We were concerned about starting high school, especially without scripted lesson plans and heading service; but what a relief HSYD turned out to be! Firstly, we wanted our son to have more selection than many programs offered, and HSYD offered an incredible array of resources in dozens of courses. Secondly, the course planning forms allowed us to both plan and allow our son some level of autonomy and accountability. Lastly, finances were a major concern, with ten children at home and perhaps more to come, the education budget is tight. We weren't constrained by enrollment fees, transcript fees, family fees or any other fee. We still would be able to create our own transcripts and diploma but by taking over the work ourselves we were assured by the book that we would create the ideal program. Now planning our second year (actually his junior year) we are excited and so confident in our decision. I just wish we hadn't wasted a year and a fortune else where! For years I supplemented with CHC but didn't have the confidence to switch fully, not knowing how much I cheated my children and myself.”
- Melissa, Colorado
Review by Holly Pierlot
Nancy Nicholson has done Catholic high school students a great service with her new program manual High School of Your Dreams.
Now there are more than two options for a good Catholic high school education - more than a school setting or an at-home correspondence course - and with Nancy's help, the sky is the limit!
What I find most attractive about it is that Nancy has taken into account the Pauline theology which recognizes that though we are all one body in Christ, we are all very much different in our talents, abilities, interests and calling. High School of Your Dreams understands this, and offers a number of different 'tracks' when planning one's high school experience, be it the college/flexible text track, the vocational school/community college approach, or the apprenticeship/school-to-work track . In reality , this book is so flexible, it would not be hard to come up with a variation on even these 3 tracks! And all of this is designed to suit the unique needs and particular calling from God of each individual child.
What I have found most beneficial in this volume is Nancy's unique methodology for turning valuable life experiences and informal pursuits in subject areas into legitimate 'credit hours' - opening up a whole new way of documenting work hours and record-keeping for later professional entrance requirements. This, with her emphasis on portfolios for academics yes, but also community involvement, relevant activities and other accomplishments rounds out any college-level application process.
Aside from a detailed explanation of how to choose one's route and track, there are also excellent 'course descriptions' taken from the classroom of life: not limited to textbook alone, Nancy has done extensive research and her book is filled with additional resources for study - from church documents, Vatican archives, internet websites and links, supplementary reading, contact numbers and on and on... She also provides theme emphasis suggestions such as possible essay topics, research projects, hands on projects which would inspire any interested student , or make a bored student give it one more shot...
I also liked Nancy's stepping outside of the box, not only in methodology , track, and resources - but especially in her topics - recognizing Apologetics is a legitimate field to enter into as a high school student. Lots of extra-interesting study tracks here : from agriculture to astronomy, communications to English Lit, Family Management to Home Economics, to History (Canadian or American - take your pick!:-) There are courses on midwifery, music, phys ed, psychology, wildlife science and woodworking... not to mention all the 'standard' courses one would find in a typical high school curriculum.
Lastly, Nancy has also given great value to what she considers 'experiential learning' and has an extensive list of shrines, museums, and science discovery centers listed from all over the USA and Canada. The final section includes charts for recording lesson plans, tracking semester hours, required subjects per track, and academic transcripts.
All in all, this is a fresh, unique, and hopeful manual for the education of High School youth which pushes past the mind-limiting boxes we have today about what education is supposed to be. I highly recommend this for home educators who are looking to expand upon their home-schooled children's high school experience, as well as for disillusioned in-the-system children who are just longing for a normal life yet still desire to be able to learn and grow outside of a classroom. Bravo Nancy!
—This review appeared on "Holly's Notebook" at www.mothersruleoflife.com. Reprinted with permission.
Review by Maureen Martin, M.A., Academic Dean of North Atlantic Regional High School
Thank you so much for sending a review copy of High School of Your Dreams to NARS. I have just started going through it, but I wanted to tell you that I was very impressed with the information that it provides. The actual courses are quite similar in format to the NARS First Great Book of Course Descriptions, but what I loved about yours is the Catholic materials added to each one. That is such a wonderful resource! NARS could easily work with families who choose to use High School of Your Dreams. In fact, a number of the grading tools and helps in our green High School Resource Advisor could be of benefit to families using courses that do not generate a lot of graded paperwork (the hands-on courses). I am excited about the possibilities and I can see myself using a number of the suggestions from your book in my own homeschool adventure.
I will be reviewing the book for the NARS teachers and then send our staff an email explaining what your program entails. It is exciting to have more Catholic options to offer our Catholic families!! And if anyone contacts you asking about NARS, please feel free to direct them to me.
So thank you again.
Maureen Marchetti Martin, M.A.
Regional Academic Dean
voice: 207-753-1522 ext. 14
Review by Chandra Montgomery Nicol, Executive Director of Clonlara School
I have finally had the opportunity to peruse the copy of High School of Your Dreams that you sent. It is a thorough and organized approach to gaining a Catholic high school education at home. Clonlara will be happy to list it as a possible resource for our enrolled families who seek a Catholic curriculum.
I am delighted to hear that families using CHC programs have also benefited from ours. I hope that we can have a mutually beneficial relationship that supports home education.
Chandra Montgomery Nicol
Clonlara School, www.clonlara.org