Category Archives: high school curriculum

{Catholic} Homeschooling through High School

Have you homeschooled through the high school years? My son is a senior this year and I have written an article of what I faced at the beginning and in retrospect, the successful experience he has had since we took on the challenge of homeschooling him through the high school years. This is our story. I would love to hear what you did different? What did you like from our experience? Please share with others as they too might be just as afraid of this journey as I was four years ago.

One of the scariest tasks I have had to endure is homeschooling our oldest child through high school.  He is currently a Senior and it is only early November and boy have we had a busy year!

One of the things that I worried most about was, ahem, the social issues.  I did not want him to miss out on Prom, and band, and any other great opportunity he might have had at the local public school.  So for the first time, my husband and I when finishing the eighth grade, offered him the opportunity to go to a brick and mortar school.  His reply was quick, short and to the point and completely convinced me that he was spot on.  He said, “why would I want to expose myself to things that would damage my soul?” and went on to list things that on a moral level, would not be healthy.  He was right and since we did give him this choice, we honored his very mature response.  I should add, at this point he had only been homeschooled for three years as he went to a Catholic School from Preschool until the fifth grade. So once I let it sink in that I had to figure out his high school curricula, I got started on researching what we wanted to do.  I had taught in the past for fifteen years but always avoided jobs at the high school level. 

Since he wanted to study music and I am not musically inclined, this was a bit of a daunting task.  In hindsight, I can tell you even an area where mom is not familiar with is definitely possible.  Through speaking with people and asking for help from those in our area we were able to supply him with ample opportunities to train, participate and perform in many areas of music he was interested in.  Here are the examples of what we did to make this happen for our son:


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Our 2015 Curriculum Selection using Catholic Schoolhouse

I am finally back on the blog!  I have been so busy the past two years working hard to build content over at Catholic Sistas’s Homeschooling Series that I had abandoned this blog.  Sorry about that.  I did try to keep in touch through the Facebook page and Pinterest pins but I know it is not the same.  After much thought, I have decided to continue blogging about our new found love for Catholic Schoolhouse, a Catholic Classical approach to education.  It is lovely, think of the one room school house but in your home and Catholic!  I blogged about our decision to use Catholic Schoolhouse at Home last month over at Catholic Sistas under Raising Saints. 
This year we will be using Year 2 which involves Creation until the 1500’s.  I am very excited to share my book selection for this year to come. 
This is the Year 2: Creation to 1500s Tour Guide.  This guide is a 24 week detailed guide to teaching History, Geography, Religion, Latin, Math, Language Arts, Fine Arts, The Orchestra and Art.
Here are the additional materials I am using to help me teach all four children

ages 5, 7, 9, and 10 together.:

The CSH History Cards are fantastic.  On one side there is a picture of a historical event, on the back is the title and a gist of the event.  While you can just teach from this I like to add activities and resource books for further investigation.  
My textbook spine for History this year will be Founders of Freedom from the Land of Our Lady series.  I am using Kolbe Academy’s Answer key as well.
I use the History Pockets on our notebooking composition books.  🙂  There is clearly much more in these books than what we will actually use.
This book has activities for the children to make and do.  I am using Classical Kids as a resource for lesson planning.  
Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors: An Activity Guide

Additional Resources:

The Real Vikings
Celts (Usborne)
Nordic Gods and Heroes
Aztecs (Usborne)

The Kingfisher Book of Ancient Worldfrom the Ice Age to the Fall of Rome

The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt
Jason and the Golden Fleece
The Pharaoh and Ancient Egypt
Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found
Discovering Ancient Treasures

See Inside Ancient Rome (Usborne)
Ancient Rome
Roman People

Ancient Greece: Facts, Stories and Activities
Illustrated Guide to Greek Myths & Legends (Usborne)
Ancient Greeks (Usborne)
The Greeks: Crafts from the Past 

The Medieval WorldWorld History: Medieval World (Usborne)
Castle: How It Works

Oxford Children’s History of the World
A Child’s History of the World
(warning: this book is from a Protestant perspective, I use it as a form of apologetics with my children)

Oxford Children’s History of the World: The Ancient World

This is the Science (HANDS ON) Guide for year 2.  I love this guide because I do not really love Science BUT my children do and it helps me pretend like I do – hahaha!  Well I should say I do like to read about Science (as a Reading Specialist I better like that huh?) but the hands on part I am normally horrible on.  Since we started using CSH, we do hands on science!  YAY!  
Here are some of the resources I will be using for this coming year:

The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Physics
The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry

Hidden Stories of Plants
The Visual Dictionary of Plants
DK Plants
DK Tress
Handbook of Nature Study
The Reason for a Flower
Plants that Never Ever Bloom
Peterson First Guides: Trees

The Usborne Internet-Linked Library of Light, Sound & Electricity

Wonder Why: Stars Twinkle
Reader’s Digest Pathfinders: Space
The Visual Dictionary of the Universe
The Usborn Internet Linked Library of Science Earth and Space
DK Visual Encyclopedia of Space

Another amazing product by CSH, Their Art Guide for Year 2, which follows what we will be learning in History!  Perfection!
Here are some additional resources for Art:

The Usborne Introduction to Art

Draw and Write through History: Greece and Rome
Draw and Write through History: The Vikings, Middle Ages and Renaissance 
Draw and Write through History: Creation through Jonah

The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Meet the Orchestra

Meet the Orchestra: A guide to the instruments of the orchestra through star constellations and Greek Myths

The Story of the Orchestra

Kites Sail High: A Book About Verbs
Mine, All Mine: A Book About Pronouns
Fantastic! Wow! and Unreal!: A Book About Interjections & Conjunctions
Merry-Go-Round: A Book About Nouns
Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives
I and You and Don’t Forget We: What is a Pronoun?
Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb?

To Root, To Toot, Parachute: What is a Verb?
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective?
A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun?

Grammar Tales: Teaching Guide
Grammar Tales Readers Box Set

In addition to the individual Religion lessons, we will be using these books to compliment the Memory Verses/Songs that go with the CSH program:

Great Moments in Catholic History
Treasure and Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass
The King of the Golden City
The Incredible Discovery of Noah’s Ark
Great Bible Stories
Read Aloud Book of Bible Stories
Bible History
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

St. Benedict: Hero of the Hills
Saint Dominic and the Rosary
Saint Paul the Apostle
Saint Joan of Arc
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade (not pictured)

Aside from using Catholic Schoolhouse at home, we are adding a Math, Writing, Reading, Religion, Grammar, and Spanish text to our schooling.  I will present them to you one by one by grade:
My fifth grader will be working closely with my fourth grader with some exceptions. He is using Living through God’s Gifts for religion, American Cardinal Reader Book Five for Reading, all the other books are the same as his sister, except that in Math he will be further ahead than her in this book….as well as the Intermediate Language lessons because he stated these last year. They do share books so they have to coordinate using them at different times of the school day.

My fourth grader’s books, she is using Intermediate Language Lessons for Grammar, Ray’s New Intellectual Arithmetic for Math, American Cardinal Reader Book Four for reading, Living for God for a religion and Learn Spanish with Grace for Spanish. She also uses All about Spelling (not pictured)

Lingua Mater: Intermediate Language Lessons
Living for God
Learn Spanish with Grace
American Cardinal Readers Book Four
Ray’s New Intellectual Arithmetic
All About Spelling 4 (not pictured)

Writing & Rhetoric: Book 1, Fables
Writing & Rhetoric: Narrative I
Writing & Rhetoric: Narrative II

This is the set my second grader is using. For Grammar he is doing Primary Language lessons, for reading he is using American Cardinal Readers Book Two, for Math he is using Ray’s New Primary Arithmetic with the Classical Curriculum workbooks which there are four but I bought only the first two and come mid year I will buy the next two. For Spanish he and my first grader are using the Coquito Classico books found on Amazon. For religion he uses Living by God’s Law in preparation for FHC.

Ok this is my first grader’s books. For Spanish he will work with my second grader using the Coquito book, for Math he too is using Ray’s primary Arithmetic but using the Series One work books. For Grammar he is using Voyages in English 1 and 2, for Reading I use American Cardinal Readers Book One to read to him, and for Phonics he is using Little Angel Readers A-D, for a Religion he is using Living in God’s Love. He is using All About Spelling 1 for spelling.

Little Angel Reader A & Workbook A
Little Angel Reader B & Workbook B
Little Angel Reader C & Workbook C
Little Angel Reader D & Workbook D
Living by God’s Love
Coquito Classico Spanish
American Cardinal Readers Book One
Ray’s Primary Arithmetic text
Classical Curriculum Arithmetic Workbook Series 1, Book 1
Classical Curriculum Arithmetic Workbook Series 1, Book 2
Classical Curriculum Arithmetic Workbook Series 1, Book 3
Classical Curriculum Arithmetic Workbook Series 1, Book 4
All About Spelling 1 (not pictured)

Using Catechism in Rhyme, I have written a 100 page handwriting, copy work, and dictation book for my children to use.  I also have it available for sale, if you are interested, contact me through Facebook or via email: RaisingLittleSaints (at)  Here are the details:

As an Associate to Amazon, all links about when purchased, give me a commission.  It does not affect the price you pay for the product.  Thank you for your patronage. 
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10 Steps to Selecting a {Catholic} Homeschool Curriculum

Selecting a curriculum can be a truly overwhelming task each year for homeschooling mothers.  So many times I have said to myself, “if I could see that book, I’d know if I want it!”  Right?  Then you hop online look through blogs of perfect homes, with perfect mom teachers, that have the perfect school rooms, and then there is Pinterest…then you are headed to Confession, jealousy is a lousy sin.  No seriously, is it not just frustrating?  😀  How do these women just *KNOW* that’s the right Math book?  Why did it not work for *MY* child?  🙂  Well, here’s why:  There IS NOT one set curriculum that is perfect for everyone.  There I said it.  So here’s another secret that lady that introduced you to homeschool forgot to mention, the beauty of homeschooling is that you are able to create a custom curriculum that is beneficial to *YOUR* family.  What works for another family may not be the best fit for another, or *gasp* what works for one of your children may not work for another.    Okay, so now lets take a deep breath and investigate how these ladies on their blogs look so with it.  I confess many times I have said, “when I grow up I want to be just like Jessica from Shower of Roses.”  Don’t laugh, I have said it..even to her.:D
Over the years our family has tried a variety of things – ranging from being an eclectic homeschooler, to using a complete curriculum package to creating things to use, and it has morphed into a combination of pieces that we now use together as a family and components that we use individually to round out the various subject areas.  So how do you decide what is the right fit for your family/homeschool?
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Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2012-2013 for Cor Iesu Academy

After much testing, trying, and searching for the right curriculum, we believe Todd and  I, have found the right one for us.  I am so excited!  We have selected the curriculum for next school year!  We first began by looking for something just for our rising high schooler but decided that all the kids needed to be on the same page.  We are going to follow the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Classical Liberal Arts Curriculum.

Why Classical Liberal Arts Education?  We really would love a program that would allow for at least some of our children to work together, in addition to allow a natural approach to learning (read not so much seat work).  From our experience thus far, with our children, they strive best when they are challenged and engaged in learning (maybe all children are like this?  I’m not sure.)  In addition, our homeschool has a strong devotion to the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and this program not only is named after the patron of our school but his works served as excellent model for the classical liberal arts approach!  The Classical Approach has an emphasis on what is known as the “trivium” – teaching in the sequence of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The classical method is decidedly better at training the mind to think, reason, and even to contend and argue one’s case against contrary ideas.  The way things are going in our world, we believe this is one of the best ways we can better prepare our children through home education.

This statement, from their website, is what finally SOLD us on using this curriculum for our family:

Our program gently prepares the child to learn from the great books and understand the great ideas essential to that same work of integrating faith with reason. A classical presentation of English and Latin grammar and the arts and sciences equips the student with the tools of learning; a cyclical study of the grand eras of western civilization–Greek, Roman, Old World and New–guides the student (and the teaching parent!) through the historical and literary masterpieces that for centuries have inspired students to such noble academic effort.”

There are Cycles to choose from, and after a thirty minute conversation with a representative of their’s I believe this is what we are going to set our goals towards (before you say it’s too expensive, please see my suggestions at the bottom of this post on ideas of saving on books):
Our 2012-2013 Curriculum

Grade 9: Greek Cycle:  Greek History & Astronomy
1.  RELIGION:  Old Testament I & II:
  • Introduction to the Bible
  • Ignatius Bible


  • Christ the King: Lord of History
  • Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History: Volume I to 1740, 3rd Edition
  • Old World and America
  • Herodotus’ The Histories
  • Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War
  • Xenophon: The Expedition of Cyrus (Anabasis)
  • Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History: Volume I to 1740, 3rd Edition
  • Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 1 (Modern Library Classics)
  • Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 2 (Modern Library Classics)
  • Great Dialogues of Plato
  • Alexander the Great: Man of Action, Man of Spirit
  • Alexander of Macedon: Journey to World’s End

3.  LITERATURE:  Greek Literature I & II:

  • Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne
  • Homer : The Iliad
  • Iliad, The (Cliffs Notes)
  • Herodotus’ The Histories
  • Homer: The Odyssey
  • Odyssey, The (Cliffs Notes)

4.  FINE ARTS:  

A)  Art Appreciation &; Analysis: 
  • Art And: Critical Thinking and Art Analysis
B)  Greek Playrights:
  • Aeschylus : The Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus II
  • Aeschylus : The Oresteia : Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides
  • Sophocles : Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Electra (Oxford World’s Classics)
  • Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae (Focus Classical Library)
  • Great Dialogues of Plato
  • Aristophanes: Four Plays by Aristophanes: The Clouds, The Birds, Lysistrata, The Frogs
    5.  SCIENCE:  Astronomy I & II:
    • Creator and Creation, 3rd Edition
    • Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist
    • Essential Cosmic Perspective, The (5th Edition)
    A)  Formal Composition II:
    • Format Writing
    • Great Writing: A Reader For Writers

    B)  Formal Grammar I:

    • Jensen’s Grammar 

    C)  Formal Logic:

    • Traditional Logic 1 : Intro. to Formal Logic 
    D)  Pennmanship:
    • Handwriting 5 for Young Catholics (to review the basics)
    E)  Punctuation:

    • Jensen’s Punctuation
    7.  FOREIGN LANGUAGES:  Classical Latin I
    • Wheelock’s Latin : 6th Edition, Revised
    • Wheelock’s Latin : Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin, 3rd Edition, Revised
    • Wheelock’s Latin : A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock’s Latin: Newly Revised for Wheelock’s 6th Edition

    8.  MATHEMATICS:  Algebra II

    • Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 Kit
    NOTE: I wish my kids would be ready for Cycle E:  Greek History & Astronomy so that they would be able to discuss things with our older son but that Cycle is labeled as appropriate for Grades 4 – 8, my two would be too little for their book selection.
    1.  RELIGION:  Religion 4
    • Faith and Life 4: Jesus Our Guide
    • Baltimore Catechism
    2.  SOCIAL STUDIES / WORLD HISTORY: Classical History
    • Story of the World : Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition
    • Story of the World Vol. 1 : Ancient Times, Activity Book
    3.  LITERATURE:  Literature
    • Landscape With Dragons, A : The Battle for Your Child’s Mind
    • Paideia Program
    • Let the Authors Speak : Guide to Worthy Books
    4.  FINE ARTS:  
         A)  Art Appreciation:
    • Faith and Life 1: Our Heavenly Father (Student Book)
    • Faith and Life 4: Jesus Our Guide (Student Book)
    • Art-with-an-Active-Eye Notebook
         B) Art Practice:
    • Art With a Purpose : Artpac 3
    • Art With a Purpose : Artpac 4
         C) Music Appreciation:
    • Classical Kids
    • Mozart’s Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through ’The Magic Flute’
    • Hallelujah Handel!
    • Beethoven Lives Upstairs (Audio CD)
    5.  SCIENCE:  Anatomy & Health
    • Body Book, The
    • Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides
         A)  Grammar/Composition 2:  
    • Voyages in English 2006 Grade 2, Student Edition
         B)  Pennmanship:
    • Handwriting 2 for Young Catholics
        C)  Reading Skills:
    • Catholic National Reader Volume 2
         D)  Spelling/Reading Skills:
    • Explode the Code Book 5
    • Explode the Code Book 6
    7.  FOREIGN LANGUAGES: Latin Chant
    • Minimum Repertoire of Plain Chant
    8.  MATHEMATICS:  Mathematics G
    • Math U See Gamma : Student Kit
    • Math U See Gamma : Teacher Pack
    • Starter Set 1 (Manipulatives)
    • Skip Count and Addition Facts CD and Book
    • Math in a Flash Multiplication flashcards

    1.  RELIGION:  Religion 1

    • Faith and Life 1: Our Heavenly Father

         A)    Grammar/Composition 1

    • Voyages in English 2006 Grade 1, Student Edition

         B)  Pennmanship:

    • Handwriting Without Tears 2 : Printing Power
    • Handwriting Without Tears : 2nd Grade Printing Teacher Guide
    • Handwriting Without Tears : Slate Chalkboard

         C) Reading/Spelling Skills

    • Little Angel Readers Set A-D : Readers, Workbooks, and Teacher’s Manual
    3.  MATHEMATICS:  Mathematics B
    • Math U See Beta : Student Kit
    • Math U See Beta : Teacher Pack
    • Starter Set 1 (Manipulatives)
    • Skip Count and Addition Facts CD and Book
    • Math in a Flash Addition flashcards


    For the little ones ages two (2) and four (4), we are going to use a new curriculum (which I will also be reviewing):

    by Sarah V. Park (Hillside Education)

    In this creative curriculum, you’ll find easy-to-use activities to introduce your preschooler to the alphabet. For each letter, Sarah has provided:

    1) Saint of the Week suggestions
    2) Virtue and Scripture verse,
    3) Crafts & Activities,
    4) Collage ideas,
    5) Picture Book lists, and
    6) Recipes.
    Tot School

    For our two year old we will also use a little of the Preschool curriculum above but mostly Montessori Activities: Puzzles, board books, hands on activities!

    Three Simple Strategies on Funding this Approach:
    The Classical Liberal Arts approach *can* be pricey and when I posted our curriculum selection, that was one of my friends pointed out.  I will be taking advice from veteran homeschool moms whom have been using this approach in the past.  
    1)  Use your local public library:  You *can* buy all the books and build your library but if you don’t have the money to do that, you can always use your local library system and supplement your curriculum (this just requires more planning on your part ahead of time).  

    2)  Buy your curriculum by Semester:  Plan your lessons ahead of time by semesters and months.  Look up what you need and budget yourself so that you purchase it in two parts.  Semester One would be ordered in the Summer and Semester Two books would be ordered in the Winter (December)

    3)  When possible, buy used:  There are so many ways (when allowed by the publisher) to buy books and textbooks used.  You can do this by either asking locals in your area if anyone happens to either be selling a book or have one sitting on their shelf without being use (who knows maybe they might even loan it to you, if they know you and would like to do it?).  Another method is to look online.  Here are three places I search for used curriculum:
         A)  CathSwap (on Yahoo Groups)
         B)  Catholic Swap/Chat (on Facebook)

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