A Catholic homeschool can mean very different things. It can simply be a homeschool in a Catholic household whose day is framed by prayer and worship and whose school studies are pretty much like public school except for added attention to Church history and the Bible. Or a Catholic homeschool can be one that uses a Catholic curriculum – either printed or a distance learning solution – that is completely imbued with belief. Or anything in between. This article explores some of the approaches that can help define a Catholic homeschool as Catholic.
One element that can help define a Catholic school is the practices. The life of prayer is one element that can be added to any curriculum. This might include morning prayer, grace, the Angelus, and the rosary, which can also help define the school day. Mass attendance together is another way for a homeschool to have a Catholic focus.
Because Catholicism does not completely define a person’s views – for example, some Catholics are quite conservative, while others are dedicated liberals – it is important for you to review any Catholic curriculum you’re considering to make sure that it fully fits your worldview.
Offering a nursery school through grade 12 curriculum, 13 courses, and grading and recording-keeping services, in an adapted Great Books approach. A dialectics course is conducted as an online discussion, and registration includes Britannica and Merriam-Webster online references. The materials can be purchased separately and combined by parents with other curricular materials, or used as an entire curriculum. The materials are not guaranteed to work on a Mac, though one user has had success on a Mac.
The courses include: cartography, fine art, geography, grammar, handwriting, history, literature, logic, math, music, philosophy, phonics, religion, science, typing, vocabulary, and foreign language. I can’t find any samples on the site. This program is not accredited, and spends quite a few words explaining why. http://www.angelicum.net/accreditation.htm
Catholic Heritage Curricula
Catholic Heritage offers a pre-K through high school curriculum in the following subjects: catechetics, Phonics, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Grammar and Composition, Thinking Skills & Logic, Handwriting, Latin, Literature, Science, Health, Physical Education, Math, History and Geography, Art and Music, Drama, and Home Economics.
Catholic Heritage curriculum samples are available, but the curriculum is not accredited. In reviewing their grade 5 materials, I see in the page “Crafting Better Sentences” a direction that doesn’t make sense. Students are asked to “Begin the sentence with ‘stepped,’ or with the idea of ‘stepping.’” The only grammatically acceptable way to begin the sentence with a past participle is to treat is as a word, rather than use it with its normal meaning. That is, while you can say,
Stepping out of the car, Bet stepped onto the wet cement.
you cannot say anything grammatical if you started with stepped, except something like this:
Stepped and other past participles cannot begin a sentence in the way that other words can.
I cannot tell from one example what this means, but given that this is a page chosen to demonstrate the program’s quality, it leaves me with doubts. I would also suggest you read the materials to make sure that it is not too saccharine for your tastes.
Kolbe Academy offers materials from Kindergarten through high school in the following subject areas: literature, composition, English, geography, history, language, math, music, penmanship, phonics, reading, religion, science, and spelling/vocabulary. Their materials are partly self-published and partly from other publishers, such as Saxon for Math and Prentice Hall for Science.
Kolbe Academy makes lesson plans rather than the actual curriculum materials available, and these, too, give me some pause. In the course titled Modern Era Literature (Grade 12), students read Twain, Dickens, Dostoyevsky, Waugh, Orwell, T.S. Eliot, Robert Louis Stevenson, G.K. Chesterton, and Solzhenitsyn. This is not a curriculum to match the course title. So be careful to make sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting. You can register with the academy to get support, record-keeping, transcripts, and diplomas for 8th grade and high school, but I can’t find any information on accreditation (which likely means that there is none: most organizations that have it tend to make it easy to find out).
Other Curriculum Opportunities
These are only some of the curriculum possibilities for Catholic homeschooling. You may also with to explore the following choices:
L.P.H. On-Line Courses http://lphrc.org/
Mater Amabilis, a Catholic Charlotte Mason Curriculum http://materamabilis.org/
Mother of Divine Grace, classical distance educationhttp://www.motherofdivinegrace.org/
Our Lady of the Rosary, Catholic homeschool curriculum http://www.olrs.com/
Our Lady of Victory, homeschool curriculum and textbookshttp://www.olvs.org/
Regina Coeli, Catholic traditional liberal arts curriculumhttp://www.reginacoeli.org/
Seton Home Study School, which announces its accreditation on its home page http://www.setonhome.org/
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, K-12 liberal arts program designed by homeschoolers http://www.staa-homeschool.com/
You might also wish to review publishers whose books are often integrated into Catholic homeschooling curricula, like Saxon Publishers http://saxonhomeschool.harcourtachieve.com/
Angelicum Academy – http://www.angelicum.net/
Catholic Heritage – http://www.chcweb.com/
Kolbe Academy – http://www.kolbe.org/