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Click on the topics below for related questions and answers.
Accreditation
Babies and Homeschooling
Beginners
'Being Ahead' or 'Being Behind'
Bookstore, Purchasing CHC Materials From
Burn-Out
Catholic Content
Catholic Content vs. Protestant or Secular Materials
Charlotte Mason Approach
CHC Approach: How Do I Know it Will Work?
CHC Approach: How Does it Differ?
Classical Approach
College, Preparation for
Combining Grades; Placing Two Children in the Same Grade
Complete Program
Cooperation
Copyrights
Copywork and dictation
Core subjects: Essentials, Enrichment, and 'Being Behind'
Curriculum, Catholic
Dictation and Copywork
Diplomas
Discipline
Discouragement
E-Books
Enrichment/ Adding Materials Outside the Lesson Plans
Family Life
Flexibility
Grades, Split
Grading
High School
History
Homeschooling Regulations, by State
Homeschooling, First Year
Kindergarten/Readiness
Language Arts
Lesson Plans
Little Stories for Little Folks, Using
Memory and Retention
Military Academies
Military, Homeschooling in
Multiple Grades, Teaching Together
My Catholic Speller, Using
Online Schools
Overload
Parochial/Public School, Returning to
Phonics
Phonics Instruction
Photocopying
Pre-packaged Curriculum
Pre-Placement Tests
Progress, Measuring
Protestant Materials?
Reading
Reading Comprehension
Record Keeping
Registration and Tuition Fees
Religion, Too Much?
Required Courses
Review and Practice
Science
Special Needs Students
Spelling
Starting Out
Substitutions and a Precaution
Switching to CHC
Teacher's Guides
Testing, Annual
Time Factors
Traditional Catholic Homeschooling
Transcripts
Used Books, Purchase of
Home > Frequently Asked Questions
 
Accreditation

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary process, done by various private organizations. Most people are unaware that there is neither a single, "official" authority, nor a single, agreed-upon standard that determines whether or not a school is granted accreditation! Neither is there a legal standard that designates one accrediting agency as superior to another, nor agreement amongst accrediting agencies as to what standards a school must meet to be granted accreditation.

Failing inner-city schools are accredited, but the majority of their students fail to meet standards for college admission. In contrast, non-accredited homeschool students have a high rate of college admission, often on scholarship, for colleges look far less at accreditation than they do at SAT and ACT scores and prior evidence of student performance. (Accreditation of colleges is another subject entirely; colleges set standards as to which courses they will accept for credit from another college.)

Thus, "accreditation" of a  K-12 program reveals little about the school/provider, either to a prospective student or to a prospective college; it is essentially meaningless as a measurement of academic excellence.

Is CHC accredited?

We are occasionally asked if we are an accredited school. Catholic Heritage Curricula is not a school; therefore, we cannot be accredited. Rather, CHC operates under the philosophy that your home is your school; as Catholic parents, you should have complete control over what is taught in your home. CHC facilitates your vision for your own Catholic homeschool, based on the needs of your family. Our modern, Catholic materials are based on accepted sequences used in Catholic schools across the nation prior to the ‘dumbing down’ of texts in the last 70 years. CHC facilitates your homeschooling by providing online support and Catholic materials based on sound academics, by which your children may learn without burnout.

How important is an accredited diploma for acceptance into college?

Catholic homeschoolers for years have been accepted without accredited diplomas, not only at noted Catholic institutions like Franciscan University of Steubenville and Thomas Aquinas College, but in secular colleges across the United States and Canada. In place of a diploma, institutions measure ability by PSAT, SAT, and ACT scores, and gather information on student coursework, transcripts, accomplishment, and community volunteer activity documented in portfolios provided by the family. While admission requirements differ among colleges, both Canadian and U.S. homeschooled students are routinely accepted into college based on these test scores and family-provided proof of education.

Coupled with SAT/ACT scores, an ‘activity and project’ portfolio is an effective means of documenting accomplishment for high school graduation and college admissions. (Colleges often view an impressive history of volunteer service in the community and other significant experiential education, coupled with average SAT/ACT scores, as favorably as high SAT/ACT scores coupled with little or no community service or activity.)
U.S. and Canadian universities also accept students who, instead of presenting a high school diploma, demonstrate their ability to compete at college level by successfully completing a few classes at a local community college before transitioning to university.

Another alternative for transitioning from high school used by Catholic homeschoolers, is the GED. Graduates have used the GED, in conjunction with SAT/ACT scores and without, as a springboard into the armed forces, vocational schools, community colleges, and university.

Thus, Catholic homeschooling students have numerous, routinely used options for demonstrating completion of high school requirements and readiness for college or career. Earning an accredited diploma is one of these options, but testing (SAT, ACT, GED) and community college classwork are equally valid. Remember that an accredited diploma alone is no guarantee that a student will be accepted by a college; conversely, the student with solid SAT scores and a portfolio brimming with evidence of a motivated young adult will likely be welcomed by universities with or without a diploma.
If you are considering homeschooling for high school, visit our high school website: https://www.chcweb.com/highschool
“My family has been a CHC family from the very beginning, over 12 years ago.... [Our oldest] has received multiple scholarships, paying for her college education at a fabulous, private, Catholic university. She also received scholarship offers from other prestigious Catholic universities throughout the United States.” -- Heather, CA

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Babies and Homeschooling

How realistic is it for me to think I can be a successful teacher to my two older children when I have a newborn expected soon? Will it work when my time will be divided between giving the older children everything they need and a newborn's many needs?
One family shares: "Homeschooling with a newborn is very realistic! We had a 3-month-old the summer we began to homeschool, and a 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th grader (and no teaching credentials). Yet, it only took us a month to know that none of us wanted to 'go back' to public school. The children began to be friends, rather than divided by peer pressure to only associate with children of their own age. That is a nice 'extra' with homeschoolers. They are socially well-adjusted, communicating and interacting well with both children and adults. There is a peace and wholeness to homeschooling, rather than that fragmentation often experienced with each going here and there."

"It is a blessing for families to work together to get things done. This is how the children learn to be responsible and active members of the family. Our older children loved cuddling and strolling the baby while I worked with another child. They learned to work independently in many subjects. Later, they enjoyed taking a 10 minute break from their schoolwork to give the ever-active toddler a 'lesson' in singing, jumping, painting, quiet reading (so many skills -- communicating, patience, listening, setting a good example -- are best learned by teaching another!). We found rotating chore charts very helpful; they included laundry, dishes, cleaning a room of the house, emptying trashes, cooking meals, and anything else that needed to be done..."
-- survey response

“I began homeschooling my third grader and kindergartener last year right in the midst of expecting baby number four. All my friends and family kept asking me how I was surviving with all the transitions. I kept thinking I must have been doing something wrong because everything seemed to fall into place so easily during our school hours -- even with a super-rowdy 3 year-old and a newborn! As I began planning for my second year, I started to order books from other programs because I was wondering what I was missing -- there is so much out there! I realized about two weeks into school this September what a huge mistake I had made. Everything in school seemed so chaotic. CHC is so organized, so Catholic, so mom and housework-still-needs-to-get-done friendly that I’ve been gradually restocking my curriculum with CHC materials to get back on track in my school and home. Now the three year old is enjoying many of the preschool materials, my six-year-old is reading at a third grade level and my fourth grader knows how to organize himself and get work done without me having to sit with him for hours on end.” -- Maureen, MO
 

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Beginners

Where do I start? How do I begin?

Just beginning the homeschooling adventure? CHC is here to help! While we charge no tuition, we nevertheless offer 'CHC family' support for your homeschooling journey. Our staff of experienced homeschooling moms and teachers is available to answer your questions and lend a hand.

How Do I Begin to Homeschool?
Mom-to-Mom Support
Grade-Level Guides
Contact Us

"When I was first starting out I had a million questions about how I was going to homeschool so many and take care of little ones and the house all at the same time. Reading the testimonies and suggestions on CHC's website really gave me hope and confirmed the calling I believed the Lord was placing upon my heart!" -- Johanna, LA

“I began homeschooling my third grader and kindergartener last year right in the midst of expecting baby number four. All my friends and family kept asking me how I was surviving with all the transitions. I kept thinking I must have been doing something wrong because everything seemed to fall into place so easily during our school hours -- even with a super-rowdy 3 year-old and a newborn! As I began planning for my second year, I started to order books from other programs because I was wondering what I was missing -- there is so much out there! I realized about two weeks into school this September what a huge mistake I had made. Everything in school seemed so chaotic. CHC is so organized, so Catholic, so mom and housework-still-needs-to-get-done friendly that I’ve been gradually restocking my curriculum with CHC materials to get back on track in my school and home. Now the three year old is enjoying many of the preschool materials, my six-year-old is reading at a third grade level and my fourth grader knows how to organize himself and get work done without me having to sit with him for hours on end.”  -- Maureen, MO

This is our first year of homeschooling. Would it be better to design our own curriculum, or use lesson plans?

In the early years of homeschooling, uncertainties may abound: am I covering all the bases? If I pull together my own curriculum, might I accidentally overlook an important educational concept? Will my child really be ready for the next grade in particular or adulthood in general? Am I asking too much of my child, or perhaps too little? How in the world can I schedule everything that my child needs without either underwhelming or overwhelming him? Does this sound familiar? Believe me, we have all -- us, too! -- asked ourselves these questions at one time or another.
 
For first-year homeschoolers, CHC’s lesson plans can lift the anxiety of planning. By using a complete, prepared curriculum, you have the assurance that ‘all bases are covered,’ so that you can relax and enjoy sharing in the academic discoveries that are presented to your children.
 
Experienced homeschoolers know that just doing workbook pages and no more is a poor substitute for the richness that can be home education. While all of CHC’s workbooks are complete if they are used according to instructions, those instructions (from the introductory pages) call for activities to be used in conjunction with workbook exercises. It is not difficult for parents to incorporate those suggested activities into the subject on their own, but a small amount of thought and planning is required. If the thought of developing and then scheduling those suggested activities ‘on my own’ seems too overwhelming, then it is best to use the lesson plans. The lesson plans provide those engaging exercises and activities, planned and scheduled for you, to complete the subjects taught via workbook.
 
And that’s why we encourage lesson plan use for those who are new to homeschooling. It’s all there; you don’t have to worry. Just open the lesson plans and dive into the day!
 
As families transition from ‘newbie’ to ‘experienced veteran,’ some then choose to design and schedule their own plans, using CHC materials. On the other hand, some find that the lesson plans’ ease of use, completeness, and gentle flexibility are sound reasons to continue their use throughout their homeschooling years. To LP or not to LP: what works best for you?

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'Being Ahead' or 'Being Behind'

We are enrolled with another curriculum provider. My children often fall behind the assigned schedule. What can I do if my children seem to be behind or lack motivation?

Often, the reason that children seem to need remedial help and motivation is because they have become discouraged by the pace and amount of work demanded. Having the freedom to set the pace for your homeschool and for your children can take the pressure off and allow you to give the children time to catch up. Testing may reveal that your children are not far behind at all, but are rather discouraged by the hours required to finish needless assignments given by people who don't know your children.

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Bookstore, Purchasing CHC Materials From

Can I find your materials at my local homeschool bookstore?

CHC is committed to keeping prices as low as possible for families on one income, which leaves no room for the usual discount to bookstores, which then mark the price up so that they might have a profit also.

Further, customer purchases from CHC are what enable us to invest in the development and production of Catholic materials. Quite simply, if CHC were not in business, CHC materials would not be available to Catholic homeschoolers. Some providers produce no materials of their own, but instead re-market materials produced by other publishers, such as Saxon. If a Catholic provider who used Saxon materials went out of business, Catholic homeschoolers could still purchase Saxon books elsewhere. However, if CHC were not in business, CHC's exclusive materials would not be available at all. Thus, customers' direct purchasing from CHC benefits not only CHC, but the customer as well.

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Burn-Out

We have been thinking of switching to CHC materials or maybe sending our children back to public school. Frankly, we are exhausted. If we switch to CHC, do we have to do the whole package?

CHC recognizes that secular society pushes children to a premature puberty” that robs children of the simple joys of childhood and family. Public school is replete with its own challenges, both of a spiritual nature and academically as well.

Similarly, overwhelming young students with hours and hours of school each day can also result in robbing them of their childhood, and discourage them from ever wanting to learn anything. CHC offers a balance of all core, essential subjects and ample enrichment activities, without overwhelming the student or his teacher. Still, for families who are experiencing a new baby or other unexpected demands on their school time, CHC suggests a focus on 'core' subjects, which are clearly labeled in CHC's grade-by-grade lesson plans. CHC's flexible program allows enrichment activities to be returned to the schedule as time permits; the focus on 'core' subjects assures that the student will be exposed to all that is necessary for his grade level, without placing undue demands on student or teacher.

We are looking at different homeschooling programs, and someone said that CHC was “too easy.” Can you explain?

Antonyms of “easy”: complicated, difficult, frustrating. Why would a homeschooling approach that fits this description sound appealing to a parent-teacher? To a child?

Unlike many homeschool providers, CHC does not confuse “arduous” with “academic,” as if the difficulty of completing a program were the measure of how much a child is learning. In most cases, just the opposite is true. An exhausted child is not going to be as receptive to learning as a child who is engaged in his subjects and not overwhelmed. Rather than crushing a child’s natural desire to learn, CHC’s educational approach lays a joyful foundation, resulting in children who achieve at and above grade level, do not “burn out,” and instead “learn how to learn.” The many academic success stories that CHC families have shared speak for themselves:

“... teachers are blown away by what he is doing and the type of projects that he has completed.” -- Mary Beth, FL
“My background is as an English and reading teacher, and I find your materials to be top-notch ... second to none.” --Courtney, FL
“Today I got the results back from a CAT 5 test I gave to my 3rd grader.... She scored in the 93 percentile for social studies (grade level 8).... Just want to thank you, your gentle approach makes my child ‘want to learn’.” --Marilyn, CA

High School & College:

"In my junior year, I decided to take some classes at the local junior college.... I’ll never forget the look on my professor’s face when he learned I was only a junior in high school and held the top grade in the class!" -- 2012 CHC graduate
"I am currently at the dissertation stage after receiving a full-tuition scholarship to the Ph.D. program of my choice. By nurturing my love for learning and enabling me to design my own high school program, CHC’s approach provided an irreplaceable foundation for all my subsequent studies." -- 2007 CHC graduate

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Catholic Content

Does it matter whether we have Catholic content in subjects such as spelling, grammar, and geography?

As Catholic parents, we naturally desire to immerse our children in a nurturing spiritual and intellectual environment, to guide their minds and hearts toward all that is true, good, and beautiful, and to fill them with wonder at the greatness of creation and Creator. A simple means of fostering this rich environment within our homes is by using Catholic materials as we home educate. A truly Catholic curriculum shapes ideals, builds Christian moral values, strengthens family ties, and lends silent support to parenting by reinforcing character-building lessons.

Some Catholic homeschool providers use mostly secular or Protestant materials, arguing that there is no such thing as “Catholic” grammar, spelling, or geography. Is it really such a big deal to have Catholic content in these subjects? While it is true that there are no “Catholic” grammar rules or geography facts, as Catholics, our Faith should permeate every facet of our lives. CHC materials, in a gentle, often subtle way, recognize that our Faith is not a separate component of our lives, but rather who we are and the One into whom we wish to be transformed.
This does not mean that catechism lessons must artificially be inserted into every lesson. It is absolutely possible to teach phonics, grammar, geography, and handwriting with a solid academic base, while at the same time subtly training children to live their Faith. When children search to identify nouns within an amusing story about brothers and sisters helping one another with family chores, the Faith is presented as naturally on the page as it is within the family dynamics.
As Catholic homeschoolers, we believe that we are educating not for this life only, but also for Eternity. CHC materials are designed to foster a rich Catholic environment in the home, surrounding children with all that is admirable and producing indelible benefits that will be evident in childhood, adulthood, and through all eternity.
“CHC has changed our lives.... My girls are not only being taught their subjects in the light of the Catholic Church, but my husband and I have been renovated in the faith! ... I thank God for directing me to you and your wonderful team. He really did!” -- Luzaideth, FL
“Our family ‘fell into’ homeschooling, simply out of necessity for our children’s health reasons. We had no idea how much we would love it! ... We started homeschooling because of our children’s physical health; we are continuing to homeschool because the CHC materials are helping us protect their spiritual health!! Thank you thank you thank you!!!” -- Bridget, OH

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Catholic Content vs. Protestant or Secular Materials

I've been thinking of using [a Protestant text] in place of Catholic materials. Is there really that much difference, as they are both Christian?

The idea that one can somehow use Protestant materials and just tell the children that the book is wrong, or that “Luther was a false prophet” seems at first glance to solve the problem. However, one cannot teach truth by simply pointing out error. An example: If your child tells you that 6 x 4 is 12, how far will his understanding of multiplication advance if you just tell him that his answer is wrong? Error must not only be refuted but the truth must be taught in its place. That is the key problem with using Protestant materials, and why we strongly advocate the use of Catholic materials! When our Faith and salvation are at stake, is it enough to say that Luther was wrong? How does that teach and convince the child of the eternal truths of Holy Mother Church? One cannot learn them by osmosis. . . As Christians we are called to be signs of contradiction. We are not merely called to avoid error but to live and teach Truth.

Some maintain that, after the student reads the non-Catholic text, the lesson can be supplemented with Catholic teaching. However, not only has the false idea already been planted, but the teacher must find time in the school day to add that teaching to the schedule. How much better then, rather than carving out additional time to teach the Catholic perspective on the topic and/or risking that the student will be taught doctrine that runs counter to our Catholic Faith, to simply teach one lesson that contains the Truth, all within the context of the solid academics found in the Catholic text.

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Charlotte Mason Approach

My family follows a general Charlotte Mason Education approach, yet would like to incorporate CHC materials into our schooling. Is this possible?

Would you be surprised to learn that many Catholic homeschooling families use CHC materials while following a Charlotte Mason approach? One family shares that due to CHC’s flexible approach, “you can implement the Classical or Charlotte Mason method even while following the CHC plans to the tee! I love History, so I add History starting in 1st grade as a read aloud. We also add living books for Religion, Nature Stories, and Nature walks and drawings as well. CHC blends so nicely with these two methods that even at the end of our school day I am not burned out from school, only from my sweet little monkeys climbing on me for playtime! ... We have been using CHC for a little over 6 years now and we all LOVE IT.” -- Cheryl, Japan
Homeschoolers using the Charlotte Mason approach often eschew workbooks, associating them with dry, lifeless learning. Yet, properly designed and used, workbooks can be the core for child-friendly, hands-on education, while at the same time presenting the material in a logical, pre-planned sequence which ensures that no critical concepts are skipped or forgotten.
In CHC’s program, engaging text and workbook assignments are the “core” or center of the lesson, which is then “wrapped” in “living education.” For example, hands-on discovery is built into CHC’s primary science and history programs via suggested enrichment reading, dress-up, topic-based play, experiments, crafts, field trips, and other child-friendly presentations to make the lessons “come alive.” In this way, texts and workbooks become the “sweet center of a sweeter whole.”

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CHC Approach: How Do I Know it Will Work?

Our family is looking at different homeschool providers and also at Catholic schools. We hesitate to buy the whole package for fear it won't work for us.

We suggest one easy step: try a lesson plan and a spelling and/or grammar workbook to get a good feel for CHC’s approach and to gain confidence that, as it has for thousands of other families, the CHC approach will work for you, too. Try a few lessons with the children and see how they respond. Some families like to do a ‘mini-school’ session in early summer (if they are public schooling) or take a break from their current homeschool approach for a few weeks and try a bit of CHC. The cost is small, and you will already have a beginning for your homeschooling adventure with CHC!

How can I know for sure that CHC is a good fit for my children?

Perhaps the most informative approach would be to peruse CHC’s Grade-Level Guides. Click on the grade-appropriate guide. From this bounty of detailed sample pages, you will be better able to assess the materials.

Next, click on Exclusive Materials on the home page, then select a subject area, such as Language of God Series. That will open to reveal more buttons from View Details, which will lead to even more buttons such as Learn More, View Samples, and Related FAQs. Hidden behind each of these buttons is a veritable wealth of information!

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CHC Approach: How Does it Differ?

I've heard a lot about CHC, but wonder how it is different from other homeschool programs.
CHC is known for six hallmarks: Academic Excellence, Catholicity, Gentility, Affordability, Flexibility, and Simplicity.

Academic Excellence
CHC upholds high academic standards; our up-to-date, Catholic materials are based on accepted sequences used in schools across the nation prior to the “dumbing down” of texts in the last 70 years. Unlike many homeschool providers, CHC does not confuse “arduous” with “academic,” as if the difficulty of completing a program were the measure of how much a child is learning. Rather, CHC’s educational approach lays a joyful foundation, resulting in children who achieve at and above grade level, do not “burn out,” and instead “learn how to learn.”

Catholicity
If we do not teach our children to know, love, and serve God, all the academics are for nothing. CHC materials, in a gentle, often subtle way, recognize that our Faith is not a separate component of our lives, but rather who we are and the One into whom we wish to be transformed.

Gentility
One way of measuring a child’s progress is easily provided by academic testing, but the growth of a child’s character is every bit as important as academics. CHC materials are designed to enrich the whole person -- spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually -- so that he or she will be able to answer the call to serve God and neighbor lovingly and joyfully.

Affordability
CHC charges neither tuition nor enrollment fees. The cost of the CHC program consists of the price of lesson plans and core materials for each grade, with electives and enrichment materials selected and added on as interest, time, and funds allow.

Flexibility
The CHC approach is based on the belief that each child is a special gift from God and has a unique learning style, pace, and interests. Instead of fitting the child and family to the program, CHC’s materials are constructed to allow maximum choice and flexibility to fit the studies to the student, while at the same time providing a complete education.

Simplicity
CHC strives to produce materials that are simple to teach and simple to learn -- in a homeschool setting. CHC’s exclusive materials are designed to eliminate unnecessary frustrations so that you can instead focus on the journey of discovery with your children.
It seems that CHC puts a greater stress on character building and family interaction than other homeschooling programs. Is there a reason for this?
At the core of CHC’s approach is the concept of “family-centered homeschooling.” Family-centered homeschooling takes a holistic approach to education, in which academics, character development, and spiritual growth are part of an integral whole.

For example, CHC texts and workbooks are imbued with family values that gently reinforce parental teaching on obedience, neatness, thoughtfulness, and self-discipline.

Similarly, the absence of “busy work” in CHC’s curriculum provides an excellent academic foundation while still leaving time for activities that strengthen family bonds (field trips, family read-alouds, volunteering as a family) and for pursuits that develop non-academic talents (hobbies, handicrafts, and entrepreneurial ventures like babysitting or dog-walking).

Further, CHC encourages homeschoolers to take advantage of the character-building opportunities naturally created by the rhythm of family life. This can be difficult to do with an overly structured program, but CHC’s curriculum is constructed with a maximum of flexibility so that families can integrate family life and academics. To give just a few examples of the possibilities opened up by family-centered homeschooling:
  • Science experiments can be done together as a family. This fosters leadership skills and greater mastery of the subject in the student who directs the experiment; encourages cooperation among siblings; and enriches family life.
  • If an older child is struggling with a subject such as math or spelling, he can be assigned to tutor a younger sibling in the same subject. Teaching a younger sibling is a way for him to build confidence; review foundational concepts he may have missed; and practice cheerful service to others.
  • Children can take turns entertaining and “teaching” the toddler, for 15 minutes at a time, so that Mom can homeschool or do housework. This provides a welcome break from study; fosters sibling relationships; provides an opportunity for growth in good character and maturity; and fosters a positive self-image.
In summary, family-centered homeschools understand that some of the most important lessons in life are not academic at all. The joys and challenges of family life truly make it God’s school of love. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous -- even repeated -- forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life” (CCC 1657). By teaching sound academics within the context of a faith-filled family life, family-centered homeschoolers create an environment in which their children can learn that love and sacrifice, linked together, lead to joy.

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Classical Approach

I am drawn to the classical approach - what do you think of all the different homeschooling methods?

Different methods are fine. After all, each one of us is unique! However, it is important to put the individual child and family first, rather than a particular educational method. For instance, the study of Latin is a valuable way of developing the mind and of learning about our classical and Christian heritage. Yet, if a certain child finds Latin particularly difficult or uninteresting, then one might ask if the same goals could be achieved more effectively through other means.
It is also important to remember that we are not teaching our children just for the sake of learning. We should be careful to teach our children subjects that will enrich their lives and equip them to serve God and others. For example, Greek mythology is good to a point, as it is part of our culture, but we need to ask if the time expended on an in-depth, lengthy study will necessarily give back in equal measure. If not, it might be better to spend the time on a subject that corresponds more closely to the child’s interests and/or will contribute to his successful transition into adulthood.
This is not to say that everything we teach our children should be measured against the yardstick of utility; the liberal and fine arts will always have a place in a good education because of the way they shape a child’s character, intellect, and imagination. Nevertheless, a good education must also serve a useful purpose, because God has called each child to serve Him in a unique way. How will our children’s education prepare them for productive adult years? 
My family follows a general Classical education approach, yet would like to incorporate CHC materials into our schooling. Is this possible?

Would you be surprised to learn that a number of Catholic homeschooling families follow a general Classical education approach yet also pull many of their materials from CHC? A few families have shared how they accomplish this:

“We have 5 children ranging in age from high school to toddlers and follow a Classical Model of school. We do history and science on a revolving 4 year cycle, teach Latin, and strive to challenge each child at their own level. CHC is a WONDERFUL resource to help us accomplish these goals.... What a wonderful transcript at the end of a classical education CHC has enabled us to give our children.” --Jenn, IN

Cheryl from Japan shares that due to CHC’s flexible approach, "you can implement the Classical or Charlotte Mason method even while following the CHC plans to the tee! ... CHC blends so nicely with these two methods that even at the end of our school day I am not burned out from school, only from my sweet little monkeys climbing on me for playtime! ... We have been using CHC for a little over 6 years now and we all LOVE IT.”

“I consider myself to be a Classical homeschooler of sorts. I think the term ‘Classical’ can be broad in our homeschooling sphere, so let me narrow down some of what we do. I follow the trivium taught in most classical approaches, teaching according to developmental stages, CHC does this perfectly for our children. Dictation is also a part of the classical approach and I like the way CHC reminds me and helps me to use dictation in the Language of God series for the primary grades.... I feel the Greek and Latin roots in the spellers are important, not so because it is a ‘classical’ method, but more so because it helps understand language. We use the Little Latin Readers for read-aloud time. My children will study the words on their own one day, the next day read to me the story. One memory gem is read every morning for one week following the lesson plans. When certain behaviors pop up, I find myself remembering a memory gem and reciting it to my children to help with improvement of this behavior. In summary... CHC is the right Classical method for our family.” --Diane, WA


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College, Preparation for

Sometimes I fear that my child will not be able to compete at the college level. How can I be sure?

An interesting book that will provide you with encouragement and support is Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax. This is the story of a family that homeschooled their four sons with the philosophy that “children will learn, will aspire to excellence, if we recognize and respect their different interests and abilities and give them a chance to develop them.” Their boys went on to graduate from Harvard.

If a student is motivated to learn, and read and writes reasonably well, he will succeed at the college level. College courses are less demanding than they once were, because high school courses are less demanding than they once were.
Ninety-five percent of college preparation is preparing the child for learning, i.e., teaching the child how to learn. Is it necessary first to teach him economics if he is going to major in that field in college? No, just equip him with a good foundation in language arts -- vocabulary, spelling, reading and writing -- the ability to study, and self discipline. He will succeed.
Yes, it is good to take math if you are going into economics, and biology if you are going into a medical field, but it is not impossible to give the child those basics at home. The motivated student can pick up a biology book and prepare himself well for basic college biology without any other input. And Saxon Math can take the mathematically gifted child through calculus, etc. (But don’t worry if your child isn’t taking trig, if he doesn’t plan to go into a field that will require it!)
Most majors are chosen because the student has an interest in that field; someone who hates math and has only taken general math in high school probably isn’t planning on an engineering degree anyway.
CHC’s approach offers the academics but allows the child to explore, too. This approach is more helpful than just pushing everyone into a pre-formed college track. With a little guidance and prayer, the explorer will find a niche and prepare himself.
“My oldest son (nearly age 25 now) is in Management running a chain of pizza places. He’s moved up quickly in his job because his organization, math and customer service skills are so great they thought he MUST have attended Business school. He did not; this was ALL part of home school. My 2nd son (age 19 now) scored ‘off the charts’ on the U.S. Military entrance exam, and 3 different U.S. Army Recruiters personally called me to tell me what an excellent job I did educating him...can’t get a bigger compliment than that! ... I’m SO proud of how well my grown children learned and the passion they still carry with them to continue to learn and achieve.” -- C.S.
If you are considering homeschooling for high school, visit our high school website: https://www.chcweb.com/highschool
 
Frankly, I am worried about transcripts and diplomas for college acceptance. Don’t I need to be enrolled with a school that will furnish these?
In a word: no.

Rather than focusing on formal transcripts and diplomas, most colleges and universities instead examine a prospective student’s SAT and ACT scores, and look for a clear sense of intellectual growth and a quest for knowledge as reflected in their high school studies and activities.

Coupled with SAT/ACT scores, an ‘activity and project’ portfolio is an effective means of documenting accomplishment for high school graduation and college admissions. (Colleges often view an impressive history of volunteer service in the community and other significant experiential education, coupled with average SAT/ACT scores, as favorably as high SAT/ACT scores coupled with little or no community service or activity.)
U.S. and Canadian universities also accept students who, instead of presenting a high school diploma, demonstrate their ability to compete at college level by successfully completing a few classes at a local community college before transitioning to university.
Another alternative for transitioning from high school used by Catholic homeschoolers, is the GED. Graduates have used the GED, in conjunction with SAT/ACT scores and without, as a springboard into the armed forces, vocational schools, community colleges, and university.
Thus, Catholic homeschooling students have numerous, routinely used options for demonstrating completion of high school requirements and readiness for college or career. Earning an accredited diploma is one of these options, but testing (SAT, ACT, GED) and community college classwork are equally valid. Remember that an accredited diploma alone is no guarantee that a student will be accepted by a college; conversely, the student with solid SAT scores and a portfolio brimming with evidence of a motivated young adult will likely be welcomed by universities with or without a diploma.
The following links provide some idea of the scope of quality schools that welcome homeschoolers, and college-related information for homeschoolers.

http://learninfreedom.org/colleges-home-schooled-students.html
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/CollegeExcel07.pdf

“With CHC’s
High School of Your Dreams, [our daughter] ... could use real world experiences as part of her study. For instance, we had a dairy goat with a non-simple case of mastitis. This required extensive reading, research, testing, and some involvement with the vet which counted for Biology/Microbiology credit. The experience was so effective, that 6 months later when visiting with some medical students, they were impressed with my daughter’s knowledge of microbiology. They said she could easily pass 1st semester Microbiology in college.... [We had] no accredited diploma, but experienced no difficulty in gaining college admission.” -- C.M.

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Combining Grades; Placing Two Children in the Same Grade

We are schooling two children now, with at least three more to come. Since our two boys are close in age, I am tempted to hold the older one back a year and then start the two boys in Kindergarten together. It would make their schooling easier for me, and I think they would enjoy working together. Is it highly irregular to place two children in the same grade?
Not at all. The vast majority of homeschooling teachers today were educated in public or parochial schools, and are thus accustomed to the idea that grade level and age are inextricably linked. If a child turns five by August 31st, then he must be ready for Kindergarten, but not so if his birthday is September 1st. As you undoubtedly see with your own children, age is a somewhat arbitrary -- and often inaccurate -- means of determining academic readiness. Some children, for example, are ready and eager to read at age four; others may not be ready until age seven or eight. If, in your assessment, the two boys could benefit from placing them both in the same grade, you are free to do so.
I have a second grader who could easily do the third grade Language of God book with our third grader. Can I put them both in the same book?
Certainly.

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Complete Program

It seems that our student finishes his work faster than in public school, to the extent that I wonder if we are missing something. Should I add more enrichment materials?
Sandra Garant, a veteran homeschooler and certified teacher, shares:
“Perhaps I can explain why the time seems too short. A typical school day is 8:00 to 3:30 with 30 minutes for lunch. That’s seven hours each day. But this is a typical elementary school day. Children come in and take about 15 minutes to put away backpacks, sharpen pencils, make lunch choices, find take-home communications, which the teacher must walk around and verify. Then 5 minutes of announcements. Then another 10 minutes to get the children on task because they are looking for books, passing out papers, trying to find the right page, arguing that they have already completed the lesson, and often wandering about the room talking with someone on the other side. During each lesson, there are numerous questions, which are rarely about the lesson itself, and lots of classroom management going on. Students are distracted and unable to focus. Then it’s time to put everything away and line up for computer lab. The teacher passes out log-in cards, the students line up, the teacher must remind them to tie their shoes and to be quiet in the hallways. And so on.
“Whenever I substitute teach for elementary or middle school, I am astounded at how little the students do each hour. One hour of school probably translates to 20-30 minutes of a typical homeschooler’s day. That is why you are able to get all the work done in about half the time.”
Does CHC offer all the subjects my child needs to know to be well educated?
Yes! CHC upholds high academic standards; our up-to-date, Catholic materials are based on accepted sequences used in schools across the nation prior to the “dumbing down” of texts in the last 70 years. Unlike many homeschool providers, however, CHC does not confuse “arduous” with “academic,” as if the difficulty of completing a program were the measure of how much a child is learning. In most cases, just the opposite is true. An exhausted child is not going to be as receptive to learning as a child who is engaged in his subjects and not overwhelmed. CHC materials are centrally balanced between the “too rigorous approach” and “too lax approach,” with materials and lesson plans that offer sound academics spiced with plenty of fun and enrichment to keep burn-out at bay.
“I love the CHC curriculum! ... The way that this curriculum has been laid out is pure genius. The time and effort that must have gone into it is amazing. I mean NOTHING has been left out. It is a joy to use!” --Pauline, PA

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Cooperation

Last year my child refused to learn and complained about everything. Since the material just doesn’t seem to be working with my child, I’m wondering if I should put him back in public school.
In truth, very often it isn’t the material that is the problem -- it’s the child who whines and doesn’t want to do the work. It is easier to blame the materials than it is to face the challenge of training the child, who has long since learned how to get his way. In reality, there are only two courses open to our children: to be God-centered or to be self centered. Original sin inclines us to seek the satisfaction of our selfish whims. We want to encourage our children to be God-centered (which translates into others-centered)!
Please see “Discipline” for more information.

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Copyrights

I’d like to copy some sections of your materials to use with my parish religion class and Little Flowers Group. Would this break the copyright law since my purpose is to share the Faith with children who may not otherwise be exposed to materials like these?
Yes, this would violate the copyright law, which is in place to protect the copyright holder’s work, investments, and income. To copy pages would undermine the CHC apostolate by causing financial loss to the artists and authors, who depend on the royalty from each sale for their income. CHC is a team effort: We expend a great deal of personal and financial sacrifice in the apostolate to write and publish materials which are affordable, easy to use, flexible, solidly Catholic, and full of ready-to-go ideas for living the Faith. We truly appreciate your understanding and cooperation!
Large, nationally recognized book publishing corporations enjoy the luxury of wide advertising and name recognition. Their products, which might range from cookbooks, to Wiccan philosophy, to dog obedience books, are available at bookstores in shopping malls across the nation. Thus, publishers are able to print thousands and thousands of copies. By printing in such enormous quantity, the cost to the publisher per copy of each book is low, enabling them to make a reasonable profit on sales. In contrast, CHC prints for a very specific and narrow market: Catholic homeschoolers. CHC’s one and only outlet is located in our small warehouse. Because we are a small family business, we are unable to print in the quantity that would allow for a comfortable profit. However, by careful stewardship, we are able to continue to serve your family. Please pray that, as Catholic homeschooling grows and demand for CHC products increases, we might be able to print in the larger quantity that would benefit both CHC and the families whom we serve.
I would like to purchase one copy of the lesson plans, scan them into my computer and use them again with my other children. Would this break the copyright since I’m only using them with my children and not a group?
The copyright on lesson plans, in the current editions, is a standard copyright, which allows unlimited use of the material as long as copies are not made of the work. If families were to photocopy the plans for more than one child -- for all the children in the family -- then the price of the plans would have to be much higher. The additional bonus to using one lesson plan per child is twofold: you will enjoy writing in the plans and having a permanent record to look back on, and we are constantly updating and adding new materials and ideas when we reprint each lesson plan. We both win when the copyright law is honored; CHC and its authors and artists receive payment they have earned, which in turn enables CHC to continue to publish more materials for your growing family!
Really, I can’t see the harm in copying a workbook that I’ve paid for. Why isn’t permission to copy given routinely?
When book users write to publishers or authors for permission to copy, those requests customarily are to copy a passage or page, generally for use as a quotation in an article or a book. It would be extraordinarily unusual, for example, for someone to ask Ignatius Press’ permission to make copies of two or three of their books specifically because they didn’t want to purchase a copy, and even more unusual for Ignatius Press to grant permission.
Imagine someone stepping into Walden Books and asking permission to copy one of their novels instead of buying it. If permission were granted, not only would the bookstore go out of business, but so would their publishers and authors. In essence, asking permission to copy an entire book is the same as asking a business to give away free copies.
Again, permissions to copy are generally granted for brief passages used as quotations in articles, or in other books.

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Copywork and dictation

We are new to dictation this year, and I’m not exactly sure how it works. The 3rd grade lesson plans suggest dictation from the Language of God grammar book. I thought I was supposed to read a sentence to my daughter and she would write it. But she is not a good speller, so she asks me how to spell most of the words. Rather than spell them all to her, I just gave her the book so she could copy the sentence. I’m not sure what the goal of dictation is. Will this approach of letting her copy achieve the goal of dictation?

Your instincts are good! By instructing your daughter to copy a selection from the book, you are preparing her for the next step, which is dictation.

Copywork and dictation improve retention, writing, and listening skills; copywork and dictation are particularly useful for spelling and grammar practice, as they utilize a multi-sensory --auditory, visual, and tactile-- means of learning.

A simple approach to copywork and dictation would be to pick a simple sentence from her grammar or spelling book, then discuss the nouns, verbs, punctuation, capital letters, and/or spelling.

Next, instruct the student to copy the sentence from the book. After she completes this exercise, she can check her own work by comparing it to the sentence in the book and correcting any errors.

The next day, you might briefly look at and discuss the sentence again, praising your student’s spelling, penmanship, or other good points, while at the same time issuing a gentle reminder to watch for any possible points of difficulty. Then instruct the student to listen carefully while you dictate the sentence to her.

If, using this method, you find that the dictation itself is still a bit too advanced for your student, and that she continues to want help with spelling most words, she might focus on copywork alone for a few months, until she becomes a bit more comfortable with dictation.

You may also wish, in a casual manner, to dictate spelling words to her on non-test days, perhaps while driving to the store, to help her begin to hear and mentally visualize individual words. Praise her when she spells words correctly and point out that she is doing well with simple dictation.

Over time, exposure to words, sentences, and paragraphs through copywork and dictation will significantly improve your daughter’s grasp of grammar and spelling. By assigning copywork as you have been, you are laying a good foundation for English composition!

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Core subjects: Essentials, Enrichment, and 'Being Behind'

We just pulled our daughter out of public school, and she is behind her grade level because of her math scores. What are ‘core subjects,’ and how do I know which subjects to trim if we seem to be ‘behind’?

First, ‘being behind’ in one subject doesn’t necessarily mean that your child is behind overall in her grade. Remember that in the average public school classroom, approximately half of the students are ‘ahead’ of the curve in any given subject, and half are ‘behind.’ Three of the great benefits of homeschooling are that 1) your child can work at his own pace, 2) the one-on-one that you give your child will help him catch up in time, and 3) generally, after a few years of homeschooling, most students score above grade level on standardized tests.

Core subjects are the ‘basic essentials’ of education, often thought of as the ‘Three R’s.’ CHC offers a balance of all core, essential subjects and ample enrichment activities, without overwhelming the student or his teacher. Still, for families who have just started homeschooling a discouraged child, or who are experiencing a new baby or other unexpected demands on their school time, CHC suggests a focus on ‘core’ subjects. ‘Core subjects’ are clearly labeled in CHC’s grade-by-grade lesson plans, making it delightfully easy to trim the day’s schedule as needed. CHC’s flexible program allows enrichment activities to be returned to the schedule as time permits; the focus on ‘core’ subjects assures that the student will be exposed to all that is necessary for his grade level, without placing undue demands on student or teacher.

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Curriculum, Catholic

What about the Catholic content in CHC books and workbooks? Are the books too religious?
 
We are educating for eternity, and our materials reflect that goal. Catholic content in CHC offerings is not ‘in addition to,’ but interwoven in the subjects, as naturally as our Holy Faith is, or should be, woven into daily life. When our children search to identify nouns within an amusing story about brothers and sisters helping one another with family chores, our Faith is presented as naturally on the page as it is within our family dynamics.
 
Secular materials reflect secular mores and a secular outlook on life. Catholic materials reflect Christian mores and a Christian outlook on life. This does not mean that catechism lessons must artificially be inserted into every lesson. It is absolutely possible to teach phonics, grammar, geography, and handwriting with a solid academic base, while at the same time subtly training children to live their Faith. A truly Catholic curriculum shapes ideals, builds Christian moral values, strengthens family ties, and lends silent support to parenting by reinforcing character-building lessons. A youngster watching Mama tenderly nursing the new baby is experiencing a gentle teaching on the Gospel of Life. Similarly, in a natural way, CHC lessons and stories give witness in a gentle and natural way to the beauty of God, eternally present in hearts, in the home, and in all of Creation. CHC materials are designed to foster a rich Catholic environment in the home, surrounding children with all that is admirable and producing indelible benefits that will be evident in childhood, adulthood, and through all eternity.

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Dictation and Copywork

We are new to dictation this year, and I’m not exactly sure how it works. The 3rd grade lesson plans suggest dictation from the Language of God grammar book. I thought I was supposed to read a sentence to my daughter and she would write it. But she is not a good speller, so she asks me how to spell most of the words. Rather than spell them all to her, I just gave her the book so she could copy the sentence. I’m not sure what the goal of dictation is. Will this approach of letting her copy achieve the goal of dictation?

Your instincts are good! By instructing your daughter to copy a selection from the book, you are preparing her for the next step, which is dictation.

Copywork and dictation improve retention, writing, and listening skills; copywork and dictation are particularly useful for spelling and grammar practice, as they utilize a multi-sensory --auditory, visual, and tactile-- means of learning.

A simple approach to copywork and dictation would be to pick a simple sentence from her grammar or spelling book, then discuss the nouns, verbs, punctuation, capital letters, and/or spelling.

Next, instruct the student to copy the sentence from the book. After she completes this exercise, she can check her own work by comparing it to the sentence in the book and correcting any errors.

The next day, you might briefly look at and discuss the sentence again, praising your student’s spelling, penmanship, or other good points, while at the same time issuing a gentle reminder to watch for any possible points of difficulty. Then instruct the student to listen carefully while you dictate the sentence to her.

If, using this method, you find that the dictation itself is still a bit too advanced for your student, and that she continues to want help with spelling most words, she might focus on copywork alone for a few months, until she becomes a bit more comfortable with dictation.

You may also wish, in a casual manner, to dictate spelling words to her on non-test days, perhaps while driving to the store, to help her begin to hear and mentally visualize individual words. Praise her when she spells words correctly and point out that she is doing well with simple dictation.

Over time, exposure to words, sentences, and paragraphs through copywork and dictation will significantly improve your daughter’s grasp of grammar and spelling. By assigning copywork as you have been, you are laying a good foundation for English composition!

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Diplomas

What are we going to do about accreditation and a diploma for college?

We understand your concerns regarding college and accreditation, and encourage you not to worry. First, a diploma isn’t necessary until 12th grade. Second, the primary reason for a diploma is fear of college rejection. However, many colleges accept homeschoolers without any diploma at all! In addition, in lieu of a diploma, high schoolers can begin taking college-level courses at a community college, and then transfer from that point to a four-year college, again, without a diploma. Be assured, the good SAT and ACT scores most homeschoolers earn will go far in gaining admission to college. You can learn more about these and other options under “Accreditation.”
However, does it not seem that the measure for success is often whether or not everyone feels totally drained from using a program/schedule that is too demanding? We know of a young man who was more or less ‘unschooled,’ finished high school without a diploma, and went on to a Catholic college. He is very motivated, a hard worker, has a great love for Jesus -- and was also able to complete college courses well enough to be accepted into Ave Maria School of Law.
In addition, another acquaintance was homeschooled K-12 (not through CHC), had very little exposure to science (no biology or chemistry at all), small exposure to the writing/composition so necessary for college, but with a strong faith and willingness to work. She recently graduated from the nursing program at Franciscan University of Steubenville -- a tough course even for those who are well prepared. So, the character formation and work ethic cultivated in the home count as much or more than the academics themselves.
In the final analysis, a child’s motivation and a nurturing, Catholic environment appear to be the real determinate factors for success, not whether or not he has a diploma. And it is difficult for a burned-out child to feel either motivated or nurtured (and difficult for a burned-out parent to nurture!).
More information about accreditation can be found here.
Frankly, I am worried about transcripts and diplomas for college acceptance. Don't I need to be enrolled with a school that will furnish these?

In a word: no.

Rather than focusing on formal transcripts and diplomas, most colleges and universities instead examine a prospective student's SAT and ACT scores, and look for a clear sense of intellectual growth and a quest for knowledge as reflected in their high school studies and activities.

The majority of institutes of higher education look favorably on homeschoolers, particularly those who have done well in their high school studies and hence on their SATs and ACTs.

The following links provide some idea of the scope of quality schools that welcome homeschoolers, and college-related information for homeschoolers.

http://learninfreedom.org/colleges-home-schooled-students.html
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/CollegeExcel07.pdf

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Discipline

What if my child won't listen to me?
The truth is ‘absent discipline equals absent learning.’ CHC’s materials reinforce good behavior and contain many positive and helpful character-building tips. You may also find this book to be helpful, Raising Good Kids, by Dr. Ray Guarendi, a Catholic psychologist and homeschooling father of ten (all adopted) who often speaks on methods of discipline.

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Discouragement

I'm discouraged! Do you have any suggestions?

What do you think is the greatest ‘drag’ on homeschooling? Teaching higher level math, or science? Nope; the greatest ‘drag’ on homeschooling is the discouragement virus. Some of the symptoms sound like this: ‘Am I depriving my child by teaching him at home?’ ‘I have no patience.’ ‘I feel like I’m trying to cover too much, and doing a poor job at all of it.’

The inoculation against this deadly ‘discouragement virus’ begins with the realization that we aren’t homeschooling alone. God is with us; our homeschools are His work, too. View homeschooling progress as God views spiritual progress: from the scope not of one day, but from eternity. If our Father delights in our toddling spiritual steps toward Him, we don’t need to judge ourselves more harshly than He does.

What period of time elapsed between your baby’s first self-feeding and the time he could neatly feed himself with silverware and no bib? A week? A month? A year, or two? As we can see the long-range perspective, and exercise so much patience with progress in self-feeding, we can have the same patient perspective with academics, both with our children and with ourselves.

As with self-feeding, neither measure progress by the day or week, nor focus on every single spill. Rather, compare work on a quarterly basis, and focus on what the child is doing right. Yes, correct where correction is needed, but spend even more time noting what the child has learned. Take photos; keep portfolios of work, and then go over them with your children every three or four months. You will be surprised at how much you have all progressed!

When the ‘discouragement virus’ begins to lurk, banish it with the knowledge that Our Lord is at your right side as your helper; He delights in you and the eternal gift that you are giving your children through Christ-centered homeschooling.

On a related note, one common problem that leads to discouragement is trying to teach older siblings while the toddler destroys the house. One solution is to rotate schedules so that each older child is assigned a time to play with the toddler while mom is teaching. In other words, during John’s math instruction time, Gina automatically plays with the toddler. When it’s Gina’s turn for math, John automatically knows that it’s his turn to keep the toddler occupied.
Does CHC offer help for homeschooling moms in the form of a newsletter?
Yes! Subscribe at www.chcweb.com/catalog/subscribe.html to receive monthly product updates, discounts, sales, and support from CHC’s Educating for Eternity E-Newsletter.

“I love all emails I get from CHC and budget tips too. Don’t stop, it has helped in soooo many ways!” -- Sarah, MN

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E-Books

I am confused as to what an e-book really is. How do I access it? Will I be able to "read" it more than once?

There are several ways to download your e-book, two of which were available at the time of your order (clicking on the e-book link given on your confirmation page and "order success" page), but there are three other ways as well:
 
1. Have you received the auto email sent at the time of your order? This email contains a quick link to download your e-book.
 
2. Log on to your CHC online profile by clicking "My Account" on the homepage or https://www.chcweb.com/catalog/login.php. Type in the email address and password which was used to open your online account and place your order. If you can't remember the password, or you placed your order by phone, please click the "Password forgotten?" link to reset your password. Once in your account, click on the E-book download link provided directly below the order you just placed. This link is also available in the "My Orders" section. Click on this link to open Adobe Acrobat Reader and print your book.
 
3. Follow the instructions above to access your account. Click on the "View" button beside the order you just placed. This opens up a web version of your invoice. Below the name of your e-book will be a download link. Click on this to open Adobe Acrobat Reader and print your book.
 
I hope this download information is helpful. If you see only a blank page, it is possible that your computer may be fighting the Adobe Acrobat software. In this case, you want to double-check that you have the newest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (version 9). Usually difficulties like this are resolved by upgrading to the newest version at http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
 
What is an e-book? It is actually an electronic version of a conventional book. The benefits of e-books are many:

  • The e-books CHC offers contain the same text as the original book, and they are provided as PDF files. Books formatted as PDF files retain all the original formatting, no matter what type of computer you are using.
  • PDF files are Mac and PC compatible.
  • You can zoom pages to a comfortable reading size without the type looking fuzzy.
  • You can print one page, or all the pages.
  • You can view/read it on your computer or print it to bring to a copy shop for binding.
  • You can search for words and phrases in the document, finding what you want much faster than with an index!
  • You can print pages double-sided or two to a sheet (select this option in the pop-up menu after you click on "Print" in the file menu) to save paper.
  • You can use thumbnails of the pages to find the section you want.
  • You can bookmark pages you want to return to.

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Enrichment/ Adding Materials Outside the Lesson Plans

It seems that our student finishes his work faster than in public school, to the extent that I wonder if we are missing something. Should I add more enrichment materials?
First, all of CHC’s Lesson Plans fit together to provide a solid, complete, family-friendly PK-12 Catholic education, so adding enrichment materials is not necessary. However, one of the many benefits of homeschooling is that families can add materials if their child has a special interest. Therefore, if the child has extra time and the addition of ‘extras’ will not cause an added burden and ‘burnout’ for either parent or child, CHC’s programs do allow families the freedom to add materials as desired.

To understand how your student is able to complete his work faster at home than in a traditional school setting, see “Complete Program.”

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Family Life

How will homeschooling benefit our family life?

In answer, let’s listen to the words of Catholic homeschooling families:

“I didn’t anticipate just how close we would end up as a family, and how much I would enjoy my children’s company. I not only love these little people, I like them too! Homeschooling has allowed my family to grow in learning and faith together far more than I had anticipated at the beginning. I’m amazed at how much stronger my faith is -- having to explain the faith to children has really helped my faith to grow and strengthen.” -- Amber, CA

“[The biggest reward is] family time...not losing out on the teachable moments. I didn’t realize how much we would’ve lost if we didn’t homeschool till I met a friend who doesn’t homeschool.” -- Windy, LA

“I didn’t anticipate the great relationship I would build with my teenager. I was always a little afraid of how I would handle the teen years and worried that my daughter and I would have problems, but I truly believe that the great relationship we have, the strong moral stance she takes, and the depth of her faith are largely due to our decision to homeschool her.” -- Jennifer, ND

“I had not realized how much homeschooling would bring us closer as a family to each other and to God. I am amazed at how homeschooling helps us respect each other as individuals and as a family group. We really like each other and enjoy each other’s company.” -- Kecia, FL

“I have many rewards in a given day -- both within my own person, and within the persons of each of my children. Today, my 6 yo son used several ‘big’ words in ONE sentence that I have never ‘taught’ him, per se, but he has picked up for the quality literature we have read with him. My 4 yo has started to ask me how to spell words. My 2 yo likes to ‘play’ school, and anticipates when Mom can spend some extra time with him. The baby is a great teacher for all of us -- how to care, love, be gentle, entertain, and sacrifice -- even when one doesn’t feel like it, one does it because that is what families do. It is perhaps this last reason -- being a Godly, Catholic family, and growing daily in holiness through the joys and struggles -- that is the most rewarding. I feel like I am following God’s plan for me and my vocation -- to bring my children up in the Faith. Several days ago we were talking about our best friends. To hear my 6 yo say that he loved Mom and Dad a lot, but that Jesus was his best friend, certainly did (and will continue to) sustain me, even when it gets tough at times. Thank you, CHC, for making homeschooling a ‘dream come true’ for so many Catholic families!” -- Laura, ND

“The closeness of my children has continued and grown. My son is excited about helping out his younger sister. My faith is increasing and my knowledge is growing along with my children’s understanding. Things I took for granted and just accepted as part of my faith I find I have to think about in order to explain to my children. CHC helps me do this with all the wonderful materials and activities presented.” -- Maureen, NH
It seems that CHC puts a greater stress on character building and family interaction than other homeschooling programs. Is there a reason for this?
At the core of CHC’s approach is the concept of “family-centered homeschooling.” Family-centered homeschooling takes a holistic approach to education, in which academics, character development, and spiritual growth are part of an integral whole.

For example, CHC texts and workbooks are imbued with family values that gently reinforce parental teaching on obedience, neatness, thoughtfulness, and self-discipline.

Similarly, the absence of “busy work” in CHC’s curriculum provides an excellent academic foundation while still leaving time for activities that strengthen family bonds (field trips, family read-alouds, volunteering as a family) and for pursuits that develop non-academic talents (hobbies, handicrafts, and entrepreneurial ventures like babysitting or dog-walking).

Further, CHC encourages homeschoolers to take advantage of the character-building opportunities naturally created by the rhythm of family life. This can be difficult to do with an overly structured program, but CHC’s curriculum is constructed with a maximum of flexibility so that families can integrate family life and academics. To give just a few examples of the possibilities opened up by family-centered homeschooling:
  • Science experiments can be done together as a family. This fosters leadership skills and greater mastery of the subject in the student who directs the experiment; encourages cooperation among siblings; and enriches family life.
  • If an older child is struggling with a subject such as math or spelling, he can be assigned to tutor a younger sibling in the same subject. Teaching a younger sibling is a way for him to build confidence; review foundational concepts he may have missed; and practice cheerful service to others.
  • Children can take turns entertaining and “teaching” the toddler, for 15 minutes at a time, so that Mom can homeschool or do housework. This provides a welcome break from study; fosters sibling relationships; provides an opportunity for growth in good character and maturity; and fosters a positive self-image.
In summary, family-centered homeschools understand that some of the most important lessons in life are not academic at all. The joys and challenges of family life truly make it God’s school of love. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous -- even repeated -- forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life” (CCC 1657). By teaching sound academics within the context of a faith-filled family life, family-centered homeschoolers create an environment in which their children can learn that love and sacrifice, linked together, lead to joy.
 

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Flexibility

What are the main benefits of using a flexible curriculum?

The CHC approach is based on the belief that each child is a special gift from God and has a unique learning style, pace, and interests. Additionally, most children have varying ability levels across the subjects. CHC materials and lesson plans support the efforts of parents who wish to tailor the curriculum to fit their children’s needs and talents. If a certain book is not working for a child, the parent need not feel “locked” into it.

The advantage to having the flexibility to tailor the curriculum to the child is that the teacher can use the child’s interests to motivate his learning even in subjects which he tends to avoid. Does she like shopping but “hate” math? The parent can assign her the “game” of adding up all the purchases at the grocery store before reaching the check-out counter. Does he like baseball but “hate” research and writing? Why not have him research his favorite ballplayer and write a short paper, or give a short oral report? With CHC, the choices are as varied and individual as the personalities gathered around your dining room table.

For some, this flexibility means pulling together their own unique curriculum from CHC materials; for others the flexibility begins with friendly lesson plans which are completely prepared for you, but can be adapted at will. CHC lesson plans combine the flexibility of a self-designed curriculum with the reassurance of knowing that one is providing a complete education. By following CHC’s lesson plans, homeschooling parents have the assurance that “all bases are covered,” so that they can relax and enjoy sharing in the academic discoveries of their children.

“[Some rewards of homeschooling I’ve enjoyed are] having more time with my children, learning things I didn’t get to learn when I was in school, and allowing my children to follow their interests without being a slave to a 9-month curriculum.” -- Kelly, CO

“I like the CHC way of the children following their own calendar. I encourage the children to read the calendar and follow the assignments. If they fall behind or we take an extra day off, we can adjust easily and get back on track. I insert supplements as they go along but primarily I want them to learn to set goals and follow a plan -- with flexibility of course. This is a valuable life skill!” -- Michaeleen, WI

 

Help! How can I fit in everything I need to teach my children when we have dentist’s appointments, soccer practice, and a new baby?

CHC’s academically excellent and affordable lesson plans clearly prioritize core, non-core, and optional enrichment activities, so families can easily accommodate their busy schedules. CHC lesson plans provide an organized schedule, yet one with flexibility. Plans include clearly-marked, pared-down “core lessons” which include all the essentials but relieve pressure on impossibly busy days, yet also contain loads of enrichment activities to bring lessons to life and make little eyes sparkle.

In the primary grades, our 30-36 week plans are based on a four-day week, with Wednesdays left open. This weekly “flex-day” can be used for extra-curricular activities, Mass attendance, or appointments.

“We went into homeschooling to give our kids a better background in the Faith than I’d gotten (my husband converted during our engagement). Since then, though, the realization that we set our own schedules has been a blessing. Whether it’s a ‘sick day’ where we all have spring fever, taking a few weeks off for the birth of a baby, sticking with a subject until the material is understood instead of moving on to cover more -- those scheduling questions are ours to answer. That and never having to rush out the door after a frenzied look for matching shoes, a last-minute permission slip, a breathless return for a forgotten lunch, and an emergency phone call for homework retrieval make such a difference!” -- Heather, MI

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Grades, Split

Which lesson plan should I use if my child is two grades ahead in language arts but at grade level in all other subjects? [Or, which lesson plan should I use if my child is two grades behind in language arts but at grade level in all other subjects?]

Aren’t you glad to be homeschooling? Imagine having a child in this predicament in public school. It’s not hard to imagine, because the vast majority of children fits one of these two descriptions! One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that classes can be made to fit the student, instead of placing impossible demands on a struggling child or boring an ‘overachieving’ child to tears. CHC’s lesson plans are flexible enough that a child can be placed in the grade which most closely suits his abilities, while changing only that subject in which he is behind/ahead. (E.g., a third-grade student who is ahead two grades in language arts might continue using third grade lesson plans in all areas except language arts. For language arts, he might be assigned CHC’s Language of God, Level D, for fifth grade work.)

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Grading

Does CHC offer grading?

Catholic Heritage Curricula is not a school; therefore, we do not provide grading or record keeping. Grading services often require homeschool teachers to save and turn in student work to the organization. This record-keeping can be burdensome, and is not particularly necessary.

In addition, there is a danger in delegating the grading to someone outside the homeschool. When the homeschooling parent grades the child’s daily work, he is immediately aware of both weak and strong spots in his child’s performance. Based on that knowledge, practice can immediately be assigned to address weak areas, or eliminate unnecessary “busy” work in those subjects that the child has already mastered. While waiting for a grading service to return the grades, the child continues to falter in weak areas, or suffer boredom from undue assignments in areas mastered. Turning the task of grading over to someone else robs the student of the immediate feedback which is a key benefit of homeschooling, and hinders the parent’s efforts to tailor the curriculum into a “perfect fit” for the individual child.

Further, because the homeschooling parent is already acutely aware of the student’s performance, many homeschool families don’t keep give tests or keep grades at all, beyond correcting individual assignments.

However, for those who desire a permanent record of work, CHC suggests creating a portfolio of “best work” for each school year and the use of CHC report cards. Ample space is also provided in the lesson plan grids to write in grades for math lessons, spelling tests, etc. Most states do not require paperwork, but if your school district does, CHC includes a Typical Course of Study and an Achievement Record in each lesson plan. These are simple to fill out and can be submitted to your school district.

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High School

Does CHC have a high school program? We are looking for a program for our son, who has many gifts, but isn't sure if he wants to go to college or to a vocational school.

Yes, CHC offers a four-year high school program that can be made to fit the student, not one in which the student is made to fit the program. A course of study designed to ‘fit all’ often fits none.

High School of Your Dreams allows a wide course selection, broad choice of texts and materials reflecting the abilities and ‘educational track’ of the student from the college-bound to those seeking apprenticeships, and coursework that can be modified for students who struggle with academics but shine in practical skills.

High School of Your Dreams is flexible in its presentation, including the option of an experiential, rather than textbook, approach.

CHC encourages those planning to use High School of Your Dreams to begin early, perhaps in late winter or early spring of the student’s eighth grade year. Early planning helps the student focus his goals, builds excitement for the coming high school years, and allows time for course and material selection.

If you are considering homeschooling for high school, visit our high school website: https://www.chcweb.com/highschool

How does High School of Your Dreams compare with a pre-packaged curriculum?

Think of a pre-packaged curriculum as dinner at a friend’s house, and High School of Your Dreams as a buffet. At the friend’s house, you and your family are served liver and onions, parsnips, peanut butter on whole grain bread, and coleslaw. Your husband is delighted with the liver and onions, but dutifully wades through the parsnips. Your daughter gags at the sight of liver, while your son has an allergic reaction to the peanuts, and dinner comes to a close with a visit to the emergency room. The dinner was balanced and nutritious, but not suited to the individual tastes and needs of your family. On the other hand, a buffet also offers a balanced and nutritious dinner, but you have control of the selections, according to the individual tastes and special needs of each member of your family. In the first case, you are saved the work of making selections, but the lack of choice ends up creating more work and headaches in the long run. In the case of the ‘High School of Your Dreams Buffet,’ there is some initial planning and selection, but the end result is a more satisfactory academic ‘fit.’

If you are considering homeschooling for high school, visit our high school website: https://www.chcweb.com/highschool

“We were concerned about starting high school, especially without scripted lesson plans; but what a relief High School of Your Dreams turned out to be! Firstly, we wanted our son to have more selection than many programs offered, and High School of Your Dreams 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 elsewhere! 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, CO

 

I went to a homeschool conference and I came away with the feeling that we are “flaky” because we don’t do a canned Catholic high school program 8 hours a day. Help!

The word “flaky” evokes images of an easy program which caters to laziness and irresponsibility. Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly, High School of Your Dreams eliminates the frustration caused by using a canned high school program which does not fit the student’s unique learning style and vocational goals. On the other hand, High School of Your Dreams expects far more from students in terms of responsibility and self-motivation.

High School of Your Dreams is designed so that the student takes “ownership” of his own education, thus preparing him for the responsibilities of adulthood and prompting him to consider prayerfully how God is calling him to serve others. High schoolers who utilize High School of Your Dreams are likely to spend far more than eight hours a day “doing school,” because the flexibility of High School of Your Dreams permits valuable life experiences to be documented as legitimate “credit hours.” By recognizing that many informal pursuits count as education, High School of Your Dreams opens up more time for the high schooler to participate in family, volunteer, and vocational activities, thereby developing his character as well as his intellect.

Does this flexibility mean that high schoolers end up being denied access to traditional academics? Certainly not. Rather, high schoolers are more likely to understand and utilize the traditional pillars of a good education -- mathematics, English literature and composition, science, history, theology, etc. -- when they are given the flexibility to study them in the way that corresponds to their interests and fits their learning style. With High School of Your Dreams, the student can study traditional academics in the way that best fits his personality, alongside courses that will better prepare him for his unique future.

In other words, if taking a student’s God-given interests and abilities into account makes a high school program “flaky,” then “flaky” worked well for the inventor Thomas Edison, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, and the great geneticist and pro-life advocate Jérôme Lejeune, as well as countless recent homeschool graduates.

“With High School of Your Dreams, [our daughter] ... could use real world experiences as part of her study. For instance, we had a dairy goat with a non-simple case of mastitis. This required extensive reading, research, testing, and some involvement with the vet which counted for Biology/Microbiology credit. The experience was so effective, that 6 months later when visiting with some medical students, they were impressed with my daughter’s knowledge of microbiology. They said she could easily pass 1st semester Microbiology in college. Another example ... my daughter taught 2nd grade CCD -- she proceeded to develop teaching materials and observe the kids so that she could adjust methods and materials to be effective. Hence, Early Childhood Development credits. My other daughter is working at the vet clinic as a tech helping with surgeries, exams, x-rays, prescriptions; forget the dissections in Biology Lab -- she is participating in live surgeries which she enjoys much better ... [We had] no accredited diploma, but experienced no difficulty in gaining college admission.” --C.M.

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History

Last year we used another curriculum provider and are ‘off’ schedule in history. We already studied U.S. History, but that is what CHC recommends for 5th grade. Is it OK if we study 6th grade’s World History instead?

Certainly! If you have two students who are fairly close in age, you may also at times wish to place them in the same grade for subjects such as science and history. CHC allows you the flexibility to adjust your studies to fit the needs of your student and family, as long as those core subjects are still covered at some point in your students’ education.

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Homeschooling Regulations, by State

What are the regulations for homeschooling in my state?

Homeschooling regulations, listed by state, can be found on the Home School Legal Defense Association website. (HSLDA also provides legal defense for homeschooling families. For more information about their services, see HSLDA website.)

http://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp

 

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Homeschooling, First Year

This is our first year of homeschooling.  Would it be better to design our own curriculum, or use lesson plans?

 

One hallmark of CHC is its flexibility; with CHC, your choices are as varied and individual as the personalities gathered around your dining room table. For some, this means pulling together their own unique curriculum from CHC materials; for others the flexibility begins with friendly lesson plans, completely prepared for you, but that can be happily trimmed at will.

In the early years of homeschooling, uncertainties may abound: am I covering all the bases? If I pull together my own curriculum, might I accidentally overlook an important educational concept? Will my child really be ready for the next grade in particular or adulthood in general? Am I asking too much of my child, or perhaps too little? How in the world can I schedule everything that my child needs without either underwhelming or overwhelming him? Does this sound familiar? Believe me, we have all -- us, too! -- asked ourselves these questions at one time or another.

For first-year homeschoolers, CHC’s lesson plans can lift the anxiety of planning. By using a complete, prepared curriculum, you have the assurance that ‘all bases are covered,’ so that you can relax and enjoy sharing in the academic discoveries that are presented to your children.

Experienced homeschoolers know that just doing workbook pages and no more is a poor substitute for the richness that can be home education. While all of CHC’s workbooks are complete if they are used according to instructions, those instructions (from the introductory pages) call for activities to be used in conjunction with workbook exercises. It is not difficult for parents to incorporate those suggested activities into the subject on their own, but a small amount of thought and planning is required. If the thought of developing and then scheduling those suggested activities ‘on my own’ seems too overwhelming, then it is best to use the lesson plans. The lesson plans provide those engaging exercises and activities, planned and scheduled for you, to complete the subjects taught via workbook.

And that’s why we encourage lesson plan use for those who are new to homeschooling. It’s all there; you don’t have to worry. Just open the lesson plans and dive into the day!

As families transition from ‘newbie’ to ‘experienced veteran,’ some then choose to design and schedule their own plans, using CHC materials. On the other hand, some find that the lesson plans’ ease of use, completeness, and gentle flexibility are sound reasons to continue their use throughout their homeschooling years. To LP or not to LP: what works best for you?

 

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Kindergarten/Readiness

How do I know if my child is ready for Kindergarten?

Beginning kindergarten students should have a basic grasp of counting, be able to count up to five objects, have a good pencil grip and control of a pencil, and be able to trace over lines and squares and draw circles free-hand. They should also be able to work and play independently for at least half an hour at a time, and be able to listen and sit quietly for 15 minutes or more. CHC’s core materials for kindergarten (the basic package which ensures students are learning what needs to be learned) will require 60–90 minutes of dedicated time daily, four days per week.

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Language Arts

I’ve heard a lot of positive comments about your Language of God English program, but wonder if it includes enough writing composition?

The Language of God series extends from second through eighth grades. (In first grade, grammar is incorporated into the spelling program.) Language of God’s grammar closely follows the standard sequence of grammar study found in quality language arts books prior to the dumbing down of texts in the last 70 years.

Language of God, Levels A–D include lessons on writing better sentences and paragraphs as well as regular journaling assignments with topic suggestions. However, the majority of suggested writing assignments are located in the Introduction, where parents are instructed to schedule practical assignments such as letters to shut-ins or elderly relatives in the early levels, or letters to the editor of Catholic or secular publications or to their congressional representatives in Level D. These assignments are based on the reasoning that a true picture of a student’s mastery of writing and grammar skills will less likely be revealed in a story about “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” than in, for example, a letter of thanks written to his parish priest. In other words, in Levels A–D, whether or not there is “enough writing” depends largely on how much writing is assigned by the teacher, who knows her children’s interests best. If too little writing assigned, there is too little writing.

Language of God, Levels E–G focus more intensely on formal writing skills in order to prepare the student for high school and college work. Levels E–G walk students through paragraphing, researching, note-taking, pre-writing, drafting, editing, proofreading, presenting essays and stories, and more. Writing forms covered include the research paper, expository and persuasive essays, narrative writing, creative writing, and writing about prose and poetry.

Keep in mind that when a family uses CHC’s complete program, the student is also assigned many writing projects in other subjects. For example, Our United States of America walks fourth graders through the research, writing, and compilation necessary for a detailed report on their state. In Life Science: CHC Edition, seventh grade students write two formal research papers, including a title page, table of contents, diagrams and charts, glossary, and works cited page. Seventh and eighth grade students are assigned a minimum of 18 essays and research reports each year in Reading Comprehension: Stories of the Saints, Volume III and Volume IV. In all of these assignments, students are expected to practice the writing skills taught in the Language of God series.

“I love everything CHC has to offer regarding English, spelling, reading, and phonics. My background is an English and reading teacher, and I find your materials to be top-notch... second to none.” -- Courtney, FL

“I love CHC’s grammar and spelling. Those are so much more enjoyable than what I started with! We do use mostly [another provider’s program] but your grammar is so much easier to use without any drop in quality of material I won’t go back.” -- Heather, MI

 

I want to purchase your Language of God book, but I see that there are no tests that come with the book. Are there any tests that I can buy that go with the book?

A testing system is built into each level of the Language of God series; however, the test pages are labeled as review or practice pages.

In a public school setting, classroom teachers have difficulty tracking individual, daily progress because of the sheer volume of work produced by 30 students. Testing, therefore, is necessary to shed more light on individual performance.

In a homeschool setting, testing doesn’t generally reveal further information on student progress than the teacher already knows; the teacher is intimately and immediately aware, on a daily basis, of her child’s understanding of the material.

In any case, in the Language of God series these review, or test, pages occur about every 12 to 15 pages, and may be used for review, practice, and testing. Some like to use the pages as practice exercises, but then return to the same pages and use them as oral tests a week or two later.

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