Thursday, February 16, 2017

Exciting new option for homeschoolers to get college credit

Homeschool Connections has partnered with Franciscan University of Steubenville to offer an exciting option for homeschoolers seeking to get college credit for courses taken during high-school. Or actually, dual credit -- for both high school and college.

Initially, there are three courses being offered, with additional course offerings to be added in the future. HSC members will receive a 10% discount, but this discount is taken off a lower price than the in-person tuition rate. So, as Maureen Wittmann explains:

A little comparison for you: FUS's part-time, in-person tuition is currently $840 per credit hour. The typical course is three credit hours each. So one 3-hour course on campus would be $2,520. A dual enrollment course online would only be $900 (full price) or $810 (HSC discounted price).

The credits can be applied to an FUS degree, or transferred to any college that accepts transfer credit from Franciscan.

For more information, see Franciscan U's new page on their Homeschool Connections agreement and their news release about the tuition discount. HSC's dual enrollment page is currently under construction, but should soon have more information and answers to FAQ.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recovering a distinctly Catholic way of teaching

This fascinating interview with Mary Pat Donohue touches on many aspects of an authentically Catholic education that I think are as relevant to home educators as they are to "away" schools.
Mary Pat Donoghue sees teaching and learning as two sides of the same blackboard. As the Director of School Programs for the Institute of Catholic Liberal Education (ICLE), she devotes her life to showing that there is a Catholic way to teach and a Catholic way to learn—both of which include the eternal verities of goodness, truth and beauty as part of the curriculum. See more here: Interview with Mary Pat Donohue, Catholic Educator

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A worthy project!

This is a beautiful project--take a minute to watch the video and get involved! See the site here.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Pope Watch

Our family is very excitedly watching every bit of news we can to follow the meetings of the cardinals which will soon lead to the conclave to elect a new pope. The kids even have a plan all mapped out for getting up even in the middle of the night to watch for the smoke that signals the results of a vote (and calling their big sister in college once we actually have a new pope).

I thought I'd collect some of the interesting resources that we've found on this topic here.

Adopt a Cardinal - Chances are you've already heard about this one, but what a great idea! You plug in an e-mail address and they match you up with a specific cardinal to pray for during this time. Everyone in our family adopted our own cardinal.

Electing the Pope - A lovely site for understanding how the whole process works.

EWTN Television - Even if you don't have cable, you can watch EWTN online for free. This is where we watched the telltale smoke during the conclave in 2005.

How a Pope is Elected - Great graphic overview of the election process. - Official Vatican news site in English.

The Pope App -This is also powered by and is available for Android or Apple.

Radio Vaticana - Another Vatican news source - there's also a nice app available for Radio Vaticana.

USCCB Interregnum Page - A page from the United States Bishops on this time period between popes.

Vatican News Facebook Page - An easy way to get updates, plus many photos I haven't seen elsewhere.

And just for fun...

Election of Pope Trivia Quiz

Learn about St. Peter's Basilica (and print out pictures for coloring)

Pope Benedict XVI Coloring Page

Interesting viewing and browsing...
(Please preview before sharing with your children.)

Inside the Vatican (National Geographic) - Lovely inside look at the Vatican and some of the activity that happens within its walls.

Pope John Paul II (Cary Elwes, John Voight) - Includes a bit of a look at what a papal conclave looks like.

SmartHistory: Pieta - SmartHistory is the art history component of Khan Academy. Although it is technically a secular site, this brief presentation is both beautiful and reverent. We have enjoyed a number of the SmartHistory videos, especially about Ancient Rome.

The Vatican Museum Collections Online

Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ana's Picture book of the Week

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Hardcover) by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, illustrated by Tonya Engel, Amazon Children's Publishing 2012
I never cease to be marveled by the wonder-full story of Guadalupe. This new picture book does a fabulous job of retelling it, with historical accuracy, gentleness, and vibrant illustrations. This lovely book will make a very nice gift to a child, and the child's older siblings and parents will enjoy it as well. 
Although the story of Guadalupe is one of the most well-known Catholic stories, the effects of this historical event are intricately woven in Mexican-American history. I believe this book will be of interest to any reader, independent of denomination, because of its historical ramifications. In the millions who visit the largest Marian shrine in the world in Mexico, there are many who are there for historical and cultural interest. A high quality, beautiful picture book! Highly recommended.

Note: The "See Inside" feature on Amazon for this book is very generous and one can see much of the book including the excellent Author's Note at the end.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


During the holidays last week our whole family enjoyed a marvelous BBC production: Cranford. Judy Dench as the lead gives a fantastic performance in this story of the town of Cranford based on the novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. From Husband through Number Seven and including the grown boys and the high school senior, we were all ready to drop all whenever an episode started in the TV room! Don't miss it!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jesse Hartland, Shwarts & Wade 2012

I did not grow up with Julia Child... and yet I feel as if I know and love her! The also-wonderful Minette's Feast, which is for a younger audience, left me wanting more biographical information! The book tells of her interesting  adventurous and good life, and all of her hard word and dedication ever before she managed to get her famous french Cooking book published. Also how her very popular TV show came into play! All of the little humorous bits, and the cute illustrations! 
Daughters 11 and 13 years old also read it from cover to cover and were equally delighted. If you want to meet Julia Child, and don't want a lengthy biography, this is it! 

I searched for Julia Child's old TV show clips and found a plethora of things on this site.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

I continue to browse through new library picture books... it seems the good ones are becoming rarer, or it may be that my filters have become more selective. So many unpleasant twists in kids' books, be it revisionist history or politically correct-ness. Or both.

In any event here are three new and wonderful picture books I was able to gather from various recent visits to the library. I included their covers and also my own favorite page of each one. Enjoy!

George : George Washington, our founding father  by Frank Keating ; paintings by Mike Wimmer. New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012.

This is a gorgeous, gorgeous book. Vignettes of Washington's life are juxtaposed with some of his words of wisdom, done in beautiful period calligraphy. A treasure of a book, and the text doesn't shy away from Washington's faith in God.

Minette's feast : the delicious story of Julia Child and her cat  by Susanna Reich ; illustrated by Amy Bates. New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012.

The illustrations in this book are the sort of wonderful children's book illustrations I haven't seen in a while! Dynamic, sweet, full of interesting details and, of course, adorable! I confess I knew nothing of Julia Child's life, not even the very obvious fact that she was six foot two inches tall. I couldn't put it down, this story of a hard-working, intelligent and talented woman who was also a kind pet owner! The story is told from the perspective of her cat and the title reminds one of a certain famous Scandinavian film revolving around food as well!

Hanging off Jefferson's nose : growing up on Mount Rushmore by Tina Nichols Coury, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport. New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.

A book about a hard-working young man, the son of Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum. The book focuses on Lincoln Borglum's early life of work and discipline, and then the huge responsibility he undertook when his father died with the project incomplete. The story tells of the love the working men had for him, and of the respect he showed the local native Americans. The illustrations are excellent, rich in details and history. Winner in my book!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

How to Draw Pets by by Mark Bergin, 2011 Powerkids.

This is a good book! I am always on the lookout at the library for how-to-draw books, and this is a winner. The drawings are at the same time realistic and academic, and directions are easy to follow. Pets included dogs, mice,hamsters, cats, lizards, parrots , rabbits and more. Our own 11 year old drew the two pictures below using the book.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Northern California Catholic Homeschooling Conference

2012 Northern California Catholic Homeschooling Conference

Sponsored by Our Lady of Peace Gift Shop

Our Lady of Peace Church and Shrine
Monsignor Sweeny Family Learning Center
2800 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054

Friday, April 13, 2012                2:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 14, 2012            8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.

For Registration and Program Information: Please Visit:

For News, Updates, and Vendor Listings, Like us on Facebook!
Send a Facebook invitation to your friends.
For questions, email: or call us: 408-980-9825
or Toll-Free:1-800-980-1531

Featured Speakers 
Laura M. Berquist: Founder and Director of Mother of Divine Grace School and author of  "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum"
Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ, PhD.: “Exploring the Reason for Faith” a five-part high school  curriculum
Sharon Hensley: author, Home Schooling Children with Special Needs.
Virginia (Ginny) Seuffert: Lecturer, author, conference coordinator at Seton Home Study School
Mary Ann Shapiro Director, Christ the King Academy. Educational Liaison, Ocean Grove Charter School
Marita Vargas: Academic Advisor, Kolbe Academy
Special Workshop: “High School to College” By Theresa Johnson and College Panel

FREE Workshop - Open to the Public   “The Basics: Why do we Homeschool?”
Friday, April 13, 7:00 p.m.
Catholic Vendors Available All Day!
 The 2012 Northern California Catholic Homeschooling Conference seeks to provide workshops, support, and access to curriculum for homeschooling families. It will also offer a workshop on child special education needs. The Conference dedicates itself to supporting the growth of the Catholic Homeschooling Community in Northern California.
Conference is Handicap Accessible. We love children, but we must respectably ask that children do not attend this event. Nursing infants are welcome. Thank you for your understanding!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

Gifts From the Gods by Lise Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Gareth Hinds, 2011 Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

I picked a new Mythology picture book at the library that we are all enjoying!  The stories are told in delightful, uncomplicated language and the illustrations are fun and expressive. The text explains how we inherited the many words from ancient mythology into our western culture and language. Very interesting, I recommend it! This nice picture book will be very useful as a read-aloud in a young Latin Club!

From the publisher: Ancient names come to rich and fascinating life in this lavishly illustrated gift book for mythology fans and word lovers.Did you know that “museums” were initially temples built to worship the nine muses, the goddesses of the arts? That “Janus” was the god of the doorways and hallways, and we have named our janitors after him?Where did these words — and other words, such as chaos, genius, nemesis, panic, echo, and narcissus — come from? From the ancient stories of the Greeks — stories that rang so true and wise that the names of the characters have survived for centuries as words we use every day. The brief stories here not only impart the subtle wisdom of these ancient tales, but make us understand the words, and our own world, more deeply.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ana's Picture Book(s) of the Week

Our 11 year old was the one who chose these two books,  different as picture books can be. The first one is

Sister Bear by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Linda Graves, 2011 Marshall Cavendish Corp.
The illustrations alone are worth the book, which is a retelling of an old, wintery Norse tale. A tale of courage, inventiveness and kindness! Number Seven loved the story and the foreign, Nordic, rich and gorgeous illustrations!

...and the second one is a tropical, warm tale, very different from the first one! Our daughter, animal lover extraordinaire, loved it!

Cecily G and the 9 Monkeys, by H. A. and Margret Rey, reprinted 2007 HRH Books.

I actually requested it from Inter Library Loan and received the very old original hardcover. I see that it has been reprinted and saw that the the new edition had a lovely note from Louise Borden explaining how Curious George was born and the fascinating life of the authors! She has written a lovely picture book on the Reys that I highly recommend, proving the Curious George is actually a... Brazilian monkey!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ana's Picture Book of the Week

Irena's Jars of Secrets by Marcia Vaughan, illustrated by Ron Mazellan, 2011 Lee& Low Books. 

first heard about Irena Sendler from my sister Marta, but the film starring Anna Paquin is still to become available on Netflix. Then I picked up a children's book about her, and now here is another one. It is beautiful, and the courageous story is beautifully told and illustrated. Irena, singlehandedly, and courageously, saved the life of hundreds of Jewish children in Poland during WWII. You can read a little about her here.