Catholic Homeschool Curriculum
Hi Chante! Thank you for inviting me to share our Catholic homeschool curriculum short cuts with your natural mothering visitors. I'm the grateful wife and mother of a happy homeschooling Catholic family with eight children that has used home birth, breastfeeding, clothdiapers, homeopathics, and a whole range of natural mothering treasures; whichmeans that your site is "right there" with my life time of interests namely my husband and my children! I didn't know about much of some of the treasures on your site before I got married. Oh! How I wish that I had had a site like yours for reference and community twenty-four years ago. We don't do everything naturally or even simply, but we are glad that we have done at least some things naturally and simply throughout the years.
I guess that the biggest addition to my mothering lifestyle has been homeschooling. We began our homeschooling with books frommany accredited Catholic homeschool curriculum providers like Our Lady of Victory School, Seton Catholic Home School, and Mother of Divine Grace, or MODG, and have wound up designing a curriculum that uses more real books and fewer text books and work books and have found this to be more productive and less expensive of time and money. The internet homeschooling forums have also been great resources for finding free homeschool material. I'd never heard of free worksheets and free coloring pages before seeing them in the forums, but have found them to be very useful these last two years.
As time flew, I became very glad to have learned what Dr.Art Robinson had had to say about school on his Robinson Curriculum website because his ideas showed how learning can be simple. I had learned about the idea of designing a curriculum from Laura Berquist of MODG, about 15 years ago. When I read her Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum I began to see how designing a homeschool curriculum basically meant finding good books to read and books that teach concepts well, like "how to" books. Then I'd heard friends from around the country say that they were happy for the shortcuts that they had learned from Dr.Robinson's video. His speech answered many of my questions about how to use real books, and how to let the children learn for themselves.
DO BE SURE to watch his video from his homepage! He has some very helpful shortcuts. Our whole family watched his video during lunch one day and finished it during dinner, it was that interesting. My current high school children were saying, "Ooh! Ah. Now I get it.... He's right." My favorite benefit is that even my seven year old has now gone through all 4 Math operations by writing the equations three times each and reviewing the flash cards with me. He will understand so much more than his older brothers and sisters once he starts using Math books.
Dr. Robinson's ideas of using real books reinforced what Mrs. Berquist wrote about designing a Catholic homeschool curriculum in such a way that I use text books mainly for Math and Science. We do use Saxon Math as he recommended, but vary our curriculum with the difference that we do use the Saxon Homeschool versions and their solutions manuals. We also use the Dr. Shoremann's DIVE tutorial. We have gone back to being sure to read the Math text as well as take notes from the tutorials because reading is the hang up with Math word problems for any of our children. Their grades have improved since we returned to reading the text. I explained to our older children that reading the sample problems will help them read the word problems.
Outside of Math and Science, our Catholic homeschool curriculum includes more books on the Roman Catholic saints,the Douay-Rheims Bible, and history books written about or by Catholic authors.Even literature, reading class, and English can be covered by using stories from the Bible and the lives of the saints. Otherwise, we'd never have had time to read these good books. Several of our children have done quite well with music, too, and three have played in local concerts and orchestras.
To conclude, I must say that I am so grateful for the improvements that people like Laura Berquist and Dr. Robinson have shared; they have sure saved us time and money. We dearly appreciate the many companies thathave republished so many Catholic books. We are fortunate to live in times when companies have invested in the homeschool market, too, because we wouldn't beable to learn at home so easily if we lived in earlier days, and it wouldn't have been so easy to build our Catholic homeschool curriculum without these treasures.
Mary is a homeschooling mother of a Catholic family of eight children that has put the Baltimore Catechism on Audio CDs. She and her family have built St. Anne's Helper, a home business using two websites. The first, http://www.Roman-Catholic-Catechism.comrecommends books to use with any Catholic homeschool curriculum. The second is A-Z-Worksheets.com that hosts thousands of free home school worksheets for practicing the K-6 basics so youcan save time and money with free homeschool material for most every subject.
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