Online Summer Classes Now Available

I imagine if you are internet active, you’ve seen a message or two regarding the classes that are available online this summer. I will post the information in a moment, but I wanted to give a plug for these classes. We had a wonderful priest speak to our homeschooling group several years ago. He talked about world view and the importance of understanding how a person’s world view affects what he believes, says and does. The example he gave was that while two people might have the same goal – to end poverty for example the approach they take could be radically different. One would be in line with Catholic morality and teachings and the other might not be.

With that being said, I think it is such a gift to see this endeavor flourishing and I hope as a community we are able to support these types of courses. Courses being taught by teachers who have a Catholic world view through which they offer their insights and through which they guide discussions.

Many of us were so poorly formed (God is love – 1970’s CCD classes), that we may not have our Catholic world view in place. How many of us studied history not understanding the most basic points. I remember in high school discussing Columbus and the goal of the explorers – find riches and subjugate the natives.When I was teaching my 3rd graders out of Pioneers and Patriots, I was shocked to realize that a goal that Columbus and the explorers had was also to bring Christ to all people. And, at the time, I thought I was pretty well read up on the Church – but still my formation / lack of shined through.

The rest is from Maureen Whittman:

As promised I’ve put together the information for you on the summer courses. Both of the professors have a love for the trivium and all things classical. Also, both have experience teaching at the kitchen table as well as in the ivory tower. I’ve talked to several moms whose high school children have taken their courses. Both men are loved by their homeschool students and come highly recommended.

Note that all Homeschool Connections courses are recorded and available to registered students for up to six months. So you can go back to review or if you’re going on vacation in the middle of a course and can’t get internet access where you are then you can watch the recording later. These particular courses have been designed for summer — little or no homework. All courses require high speed internet (non-dial-up).

If you want to register, just go to https://homeschoolconnections.webex.com/. Please don’t hesitate to send me questions or suggestions.

Here are the descriptions with the instructors’ bios at the end

Course Title: Beowulf and Christ
Course Description: This great mini epic will be explored as an allegory that te aches the Anglo-Saxon world how to transform pagan heroic ethos into a pattern for Christian heroism and how to re-envision blind Fate as Godly Providence. The Charles Kennedy translation is suggested. Be careful not to get a web version that cuts out the Christian elements. This is a book that lies behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s depiction of Edoras as well as the warlike virtues of Gondor. Suitable for any high school student who can read the poem and enjoy it. It is preferred that student have pre-read the poem before the first day of class. There will be no homework assigned for this course.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Fee: Four-week course for $60.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 1, 2009 and meet every Monday through June 22, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students:  Beowulf, preferable the Kenned y translation.
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Name: The Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis
Course Description: This is a seminar in which we will discuss the Space Trilogy of C.S. Lewis—Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. The first session will be an overview. Then we will spend two session discussing each volume. The final session will be a discussion of the entire trilogy. Juniors and seniors.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher. Ph.D.
Fee: Eight-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Tuesday, June 16, 2009 and meet every Tuesday through August 4, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:30 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 15 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: The Space Trilogy by C. S . Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength)
Equipment requirements: Because this is a discussion course, students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Title: Catholic Living for Young People
Course Description: In our complex and changing world, with its serious cultural challenges, how does a young person structure and organize his life so that he can grow in his relationship with the Lord? Themes covered include prayer, study, social life, recreation and entertainment, technology, and decision-making. Lecture and discussion. The student will compose a rule of life tailored to his own situation. High school.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Eight-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Friday, June 19, 2009 and meet every Friday through August 7, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: None
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Name: College Writing
Course Description: What are the characteristics of excellent writing in the eyes of college professors? This course will use the rhetorical arts to help turn competent writing into impressive writing. What are the essential components of an excellent piece of nonfiction writing? How does one write a compelling introduction and conclusion? How does one argue effectively for one’s position? What are important mistakes to avoid? The course will work with previous writing samples of the students, as well as composition exercises, culminating in the writing of a short argumentative essay. Juniors and seniors.
Instr uctor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 22, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 27, 2009. The time will begin 12:00 PM Eastern and end at 1:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 20 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: None
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Title: The Short Stories of J.R.R. Tolkien
Course Description: In this course we will discuss in seminar (discussion) format five short stories by J.R.R. Tolkien in light of his essay called “On Fairy Stories.” The stories are “Smith of Wooton Major,” “Farmer Giles of Ham,” “Leaf by Niggle,” “The Adventures of Tom Bombadil,” and “Roverandom.” All five stories and the essay are available in one volume, called Tales from the Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien. The assignment will be to write your own fantasy story by the end of the six weeks. High school.
It is preferred that students have read Lord of the Rings before coming to this course, but not required.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $120.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Wednesday, June 24, 2009 and meet every Wednesday through July 29, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:30 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 15 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: Tales from the Perilous Realm by J. R. R. Tolkien
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Course Title: The Mass Explained
Course Description: In order to participate fully in the Mass, we need to understand it better. The Bible provides many images and ideas that are the basis for the structure and prayers of the Mass. This course looks at these Biblical ideas and explains how they are realized and fulfilled in the celebration of the Mass. Some of the images include the Trinity; temple, priest and sacrifice; the Passover and the Exodus; and the bridegroom/bride. In this course we will look closely at the prayers and structure of the Mass in light of these images and ideas. This course will not require written assignments. It will involve reading from the Bible. High school.
Instructor: Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Fee: Six-week course for $90.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Thursday, June 25, 2009 and meet every Thursday through July 30, 2009. The time will begin 11:00 AM Eastern and end at 12:15 PM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Students: A Catholic Bible
Equipment requirements: A headset with microphone is preferred but not required.

Course Title: The Catholic Shakespeare: MacBeth
Course Description: The course will explore the play on four levels: 1) What is literally happening and why that is often surprising; 2) What main Christian moral messages are being embodied in the play; 3) The Biblical references that enrich the meaning of the work; and finally, 4) How Shakespeare is presenting the challenges and duties of the Body of Christ within the Elizabethan police state. Suitable for anyone who can read the play and enjoy it. It is preferred that students have pre-read the play before the first day of class.
Instructor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Fee: Four-week course for $60.
Dates and Time: Classes will begin Monday, June 29, 2009 and meet every Monday through July 20, 2009. The time will begin 10:00 AM Eastern and end at 11:15 AM Eastern.
Enrollment Period: Enrollment is currently open and will close when the class is filled. (Maximum 25 students.)
Course Materials Needed by Student: MacBeth by William Shakespeare
Equipment requirements: Students are required to have a headset with microphone.

Biography, Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students.

A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University.

Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Biography, Robert Gotcher, Ph.D.
Dr. Robert F. Gotcher most recently served as Associate Professor of Systematic Studies at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. He and his wife, Kathy, are raising their seven children in Franklin, Wisconsin. Dr. Gotcher has been actively involved in the home schooling of his children, especially in the junior high and high school years. He has taught Latin, literature, physics, astronomy, and religion to homeschooled students. He has a special devotion to the classical trivium of grammar, logic and rhetoric, especially as they pertain to the written arts.

Dr. Gotcher graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1981 with a B.A. in the Program of Liberal Studies. He received his M.A. in Theology of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul in 1991 and his Ph.D. from Marquette University in 2002. In his adult life he has done everything from volunteering with the poor in Appalachia, to religious education and youth ministry, to desktop publishing and computer related responsibilities at a law firm. At the seminary he taught introduction to theology, the doctrine of God, one and three, theological anthropology (creation, sin, redemption, grace, four last things), life principles, and human sexuality and has given public presentations on Vatican II, the encyclicals of the pope, social justice, life issues, human sexuality and the theology of the body. His publications focus on family=2 0issues, lay spirituality and issues related to the Second Vatican Council. He is involved in the secular Franciscan order, home schooling, and pro-life activities in the Milwaukee area and nationally.

Dr. Gotcher blogs at Heart, Mind & Strength, Classic Catholic and Love2Learn.

Latin in Our Homeschools

I am reposting this because I have added a new resource. And, I am actively planning out our Latin goals for next year.

I know that Latina Christiana is a mainstay in many Catholic homeschool programs. While the program is thorough and even offers DVD instruction, a full range of supplimental materials including flash cards, pronunciation audio CD’s and Ludere Latin I and II workbooks that feature crossword puzzles, hangman and even pictionary, LC is not the only program available. So, if you need a different approach to teaching Latin, I offer you the follow list of resources. Latin is the language of the Church and will enhance your children’s education.

Memoria Press, publisher of the Latina Christiana and Henle series, as well as other sites offers a number of articles describing the merits of teaching Latin in our homeschools:

Latin Programs

  • Artes Latinae -This program features a novel approach to studying Latin and boasts that it is a self teaching program and fulfills the foreign language requirement for college. A number of resources are available for Artes Latinae to make it a well rounded program.
  • Cambridge Latin – While most Latin programs features books, workbooks and sometimes DVD instruction and pronunciation CD’s, this program stands out for the online activities that are available for free. Online activities include Latin vocabulary tests against the clock, Latin stories that allow the student to click on words they do not know and have them translated to English, as well as links to pictures of cultural items. Even if you do not use the program, the free activities are worth the visit.
  • Ecce Romani -The title means “Look – the Romans” and the series offers a different approach to teaching Latin. This new edition features full-color design, motivating content, and complete teaching support. The books introduce students to a typical Roman family; the tales of this family’s life teach students about the inhabitants, mythology, and history of ancient Rome, using a combination of original stories, full color illustrations, fascinating articles, and exercises.
  • (just added) First Form – Memoria has developed a new Latin program designed to follow Latina Christiana I or for an older beginner. The focus is on a more rigorous study of grammar which fits nicely with many classical curriculum’s goals. Students will be better prepared to handle translating great works. The intent is to publish four levels. The content is supposed to be equivalent to Henle, but with a slower grammar pace to cement the concepts.
  • Henle Latin – This program is also offered by Memoria Press. Geared towards 6th grade through 12th grade, the Henle series offers the next step in a systematic and thorough study of Latin. The texts are Catholic which is an added bonus. Memoria Press offers a number of teaching aids for the program. Best of all, for those who are totally intimidated, your children can study Henle online at Memoria Press.
  • Latin Primer -Another offering from Canon Press (Matin Latin), this series features DVD instruction for parents who want additional support. Pronunciation is classical and it features a fairly traditional approach to teaching Latin.
  • Latina Christiana – Memoria Press offers a tried and true method to teaching Latin. A key feature to the program is DVD’s that have the author actually teach Latin to your children. Audio CD’s of the vocubulary, flash cards and supplimental exercises offered through additional books called Ludere Latine round out the program. And, if the thought of teaching Latin truly leaves you faint, Memoria Press even offers an Online Academy with LCI and LCII.
  • Lingua Angelica – Memoria Press offers another lovely program. While it is not a stand alone Latin program, it does offer a needed element in the study of Latin – translation. Four Latin prayers and twelve Latin hymns are the features of the program and the teacher’s manual makes implementing the program much easier.
  • Lingua Latina – Called an immersion program, Lingua Latina is written entirely in Latin. It is a unique and fun approach to learning Latin. Children develop their confidence in their ability to read and speak Latin. This is a low-cost, non-consumable book.
  • Lively Latin – This is a new program available as a pdf downloads. History lessons and lap books along with online drills via Quia are included in this program. While it is still in the beta testing format, the price is low and a forum is offered with the magistra in which you can ask the author questions about the program.
  • Matin Latin – Matin Latin uses a Classical Pronunciaton as opposed to the ecclesiastical pronunciaton that you find used in a mass. It takes a traditional approach to teaching Latin but does introduce all 4 forms of verbs from the beginning.
  • Minimus Latin – You will find that this program is a story that follows the life of a mouse named Minimus as he explores the history and culture of Roman Britian. The teacher’s manual is invaluable to providing a well rounded Latin program because of all the additional activites, but the downside is that it is quite pricey.
  • Rosetta Stone Latin – While Rosetta stone is a respected homeschool resource, the Latin version has not been as accepted. The focus is on spoken language and offers visual prompts, a well integrate audio program including a microphone interface to check pronunciation but the rigorous grammar study offered in other programs is a missing feature here.
  • Schola Latina – the program offers a 5 day a week instruction syllabus and features in addition to the typical vocabulary, vocabulary that children are interested in like animals, clothing and days of the week. Puzzles and games are also included.
  • Wheelock Latin – While my oldest children are several years away from high school, I know that if they continue the pace they will hopefully move into this classic text. Additional resources are available for the course including a student workbook, readers, audio aids and more. This is a classic text that has been used by generations of students.
  • Latin in the Christian Trivium offers both textbooks and online classes. I am not familiar with the company, but its focus is on a Roman centurion and his family. Thus, the vocabulary might be more interesting to the typical family. The online class fee is only $135 / semester – much cheaper than many other programs. Again though, I have not personally met families that have gone through the online courses.

Additional Online Resources

Watch this post as I add additional resources. Also, please note that I have not listed texts that are typically used in high school including Henle and Wheelock.

Latin Online Resources and Classes

I have added some new resources and wanted to repost this:

So, I suppose I was not finished discussing Latin! I realized that I have a host of varied links to assist you in teaching Latin.

First of, what about passing the National Latin Exam? I never knew there was such an exam. From the site, National Latin Exam:

“The National Latin Exam is offered under the joint sponsorship of’ the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League. They are pleased to announce the 2008 ACL/NJCL National Latin Exam. More than 149,000 Latin students from all fifty states participated this year, as did students from thirteen foreign countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. This year for the first time, students from Bulgaria and Mozambique also took the NLE. “

Please read more about NLE on the About – Exam Information page. And, then check out the Syllabus page that gives teachers an idea of what is covered for each level of the exam from beginning to Level VI. And, if you can find past exams with answer keys (PDF’s) or online quizzes (please note that many of the exams have not yet been completed).

And, another fantastic site I happened to stumble on is the American Classical League:

“The American Classical League was founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. Membership is open to any person who is committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome.”

Their store is filled with a variety of resources from computer software to dictionaries to fun books to read and study more about Roman culture. I could definitely spend a nice chunk of money there.

  • (newly added 5/19) – Understanding the Latin Mass: Hear and Learn the Words of the Novus Ordo
    Text and Audio CD by Marion P. Smedberg
  • Latin Dictionary and Grammar – Notre Dame has a wonderful resource on line (15,600 words)
  • Words – another site hosted on Notre Dame offers an online Latin dictionary of about 39,000 words (you can also download the program to your desktop)
  • Latina Christiana I online resources via Quia
  • Latina Christiana II online resources via Quia
  • Latin Online features a nice overview of Latin and then moves onto lessons that feature a textual analysis of works including Caesar’s Gallic War, History of Rome and Augustine’s Confessions.
  • Latin for Mountain Men may not be a traditional approach, but there is some nice explanations on Latin for a novice
  • Textkit – Greek and Latin is nearly overwhelming to explore. Click on the Learn Latin link at the top of the site and find online answer keys, texts of classic works in Latin, textbooks and grammar references. Look a little further and find under the Tutorial link a number of other sites devoted o explaining Latin.
  • Wheelock Latin has information and support materials for this classic text
  • “Talkin’ Like the Ancient Romans points out all the places that we encounter Latin in our everyday life
  • Love2Learn Review of Latin Resources is a trusted site to read reviews of what is available
  • Cambridge Latin Online Resources has lots of activities related to the textbooks including paragraphs in Latin to read (you can look look up words online within the paragraph window), online vocabulary reviews and timed quizzes, and a fantastic list of cultural links like a 3-D cutaway of a Roman house.
  • Latin Library hosts a collection of online texts – great chance to read some Latin!
  • Latin Charts has a some printable charts with noun declensions, present tense verb, pronouns and even blank forms.
  • Latin Noun Declension Chart – very nicely done and designed to go along with LCI so it only includes first and second declension.
  • Latin Verb Conjugation Chart – by the same person from the above chart to go along with LCI – present, future and imperfect First and Second Conjugation
  • (newly added) Henle Vocabulary – from Memoria Press – the format is pages of vocabulary instead of flash cards; this is easier to handle and place in a notebook.

And, for those parents who find teaching Latin in a homeschool setting nothing less than daunting, online classes are available.

  • (newly added 5/19) – Carmenta Online Latin – classes are $400 and meet three times a week.
  • Memoria Press Latin Classes from beginning through Henle
  • Seton offers Latin I and II online. Message boards, audio and online testing are some features offered.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help Resource Center (LPH) offers an online course for elementary students in Church Latin.
  • Regina Coeli Academy provides a full homeschool program online including Latin. I assume you can sign up for individual course.
  • Scholars Online offers Latin course. The program is Christian and does co-operate with Regina Coeli. But, of course you would want to explore any statements of faith that might be required.
  • Latin in the Christian Trivium offers both textbooks and online classes. I am not familiar with the company, but its focus is on a Roman centurion and his family. Thus, the vocabulary might be more interesting to the typical family. The online class fee is only $135 / semester – much cheaper than many other programs. Again though, I have not personally met families that have gone through the online courses. As a note, I received the following information regarding their online classes:

This is a 15 week course that uses Latin in The Christian Trivium.
All work will be done via email so that the student can work when it is convenient.  Each week students will receive a weekly outline and lessons.  Lessons can be emailed back to the teacher for grading.  The teacher will be available by email and phone.  This course is excellent for homeschoolers, schools without Latin teachers or individuals wanting to learn Latin.  The course is a one time fee of $85 for a 15 week semester.  That does not include the cost of the text.  To sign up email nan@latintrivium.com.

  • Oak Meadow offers online Latin courses using Cambridge Latin for $400 / class (at the time of this post). I found it difficult to find the information and it may be easier to call the school directly.
  • Lone Pine Classical School offers mutliple grades of online Latin courses using Lingua Latina. The tuition seems to be cheaper than many other programs and they also offer an audit option for $100 / semester that permits the student to receive all the materials and attend the online course, they are just not permitted to ask questions or receive personal assistance.

Speaking of Memoria Press

Their spring catalog was mailed out, and, as usual, it is filled with wonderful articles. I always come away from the catalog (it really is one of my favorites) inspired, challenged, and educated. If you have not received a catalog, check out the articles included in this edition including one from Peter Kreft on “What is Classical Education?”

Greek columns

Rosary Lapbook

Front of Rosary Lapbook

Front of Rosary Lapbook

First of all, I must admit that I do not particularly enjoy paper craft projects, so this is my very first lapbook with my students. A friend and I intended to do this project together with all of our older students (11 in total), and she volunteered to cut everything out if I printed all the copies. So we both purchased a copy of the Rosary Lapbook from Lapbooks for Catholics.

The directions for the project are very clear so that even a novice to lapbooking such as myself could navigate through the project successfully. It was a huge .pdf with well over 100 pages of instruction and printables.

The results were quite wonderful. Please note that most of my children are boys, so they did not go further to color or otherwise illustrate their books.

The rosary lapbooks have been very useful when we recite our daily rosary. The images give even my non readers something visual to focus on. The reflections for each mystery are both short enough to get through, but profound enough to bring more depth to the recitation of the mysteries.

My only suggestion for the developer is break out the printable pages from the instructions. It would make the process of printing a new set much easier if they were gathered together rather than interspersed throughout the instructions. And, for families like mine that prefer to send off large print jobs to Kinko’s or Office Max, I would appreciate having all the color images on one page to lower the cost.

Inside Rosary Lapbook

Did you know…

That a company called Math without Borders has developed videos to go with other classic / traditional textbooks including:

  • Algebra I: Expressions, Equations, and Applications, by Paul A. Foerster
  • Geometry-A Guided Inquiry, by G. D. Chakerian, Calvin D. Crabill, and Sherman K. Stein
  • Algebra and Trigonometry: Functions and Applications, by Paul A. Foerster
  • Precalculus with Trigonometry: Concepts and Applications, by Paul A. Foerster

Hmm, as I contemplate what algebra I program to move on to – one requirement is that it have a video teaching element and complete solutions. What I have found so far is:

I will post back when I come up with more options. I have found after using MathUSee and then Teaching Textbooks, that my children greatly appreciate having a calm teacher repeat a lesson several times, without becoming frustrated :-)

As I peruse the internet, I discovered some additional resources:

Online Art Course

coloredpencilsI just bought the membership for $40 – it’s a 3 year family membership and has 3 different sets of lessons available. My daughter, who loves to draw, did a beautiful job with the first lesson.

I think Mark Kistler could do a bit better job of indicating where to start, but after digging around a bit, we started off the three older kids with “School of Imagination“. They are flash player based and go line by line (think Draw Write Now books) but animated and include vocabulary (foreshortened circles), shading and all the elements of drawing.  The discounted membership is available immediately through:

http://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/mark-kistler-online/

Art / drawing is a subject that is difficult to get to. It does not ever seem quite as pressing as history or phonics. I believe this will be easier to assign (I can simply indicate the lesson I want them to work on on their assignment sheets). I want my children to learn how to draw; I believe that all children can learn to draw (I wasn’t gifted but had a great art teacher throughout school and earned an art scholarship for college); the site looks to be an answer to a need.

There are also video lessons, Online Video Art Academy, that you could work on at the same time or in addition to the above, but they are not as well organized (alphabetical), so you have to figure out where to start. This section of lessons offers more variety and various series for refining skills. For example, there is a standard flag drawing exercise and then three more lessons that become more complex. Other topics include contour line drawings exercises, simple cubes that lead to houses and more complex, perspective lessons on houses and cubes and many other topics that deal with typical drawing topics.

Finally, the third area is better aimed at (in my opinion), younger students and/or reluctant students and/or those that need shorter lessons – they lessons are cute and funny and odd but do introduce art elements including shading. This section is called Mini-Marshmallow Video Art Academy. I believe that this section treats art in a light-hearted, non-intimidating manner and would be a confidence builder for those students who believe they cannot draw (hey moms, that might be you too).

Since it is a family membership, everyone can take part. I plan on working on my very rusty drawing skills!

Online Catholic Homeschool Webinars

Do you need a boost / a shot in the arm / a bit of encouragement? Some of us are blessed to have local or semi local Catholic homeschool conferences to look forward. The speakers help to encourage us and stretch us and comfort us. So, what if that is not available in your area (Find Catholic Homeschool Conferences) or what if you just really need some help right now?

I have an answer – free or very low cost online seminars from noted members of the Catholic homeschool community. How about a free 1.5 hour conference from Mary Kay Clark (Seton) on “What is Homeschooling?”

Or, how about some ideas on “Organizing Your Classroom 101” from Maureen Whittmann, Catholic homeschooling author of:

I am very excited to be able to pass this information along. Things to note: some of the seminars are interactive, some cost a small amount, and you have to download a special piece of software to listen to the seminars. I imagine then that you cannot simply pop a recording onto your MP3 player.

Please post back and let me know what you think of the seminars.

Oh, I nearly forgot to give you the links:

Current and Upcoming Webinars

Previously Recorded Webinars

Note Taking

Well, to be honest this is one of the personal needs driven post. My two oldest (not twins) are entering 9th grade next year. They did abismally poor on their science tests this year and it struck me that I have not taught any note taking / study skills to them.

So, look for this post to grow as I find more resources to add. Due credit must be given to the Mother of Divine Grace family email list. I had seen these sites before, but the note taking thread prompted me to look back into the subject.

First offering, a free online course from Seton – yeah! We like free. And, I would like to try a course from Seton online to see what the experience is like.

Introduction to Study Skills: A Mini-course

Now if you are a bit slow like me, please look at the links in yellow – these are the actual class links. The course is comprised of 11 lessons. The first lesson contains the links for the audio portion. Topics include how to organize your study area, avoiding distractions, outlining and various other study techniques.

From the MODG Families list, Notetaking Systems has links to compare 5 different note taking techniques including the Cornell Method. You could read the description of each method and then google for links to sites that contain more details and examples of how you might use this method.

The method most often mentioned on the various lists I belong to is the “Cornell Method“.  Most seem to think that this approach to note taking especially lends itself to textbooks that students are assigned to read. From this site, you can learn how to apply the technique to lectures. Finally, this site has a nice graphic of what a page looks like when preparing to take notes.

Test Taking Techniques

I thought it might be helpful to begin a list of sites that offer test taking suggestions. Most come from colleges that have tutoring services so you can look up more on your own.

Wow! Check out Catholic Familyland’s New Website

The formal name for Catholic Familyland is the Apostolate for Family Consecration. The previous website allows you to download the pdf’s for the Catechism developed by the Apostolate (with an imprematur by Cardinal Arinze); or download the mp3’s or DVD’s of Cardinal Arinze going through each question and answer and talking more in depth. It is a fabulous, free resource.

Now, the apostolate is rolling out a beta version of the catechism online – FamilyCatechism.com. And, what a great site it is. There are video’s, images, in depth discussions, exercises and more tied to each question.

Now, I don’t particularly like rollover menus since I find them to be a bit touchy, but the content is incredible. They have done a wonderful job of bringing information together so that it is all at your fingertips.

A quick example: In section 2: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, you will find Part 1, Chapter 19 the question, “What does the Incarnation mean?”.

You will find on the right side of the page, 4 sections. The first section is the “Answered By”. In that section, there are three clickable images offering you a video of the answer by Cardinal Arinze, a 2 page text article of the answer from the catechism, and coming soon, an answer from Sister M. John Vianney that will be geared towards younger students and children.

The second section in reference to the question are prayers.

In the cross reference section to the question you will find five sections:

  • scriptural references (full text)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church references (full text)
  • Church doctrine references – specifically for this question, you will find a reference to the text, Lumen Gentium section 55
  • papal document references – specifically for the question it refers you to “Deus Caritas Est” sections 41-42 (full text)
  • a list of other documents referenced – for this question the list included Father Hardon’s Catechism, Shrek’s “Basics of the Faith”, and Baker’s “Fundamentals of Catholicism” among many others  (these are simply titles and page numbers, not full text).

The final section is the Doctrine – Morals – Worship Exercises to explore more deeply your personal understanding of the question (and the answers to these questions are also provided). In this section is also a Thought Provoker along with an answer.

This would be a great resource in homeschooling if your student needs to dig deeper into a topic, or if you have a friendly debate with a person and you would like to some scriptural references or other references to explain a concept.