April just wrapped up and if you reside in the US – you know that means tax season. Tax forms should all be filed and most are now (hopefully) awaiting their tax return. What to spend it on? Well – if you are a homeschooler quite likely you are looking for curriculum, or books, for the next school year. I have certainly seen a lot of chatter on social media regarding this and, as a moderator on a Catholic Swap page on Facebook, I have frequently seen requests for Catholic Curriculum ideas.
So I thought I would do everyone a favor this first Friday in May and create a list of seven Catholic options available to homeschooling readers of Catholic Sistas. Not a homescooling family? Well, perhaps you are related to or know a homeschooling family, and often wonder what the heck these families use to teach their students.
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a review of these options. Some I have used and some I have not. (Actually with over twenty years of teaching at home – I have used many of these curriculum.) Regardless – this is NOT a review – click here for a three part review I wrote last year about ONLINE options, (Two Catholic, one secular). This is simply a list meant to show you the various options out there for Catholic educational materials and curriculum.
Quick Take one: Catholic Heritage Curricula:
While I don’t know the actual date of the arrival of this curriculum I have kept an eye on it over the years and watched, with delight, as their program grew and developed the past decade. I have used bits and pieces of their curriculum and I am currently using some of their Catholic science books – a source that has been badly needed for decades. Some Catholic curriculum use protestant sources for their science texts with Catholic scientists often not properly revealed or credit not given to the Catholic influence on science in these texts. Sometimes a secular text is offered with the troubles that come with that option so CHC’s science options have been welcomed with open arms – especially in our family. Click here to read their FAQ and here to check out their catalog.
Quick Take Two: Homeschool Connections Online
This option available for homeschoolers was the subject of part three of my review last year and is an online curriculum that offers live and recorded classes. We made great use of this for two years and we look forward to perhaps using it again one day in the future. In the coming weeks I will be sharing a review of a history textbook, The Rending of Christendom, recently published by one of their teachers, Philip Campbell. In the meantime you can click here to read how their live course program works and here to get an overview of pricing for their unlimited access of their recorded courses. The prices of the live courses vary according to depth and length of the course.
Quick Take Three: Mother of Divine Grace (MODG)
This is another program our family has made great use of over the years. I love that MODG offers an individual lesson planner that is available with a daily synopsis for the student along with a separate set of lesson plans in greater detail for the parent. With MODG, gone is the need to rewrite the daily instructions in as succinct a note as you can create in that inevitable lesson planner – one.for.each.student! I typically had five students requiring this break down and this weekly exercise was a killer for me. Mother of Divine Grace is a classical curriculum that offers a variety of teaching assistance. Click here to learn more about this and here to read about their courses. I recently learned that MODG is offering live summer classes for both students and parents. This is very new, I believe, so we have not yet used that option, but go to their home page and scroll way down to read more about it.
Quick Take Four: Kolbe
Founded in 1980, Kolbe is another classical curriculum, and, again, one that we have used. Once with some of my children who were born in the eighties and once again with my children who were born in the nineties. Kolbe emphasizes that the parent is the teacher and, as such, is very flexible with how the parent makes use of the curriculum. Like so many other curriculum, Kolbe is now offering online classes but, as they were not available when we used their program, I can not comment about them. Kolbe offers quite a variety of tuition/program options, click here to read about them.
Quick Take Five: Seton
When I first used Seton back in the late nineties I swore I would never use them again as they were the first curriculum to introduce me to the much
hated dreaded consumable individual lesson plan book with its one inch squares, within which I was to squeeze all the details pertaining to the daily lesson. One square per day, per subject, per student. I still feel the writers cramp in my right hand when I think back to that year.
But Seton has come a long way from that and now not only has lesson plans on paper that come unbound so that you might put them in individual binders but they now have the plans online! I have returned to Seton with one high school student in their program right now. My junior student is able to go online and print off a weeks worth of lesson plans and can also submit her essays and quizzes online. (You still have the option to mail in papers and quizzes.) The grades are then available for me to peruse online as well.
Quick Take Six: Our Lady of Victory
This brings us to the very first boxed curriculum I used my very fist year of homeschooling way back in the early nineties. I still uncover the occasional coloring book or lesson plan from that year. I’m sure they had the horrible individual lesson plan books I have been complaining about but either I have buried them too deep in my memory to recall or I just didn’t need them given I was educating mostly primary grades – right down to kindergarten. I actually do not recall a lot about the curriculum (We are talking about 23 years ago!) but the children enjoyed the books and we had a good year as we began the new adventure of schooling at home.
Quick Take Seven: A variety of other Catholic Resources for homeschooling
Last but not least here are some non catholic resources also often used by Catholic home educators. I have used the ones listed below myself:
I hope that you have found this ‘seven quick takes’ resource guide helpful. Please, if you have experience with any of these programs and resources that you think would be helpful to share, leave a comment sharing your thoughts. Next month will be more frivolous as I discuss how April showers brought May flowers – and the secret language of them. Thank you to This Ain’t the Lyseum who is now hosting the Seven Quick Takes. Be sure to drop in and see what others have shared this week.
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Christi Gareis is a homeschooling mother of thirteen, with four children still at home. Her youngest child can boast that she was an aunt before she was born. Christi has been blogging since 2005 and has three blogs. In addition to blogging, Christi has been published on Catholicmom.com as well as in CCL’s magazine Family Foundations. She also wrote the section on How to ‘Prepare Your Child for First Reconciliation’ in the book '101 Stories of Reconciliation' by Sister Patricia Proctor.