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Friday, May 17, 2019

Four-Year Cycle Homeschooling

Four Year Cycle Utilizing Homeschool Connections

If you follow a four-year cycle, such as that used with Story of Civilization by Phillip Campbell, you can use recorded, independent-learning courses with Homeschool Connections for your 5th through 12th grade curriculum.

Here is a list of recorded courses through our Unlimited Access program that are currently available to you ...

  • Literature: Greek Mythology with Emily Henry (10 weeks)
  • History: Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The Glory of Ancient Greece with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: Res Publica Romana with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
  • Language: Middle School Latin, with Emily Henry Parts One and Two (12 weeks each)
  • Language: Intermediate Middle School Latin Parts One and Two with Emily Henry (12 weeks each)
  • Language: Biblical Greek, Parts One and Two with Dan Egan (13 and 14 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: Medieval History 1: Big John’s Secret with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: Medieval History 2: The Door in the Wall with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: Medieval History 3 Saint Joan, The Girl Soldier with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks) (available 7/15/19)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: Medieval History 4: Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks) (available 7/15/19)
  • History: The Crusades: On A Quest for Christendom with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
Renaissance through Modern 
  • History: The French Revolution: “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death” with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
  • History: The Life and Legacy of St. John Paul II with Kevin O'Brien (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Anne of Green Gables, Part One with Emily Henry (12 weeks)
  • Literature: Anne of Green Gables, Part Two with Emily Henry (12 weeks)
  • Literature: Anne of Avonlea with Mrs. Henry (12 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: American History 1: Kat Finds a Friend with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: American History 2 Thomas Finds a Treasure, a Saint John Neumann Story with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: American History 3 The Orphans Find a Home, A St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Story with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks) (available 7/15/19)
  • Literature/History: Living History Through Literature: American History 4 Willy Finds Victory, A Blessed Francis Seelos Story with Jackie de Laveaga (6 weeks) (available 7/15/19)
  • History: Middle School U.S. History: Part 1 (1492-1847) with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: Middle School U.S. History Part 2 (1847-1990) with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The American Revolution; Liberty! with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
  • History: History: The Civil War with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
  • History: World War I; What Price Glory with Alison Stanley (9 weeks)
  • History: World War II; Allies vs. Axis with Alison Stanley (10 weeks)
  • History: U.S. History: The Age of Exploration to Modernity, Parts One and Two with Christopher Martin (14 weeks each)
  • History: The Rise and Fall of the Missions of Alta California, Parts One and Two with Christopher Zehnder (12 weeks each)

  • History: Dawn of History: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Persia with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The Glory of Ancient Greece with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The Life and Times of the Ancient Romans with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: Ancient Rome: Republic, Empire and Collapse with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History/Archaeology: Archaeology of the Ancient World with Phillip Campbell (13 weeks)
  • History/Archaeology: An Archaeological Survey of the Old and New Testaments with Phillip Campbell (10 weeks)
  • Language: wide variety of Latin courses with Emily Henry (12 to 14 weeks each)
  • Language: Biblical Greek, Parts One and Two (14 weeks each)
  • Literature: The Iliad by Homer with Joseph Pearce (6 weeks)
  • Literature: The Odyssey by Homer with Joseph Pearce (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Sophocles and Tragedy with Henry Russell (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Virgil’s Aeneid; The Founding of Nations in the Will of God with Henry Russell (7 weeks)
  • Philosophy: An Introduction to The Summa Theologica by St. Thomas Aquinas, Parts One and Two with Dave Palmer (12 weeks each)
  • Philosophy: St. Thomas on the Human Person with Jean Rioux (12 weeks)
  • History: The Crusades: Defending Christendom with Alison Stanley (12 weeks)
  • History: Catholic Middle Ages with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The Rending of Christendom (1415-1648) with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • Literature: Anglo-Saxon England: Bede and Beowulf with Joseph Pearce (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer; Trust God and Tradition with Henry Russell (4 weeks)
  • Literature: Medieval Literature for Modern Catholics with Henry Russell (12 weeks)
  • Literature: St. Francis, Asceticism and Mysticism with G.K. Chesterton with Dale Ahlquist (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Dante’s Inferno; Purgatorio; and Paradiso with Henry Russell (11-12 weeks each)
Renaissance through Modern 
  • Philosophy: Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy with Jean Rioux (12 weeks)
  • Philosophy: Revolution: The Progress of Liberalism with Phillip Campbell (14 weeks)
  • Psychology: Modern Psychology with Julian Ahlquist (12 weeks)
  • History: Early Modern Europe: 1648-1789 with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: Modern European History; 1789-1991 with Phillip Campbell (14 weeks)
  • History: Understanding the Second Vatican Council with Phillip Campbell (4 weeks)
  • History: Totalitarianism in the 20th Century: Nazis and Soviets with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • Literature: A wide variety of Shakespeare courses
  • Literature: Dracula by Bram Stoker with Eleanor Nicholson (6 weeks)
  • Literature: The Victorian Detective with Eleanor Nicholson (12 weeks)
  • Literature: Frankenstein: Misunderstood Monster with Joseph Pearce (6 weeks)
  • Literature: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte with Eleanor Nicholson (6 weeks)
  • Literature: The Nineteenth-Century Novel with Eleanor Nicholson (12 weeks)
  • Literature: The Picture of Dorian Gray with Joseph Pearce (6 weeks)
  • History: Early American History (1492 to 1763); Discovery to the Dawn of Revolution with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: US History: Revolution, Republic, and Union (1763-1865) with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: Modern American History; 1865 - 2000 with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks) (with optional Honors)
  • History: Contemporary U.S. History (1988-2016) with Phillip Campbell (12 weeks)
  • History: The Great Depression with Phillip Campbell (4 weeks)
  • History: U.S. History: The Age of Exploration to Modernity, Part One with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History: U.S. History: The Age of Exploration to Modernity, Part Two with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History: The American South: "To Live and Die in Dixie" with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History: A Nation Made by Conflict: America's Wars with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History: Civil Rights in America, 1863-1968: Setbacks, Struggles, and Shockwaves with Christopher Martin (14 weeks)
  • History: American History: Lands of Hope and Promise, Part One with Christopher Zehnder (12 weeks)
  • History: American History: Lands of Hope and Promise, Part Two with Christopher Zehnder (12 weeks)
  • History: American History, Part One: Age of Exploration through the Civil War and Reconstruction with John C. "Chuck" Chalberg (12 weeks)
  • History: American History, Part Two: Reconstruction through Present Day with John C. "Chuck" Chalberg. (12 weeks)
  • History: The History of Latin America with Phillip Campbell (13 weeks)
  • History/Government: A History of Government in Europe and America, Parts One and Two with Christopher Zehnder (11 and 12 weeks)
  • Government: American Elections: Democracy in Action with Ed Rivet (6 weeks)
  • Government: Government, Democracy, and Citizenship with Ed Rivet (9 weeks)
  • Government: American Democracy and Government with Ed Rivet (12 weeks)
  • Government: The Federalist Papers with Alison Stanley (12 weeks)
  • Government: Advanced American Government with Ed Rivet (9 weeks)
  • Government: U.S. Citizenship and Civics with Jason Negri (12 weeks)
  • Government: U.S. Government and Politics, Parts One and Two with Alison Stanley (12 weeks each)
  • Literature: Scarlet Letter with Henry Russell (7 weeks)
  • Literature: Death Comes for the Archbishop with Henry Russell (6 weeks)
  • Literature: The Stories and Letters of Flannery O’Connor with Kevin O'Brien (8 weeks)
  • Literature: American Literature, Part One: Age of Exploration through Reconstruction with Jackie de Laveaga (12 weeks)
  • Literature: American Literature, Part Two: Reconstruction through Present Day with Jackie de Laveaga (12 weeks)
We are currently creating new grade school (3rd through 6th grade) courses based on TAN Books Story of Civilization and will be available in the future.

Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions. We also invite you to call or email us: CONTACT.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

How to Homeschool in Summer

Top-10 List: Using Unlimited Access Online Classes for Summer Learning

Ten Ways Unlimited Access Online Courses
Keep Your Student’s Learning Strong
This Summer

No matter where your children go to school in the fall and spring, summer classes are a great way to help your student be strong in academics and learning. Whether you want your children to get a Catholic perspective on certain subjects, receive remedial help in an area, take an upper-level course not available at a school, or you simply want your student to stay strong and even get ahead – then online courses are a great way to make it happen.

Homeschool Connections offers two types of courses covering a wide span of subjects. Today, let's talk about the recorded, independent learning courses that you can take at your own pace and on your own schedule.
(And if you prefer live, interactive classes for summer here is your registration page: Homeschool Connections Registration.)

There are many different ways you can use the recorded classes through Unlimited Access to keep learning alive and fun over the summer. Here are ten ideas to get you started ...

10. Take school with you.
Your student can take classes from hotel rooms, Grandma's house, the library, the car on the road, and even the beach (though we don't recommend taking your laptop anywhere near sand!). All you need for recorded classes is a power source, Internet, and a computer. Ear buds or a headset also give you privacy.

9. Plug the computer into the television.
Using the TV to stream a course is a really fun way to learn together as a family. Pick a subject that everyone is interested in learning, like The Hobbit, World War II, or American Sign Language (there are over 400 courses to choose from!). Make some popcorn and watch together. If you don't have a "smart TV", an HDMI cable and a newer TV are the two requirements to make TV viewing together work (and Mac users will need a converter). Recently, my teen added Chromecast to our laptop, and that's what we use to view the courses on the TV.

8. Pick a time that works best for you.
What’s great about online courses is that they’re available 24/7. You could watch classes first thing in the morning, so the rest of the day can be spent outdoors. If you prefer, watch classes during lunch or just before bed in the evening. Whatever viewing time is most helpful and easiest for your students to keep up with learning throughout the summer, you can make it happen.

7. Audit a course.
Watch a lecture each day and forgo the homework. For example, instead of taking 12 weeks for World History: 12 Inventions that Changed the World, watch the lectures over 12 days. When auditing, pick a subject that’s easy for your student and adds value to the “regular” school year.

6. Buckle down on tough subjects.
Need help with algebra? Struggled with science last year? If so, buckle down and get to work with an online course to make the learning happen. Set aside time each and every day (Sundays off!) and stick to the schedule. Complete all of the homework before moving to the next recorded lecture. And if you want extra help from a professional instructor who can guide and grade your student’s work, then feel free to sign up for the optional grading support (Instructor Access). Because summer can be more relaxed, you might decide it’s worth it to have the one-on-one online teacher be the one help keep your student’s learning strong and on track.

5. Catch up on subjects for September.
Planning on taking Latin II next year but not quite ready? Has an illness or something else kept your student from finishing Latin I this year? Whether you simply need a refresher or want to make up for lost time, there are a number of "boot camps" available in recording (math, Latin, and more), so feel free to check them out and see if they’re a good fit for your teen.

4. Ask your student, "What do you love?"
Does your student get geeked about books? If so, then choose a literature course on a book they love. Reread Romeo and Juliet as you watch Professor Pearce's lectures over a couple of weeks. Or check out The Scarlet Letter, or Jane Eyre, or Dracula. You can choose from over 50 literature courses. Does your student love science? Fiction writing? Drama? All these courses and more are a great way to keep learning fresh this summer.

3. Summer is a great time to hone your writing skills.
Writing is a key skill for success in all other school subjects. Focusing on writing skills over the summer helps your student in upcoming courses in history, literature, and more. The writing courses in the Aquinas Writing Advantage program here range from basic, foundational courses up to advanced, college-preparatory courses. A complete array of fiction writing courses like Plot and Structure, Description and Setting, and The Hero’s Journey not only help your student in literature and literary analysis, but they also help your student’s critical thinking and love of writing. When fall arrives, learning in writing courses adds strength to all of your student’s work.

And two more courses that help your teen succeed in core subjects are How to Be an Excellent Student and How to Use Microsoft Word.

2. Keep a schedule and keep it simple. 
How many times have we all laid out grand plans – only to forget about the plans as time rolls by and the excitement wears off? To keep on track, write out a reasonable schedule on a whiteboard for all to see, or print it and post it on the fridge or on the wall in high-traffic areas. Program your computer or phone to remind you each day. Doing something tangible to keep you on schedule is a great way to relax and let the learning happen on time.

And remember: Scheduled learning doesn’t need to be complicated to be effective. Pick just one or two subjects. For example, maybe you weren't able to make time for philosophy in the fall and spring, but you know it would help your teen (and it sounds interesting). Focus just on philosophy courses this summer. Find your teen’s highest need or desire, and stay focused on that learning track.

1. Take courses that raise your heart to God.
All of our courses are taught through the lens of faith and the Catholic Church. If you'd like to get the Catholic perspective in history or literature, this is the place. We also offer a wide range of theology and philosophy courses that help students experience God's teaching. Whether it’s a part of your family’s regular daily devotion time or it’s part of a new weekly focus time to refresh your hearts together, the online courses that raise your heart can positively impact you and your teen for many years to come.

Bonus: Unlimited Access means just that!
When you do sign up, you get Unlimited Access to over 400 courses – and it’s only $30 for everything, for the entire family. It's true! You can't beat the price ($30 per month!!!) and you can't beat the convenience (anytime, anywhere, all 400+ courses). Middle school, high school, and adult students can easily learn year round with this independent learning program. It can be as easy or as full as you want to make it… and it’s simple and affordable. Best of all, it's YOUR program – to make and use as you want it.

To learn more about our recorded, online, independent-learning classes, click here now:

Monday, May 6, 2019

Do I Need a Homeschool Consultant?

Demand for Homeschool Coaches Sign of the Times

by Krista Thomas

When homeschool mom Lindsay Whitlock wanted sound advice for how to better plan for her 16-year-old sophomore son’s educational future, she turned to a homeschool coach. That kind of navigation will ultimately “fill in the gaps,” the Gettysburg mother said. 

“Homeschool coaching proved beneficial because I was throwing a bunch of ideas out to specifically plan for college success, but I needed to balance out that information realistically with someone who has been through it as well.”

Like so many homeschool parents across the country, Whitlock appreciates the support of one-on-one, back-and-forth communication from a seasoned homeschool parent. Based on her specific needs, that is, to better understand the dual credit opportunities available, Whitlock walked away with a new set of goals and a more secure feeling of the future for her children. 

And that’s just what homeschool coaches aim to do. On the other end of that communication is a new phenomenon breaking out in homeschool communities. Seasoned homeschool parents are branching out into new territory: coaching today’s homeschool parent. Today’s alternatives may not mesh with the current institutional educational model, which is why parents are seeking time-tested advice to fit their educational ideals and family values.

Though homeschooling has existed for centuries, today’s advantages are a far cry from the isolated homeschooling educational model of 15, 20, or 30 years ago. Greater opportunities exist for and within socialization, educational technologies, social media platforms, and on-demand curricula. All have heavily influenced the rapid growth of homeschooling and the overall homeschooling lifestyle just in the last decade.

“They mostly ask the question: ‘Am I doing enough?’ They are always concerned that there isn't enough work,” said Mary Ellen Barrett, seasoned homeschool coach, mom blogger of Tales from the Bonny Blue House, and editor of Seton Home Study School’s Seton Magazine.

The mother of seven finds time to counsel homeschool parents who simply need a fresh look from a veteran homeschool parent to to give them perspective and help them through stumbling blocks. 

“Organization is key. No one seems to be able to spend an hour every week planning, but just think about how many hours a week are spent on social media,” said Barrett.

"Homeschool success depends largely on staying home most days because oftentimes there is too much socialization", Barrett said. Running a household and homeschooling may take a bit of organizing but the positive effects outweigh the hour or so spent “planning a menu plan, involving children in tidying up the home, and having a week's worth of lessons written out before the week starts.” 

Seeking the guidance from an experienced home educator-turned coach could be the difference for parents thinking of giving up, or fearing to start. Parents are overwhelmed with concerns over a variety of issues including state requirements, high school transcripts, college admissions criteria, and educational goals, yet they find encouragement with those coaches who have long-term homeschool experience.

“Often, parents are doing way more than they need to do,” veteran home educator, homeschool business owner, and coach Paola Ciskanik said.

With 25 years of homeschooling experience, Ciskanik maintains that today’s parents are serious about getting to the ‘why’ of homeschooling and tailoring a curriculum to each child.

“New homeschool parents feel a great sense of responsibility of raising and educating their children in their best interests. Mentoring with older homeschool parents can offer real perspective.”

With many new homeschool families coming from a brick-and-mortar school mindset, Ciskanik finds that a tailored, personalized approach of trust and love quells parents’ fears about jumping into the homeschool lifestyle. Her successful business can be attributed, in part, to her unique perspective because of her many years as owner of Emmanuel Books where she has seen, up close, the variety of educational approaches and the diversity of family situations.

Ultimately, many parents turn to homeschooling as they lack confidence in the current school model, reports Pacific Standard. They then turn to coaches for advice and encouragement. 

Like tutors for students, homeschool coaches are a sign of times that parents need support too.

Krista Thomas is a veteran homeschool mother and director of IHM Conferences. Her passion for sharing what works and doesn't work for successful homeschooling and parenting approaches flow through her articles and talks given at various conferences around the country. In addition, she consults for small businesses in their marketing communications strategies for print, video, web, and social media. To contact Krista, email her at

Monday, April 22, 2019

4-Year Cycle: Ancient History

ANNOUNCING Homeschool Connections' new four-year cycle for live, interactive courses ...

In response to requests from students and their parents, Homeschool Connections has organized a four-year cycle of coordinated courses for all students in your family, third through twelfth grade. This is so your entire family can learn about the same era at the same time, making life easier for parents and making school more fun for children. (We also offer alternate courses, not in the cycle.)

The four-year cycle includes:
  • Grade-school unit studies (3rd through 6th grade)
  • Middle-school history and literature courses (6th through 8th grade)
  • High-school history, literature, and philosophy courses (9th through 12th grade)
The four eras in the cycle are:
  • Ancient (starting Fall 2019)
  • Medieval (starting Fall 2020)
  • Renaissance through Modern (starting Fall 2021)
  • American (starting Fall 2022)
NOTE: This is already available through our Unlimited Access program. We have recorded, independent-learning courses available for fifth through twelfth grade for all eras.

For the 2019/2020 school year, here are the live, interactive courses that are available utilizing the new four-year cycle ...

-- Grade School. Homeschool Connections has developed a brand new, online grade school unit study program based on Story of Civilization by Phillip Campbell (TAN Books). The unit study is geared for third through sixth grade and will include religion, history, language arts, and science. Taught by Jackie deLaveaga. Registration is open HERE.

-- Middle School. Click on the course title to learn more or register:
-- High School. Click on the course title to learn more or register:
We also offer all levels of Latin. Search our registration page to find the right course for you or email us for a free Latin placement test.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Finishing the Homeschool Year Strong

We received a request from a homeschool mom who was winding down her school year. She asked us to offer short 4- to 6-week recorded courses to help her fill in some homeschooling holes between April and June. The good news is that we were able to help immediately as we already offer a great slate of short courses ...

Here is a list of 4-week and 6-week courses currently available through our Unlimited Access program (recorded courses):

Computer Skills
  • Introduction to Microsoft Word
  • Introduction to PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching
  • American Elections: Democracy in Action
  • Pro-Life Boot Camp: Learning the Facts and Effective Communication
  • The Life and Legacy of St. John Paul II 
  • Foundations of Christian Historiography
  • Christian Architecture through the Ages 
  • The Great Depression: 1929-1941
  • Understanding the Second Vatican Council
  • Preparing for Intermediate Latin Boot Camp
  • Preparing for Advanced Latin Boot Camp
Life Skills
  • How to Be an Excellent Student and Get an "A"
  • Introduction to Literature: Why & How to Study Literature
  • Literature Independent Study
  • How to Read Great Literature
  • Humor in Literature
  • Poems Every Catholic Should Know
  • Narnia for Young Adults: The Theology of The Chronicles of Narnia
  • The Hobbit: There and Back Again
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien for Young Adults: The Theology of Middle-Earth 
  • Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis
  • Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton 
  • The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
  • St. Francis by G. K. Chesterton
  • What's Wrong with the World by G. K. Chesterton
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • Beowulf and Christ
  • Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer; Trust God and Tradition
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • King Lear
  • The Twelfth Night
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Sophocles and Tragedy
  • Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • Dracula
  • Jane Eyre
  • Frankenstein: Misunderstood Monster 
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Redemptive Comedy of Flannery O'Connor
  • Introduction to Trigonometry
  • The Philosophy of Beauty
  • Health, Fitness, and Wellness
Speech & Communication
  • Leadership and Interpersonal Communication
Test Prep
  • The New SAT: What you need to Know to Score Well
  • ACT Test Prep
  • ACT/SAT English and Writing Test Prep
  • Discovering Your Authentic Beauty & Making Life Full and Fun for  Middle School Girls
  • True Radiance! Discovering Your Authentic Beauty as a Young Woman
  • The Trinity Explained
  • The Mass Explained
  • Punctuation & Grammar
  • Excellent Sentences and Paragraphs
  • Excellent Paragraphs and Essays
  • Fiction Writing Series (Creative Writing)
These are all great courses to take in summer as well, especially if you want to keep learning alive between the spring and fall semesters in an easy-to-implement way and still have summer fun.