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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Top Ten: Catholic Homeschooling on Pinterest

by Maureen Wittmann

Why Pinterest is Worth Your Time
I love Pinterest. When people describe it as nothing more than a "time sucker", I'm perplexed. Used correctly, it is a great time saver. It can be used to save recipes, home repair ideas, academic articles, Catholic apologetics information, and so much more.

For our purposes here, I'd like to share how Pinterest can save you time and improve your homeschool. I also include a Top-10 List of Catholic Homeschool Pinners at the end.

How It Works
I use Pinterest as a virtual filing cabinet. After you set up your new Pinterest account, you can set up "boards". View these as your virtual hanging folders. Label your boards as you would label file folders. For example, if you're using Pinterest to store homeschool ideas you may label your boards with names such as "Homeschool Planning Forms", "Catholic Arts and Crafts", and " Free Math Worksheets".

As you come across resources for planning, crafts, and worksheets you can "pin" (save) them to your board instead of printing them out and filing them in your desk. For example, this will be particularly helpful when a friend posts resources on Facebook that you don't need at the moment but will need in the future. Someone may share the perfect planning forms in October but you don't need them until May.

When planning time comes around, all you need to do is go your board where everything is saved in one simple place, making it easy to access on a moment's notice. Or, when you're ready to do that perfect Advent craft that you stumbled across last Lent you can find it easy schmeasy. Or when your child finishes schoolwork early and you want to keep her busy with a few math worksheets. Hop on Pinterest, pull up your Free Math Worksheets board and start printing.

Tool for Successful Pinning
To easily pin resources to your board, you'll want to download the Pinterest Browser Button. This little gadget will make it extremely easy for you to save favorite web pages. It appears next to the web address on your browser. You simply click on it, choose a board, and it's saved for future reference.

Following Pinners and Boards
Another interesting aspect of Pinterest is the ability to follow other pinners. Now, this is where Pinterest's reputation as a time sucker comes in. If you spend countless hours surfing Pinterest, checking out what everyone else is pinning, you'll soon find that it's dinner time and you haven't homeschooled yet.

What I do is limit myself to 10 minutes every morning (when I'm checking email and Facebook messages) to see what's new on Pinterest. Often I find interesting articles or great tips that are helpful to my homeschool or provide the inspiration I need. The key is to follow only pinners or specific boards that are of interest to you. Plus, you must be disciplined enough to exit out of Pinterest after just 10 or 15 minutes.

Now for that Top-10 List ...
To help keep you focused on Catholic homeschooling pinners and boards, here are my favorites. You can follow all of their boards, or you can pick and choose only the boards that pertain to you and your homeschool.

Allison Girone
You may recognize Allison's name from her blog Totus Tuus. Allison has been on Pinterest for years and has almost 10,000 followers. She has twenty-three boards dedicated solely to Catholic homechooling. She has them neatly organized by grade level and by subject.

Grace Days
Grace Days is a brand new initiative started by Michele Quigley and myself. One of the missions is to help local homeschool groups offer one-day retreats for Catholic homeschool mothers. You will not find much here on how-to-homeschool information. Instead you will find inspiration and spiritually-uplifting resources.

Sweetness and Light
This is the Pinterest account of Meredith Henning. As the author of Homeschooling High School: It's Not as Hard as You Think, Meredith offers a treasure trove of resources for the high school years in addition to many other boards for other grade levels.

Catholic Inspired
Jennifer of Catholic Inspired has 81 boards for all things Catholic, including homeschooling and the liturgical year. With more than 3,000 followers she offers families many great resources.

Catholic Icing
Lacy of Catholic Icing is the queen of crafts for littles. Her 20,000 followers can attest to that! You'll also find other homeschool helps here, especially for the elementary years.

Shower of Roses
Ideas for holy days, Little Flowers Girls Club, and more. If you like to sew and/or do crafts, the saints dolls board alone is a must to follow.

Homeschool Connections
This is HSC's business Pinterest page. We have over 50 boards dedicated to Catholic homeschooling, from preschool to high school; from classical education to unschooling; and from art to writing.

Emmanuel Books
There is something here for everyone -- whether you're looking for lapbooking ideas for your preschooler or information on college prep for your high schooler.

Behold Publications
If you have a Little Flowers Girls Club or Blue Knights Boys Club in your homeschool group, this is the place for you.

Catholic Homeschool Adventures
A little bit of everything is here. From modest clothing links to homeschool organization to teaching specific school subjects.

In Closing
This is my personal Pinterest page: Maureen Wittmann. It's where I keep my recipes and home improvement ideas filed. (My home needs a lot of improvement.) I didn't include it in the Top 10 because it's not heavy on homeschooling. I keep most of my homeschooling resources stored at Homeschool Connections. However, it will give you some ideas on how to organize a personal Pinterest account for items other than homeschooling.

If you have a favorite Catholic homeschool pinner that I've missed here, please leave a comment and share below.

I pray that if you're currently using Pinterest, or plan to give it a try, you'll find it to be a useful tool that enhances your home life.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Online Summer School 2015

Addendum: we need to change our graphic to: 6 GREAT SUMMER COURSES. We've added a Latin II/III course where students will be translating Winnie the Pooh. Now, you can't tell me that won't be fun! See below for the details.

Summer is a great time for light learning. It gives students the opportunity to keep their minds fresh as well as provide them with a head start when the fall semester rolls around again.

Our Unlimited Access program offers 150 recorded, independent-learning courses that can be taken at your own pace. It's a great way to keep learning alive year round.

Additionally, we have scheduled several live, interactive courses available for the summer semester. Teens are able to interact with their instructor and fellow students just as though they were in a physical classroom together:
  • How to Read Great Literature with Joseph Pearce
  • Christian Architecture through the Ages with Phillip Campbell
  • Health Science: Nutrition with Christine Hamilton, MS
  • Health Science: Physical Fitness with Christine Hamilton, MS
  • SAT Test Prep (updated for new changes in the SAT) with Erin Brown Conroy, MFA
(Choose "2015 Summer" semester.)

Here are course details for you:

Winnie the Pooh in Latin 
Class dates : Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, June 2nd - June 18th (June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18)
Total classes : 9
Starting time: 7:30 PM Eastern (6:30 Central; 5:30 Mountain; 4:30 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: Latin 2 (both parts 1 and 2) or equivalent.
Suggested grade level: 10th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester Latin
Fee: $100 for all 9 classes
Instructor:  Emily Henry
Course description: Students who have taken Latin 2 (or higher) with Mrs. Henry will enjoy a laid back summer course of translating portions of Winnie the Pooh from Latin into English. The course will help students sharpen their grammar and translation skills without the pressure of a regular class or grades. This engaging and fun course will allow students to see Latin in a different light.
Course outline:  Translating a designated number of lines in preparation for class.
Course materials: Winnie Ille Pu (Latin Edition) (Click on title for ordering information: affiliate link)
Homework: Students should plan to spend up to an hour on their homework in preparation for each class.

Health Science: Nutrition 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th. June 8 to June 18, 2015
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Health Science
Fee: $50.00 for all 8 classes
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, MS
Course description: Teaches the basic concepts of healthy eating. We will learn what food means to the body and gain a better understanding of its necessity.
Course materials: Provided free by the instructor.
Homework: 1 hour per day.

How to Read Great Literature 
Class dates: T, W, Th, June 23, 24, 25, 30, July 1, and 2, 2015
Total classes: 6
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 1 hour per class
Prerequisite: The desire to read great literature.
Suggested grade level: 10th grade and above (including adults).
Suggested high school credit: 1/2 semester
Fee: $75 for all 6 classes.
Instructor: Joseph Pearce
Course description: Professor Pearce will outline and explain the basic rules for reading and understanding the deepest level of meaning in the great works of civilization, including Homer, Beowulf, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Hopkins, Eliot, Lewis and Tolkien.
Course materials: Class Notes will be made available during class
Homework: Suggested preparatory reading and online quizzes on each of the six classes

Health Science: Physical Fitness 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th. July 6 to July 16, 2015
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 2:00 PM Eastern (1:00 Central; Noon Mountain; 11:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes per class
Prerequisite: none
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Health Science
Fee: $50.00 for all 8 classes.
Instructor: Christine Hamilton, MS
Course description: Foundational program that introduces teens to physical fitness and strength training. We will learn fitness training and put concepts into practice for each class. Program is designed for home, backyard, park or anywhere with minimal space requirements.
Course materials: Weights, 3 lb, 5 lb or soup cans.
Homework: 30-45 minutes per day.

Christian Architecture through the Ages 
Class dates: M, T, W, Th, July 13, 14, 15, 16
Total classes: 4
Starting time: 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 Central; 2:00 Mountain; 1:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes per class
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/4 semester World History
Fee: $65 for all 4 classes.
Instructor: Phillip Campbell
Course description: This course will acquaint students with the basic components of Christian ecclesiastical architecture, beginning with the basilicas of the late patristic era and moving through the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic.
Course outline:
Day 1: Late patristic basilicas,
Day 2: Romanesque and Gothic,
Day 3: Renaissance and Baroque elements,
Day 4: Revivalism and the Modern Descent
Course materials: Any course materials will be provided free by the instructor.
Homework: Minimal amount of reading; test at the end of the week with suggestions for further reading.

The New SAT: What you need to Know to Score Well
Note: The new SAT is scheduled to start in the spring of 2016. However, the new PSAT is scheduled for October 2015. This course will also help students taking the PSAT.
Class dates: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, June 22, 23, and 24.
Total classes: 5
Starting times June 22 and 23: Two 45-minutes sessions back-to-back each day at Noon and 1:00 PM Eastern, with a 15-minute break between (11:00 and Noon Central; 10:00 and 11:00 Mountain; 9:00 and 10:00 Pacific)
Starting time June 24: One 45-minute session at Noon Eastern Time (11:00 Central; 10:00 Mountain; 9:00 Pacific)
Duration: 45 minutes per class
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 8th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: 1/4 semester, Student Success Skills/Study Skills
Fee: $75 for all 5 classes
Instructor: Erin Brown Conroy, MA, MFA
Course description: This course acquaints students with the new components of the re-designed SAT, to become comfortable with the test content and style in order to score well in each test section. The course will also give examples of question types found on the test, help students to identify strategies to raise scores, and give practice opportunities so that the student can be fully prepared for the test.
Course outline:
Session 1: An overview of the test, including reading, writing, math, and eight key changes in the test
Session 2: Relevant words in context and command of evidence
Session 3: Essay writing and analyzing a source
Session 4: “Math that matters” and problems grounded in real-world contexts

Session 5: Analysis in science, history, and social studies, including founding documents and “great global conversation”
Course materials: All course materials are provided at no additional cost.
Requirements: Students must be able to use the Internet, to access practice tests and materials online.
Homework: Minimal amount of reading, including practice tests, with suggestions for further practice.

Monday, March 9, 2015

History Scope and Sequence: Sixth to Twelfth Grade

History Scope and Sequence
Middle through High School

Parents sometimes ask us about the order in which our courses should be taken. We answer these inquiries by focusing on the needs of that particular family. Based on recent questions from parents, we offer you two different history scope and sequences here.

The first was developed for a family who wanted to begin 7th grade with Ancient History and move chronologically, ending with World History in the 12th grade.

The second was developed for a family who wanted to learn American History beginning in 6th grade and then cover other eras in high school.

Note the order of these courses is only a suggestion and can be adjusted to suit a family's specific needs and interests.

Chronological History Scope and Sequence
7th Grade 
Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia (12 weeks)
The Glory of Ancient Greece (12 Weeks)

8th Grade 
The Life and Time of the Ancient Romans (12 weeks)
Making of the Modern World, Part One (12 weeks)

9th Grade 
Making of the Modern World, Part Two (12 weeks)
Foundations of Christian Historiography (4 weeks) 
An Archaeological Survey of the Old and New Testaments (10 weeks)

10th Grade 
Catholic Middle Ages (12 weeks)
Roots of the Revolt (1417-1560) (6 weeks)
The Age of the Religious Wars (1560-1648) (6 weeks)

11th Grade 
Early American History (1492 to 1763); Discovery to the Dawn of Revolution (12 weeks)
U.S. History: Revolution, Republic and Union (1763-1865) (12 weeks)

12th Grade 
Modern American History; 1865 - 2000 (12 weeks)
World History; 12 Inventions That Revolutionized the World (12 weeks)

World History Scope and Sequence

6th Grade 
The American Revolution; Liberty! (10 weeks)
The Civil War; A Nation Divided (10 weeks)

7th Grade
World War I; What Price Glory? (10 weeks)
World War II; Allies and Axis (10 weeks)

8th Grade 
Making of the Modern World (24 weeks)

9th Grade 
Foundations of Christian Historiography (4 weeks)
Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia (12 weeks)
The Glory of Ancient Greece (12 Weeks)

10th Grade 
The Life and Times of the Ancient Romans (12 weeks)
Catholic Middle Ages (12 weeks)

11th Grade 
Roots of the Revolt (1417-1560) (6 weeks)
The Age of the Religious Wars (1560-1648) (6 weeks)
Early American History (1492 to 1763); Discovery to the Dawn of Revolution (12 weeks)

12th Grade 
Modern History; 1865 - 2000 (12 weeks)
World History; 12 Inventions That Revolutionized the World (12 weeks)