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

Faith ~ Excellence ~ Passion

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Online Summer Classes for Catholic Homeschooling Families

We are very excited to let you know that we have scheduled three great courses for the summer semester. It is likely we'll add more courses to the lineup in the future, but we couldn't wait to share.

Professor Joseph Pearce will be teaching a course on G. K. Chesterton's Everlasting Man. Kevin O'Brien will be teaching two courses. First up will be a high school course on C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Second will be a middle school drama / acting course. 

This is going to be one fun summer!

Here are all of the details ... 

TO REGISTER: Homeschool Connections Registration Page for Live, Interactive Courses
Click on Summer 2016 Semester and click on Search

Class datesMondayTuesdayWednesday, Thursday, June 20 through June 30.
Total classes: 8
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 AM Mountain; 10:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Literature
Fee: $110 if you register on or before February 15, 2016. $125 after February 15th.
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description: Two of the greatest Christian writers of the 20th century were also close friends - C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien - a friendship that awakened Lewis to the Faith, but that also may have faltered because of the demands of the Faith.  We examine the relationship of these two men, the ups and downs of their friendship, and how they influenced one another’s writings.
Course outlineClass one: Overview of the course and of the setting and times into which Lewis & Tolkien were born.
Class two: Selections from Surprised by Joy, the life of C.S. Lewis
Class three: Selections from Joseph Pearce's biography of J.R.R. Tolkien
Class four: Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" and the Night Talk that started Lewis' conversion
Class five: Other influences on Lewis' faith: Chesterton and the Inklings.
Class six: The Inklings and the development of the writings of Lewis and Tolkien: how they influenced one another.
Class seven:  Lewis' marriage and Tolkien's reaction to it: trouble in the friendship.
Class eight: We examine the legacy of each author, review what we've learned, and bring the course to a conclusion.
Course materialsSurprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien: Man and Myth by Joseph Pearce should both be purchased by students and at least one of the two books should be read ahead of time, before the first class session. Other material will be brief selections from works and letters of the two authors, and will be provided free by the instructor in class or as PDF files.
Homework: Completing the assigned reading for each class; taking six quizzes and one essay exam. Estimated homework time each week: 4 hours.

Class dates: Daily, Monday through Friday, June 6 through June 17Total classes: 10
Starting time:  1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 AM Mountain; 10:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 7th to 8th grade
Suggested credit: ½ semester Drama
Fee: $130 if you register on or before February 15, 2016. $150 after Feb. 15th
Instructor: Kevin O’Brien
Course description: Can a group of homeschoolers put together a one-act play in two weeks, even if they’re separated by thousands of miles and acting for their webcams?  We’ll find out in this fun, challenging, inspiring and kind of crazy Internet Acting Camp!  The final production will either be recorded as an Adobe Connect session, or (if we can manage it technically) edited and uploaded as a video for family and friends to watch!
Course outlineDay 1 - Introduction and overview - Mr. O'Brien talks about show business and about St. Genesius, patron saint of actors.Day 2 - Short scenes from various plays will be read, acting tips will be given.Day 3 - We will begin to formulate a plot and characters for our play.Day 4 - Plot and character outlines will be written as a final outline.Day 5 - Provisional scenes will be read and / or improvised.  We will come up with a few dialogue scenes that are fun and that we're proud of.  (Between the two weeks, Mr. O'Brien will write the play whose plot and characters the students have outlined into a final form, with scenes, dialogue, etc.)Day 6 - The play is read in class.  Acting coaching is provided.Day 7 - RehearsalDay 8 - RehearsalDay 9 - RehearsalDay 10 - Final performance!Course materials: Provided free as PDF files by the instructor.
Homework: Writing scenes, learning lines, practicing on your own.  About 5 hours per week minimum, but each student may do more if his or her heart is in it!

The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton
Class dates: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, August 9,10 & 11, and 16, 17 & 18.
Total classes: Six
Starting time: 1:00 PM Eastern (Noon Central; 11:00 AM Mountain; 10:00 AM Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: Complete reading The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton before the first day of class
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th grade
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester credit for Literature or English
Fee: $75 if you register on or before February 15, 2016. $90 after Feb. 15th.
Instructor: Joseph Pearce
Course description:  The Everlasting Man is G. K. Chesterton’s classic work of Catholic Apologetics. The book's thesis is ultimately that the Incarnation is central to an understanding of history. Chesterton takes on the claim that man is simply the product of evolution, arguing that Christianity provides the True explanation for the genesis and purpose of human life. Chesterton wrote the book as a rebuttal to popular author H.G. Wells, whose secularist The Outline of History was influential at the time (1920’s). As Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, says, “Of all of Chesterton’s literary monuments, this is perhaps his greatest, for he eloquently and concisely packs the whole human story between the covers of one book.” In this course, we will unpack that story and study it together over six classes.
Course outline:
Class one: Part I, chapters 1-3
Class two: Part I, chapters 4-6
Class three: Part I, chapters 7-8
Class four: Part II, chapters 1-2
Class five: Part II, chapters 3-4
Class six: Part II, chapters 5-6
Course materials: G. K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man(Ignatius Press), 978-0-89870-444-0
Homework: Completing the assigned reading for each class; taking six quizzes. Estimated homework time each week: 3 hours

Friday, November 6, 2015

Why High School Students Need Punctuation and Grammar Classes

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)

Should high school student continue with punctuation and grammar studies? Yes! Too often, we consider such studies to be too basic for older students. However, punctuation and grammar is taught at a completely different level in the upper grades compared to their grammar school lessons. It gives students the tools needed for college and business writing.

Correct punctuation and grammar help others to fully understand us. If you want to do well in school and your job, then mastering punctuation and grammar is critical.

The elements of tone, speed, and even the timbre (such as whispering, rasping, or growling a word) communicate meaning to others. The voice carries power, enabling our message to be fully understood. The plain printed words on the page can’t give us nuance. But punctuation can. With punctuation, our original meaning can be more closely translated to the page.

Grammar refers to both the order of words and choosing the right word. When it comes to certain word orders on the page, there is a right way to write. There are right words to use—a proper choice of words and a proper order of words. However, some words are not appropriate for different audiences or purposes. Grammar gives us a formal, clear way to place our words in order, to get our meaning across to the reader.

Whether we like it or not, based on our words, people judge us. If a person uses grammar incorrectly (not choosing the right word or word order), people catch it. The reader realizes and remembers incorrect grammar. Based on what the reader sees, you may be (unconsciously or consciously) put into a category of educated or not educated. You’re labeled. Whether the label is true or not, we are now viewed with that tar.

The label, not educated, puts you into a category where others may make assumptions about you that, most likely, aren’t true. Judgment may lead others to a lack of respect. Based on incorrect assumptions, poor decisions may be made (like whether or not the person wants to hire you for a job). Grammar matters, for many reasons.

Honing your punctuation and grammar skills in high school will help you beyond writing assignments. It will help you achieve high grades in other subjects. I can confidently tell you this: more often than not, poor punctuation and grammar can sink the ship that carries your top grade. You can have everything going for you, and those small, basic punctuation and grammar errors can mess things up and take away your A, fast.

We hope you'll consider joining us next semester in High School Essential Writing 1: Punctuation and Grammar. It is only a 6-week course, but it is six weeks that will change everything, for the better. Below are all the course details for the Fall 2015 course. The course will be repeated in the Spring 2016 semester if you need it in the spring. It is also available as a recorded, independent-learning course through our Unlimited Access program.

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)

UPDATE: The following live course has been completed. However, it is available year round as a recorded, independent-learning course through Unlimited Access. Also, it will be offered again live next fall. High School Essential Writing 1: Punctuation and Grammar
(Formerly titled Elements of Writing for High School; Essential Punctuation and Grammar)
Due to the popularity of this course, it is scheduled three times in the fall semester and twice again in the spring semester. If it fills up, register for one of the other dates/times.
Class dates: Due to the popularity of this course, it is offered twice in the spring semester. You can choose one of the following days/times:
     Mondays, January 11 to February 15, 2016
     Mondays, February 22 to April 4, 2015. No class March 28 for Easter Break.
Total classes: 6
Starting time:
     Mondays (starting Jan. 11), 2:30 PM Eastern (1:30 Central; 12:30 Mountain; 11:30 Pacific)
     Mondays (starting Feb. 22), 11:30 AM Eastern (9:00 Central; 8:00 Mountain; 7:00 Pacific)
Duration: 55 minutes
Prerequisite: None
Suggested grade level: 9th to 12th
Suggested high school credit: ½ semester Writing. Follow with Simplified Writing 1 for a full semester credit.
Fee: $80 if you enroll on or before November 15, 2015. $90 if you enroll after November 15 for all 6 classes
Instructor: Lisa Mladinich
Course description: This is an essential writing course for all high school students. Give your high school student exactly what’s needed for high school and college writing—including the confidence and the ability to use punctuation and grammar well. Don’t let your student struggle—master commas, tense, colons, semicolons, dashes, ellipses, and more. This class will give your student the strong foundation needed to finally master the details that are holding him or her back from writing well. Sentence constructions in the course are upper level, meant to challenge and prepare your student for upper-high school and college courses.
Course outline:
Class 1: Mastering commas in a series and commas with conjunctions using complex sentences
Class 2: Mastering commas and clauses and tough constructions, including multiple ideas, connectors, and transitions
Class 3: Mastering tense, competing punctuation, quotations, dashes, and ellipses
Class 4: Sticky-pair sentence construction (if-then, not only-but also) and tough grammar in upper-level constructions
Class 5: Mastering colons and semicolons with leading sentence constructions
Class 6: Mastering tricky punctuation details, end punctuation, and the most common grammar challenges
Course materials: All course materials provided free for students by the instructor.
Homework: Weekly writing assignments, with grading and direct feedback from the instructor, with an estimated two to three hours per week for homework outside of class time.

Registration is open. Click here: Homeschool Connections Registration (Click on the semester and Writing, then click on Search.)