co-op classes, taking dual credit classes, and how to keep records through high school to prepare for college applications.

About our presenter Lacy de la Garza is the Homeschool Admission Counselor for the University of Dallas. Lacy was homeschooled K-12 with a variety of homeschool programs, all prior to graduating from the University of Dallas in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Having been on both sides of the application process, she offers a unique perspective for homeschool students applying to colleges. Lacy is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Psychology, also from the University of Dallas.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Online Classes: College Preparatory Writing for High School

As high school students prepare for college, it is important that they develop strong writing skills. This course gives students the necessary tools to write effective college research papers to help them succeed after high school.

(click on course title to register)

Note: Due to the advanced nature of the feedback, only 16 students are admitted to the course.
Class dates: Wednesdays, October 1 to December 10, 2014. No class Nov. 26.
Total classes: 10
Starting time: 11:30 am Eastern (10:30 Central; 9:30 Mountain; 8:30 Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour
Prerequisite: Simplified Writing for High School or equivalent.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade.
Suggested high school credit: ¾ semester Writing
Fee: $230 for all 10 classes.
Instructor: Sharon Hamric-Weis, JD
Course description: This course will cover advanced research and writing methods for argumentative research writing, how to craft an advanced research paper, and understanding style guides (APA, CMS/Turabian, MLA, AP). A bibliography and research paper will be written during the course.
Course outline:
Class 1: What is research writing? Terms and methods.
Class 2: Advanced research methods: Using libraries and the Internet.
Class 3: Style guides and citations.
Class 4: Creating a bibliography.
Class 5: Creating your outline and thesis: advanced methods.
Class 6: Prewriting: styles and completeness.
Class 7: Outline with rough cut proofs.
Class 8: The rough draft.
Class 9: Revising and editing.
Class 10: Final drafts.
Course materials: Word 2007 or later version. eBooks: 1) Simplified Research Writing by EB Conroy; and 2) Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success by EB Conroy. Available from (download the Kindle app for free to easily read on your computer, tablet, or mobile device).
Homework: Students will have weekly writing assignments and direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated four to five hours per week for homework (outside of class time) that includes researching, reading, writing, and responding to feedback.

About the Instructor
Sharon Hamric-Weis received her undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education from the California University of Pennsylvania and taught both middle and high schools courses at the Palm Beach County School system. During her last year of teaching, Mrs. Hamric-Weis converted to the Catholic Church and was confirmed. Upon her acceptance to the Dickinson School of Law, she and her husband then relocated to her home state of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Hamric-Weis practiced law as Assistant Counsel for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole and has been published in the Dickinson Journal of International Law, as well as working as a decision writer for the Pennsylvania Board of Workers’ Compensation. After working in law, Mrs. Hamric-Weis left her employment to raise her children and homeschool for several years before returning to work as a paraprofessional teaching and caring for a student with multiple disabilities. She is happy to be homeschooling her three children and teaching the advanced writing courses for Homeschool Connections.

About the Course Designer
Professor Brown Conroy has been teaching writing for 17 years, including teaching students in private colleges, universities, and online. She was an online professor of writing and research for Patrick Henry College (six years) and taught writing, leadership and management, and health and wellness for Cornerstone University’s Professional and Graduate Studies Division (seven years). Professor Brown Conroy is an author of several non-fiction books, including Simplified Writing 101: Top Secrets for College Success and Twenty Secrets to Success with Your Child; designs online courses (including an AP English Language and Composition course for PHC Preparatory Academy online); and speaks at conferences on education and learning, reading, and writing. She has a BS and MA from Western Michigan University (WMU) and is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at Western Colorado State University (WCSU) with a double concentration in Creative Writing, Genre Fiction and Screenwriting. 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; has judged writing contests; and has been a freelance professional writer in marketing/web writing and ghostwriting for twenty years. Professor Brown Conroy authored True North Reading: The Complete Mastery Reading and Spelling Program – a five-level multisensory learn-to-read program for children ages 2 to sixteen, and teaches an international online LIVE reading program at Mrs. Brown Conroy, who has been homeschooling for 29 years, lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan and homeschools four of her 13 children who still live at home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Instructor Grading for Unlimited Access

Instructor Access – Optional Grading Service

What is Instructor Access?
Most of our recorded courses (Unlimited Access) offer free answer keys. The only time answer keys are not provided is when the answers require a unique composition, such as Latin composition or essay assignment. Parents sometimes request grading services, even with courses that supply answer keys. For these two reasons, Homeschool Connections offers Instructor Access. This optional service gives you direct access to the teacher who will grade your student’s schoolwork. The price varies based on the difficulty of grading. Below is a list of courses that currently offer Instructor Access. We are continually adding to this service.

Which Courses Are Included? What is the Price Per Course?

Economics As If People Matter (Micro and Macro) with Phillip Campbell
$30 for the entire 12-week course

Government: Introduction to Law with Jason Negri, JD
$50 for the entire 9-week course

The First Amendment: Five Freedoms with Alison Stanley, JD
$50 for the entire 8-week course (extensive writing assignments)

Government: Constitutional Law; Supreme Court Jurisprudence I with Alison Stanley, JD
$30 for the entire 12-week course

The Federalist Papers with Alison Stanley, JD
$35 for the entire 12-week course

Middle School History: Revolutionary War
Middle School history: Civil War
Both with Alison Stanley, JD
$35 per course, 10 to 12 weeks.

History/Archeology: Archeological Survey of the Old and New Testaments with Phillip Campbell
$50 for entire 10-week course (research paper)

Time and Life of Ancient Romans (High School only) with Phillip Campbell
$35 for the entire 12-week course

The Age of Religious Wars
Roots of the Revolt 
Both with Phillip Campbell
$15 for each 6-week course

Catholic Middle Ages
Modern American History
World History; 12 Inventions That Changed the World
All with Phillip Campbell
$30 for each 12-week course

Latin I, Part One or Latin I, Part Two
Latin II, Part One or Latin II, Part Two
All with Emily Henry
$85 for each 12-week course

Latin III/IV, Part One or Latin III/IV, Part Two
Both with Emily Henry
$105 for each 12-week course

Literature: Tolkien and Fairy Stories with Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
$25 for all 6 classes.

Saxon 6/5
Saxon 7/6
Both with Jean Hoeft, MS
$60 per 30-week course for grading
$210 per 30-week course for tutoring

Pre-Algebra Part One or Pre-Algebra Part Two (middle school)
Algebra Part One or Algebra Part Two 
Algebra II Part One or Algebra II Part Two
Geometry Part One or Geometry Part Two
Advanced Math Topics (Pre-Calculus) Part One or Advanced Math Topics (Pre-Calculus) Part Two
All with Jean Hoeft, MS
$30 per 12- to 15-week course for grading
$105 per 12- to 15-week course for tutoring

Trigonometry Boot Camp with Jean Hoeft, MS
$15 for entire 6-week course for grading
$55 for entire 6-week course for tutoring

Test Prep
ACT/SAT English and Writing Test Prep
Taught by Erin Brown Conroy; Graded by Geralyn Rea
$70 for the 2-week course, includes writing assignments.

Theology: Introduction to the Old Testament
Theology: Introduction to the New Testament
Both with Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
$55 per course, each 8 lessons. Includes writing assignments.

Middle School Writing Essentials: Excellent Sentences and Paragraphs
Taught by Erin Brown Conroy; Graded by Geralyn Rea
$60 for entire 6-week course

Simplified Writing for Middle School
Taught by Erin Brown Conroy; Graded by Geralyn Rea
$65 for entire 8-week course

Simplified Writing for High School
High School Writing Essentials: Excellent Paragraph and Essay/Test Writing
Both taught by Erin Brown Conroy, graded by Sharon Hamric Weis
$55 for each entire 8-week course

HS Essentials: Vocabulary and Writing; Part One
HS Essentials: Vocabulary and Writing; Part Two
Both taught by Erin Brown Conroy, graded by Geralyn Rea
$85 for each 14-week course

Advanced Writing for High School: Rhetoric, Figures of Speech, Essays, and Papers
Advanced Research Writing; Preparing for College
Both taught by Erin Brown Conroy, graded by Sharon Hamric Weis
$95 for each 10-week course

Writing for High School
Writing for College
Both with Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
$50 for each 8-week course.

How do I sign up?
To sign up for Instructor Access, visit the course page on the Moodle website. You will see a PayPal button in the introductory module. Click on that and follow the instructions. You do not need a PayPal account, most credit cards are accepted. If you need to pay by check, please email us at to make arrangements.

Upon receipt of your payment for Instructor Access, the instructor will contact you to make arrangements for grading.