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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 (continued)
 
Lesson Plans

I like the idea of lesson plans, but want to retain control over what I teach and when I teach it. I am wary of plans that are overstructured. Can you give me an idea of CHC’s approach?

For those who would like a little help designing their lessons, but don’t wish to completely replicate the public school model in their home, daily lesson plans may be obtained from CHC; CHC lesson plans are gentle but thorough, providing a strong academic and Faith-filled education. With CHC’s lesson plans, the family tailors the studies to fit the family; with public school, private school, or a very structured home study school, the program tailors the family to fit the studies.

“[Using CHC lesson plans] really helps me to have a plan of action each day and it has really freed up time for me to be with my kids or do things around the house rather than sit and plan lessons.” -- Ann, WA

Help! I have recently found out that my state requires no less than 175 instructional days. I now feel like I have to school all the way through summer to make up these days in order to have accurate records to show if/when I ever have to produce them.

Not to worry! Remember that, in a public school, children return home when the school day is over; in homeschooling, children never leave their school.

Do your children watch educational DVDs that teach everything from the alphabet to geography to history? Children in brick and mortar schools do the same, for credit.

Do your children use educational apps or computer games? Brick and mortar schools do the same.

Do you read bedtime stories, or do your children read to themselves, to siblings, parents, or grandparents at times “outside” the lesson plans?

Do you visit the park and examine trees, leaves, flowers, and perhaps wildlife? Have your children visited a zoo; arboretum; historical site; the ocean; art, science, or history museums; examined bunnies at a pet store; the library, post office, fire department; taken swimming lessons or learned how to jump rope or play softball? Have the children watched, or participated in, a live theatrical performance?

These hours that are amassed outside of “school time” are certainly educational, including learning how to follow directions while doing chores, arts, crafts, and even in religious education classes. Whether such activities might occur in a brick and mortar school or at home, all count for “school credit.”

CHC’s K-4 lesson plans keep Wednesday open precisely so that families may take advantage of these enrichment activities, practice skills, or pursue other educational discoveries. Since states don’t dictate on which days educational activities occur, but only that they occur, hours gained in these activities may very legitimately be credited, whether or not the activities fell on a Wednesday, or during the scheduled school day.

If your state requires more “school days” than appear in the lesson plans, simply remember to include those relaxed but legitimate “our-school-day-never stops” activities. (You may finish school a month ahead of schedule!)

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Little Stories for Little Folks, Using

My child is reading Level 1 of Little Stories for Little Folks, but he still has trouble blending sounds together and seems to be reading mostly by memorizing the books. Is this OK?
The problems you describe are not uncommon, since Level 1 is introductory reading; your child is working at the first of four levels in the series, and will gain confidence and mastery as he practices the exercises outlined in the Parents’ Guide.

At times, we hear of children who are having difficulty learning to read, only to find that the parent has skipped teaching steps as detailed in the Parents’ Guide, omitting practice exercises with the “Pre-Reading Blends,” the “Name Game,” or “Silly Willy Sentences.” Each of these components plays a significant role in preparing the child to read; skipping any or all of the steps or exercises will have a direct impact on how well and quickly the child learns to read. One would not omit the eggs (too messy) and flour (too dusty) from a cake recipe and still expect to end up with an edible cake. In the same way, omitting instructional “ingredients” from Little Stories for Little Folks reduces its efficacy.
Our son was reading so well after Level 2 in Little Stories for Little Folks that we never finished the series, but went on to regular books. Is that OK?

Congratulations on your son’s success! However, we would encourage you to finish the Little Stories for Little Folks’ reading program, as the last two levels contain phonics instruction that will help your child continue to read, decode, and spell better than if he had not completed the lessons. If a child sailed through addition in the first few months of instruction, one would not skip the rest of the arithmetic book and proceed to the next grade, as the child would have missed out on subtraction and a number of other foundational math concepts. In the same way, children who successfully complete Little Stories for Little Folks typically test well above grade level in reading; one wonders whether the same can be said for those who don’t finish the program.

“I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she read her first book -- “At Mass” from Little Stories for Little Folks. She had been reading words for a while, but I don’t think it had really dawned on her that she was a reader yet. She read, “Pat is at Mass,” paused for the tiniest instant as those words sunk in, and then looked up at me with a priceless expression of surprise, pride, and excitement. I am so thankful that I didn’t miss that moment!” -- Katie, GA
We used a different phonics program for kindergarten. Where do we start in Little Stories for Little Folks for first grade if our child already knows the letter sounds or is reading simple books?

If your child has begun with a different phonics program and is now switching to Little Stories for Little Folks, we would suggest that you take a few days and start at the beginning of the program, not skipping any of the steps or exercises listed in the Parents’ Guide. Doing so will ensure that your child has not missed any critical steps in learning to read. Whether your child is ahead in reading or behind, ‘beginning at the beginning’ will not take much time; you will soon see by his proficiency, or lack thereof, which of the levels most closely match his current skills. (Challenging the child beyond his level can discourage him; beginning with the ‘easier’ material can sometimes build confidence and renewed enthusiasm in a child who had been struggling.)

Do you have any spelling tips for early readers?

Early readers (under the age of six or so) often find writing exercises to be overwhelming. Instead of writing in the workbook, letter tiles included with My Very First Catholic Speller, or perhaps refrigerator magnets, can help children form spelling words and practice the phonics taught in Little Stories for Little Folks. (The advantage to refrigerator magnets is that they are always out, and can be moved about as the impulse strikes. One may even wish to post on the refrigerator a spelling list, or list of words from Little Stories for Little Folks, for the child to ‘copy’ with lower-case magnetic letters.)

In addition, the Introduction to My Very First Catholic Speller contains further ideas for spelling/reading/phonics practice that involve few or no writing skills. Again, some of these exercises may be done using the refrigerator as a ‘bulletin board.’

My Very First Catholic Speller can then be used as a workbook when the child’s motor skills begin catching up with his/her cognitive skills, perhaps the next school year.

I’m using Little Stories for Little Folks. Do you have any tips for easily distracted or less than enthusiastic readers?

The key is to keep it ‘light,’ so the child experiences as much success as possible. Ways to do that would include:

  • Make a point, when beginning a new story, to begin with the Name Game, creating new words, and then practice reading them by sounding them out. Read the New Words and Sounds together, as well as the Words That Follow Different Rules, but save the story for the next day. That way the child is exposed to new words and better prepared to read the story the next day. The child may enjoy spelling these words with magnetic letters on the refrigerator. Doing so will involve more of the senses -- hearing, seeing, touching -- as well as keeping those words out and ‘visible’ for casual practice as parents move about the kitchen making lunch or dinner. If the child seems to need more practice with the phonics in the Name Game, the sound blends, etc., one might continue practicing those sounds and words until he/she has some fluency. (It is best to use lower case magnetic letters, or rubber alphabet puzzles in lower case.)
  • When the child is able to read the new words on the refrigerator (or with letter tiles, or on a dry erase board that he/she is free to use at will), before reading the story, re-read the New Words and Sounds.
  • Drop back a few stories so the child experiences success again, then read only half the story one day, half the next. When the student is ready to read the second half, briefly review the first half of the story.
  • If there is any doubt about the child’s fluency, always review New Words briefly before beginning a story.
  • Before reading the story, engage your child’s interest by discussing what the story is about. For example, (Mud on the Rug), you might talk about bugs the child has caught, or a time that mud was tracked into the house. Then alternate reading sentences with the child, i.e., he reads the first sentence, you read the second, he reads the third, and so on.
  • Keep an eye on the clock and monitor at what point your child becomes restless, e.g., five minutes. At first, limit reading time to five minutes. As the child experiences success, gradually extend the time by just a few minutes up to perhaps ten minutes. (Keep reading sessions short for children under age six and/or with a child who has a short attention span. However, it is important to give it at least five minutes! If the child has trouble sitting this long, a timer might be set for five minutes. Tell the child that ‘the timer will tell us when we are done,’ and then keep going with the exercises or reading until the timer rings.) Praise the child when he makes it through those five minutes!

 

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Memory and Retention

My child seems to forget about half of what I’ve taught him within a few months or even weeks. Is something wrong with him, or wrong with me, or wrong with the materials we’re using?

This is an extremely common complaint, particularly with primary age-children, and certainly isn’t limited to academics. If your child remembers half of what he’s learned, he’s ahead of the curve!

Psychological studies indicate that only a day after a textbook lesson is presented, almost 50% of the material is already forgotten. After two weeks, the percentage climbs to nearly 80%; you can imagine how this percentage rises after a long summer vacation. The problem of lack of retention in the early grades is precisely the reason why there is so much review and repetition at the beginning of the school year, particularly in core subjects such as spelling, math, and language.

In addition, the single most important cause for lack of retention is inattention to the lesson. Since short attention spans are characteristic of children in the primary grades, it is no wonder that they forget so much.

The good news is that repetition, frequent review, and most of all, presenting the material from as many angles as possible, will help your student retain the material. For example, using math workbooks in combination with manipulatives offers two different means of getting the idea into a child’s head. Copying spelling words three times each, making up funny sentences using the missed words, and reciting them out loud to a sibling or while mom is cooking dinner are ways that review and repetition might be used to reinforce a lesson. Similar exercises can be done with math problems. (If you are following CHC lesson plans, you will notice that the lesson plans employ stories or hands-on activities to reinforce many lessons and increase retention.) Experienced school teachers recognize that retention levels are low in primary age children. Some lack of retention goes with the territory and is to be expected. However, using repetition and different means of exposing a child to the topic will boost his retention of the material.

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Military Academies

Are homeschoolers ever accepted to military academies?

Absolutely.  For more information, see links, below:
 
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000002/00000240.asp

http://www.hslda.org/highschool/military.asp

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Military, Homeschooling in

Our family is in the military and we are moving in the middle of the year. We are seriously considering homeschooling. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Yes! Come on board! Homeschooling is ideally suited to military families, who often move during the middle of the school year. Worse, when the children transfer to a new school district, even at the beginning of the school year, they often find that the school uses completely different materials and may be far ahead the child’s level in some areas and behind in others. Homeschooling allows an uninterrupted education with no nightmare of catching up or transitioning and adjustment.

“I was reading through some posts in the FAQ and I wanted to add a little to the military homeschooling one: Homeschooling can help with deployments and TDYs. It can be hard on the deployed person to call back home at a time when a child is around to at least say ‘Hi’ and ‘I love you.’ Often times they just try calling and hope for the best. While homeschooling through a deployment, we just know we’ll drop everything to talk on the phone (or skype if lucky). Also, when everyone is finally back home together, homeschooling gives us the freedom to take off on a family trip. We’ve also tagged along for some training trips -- some training you can have family around without it being too much of a distraction.” -- Kirsten, Holloman AFB, NM

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Multiple Grades, Teaching Together

Can I teach more than one grade together?
Yes, different grade levels of many subjects -- science, music, art, and religion as well as enrichment for English and math -- can be studied together. As one mom shared, ‘The Language of God series follows much the same pattern from year to year, so it seems that when one child is studying adjectives, for example, it is being studied in the other level too. That makes it easier for me to teach the topic to more than one child at once.’ Usually those who wish to combine lessons to encompass several grades have been using a demanding, prepackaged curriculum that doesn’t allow for combining.

While it is certainly possible to combine levels, especially in enrichment activities, CHC’s materials also lessen the burden with as much self-directed work as possible, and eliminate unnecessary assignments. This frees more time for housework, other duties, and working with individual children where necessary.

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My Catholic Speller, Using

My 4th grade daughter has a lot of trouble with spelling. She was taught in public school to spell words how they sound. She has not moved beyond that now. For example, she spells ‘they’ as ‘thay.’ I know there are phonics rules listed in the My Catholic Spellers but I don’t feel it is enough. There are so many words she misspells all the time. What should I do?

How frustrating it must be for both of you, that so little spelling instruction was presented in your daughter’s previous school.

Like most texts, the My Catholic Speller series begins with elementary phonics and progresses forward, with review of basic phonics decreasing as the years advance. Therefore, by fourth grade, your daughter has missed three years of phonics instruction!

Thankfully, one of the blessings of homeschooling is that your daughter is free to move at her own pace and, given the opportunity to learn what she has missed, will likely catch up over time.

On first hearing, it may seem a bit much to begin at the beginning, but that is the best way. It is difficult to build on a non-existent foundation!

There are several possibilities from which to choose for remedial instruction. You might want to pick and choose some, or even all, of the following approaches to teach your daughter over the next year or two.

First, it would be a good idea to drop the fourth grade spelling book completely, as she is not yet ready for it.

Next, a child who feels defeated can sometimes benefit by actually teaching others at a very low level. I note that you have a five-year-old; if you are beginning this child in the Little Stories for Little Folks, perhaps your daughter can become an assistant to him or her, using the phonics-based letter strips to form word families, and then move on to the Name Game to help teach the five year old, meanwhile learning the same letter sounds and families herself.

Your daughter might be encouraged to use the word families from the Name Game to create 8x11 posters of word families, perhaps decorating the posters with her own illustrations of some of the words listed there, alongside the word family. (For example, cake, bake, rake, with an illustration of a cake and, in big letters,’-ake’ at the top of the poster.)

You might present this activity to your daughter from the standpoint that these posters are made for the benefit of the youngest child, but of course, the exposure would help your daughter, too.

It would be best if she did each and every Name Game in the entire series, perhaps three-hole punching the 8x11 posters and saving them in a three-ring notebook. (You might post the first few posters on the wall for a week or two, or as long as the five-year-old is working on those phonics sounds. Then those posters could go into the notebook, and be replaced on the wall by the newest posters of phonics word families.)

At the same time, it would be to your daughter’s advantage that she begins instruction with My Very First Catholic Speller, followed by Spellers A, B, and C. Yes, that sounds very basic, but that is what your daughter is missing: the basics.

A good exercise (using My Catholic Speller A, Lesson Two as an example) would be to have your daughter first note that the focus of this lesson is short vowels i and u. Instruct her to make a column for each sound, and then write all the list words with that sound in the proper column. Perhaps she could have a special set of gel or sparkle pens to use just for spelling, using a different color pen for each different word group. (Black or dark blue paper with light colored pens might add a little spice to the exercise.) When she has completed her columns of words, she may wish to draw a box, circle, or square around the words that belong to the same families. (Or, for example, a cake-shaped box around the words that belong to the ‘-ake’ family.)

Another exercise that many students find funny is to write all their spelling words, using the most words in the fewest number of sentences possible.

The key is to have your daughter gain the maximum exposure to the words, by repeated writing and grouping by phonics sounds.

Your daughter will likely find renewed success by starting at a lower level, and may thereby regain a little of her confidence. At first, she may progress fairly quickly, perhaps completing two or three lessons per week. However, it would be best, at the first sign that she isn’t retaining what she has learned, that she slows down to one lesson per week. (For example, if she misses more than two or three words on her spelling test.)

For maximum exposure, you may wish to begin a new lesson by having her read the spelling words to you. Then test her on the list, explaining to her that the test is simply to see which words she needs to practice the most. Then have her write the words in columns, as suggested previously. On Tuesday, she might do the exercises in the book. Test again Wednesday, this time having her write missed words three times. If she is still missing words, discuss the phonics rule or word family on which the lesson focuses. On Thursday, you may want to test again, or perhaps she could practice the words on her own by writing inside boxes or circles that she has drawn with her pretty paper and pens. Then test again Friday. So that she continues to progress, it might be helpful for her to carry over missed words to her next spelling lesson, adding them on at the bottom of the list for practice.

Another easy and non-threatening means of practice, if your daughter likes to use the computer, would be a spelling software program.
 

How do I know which book to choose for appropriate placement level?

If your son is having difficulty with spelling, I would suggest beginning with the speller that is just below his current grade level. For example, if he is in second grade, he would normally be using My Catholic Speller A. Thus, to go down one level, he would instead begin with My Very First Catholic Speller.

The advantages to beginning with a lower level book are that the lower level will expose him to phonics and spelling approaches that he may be lacking and he may, for the first time, begin to have success with spelling. Laying this early and solid foundation will prepare him for success at the next level. In addition, he may be able to work through the lower level book fairly rapidly and thus catch up to his grade level.

If your son seems to work above level in most areas, it would be prudent to begin with the speller that is for his grade level. Should you find that he breezes through that level, you will still have the assurance that he does, indeed, have the foundation to move on to the next level without the danger of skipping an important spelling or phonics concept.

 

Do I need a separate phonics workbook?

Whenever two subjects can be incorporated into one, it is beneficial to student and teacher alike. Since spelling is based upon phonics, having two separate programs is a little like having a class in numbers in addition to a math class. Some schools teach phonics separately because the whole language or sight-reading program that they also employ doesn’t include phonics. So the phonics materials become an add-on to make up for a deficient reading program. The problem with this approach is that the phonics is being taught separately from reading, which again makes as much sense as teaching numbers as an afterthought to math. If the student has learned to read and spell phonetically since the first grade, he probably won’t need the additional “busywork” of a phonics workbook.

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Online Schools

On-line, computer-centered schooling vs. home-centered schooling: How do I decide which is best for my elementary age children?

How blessed we are to be given the freedom to homeschool!

As soon as we choose to educate our children at home, we face yet a second choice: which approach will best fit our children and family? While there is no one method that fits every child and family, some approaches offer more flexibility and personal attention, and thus a better ‘fit,’ than others. Two popular approaches to home education are online, computer-centered schooling, and home-centered schooling.

In comparing the two methods, one might note first that online schools generally provide little or no choice of texts or courses at the elementary level. Thus, the student might find himself with a book or course that not only is poorly fitted to his learning style, but that may even be detrimental in its message. Conversely, with a home-tailored program, one is free to select books and courses that ‘fit’ the child, at the same time upholding and building his Catholic faith.

One also might note a significant disparity between the cost of online schooling, which is often $1,000 or more per year per student, and a home-tailored program whose price for core subjects may be as low as $250 per year.

Most importantly, online courses may provide little or no immediate feedback via the computer screen. Consider that a young child’s world centers on the input of mother and father and home; this little soul has not been designed by God to seek guidance and information from an impersonal computer. On the contrary, there is no substitute for the living, hands-on, immediate and personal care and concern of a parent.

Thus, in the early, tender years of a child’s development, one might find preferable the less expensive, home-tailored approach that fosters interpersonal relations between child and parent rather than child and computer.

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Overload

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, whether through using CHC lesson plans or arranging your own program with CHC materials, can take the pressure off you and your children and allow 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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Parochial/Public School, Returning to

If there was an orthodox Catholic school in our area, and we could afford the tuition, wouldn’t sending my children to Catholic school be preferable to homeschooling?

One family shares: “When we first began to homeschool, another mom came up to me after Mass and introduced herself, asking if we homeschooled. We went on visiting and sharing about the usual (what program/text/method do you use, etc.) and then she said this about Catholic schools: ‘The natural order, by God’s design, is for parents to teach their own children, this is for the salvation of the parents. For it is in teaching our children that we are ‘forced’ to really learn and LIVE our Faith.’ This really struck me at the time, and I wasn’t sure if I agreed. As our family went forward in the next few months, we all discovered something very precious. We would never go back to public school. Homeschooling is a whole and holy way of life. Now, I can wholeheartedly say that if the most perfect Catholic school moved right next door, we would still want to homeschool. It is a gift and a treasure. We use materials which teach academics while weaving in our Catholic Faith; a great gift of homeschooling is that we are all gradually falling more and more in love with Christ and His Church!”

“I have had my children in private school and homeschooled. And homeschooling by far has united my children in deep sibling friendships that just didn’t have time to blossom as fully with the stress of school days outside the home. They are more confident students academically as well. Overall, God cannot be outdone in generosity...and with our small sacrifices of homeschooling He has blessed our family tenfold!” -- Christi, VA

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Phonics

Do I need to add a phonics workbook for extra practice, or is CHC’s reading program a complete phonics program?

Together, Little Stories for Little Folks and the My Catholic Speller series provide a complete phonics package. Following the directions given in the readers and spellers, according to the schedule set out in the Lesson Plans, ensures that the student will cover all topics needed for a strong phonics-based foundation. It is not necessary to purchase additional materials outside those listed in CHC Lesson Plans.

Some schools teach phonics separately because the whole language or sight-reading program that they also employ doesn’t include phonics. So the phonics materials become an add-on to make up for a deficient reading program. The problem with this approach is that the phonics is being taught separately from reading, which makes as much sense as teaching numbers as an afterthought to math. Whenever two subjects can be incorporated into one, it is beneficial to student and teacher alike; students who learn to read and spell using Little Stories for Little Folks and the My Catholic Speller series do not need the additional “busywork” of a phonics workbook.

However, children may benefit from Little Stories for Little Folks’ companion workbooks: Catholic Heritage Handwriting, Level K and Level 1. These workbooks provide story-by-story phonics practice as primary students copy and reinforce letter combinations and words that they have just read in Little Stories for Little Folks. Children master reading skills even more rapidly when using these companion workbooks.

“I wish we had just started with a simple CATHOLIC program like Little Stories, and moved on from there. I’m shelving [other program] next year in favor of CHC’s First Grade Lesson Plans and curriculum. Sometimes simpler is just better.” --survey response

I have bought Little Stories for Little Folks used, but found out that part of it is missing. Is there some way that I can buy missing pieces of your materials?

How frustrating! We do encounter this dilemma from time to time, as many of our materials include additional activities for practice and reinforcement of the skills taught in the body of the program. Sadly, it isn’t unusual for ‘parts’ to turn up missing as materials are passed from one person to another. It is perfectly understandable that you would like to have the complete program that you paid for, so your student has thorough exposure to the subject!

Because CHC is a small, family-operated home business, we operate under a tight budget. This means that we must print relatively small quantities of our materials, as complete units. The only way that we could provide the missing parts would be to take apart a complete, new set, and then throw away the remainder. (Imagine someone going to Walden books and asking them to tear out a section of recipe cards from a brand new cook book that the customer had bought used elsewhere. That is more or less the position we are in.) We are truly, truly sorry that someone has taken advantage of you in selling their used materials. In all fairness, the seller should refund your money.

This is my first year of homeschooling. I was recently talking to a retired teacher/principal and was told that I should not only be teaching my kindergartner phonics, but also phonetics. She said to teach a child to clap to the different sounds within words. Do your materials contain this type information? How important is it and if it is where can I find out more about it?
You and your children will enjoy the phonics (and phonetics) based Little Stories for Little Folks, used with great success by families with average, slow, and advanced students. (In fact, one might note that one of the very first students to use the Little Folks programs recently received a perfect score on the reading section of the SAT college board tests.)

The term phonetics refers specifically to the sounds of speech and the way those sounds are produced and represented via written symbols. The terms phonics and phonetics are often used interchangeably, as both deal with learning the individual sounds of which words are comprised, as opposed to sight-reading.

Little Stories for Little Folks first introduces phonetic letter sounds through flash cards used in conjunction with instruction in the Parents’ Guide, which is included in the complete program. The next step in the program is teaching the child phonetic blends through manipulation of letter strips. By this means, the child hears, sees, and touches basic phonetic blends and learns to put them together to make simple words. The final step teaches the child to listen for sounds and blends in the Name Game as he begins to read his first simple stories. The Silly Willy Sentences Game reinforces all that the child has learned as he progresses through the program. All of these activities are part of the complete Little Stories for Little Folks program.

Since this is your first year of homeschooling, I’d encourage you to simply follow the lesson plans and instructions included with all the materials, without adding or subtracting a thing. That way you won’t need to worry about creating gaps in the program through substitutions, nor will you have spend time and worry with lesson planning. Everything you need to know and do is all there at your finger tips, so you will be able to relax and enjoy watching the light of discovery come on in the eyes of your little ones.

“I absolutely love this program. My mother-in-law has been a Kindergarten teacher of gifted children for 33 years. She was shocked when my 1st grader began to read her book! She and many others in my family (all school teachers) have been very surprised that this program not only developed him into a fantastic reader, but that he loves to read. He reads on his own, everyday. Thank you!!!” -- Cecelia, FL

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Phonics Instruction

My child is reading Level 1 of Little Stories for Little Folks, but he still has trouble blending sounds together and seems to be reading mostly by memorizing the books. Is this OK?
The problems you describe are not uncommon, since Level 1 is introductory reading; your child is working at the first of four levels in the series, and will gain confidence and mastery as he practices the exercises outlined in the Parents’ Guide.

At times, we hear of children who are having difficulty learning to read, only to find that the parent has skipped teaching steps as detailed in the Parents’ Guide, omitting practice exercises with the “Pre-Reading Blends,” the “Name Game,” or “Silly Willy Sentences.” Each of these components plays a significant role in preparing the child to read; skipping any or all of the steps or exercises will have a direct impact on how well and quickly the child learns to read. One would not omit the eggs (too messy) and flour (too dusty) from a cake recipe and still expect to end up with an edible cake. In the same way, omitting instructional “ingredients” from Little Stories for Little Folks reduces its efficacy.
Our son was reading so well after Level 2 in Little Stories for Little Folks that we never finished the series, but went on to regular books. Is that OK?

Congratulations on your son’s success! However, we would encourage you to finish the Little Stories for Little Folks’ reading program, as the last two levels contain phonics instruction that will help your child continue to read, decode, and spell better than if he had not completed the lessons. If a child sailed through addition in the first few months of instruction, one would not skip the rest of the arithmetic book and proceed to the next grade, as the child would have missed out on subtraction and a number of other foundational math concepts. In the same way, children who successfully complete Little Stories for Little Folks typically test well above grade level in reading; one wonders whether the same can be said for those who don’t finish the program.

“I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she read her first book -- “At Mass” from Little Stories for Little Folks. She had been reading words for a while, but I don’t think it had really dawned on her that she was a reader yet. She read, “Pat is at Mass,” paused for the tiniest instant as those words sunk in, and then looked up at me with a priceless expression of surprise, pride, and excitement. I am so thankful that I didn’t miss that moment!” -- Katie, GA
We used a different phonics program for kindergarten. Where do we start in Little Stories for Little Folks for first grade if our child already knows the letter sounds or is reading simple books?

If your child has begun with a different phonics program and is now switching to Little Stories for Little Folks, we would suggest that you take a few days and start at the beginning of the program, not skipping any of the steps or exercises listed in the Parents’ Guide. Doing so will ensure that your child has not missed any critical steps in learning to read. Whether your child is ahead in reading or behind, ‘beginning at the beginning’ will not take much time; you will soon see by his proficiency, or lack thereof, which of the levels most closely match his current skills. (Challenging the child beyond his level can discourage him; beginning with the ‘easier’ material can sometimes build confidence and renewed enthusiasm in a child who had been struggling.)

Do you have any spelling tips for early readers?

Early readers (under the age of six or so) often find writing exercises to be overwhelming. Instead of writing in the workbook, letter tiles included with My Very First Catholic Speller, or perhaps refrigerator magnets, can help children form spelling words and practice the phonics taught in Little Stories for Little Folks. (The advantage to refrigerator magnets is that they are always out, and can be moved about as the impulse strikes. One may even wish to post on the refrigerator a spelling list, or list of words from Little Stories for Little Folks, for the child to ‘copy’ with lower-case magnetic letters.)

In addition, the Introduction to My Very First Catholic Speller contains further ideas for spelling/reading/phonics practice that involve few or no writing skills. Again, some of these exercises may be done using the refrigerator as a ‘bulletin board.’

My Very First Catholic Speller can then be used as a workbook when the child’s motor skills begin catching up with his/her cognitive skills, perhaps the next school year.

I’m using Little Stories for Little Folks. Do you have any tips for easily distracted or less than enthusiastic readers?

The key is to keep it ‘light,’ so the child experiences as much success as possible. Ways to do that would include:

  • Make a point, when beginning a new story, to begin with the Name Game, creating new words, and then practice reading them by sounding them out. Read the New Words and Sounds together, as well as the Words That Follow Different Rules, but save the story for the next day. That way the child is exposed to new words and better prepared to read the story the next day. The child may enjoy spelling these words with magnetic letters on the refrigerator. Doing so will involve more of the senses -- hearing, seeing, touching -- as well as keeping those words out and ‘visible’ for casual practice as parents move about the kitchen making lunch or dinner. If the child seems to need more practice with the phonics in the Name Game, the sound blends, etc., one might continue practicing those sounds and words until he/she has some fluency. (It is best to use lower case magnetic letters, or rubber alphabet puzzles in lower case.)
  • When the child is able to read the new words on the refrigerator (or with letter tiles, or on a dry erase board that he/she is free to use at will), before reading the story, re-read the New Words and Sounds.
  • Drop back a few stories so the child experiences success again, then read only half the story one day, half the next. When the student is ready to read the second half, briefly review the first half of the story.
  • If there is any doubt about the child’s fluency, always review New Words briefly before beginning a story.
  • Before reading the story, engage your child’s interest by discussing what the story is about. For example, (Mud on the Rug), you might talk about bugs the child has caught, or a time that mud was tracked into the house. Then alternate reading sentences with the child, i.e., he reads the first sentence, you read the second, he reads the third, and so on.
  • Keep an eye on the clock and monitor at what point your child becomes restless, e.g., five minutes. At first, limit reading time to five minutes. As the child experiences success, gradually extend the time by just a few minutes up to perhaps ten minutes. (Keep reading sessions short for children under age six and/or with a child who has a short attention span. However, it is important to give it at least five minutes! If the child has trouble sitting this long, a timer might be set for five minutes. Tell the child that ‘the timer will tell us when we are done,’ and then keep going with the exercises or reading until the timer rings.) Praise the child when he makes it through those five minutes!

 

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Photocopying

I’d like to copy Preparing to Receive Jesus and Building Good Character 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.
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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Pre-packaged Curriculum

What about using a pre-packaged curriculum? I like the systematic and tidy approach, but worry about a loss of the creative.

One family shares: “Our first year we tried two pre-packaged curriculums. Many families start out that way; it is a nice confidence builder. We did our own after that. We wanted less busy work and more real studies, more freedom to design a way that was unique to our family life and the ability to be flexible to meet the special needs and talents of each child. We wanted to homeschool, not bring school home. We know families who use pre-packaged curriculums, and thrive. However, many families require a more flexible and hands-on approach to avoid burn-out.”

While CHC offers complete programs with lesson plans at each grade level, our is not a “pre-packaged” curriculum. Rather, CHC’s plans and guides are constructed to allow maximum choice and flexibility to fit your student, while at the same time providing a complete education.

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 problem with ‘canned’ programs is, quite simply, that one size does not fit all. Educational discovery and self-discipline flower when the student is engaged in academics that speak to his God-given abilities. These tender fruits, however, can wilt under the pressure of fitting into someone else’s mold.

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.

“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

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Pre-Placement Tests

Does CHC have pre-placement tests?
No, because most parents already have a good idea of their student’s strengths and weaknesses. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that problem areas can be spotted within the first few days of school.

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

Next, click on Exclusives on the home page, then select a subject area, such as the 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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Progress, Measuring

I've been told that curriculum providers are better able to measure my child's progress. Can I measure my student's progress myself?
Yes! No outside authority can understand the unique needs and talents of the child as well as his or her own mother and father. In a homeschool setting, the teacher is intimately and immediately aware, on a daily basis, of her child’s understanding of the material. This enables her to adapt the lessons accordingly, allowing the child to advance at his or her own pace.

Proceeding at the child’s pace might mean allowing a kindergartner to move ahead in his beloved math book, while breaking his phonics lessons into smaller “pieces” to minimize “the squirmies.” Children who are allowed to proceed at their own pace joyfully “learn how to learn,” mastering a variety of skills over a period of time. An education is acquired not in the span of one year, but over a lifetime.

Curriculum providers that require families to submit work for grading essentially turn homeschooling into long-distance membership in a brick-and-mortar school. Delegating the task of grading 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. 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.

In contrast, CHC believes that Catholic parents should have complete control over what is taught in their homes; we understand that families want to homeschool, not “school at home.”
Do I need to have annual tests administered to measure my student’s progress?
Many states do not require annual testing, so testing might not be necessary for your student. Frequent testing can be time-consuming and shift the focus from the excitement of discovery to studying just for the sake of the test; this is a trap into which public schools have fallen! For the homeschooler, it is not necessary to test frequently in many subjects, as the child’s progress is generally quite evident in his daily work. If your state does not mandate testing, it is probably an unnecessary expense.
 

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Protestant Materials?

A number of families in our homeschool group use Protestant materials. I have mixed feelings about this.

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.
I’ve seen some Protestant homeschool books that frankly look pretty good. What is so wrong with using Protestant materials and supplementing with Catholic religion classes?
This is an interesting point that has cropped up from time to time about not needing Catholic materials “because we teach the Faith alongside the secular/Protestant materials.”

On the surface, that sounds perfectly plausible, but in reality, it can be difficult to implement. First, it assumes that one actually HAS good Catholic materials at the proper level.

Then it assumes that one is going to carve out additional time to teach the Catholic perspective on the topic. That isn’t easy to do when one is trying to follow a lesson plan that has not included the Catholic spin. How many extras will be needed to tack on to the day’s lesson plan?

Finally, the Catholic perspective is best learned in context. For example, if the child reads a story dealing with injustice and forgiveness in a protestant/secular text, there will be no mention of the necessity for confession to a priest. The idea that the Sacrament of Penance is unnecessary has been planted. If one waits until the child has completed the story, and then adds a lesson about Catholic teaching, the erroneous idea has already been introduced. Not infrequently, the parent simply doesn’t have the time to get back to the lesson at all, and there is no Catholic teaching offered to counter the error.

How much better then, rather than teaching two different lessons and/or risking that the child will be taught doctrine that runs counter to our Catholic faith, to simply teach one lesson that contains the Catholic doctrine all within the context of the material.

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Reading

My child is reading Level 1 of Little Stories for Little Folks, but he still has trouble blending sounds together and seems to be reading mostly by memorizing the books. Is this OK?
The problems you describe are not uncommon, since Level 1 is introductory reading; your child is working at the first of four levels in the series, and will gain confidence and mastery as he practices the exercises outlined in the Parents’ Guide.

At times, we hear of children who are having difficulty learning to read, only to find that the parent has skipped teaching steps as detailed in the Parents’ Guide, omitting practice exercises with the “Pre-Reading Blends,” the “Name Game,” or “Silly Willy Sentences.” Each of these components plays a significant role in preparing the child to read; skipping any or all of the steps or exercises will have a direct impact on how well and quickly the child learns to read. One would not omit the eggs (too messy) and flour (too dusty) from a cake recipe and still expect to end up with an edible cake. In the same way, omitting instructional “ingredients” from Little Stories for Little Folks reduces its efficacy.
Our son was reading so well after Level 2 in Little Stories for Little Folks that we never finished the series, but went on to regular books. Is that OK?

Congratulations on your son’s success! However, we would encourage you to finish the Little Stories for Little Folks’ reading program, as the last two levels contain phonics instruction that will help your child continue to read, decode, and spell better than if he had not completed the lessons. If a child sailed through addition in the first few months of instruction, one would not skip the rest of the arithmetic book and proceed to the next grade, as the child would have missed out on subtraction and a number of other foundational math concepts. In the same way, children who successfully complete Little Stories for Little Folks typically test well above grade level in reading; one wonders whether the same can be said for those who don’t finish the program.

“I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she read her first book -- “At Mass” from Little Stories for Little Folks. She had been reading words for a while, but I don’t think it had really dawned on her that she was a reader yet. She read, “Pat is at Mass,” paused for the tiniest instant as those words sunk in, and then looked up at me with a priceless expression of surprise, pride, and excitement. I am so thankful that I didn’t miss that moment!” -- Katie, GA
We used a different phonics program for kindergarten. Where do we start in Little Stories for Little Folks for first grade if our child already knows the letter sounds or is reading simple books?

If your child has begun with a different phonics program and is now switching to Little Stories for Little Folks, we would suggest that you take a few days and start at the beginning of the program, not skipping any of the steps or exercises listed in the Parents’ Guide. Doing so will ensure that your child has not missed any critical steps in learning to read. Whether your child is ahead in reading or behind, ‘beginning at the beginning’ will not take much time; you will soon see by his proficiency, or lack thereof, which of the levels most closely match his current skills. (Challenging the child beyond his level can discourage him; beginning with the ‘easier’ material can sometimes build confidence and renewed enthusiasm in a child who had been struggling.)

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Reading Comprehension

My child already reads fluently. What is the point of reading comprehension stories?

Parents are often surprised to learn that accomplished readers, when questioned about particulars of a story, have ‘missed the point.’ Catholic reading comprehension materials, in addition to providing exposure to faith and character-building stories, train the child to analyze what he reads. This analysis leads to a greater understanding of the material read.

As your student is exposed to history and science, which demand deeper analytical reading, he moves from the idea of reading as entertainment to reading as a means of expanding his knowledge about God’s world. He begins to see a need to understand what he reads. Parents can increase a child’s ability to think about what has been read by questioning him in depth about the material. However, demands on the parent’s time often make such questioning difficult. Reading comprehension books provide a practical alternative. As the student answers questions about the stories, he becomes aware that the purpose of reading is often to inform, rather than merely to entertain. Finally, as the child becomes more adept at analyzing what has been read, he realizes the additional benefit of improved reading scores on standardized tests.

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Record Keeping

Does CHC offer grading or keep records for me?

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.

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

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

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Registration and Tuition Fees

How much does it cost for registration and tuition?

CHC charges neither registration nor tuition fees. The cost of the CHC program consists simply of the price of lesson plans and core materials for each grade, along with non-core and enrichment materials selected and added on by the individual family as the budget and/or time allows. Families who are currently enrolled in a pre-packaged homeschool program or a private school can save hundreds to thousands of dollars each year by homeschooling with CHC’s high-quality, solidly Catholic materials.

For example, a fourth grade “core kit,” complete with lesson plans and all core materials, costs about $320 for the first student in the family. None of these materials are returned to CHC at the end of the school year; rather, all materials become the property of the family. Since textbooks and teacher’s manuals are non-consumable and can be re-used with subsequent children, the fourth-grade materials which need to be repurchased for a second fourth grader add up to only about $140 -- a real bargain! In other words, if one is homeschooling more than one child, costs for subsequent children are quite low.

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Religion, Too Much?

I love how CHC integrates the Faith so beautifully, but my husband/wife/relatives/neighbors think I’m just teaching religion and not core subjects.

Our Faith permeates every living moment, whether we realize it or not. Our children’s happiness, self-discipline, obedience, sharing, cooperation, thoughtfulness, all stem from being exposed to the teachings of our Faith. If we do not teach our children to know, love, and serve God, all the academics are for nothing. Invite well-meaning relatives to teach the children for a day using CHC’s materials. They will see that besides incorporating the Faith, CHC’s materials are also academically challenging.

Isn’t it odd that friends or relatives sometimes think that children need more exposure to the world, as if somehow they are not already exposed by TV, radio, in the grocery store, at the shopping mall, the beach, the park, even at church? The secular world already has more than its fair share of ‘influence.’ Being Catholic, your homeschool and your family life will have remarkable and obvious differences from those of Protestant or secular neighbors.

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Required Courses

How do I know that my child is getting a complete education through CHC? How do I find out what classes are required by my state, if any?

CHC’s lesson plans and materials offer complete and thorough academics. Students who have used CHC often score two years or more above their grade level on achievement tests.

State by state regulations can be found by contacting local or state homeschool groups.

“Your materials are truly wonderful and everything you have said they are: gentle, academically excellent, faith-filled, and not burdensome to the parent.…Parents should not confuse the gentleness of CHC for ‘easiness.’ In using an entire core kit, a beautiful quilt of learning is sewn. All the pieces fit together in a way that nurtures our children’s minds unlike other curriculum we have tried. We used another homeschool provider previously and will NEVER go back!” -- Erin, MI

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Review and Practice

It seems that there is a lot of review in CHC’s Spellers and Language of God series of previously-studied concepts at the beginning of each level. Isn’t that a waste of time?

Studies show that, in the primary grades, children often retain only a small portion of what they were taught the previous year. For example, those who have used Saxon math might note that, even at the upper elementary level, each text invariably begins with simple addition and subtraction. Review of previously studied concepts refreshes memories and allows a continued building on a progressing spiral.
It seems like there isn’t a lot of review in CHC’s Spellers and Language of God series. What can I do to help my student remember concepts?

Studies show that, in the primary grades, children often retain only a small portion of what they were taught the previous year. If your child is having difficulty with certain concepts, or repeatedly gets problems marked incorrect in any subject, you may wish to begin a weekly review. For this, select five exercises from a previously-taught lesson and have your student complete the exercise orally or on the board.
Should I worry if my child is more interested in or gravitates more to one subject than another?

The benefit to having flexibility in designing your own curriculum is that the student is naturally more motivated to learn those things that most interest him. A guided, self-designed curriculum allows the teacher to use the child’s interest to motivate his learning, not only in those subjects that come easily to him, but also in those subjects which he tends to avoid! (Does she like shopping but ‘hate’ math? Assign her the ‘game’ of adding up all the purchases at the grocery store before you reach the check-out counter. Does he like baseball but ‘hate’ research and writing? Have him research his favorite ballplayer and write a short paper, or give a short oral report.) This flexibility can only come from a self-designed curriculum.

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Science

Does CHC’s Behold and See Science Series teach creationism or evolution?
 
CHC’s Behold and See science series avoids both literal Creationism and atheistic evolutionism. Throughout the series, we emphasize God’s active role in designing and caring for His creation, but especially in the younger grades we have not found it necessary to raise the issue of evolution vs. Creation, since we do not believe there need be any conflict between the two. Behold and See 6 does briefly introduce the Big Bang as the most probable explanation for how God created the world, while emphasizing that the Big Bang could not have been a random event happening by itself.

Evolution is not addressed in Life Science, the Behold and See text for 7th grade, mainly because there are so many other complex topics which are more fundamental for 7th graders to study. There is a one-page discussion of the intricacy of cells, ending with the comment that this intricacy could not have come about by chance, but presupposes an Intelligent Designer. Life Science does not address the question of whether this Designer employed evolution in the process of creation, but instead seeks to emphasize the marvelous order with which God created the world and all its creatures.

Probably the best way to explain our position is to have you read a very helpful article written by the author of Behold and See 3, which fully explains CHC’s approach to teaching science. The article also articulates the official position of the Catholic Church, which permits a variety of opinions regarding Creation, within certain parameters. Here is the article: https://www.chcweb.com/catalog/files/evolutioncreation.pdf

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Special Needs Students

Should I homeschool my special needs child, or should I send him to a school with a program for special needs children?

One of CHC’s writers and her husband have reared children and foster children with special needs. The writer relates some of her experiences with her special needs children (who attended programs in public school) and with the special needs ‘consultation’ received there:

“Our experience has been with specialists who worked directly, on a day-to-day basis, with our children. In a nutshell, even with daily contact, it was not uncommon for the needs of the children to be misdiagnosed, misunderstood, with teaching that ‘mis’-sed the mark for the first several months of, if not all, the school year. In a nutshell, no one outside your family knows your child’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses better than you do.

“Further, it has been our experience that special needs children tend to progress far better at home than in public school special ed programs. The point being that, even if your children are somewhat behind in their schooling at home, imagine how far behind they would be if they were in public school. Or, if your child could make some progress in public school, imagine how much more progress he will make at home. Indeed, if you can look back at the previous year and see that your student has, in fact, progressed at home, you may congratulate him and yourself as well. It is not uncommon in public school for special needs students to actually regress over the course of a year.”

“My younger sons are dyslexic and homeschooling them has been wonderful -- their spirits and self-esteem are still very much intact!” -- Pam, TN

“There are rewards [to homeschooling] I did not anticipate. Seeing my 9 year old who has Williams Syndrome ‘get’ math (addition/subtraction) when they told me she would probably not be able to. Watching her do things because no one has told her she could not.... I also did not anticipate deepening my own faith through teaching my children! God is so good!” -- Kim, MD

My 13-year old was born with Down syndrome. Does CHC have a curriculum for children with special needs? Also, for the most part, she is on a second grade level, and I am not interested in all subjects taught in traditional schools. I am interested in Math, English, Science, Social Studies and LIFE SKILLS.

Does CHC have a curriculum for special needs children? Yes, and no. Instead of carrying materials specifically designed for special needs children (whose abilities vary widely), CHC makes it easy for you to pick and choose from its materials at every level. You are free to select from materials at any level that would be appropriate for your daughter, rather than being locked in to one grade level.

If your daughter is able to tackle second grade work, then you might wish to select from the second grade coursework suggested in CHC’s catalog and on their website. (Since CHC’s phonics and reading program is accelerated, you may find that first using CHC’s Little Stories for Little Folks, with the accompanying phonics and penmanship workbooks --Catholic Heritage Handwriting, Levels K and 1, will help develop and reinforce her reading skills a bit before tackling CHC’s accelerated second grade reading.)

For Life Skills, may we suggest hands-on shopping and cooking? In our experience, we found that nothing beat step-by-step, directed experience. Perhaps you and your daughter might together create menus for simple, balanced meals, shop for ingredients, and then prepare the meals together. Through these activities, she will be exposed to budgeting, math skills using money, proper nutrition, cooking, and safety in the kitchen.

If you live in a state which requires some kind of documentation for high school, you might find CHC’s High School of Your Dreams to be a useful tool. This volume not only shows how to document your daughter’s educational program with credits and transcripts, but also provides suggestions for hands-on learning and even work experience that can be tailored to the abilities of the student. For example, if your daughter likes animals and you have a good relationship with a local veterinarian or at the animal shelter, it is possible that she might volunteer and receive credit for the work experience. Similarly, she might also be welcomed as a volunteer in your parish’s office, at a nursing home, or in a pre-school classroom. Career Path E-Book G in the High School of Your Dreams program was especially written for special needs students and includes recommendations for level-appropriate materials and resources, career exploration and preparation, and possible volunteer/paid/career bridge positions.

“My special needs child is actually enjoying learning to read. My daughter (preteen) still enjoys spending everyday with me and never wants to return to a school.” -- Amy, GA

“Since my son is autistic I thought he was not going to understand the religious studies with Faith and Life 2: Jesus Our Guide. He surprised me when I asked him who was Elisabeth’s son’s name while sitting at his first communion parent class and he whispered to me ‘John, Mom.’ My mouth dropped. I thought he forgot and I was the happiest mom there.” -- Caroline, FL

I have an 11-year-old son who is currently in 5th grade in a private Catholic grade school. He has apraxia of speech which he is doing well with but also has auditory processing issues. He was just tested and is 4th grade reading level, but is 3rd grade reading comprehension. We wish to bring him home to give him a “gift of a year” at home to try to “catch-up” with reading. Do you think your curriculum would be suitable?

Although we’ve never met, may I say what a wonderful job you are doing with your son? You obviously are right on top of the situation, as indicated by your son’s academic progress, likely achieved at least in part through your perseverance.

One might also note that the difference between his oral reading and comprehension is relatively small and not that unusual even for those without challenges. Again, my guess is that this is due to the individual attention that you have given to your son.

The following points might help you make your decision about next year’s placement.

1. Individual, personalized, one on one tutoring, administered by a person with intimate knowledge of the needs of the student, coupled with a personal interest in the child, invariably trumps group instruction.

2. CHC’s program is academically sound, but also completely open to tailoring to the needs of the student. For example, seventh grade assignments include a fair amount of writing (primarily in reading comprehension); a student who is better able to express himself in writing might flourish with this approach. Yet, at the same time, assignments may be modified to fit the abilities and needs of the child, without loss of academic progress.

3. Homeschooling eliminates busing and drive time, wait time while instruction or correction is directed at other students, and almost immediately catches difficulties that the student might be having so they can be just as immediately ameliorated. Thus, in terms of catching up, homeschooling can be the perfect setting for the struggling child.

4. Any programs that you are currently using with success at school can probably be used at home with even greater success.

“Yes, [homeschooling is a] less stressful learning environment. My son is able to side-step his disability in the homeschool environment as opposed to a brick and mortar school.” -- Michelle, PA

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Spelling

My 4th grade daughter has a lot of trouble with spelling. She was taught in public school to spell words how they sound. She has not moved beyond that now. For example, she spells ‘they’ as ‘thay.’ I know there are phonics rules listed in the My Catholic Spellers but I don’t feel it is enough. There are so many words she misspells all the time. What should I do?

How frustrating it must be for both of you, that so little spelling instruction was presented in your daughter’s previous school.

Like most texts, the My Catholic Speller series begins with elementary phonics and progresses forward, with review of basic phonics decreasing as the years advance. Therefore, by fourth grade, your daughter has missed three years of phonics instruction!

Thankfully, one of the blessings of homeschooling is that your daughter is free to move at her own pace and, given the opportunity to learn what she has missed, will likely catch up over time.

On first hearing, it may seem a bit much to begin at the beginning, but that is the best way. It is difficult to build on a non-existent foundation!

There are several possibilities from which to choose for remedial instruction. You might want to pick and choose some, or even all, of the following approaches to teach your daughter over the next year or two.

First, it would be a good idea to drop the fourth grade spelling book completely, as she is not yet ready for it.

Next, a child who feels defeated can sometimes benefit by actually teaching others at a very low level. I note that you have a five-year-old; if you are beginning this child in the Little Stories for Little Folks, perhaps your daughter can become an assistant to him or her, using the phonics-based letter strips to form word families, and then move on to the Name Game to help teach the five year old, meanwhile learning the same letter sounds and families herself.

Your daughter might be encouraged to use the word families from the Name Game to create 8x11 posters of word families, perhaps decorating the posters with her own illustrations of some of the words listed there, alongside the word family. (For example, cake, bake, rake, with an illustration of a cake and, in big letters,’-ake’ at the top of the poster.)

You might present this activity to your daughter from the standpoint that these posters are made for the benefit of the youngest child, but of course, the exposure would help your daughter, too.

It would be best if she did each and every Name Game in the entire series, perhaps three-hole punching the 8x11 posters and saving them in a three-ring notebook. (You might post the first few posters on the wall for a week or two, or as long as the five-year-old is working on those phonics sounds. Then those posters could go into the notebook, and be replaced on the wall by the newest posters of phonics word families.)

At the same time, it would be to your daughter’s advantage that she begins instruction with My Very First Catholic Speller, followed by Spellers A, B, and C. Yes, that sounds very basic, but that is what your daughter is missing: the basics.

A good exercise (using My Catholic Speller A, Lesson Two as an example) would be to have your daughter first note that the focus of this lesson is short vowels i and u. Instruct her to make a column for each sound, and then write all the list words with that sound in the proper column. Perhaps she could have a special set of gel or sparkle pens to use just for spelling, using a different color pen for each different word group. (Black or dark blue paper with light colored pens might add a little spice to the exercise.) When she has completed her columns of words, she may wish to draw a box, circle, or square around the words that belong to the same families. (Or, for example, a cake-shaped box around the words that belong to the ‘-ake’ family.)

Another exercise that many students find funny is to write all their spelling words, using the most words in the fewest number of sentences possible.

The key is to have your daughter gain the maximum exposure to the words, by repeated writing and grouping by phonics sounds.

Your daughter will likely find renewed success by starting at a lower level, and may thereby regain a little of her confidence. At first, she may progress fairly quickly, perhaps completing two or three lessons per week. However, it would be best, at the first sign that she isn’t retaining what she has learned, that she slows down to one lesson per week. (For example, if she misses more than two or three words on her spelling test.)

For maximum exposure, you may wish to begin a new lesson by having her read the spelling words to you. Then test her on the list, explaining to her that the test is simply to see which words she needs to practice the most. Then have her write the words in columns, as suggested previously. On Tuesday, she might do the exercises in the book. Test again Wednesday, this time having her write missed words three times. If she is still missing words, discuss the phonics rule or word family on which the lesson focuses. On Thursday, you may want to test again, or perhaps she could practice the words on her own by writing inside boxes or circles that she has drawn with her pretty paper and pens. Then test again Friday. So that she continues to progress, it might be helpful for her to carry over missed words to her next spelling lesson, adding them on at the bottom of the list for practice.

Another easy and non-threatening means of practice, if your daughter likes to use the computer, would be a spelling software program.
 

How do I know which book to choose for appropriate placement level?

If your son is having difficulty with spelling, I would suggest beginning with the speller that is just below his current grade level. For example, if he is in second grade, he would normally be using My Catholic Speller A. Thus, to go down one level, he would instead begin with My Very First Catholic Speller.

The advantages to beginning with a lower level book are that the lower level will expose him to phonics and spelling approaches that he may be lacking and he may, for the first time, begin to have success with spelling. Laying this early and solid foundation will prepare him for success at the next level. In addition, he may be able to work through the lower level book fairly rapidly and thus catch up to his grade level.

If your son seems to work above level in most areas, it would be prudent to begin with the speller that is for his grade level. Should you find that he breezes through that level, you will still have the assurance that he does, indeed, have the foundation to move on to the next level without the danger of skipping an important spelling or phonics concept.

 

Do I need a separate phonics workbook?

Whenever two subjects can be incorporated into one, it is beneficial to student and teacher alike. Since spelling is based upon phonics, having two separate programs is a little like having a class in numbers in addition to a math class. Some schools teach phonics separately because the whole language or sight-reading program that they also employ doesn’t include phonics. So the phonics materials become an add-on to make up for a deficient reading program. The problem with this approach is that the phonics is being taught separately from reading, which again makes as much sense as teaching numbers as an afterthought to math. If the student has learned to read and spell phonetically since the first grade, he probably won’t need the additional “busywork” of a phonics workbook.

 Do you have any spelling tips for early readers?
Early readers (under the age of six or so) often find writing exercises to be overwhelming. Instead of writing in the workbook, letter tiles included with My Very First Catholic Speller, or perhaps refrigerator magnets, can help children form spelling words and practice the phonics taught in Little Stories for Little Folks. (The advantage to refrigerator magnets is that they are always out, and can be moved about as the impulse strikes. One may even wish to post on the refrigerator a spelling list, or list of words from Little Stories for Little Folks, for the child to ‘copy’ with lower-case magnetic letters.)

In addition, the Introduction to My Very First Catholic Speller contains further ideas for spelling/reading/phonics practice that involve few or no writing skills. Again, some of these exercises may be done using the refrigerator as a ‘bulletin board.’

My Very First Catholic Speller
can then be used as a workbook when the child’s motor skills begin catching up with his/her cognitive skills, perhaps the next school year.

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Starting Out

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 experienced staff 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

“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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Substitutions and a Precaution

Can I substitute books? 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.)

Having said that, there can also be a downside to substitutions. CHC’s lesson plans offer a solid, sound academic foundation and are known to be thorough yet easy to use. Each substitution changes the lesson plan ever so slightly; many substitutions cause the programs to ‘drag’ and often result in frustrated and exhausted teachers and students. An exhausted child is not going to be as receptive to learning as the child who is engaged in his subjects and not overwhelmed. Too many substitutions defeat the designed purpose of the lesson plans: to provide an easy-to use program that lays a joyful foundation, resulting in children who achieve at and above grade level, do not ‘burn out,’ and instead ‘learn how to learn.’

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Switching to CHC

I’d like to switch to CHC, but I’m not sure if this is the right style for me. I’m almost overwhelmed at all the choices for homeschooling. How can I know for sure that CHC is a good fit 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 gentle 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 on 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!

Additionally, 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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Teacher's Guides

Do I need to purchase Teacher’s Guides or Answer Keys? I notice that a lot of CHC materials don’t seem to have separate Guides or Keys.

To save CHC families money, most CHC-produced materials include answer keys and instructions or teacher’s guides within the workbooks themselves. For those programs not produced by CHC, such as Saxon Math, guides and keys may be purchased separately, according to the needs of the individual. Some families who are just starting out purchase the keys for every subject in every grade; others find most of the materials for primary grades self-explanatory and don’t purchase keys below the fifth or sixth grade level.

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Testing, Annual

What do I do about yearly testing for my child?
Many states do not require annual testing, so testing might not be necessary for your student. Frequent testing can be time-consuming and shift the focus from the excitement of discovery to studying just for the sake of the test; this is a trap into which public schools have fallen! For the homeschooler, it is not necessary to test frequently in many subjects, as the child’s progress is generally quite evident in his daily work. If your state does not mandate testing, it is probably an unnecessary expense.

However, you may wish to contact a local or state support group to learn what your state requirements are; these same groups will be able to give you the names of local test providers.

I had my child take an achievement test, but I’m not sure how to interpret the results.

Achievement test results and their interpretation can be somewhat of a mystery, but certainly not one that is insoluble. Let us examine terms, the basis for scores, and those factors that influence test results.

Test results are generally recorded as stanines or percentiles. Both stanines and percentiles compare your student’s performance with the performance of students all across the nation. Unlike a grade, which tests one student’s grasp of a particular subject, stanines and percentiles tell how well one student performed compared to thousands of other students.

For example, if most students across the nation missed all the problems on the test, those students would still receive an ‘average’ score (50th percentile) on the test, because the average student missed all the problems on the test! If your student happened to answer a few of the problems correctly, he might score at the 70th or 80th percentile, indicating that his grasp of the subject was well above average, simply because most students across the nation did not do as well.

Stanines are also based on averages, with stanines of 4-6 considered to be within the average range.

Thus, a score around the 50th percentile, or a stanine of 4-6, would be an average score -- well within the norm -- while a score in the 60th percentile or above, or a stanine of 7-9, would be considered well above average.

 What non-academic factors might influence test results?

Certainly, a diligent homeschooler, following all the directions and steps in all the materials studied over the school year, would be expected to do reasonably well on standardized achievement tests. However, a number of factors may influence test results, including age of the test-taker, poor listening skills or attention span, self-discipline, motivation, blood sugar levels, how the test is administered, and length of test (whether the achievement test is a ‘long form’ or ‘short form’).

As a general rule, the younger the test taker, the greater the possibility for discrepancies between actual daily performance and test results, and for discrepancies from one year to the next. Younger children don’t attend as well as older students, have yet to learn listening skills, and may not be able to read or interpret directions. A child might score well on the achievement tests in 1st grade because the person administering the test explains the directions carefully and gives frequent breaks, but have lower scores in 3rd grade, because he had a less diligent administrator, grew tired and therefore less attentive as the test wore on, suffered from low blood sugar as lunch approached, or rushed through that particular segment of the test. Any and all of these factors can lower test scores, even if the student actually knows the material. Because these are common problems with younger students, many states require neither testing nor reporting before third grade.

Children who have good attention spans and no difficulty sitting still for an hour at a time at home will do better during test taking than students who have difficulty with attention span and need to move around frequently. This factor is particularly significant if the student is taking the longer form achievement tests. (The advantage to taking the longer, more comprehensive form is that the student has a greater opportunity to show his abilities. The downside is that the test is about twice as long as the short form. However, the disadvantage to the short form is that a momentarily inattentive or panicked child, in missing only a few problems, might significantly lower his/her score. Think in terms of dreaded ‘pop quizzes’ of our childhood, where missing three problems out of ten resulted in a C- or D grade; had the student missed three problems out of twenty, the grade would have looked much better!)

Pupils who are highly motivated and self-disciplined at home will probably reflect those qualities during testing. Pupils lacking those qualities will also reflect that lack during testing.

Again, children who have completed each educational step in lesson plans and schoolbooks generally do reasonably well on standardized achievement tests. Yet, many factors can lower test results, even with the brightest students. As a general rule, when a child performs well at home but scores lower than expected on an achievement test, the parent can probably rest easy. In cases like this, scores generally rise to accurate levels when the student is next tested.

Do I need to report test results to the state?
Requirements for reporting test results vary widely by state. Some states require no testing at all, while others require annual reports; many states don’t require reporting before third grade. For more information on the requirements of your specific state, you may wish to contact your local school district or homeschoolers in your area.

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Time Factors

Our school day is so much shorter than the public school day. As much as we enjoy the shorter days, it doesn’t seem right that we should have all this free time! How much time should it take us to finish the school day?

Most will take half to two-thirds the time to finish their work in comparison with the public school day. The shorter day does not mean that any subjects have been neglected! Rather, the reduced time is due to the elimination of recess, countless moments expended by public school teachers disciplining students, waiting for children to find their places, repeating directions, and time spent instructing and answering the questions of thirty pupils rather than one.
My daughter is enjoying the Language Arts materials and is finishing her work early. How do I know if I’m covering enough material?
It is sometimes mistakenly thought that if a child is not struggling or spending at least twenty minutes on a lesson, that the lesson must be deficient. In most cases, just the opposite is true. CHC elementary materials are designed as bite-size lessons so that a child can easily absorb and understand the concepts. Bogging the child down with unnecessary repetition causes burnout and eventually the child does not look forward, and is closed, to learning. Following the schedule suggested in the Lesson Plans and in the front of the Language Arts books will ensure that course is completed by the end of the school year.

In addition, your child should be congratulated on her ready understanding of the material! Challenge her to put these skills into practice; perhaps assign a real-life writing assignment once a week, as suggested in ‘Now What Do I Do?’ in the front of each Language of God and My Catholic Speller series workbook. Further, CHC lesson plans encourage the use of projects in Creative Communications to balance a child’s studies of grammar and help him put them into practice.
At times, my child is unable to finish his work in the four days allotted in the primary grade Lesson Plans. What should I do?
Many families use their ‘free’ Wednesdays for the student to complete or ‘catch-up’ on any unfinished assignments. If you sense that the child could complete his assignments sooner but is dawdling, you might institute a brief break from school at the end of the normal school day, but allow free time only when all work is completed.
Some homeschool programs take a full day to get through. It seems that CHC has a somewhat shorter day. Is it possible to have a program that takes less time still but ‘covers all the bases’?

Yes! It is CHC’s belief that, when solid academics are offered in a gentle, flexible manner, the vast majority of children will blossom spiritually, emotionally, and academically. An exhausted child is not going to be as receptive to learning as is the child who is engaged in his subjects and not overwhelmed. 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.’

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! I love how everything relates, it makes everything we do have a purpose. [Homeschooling] doesn’t feel so disjointed anymore. And most importantly our faith is incorporated in every aspect guiding us along the way. 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
How do I know if I am teaching everything that my child would get in a public or parochial school?

First, requirements differ from school to school and state to state. Even Catholic providers differ in their approaches, schedules, and curricula! Remember that perhaps half the hours a student spends in public school are filled with moving from classroom to classroom, listening to the teacher try to maintain order, hearing directions repeated for those who weren’t listening, recess, presentations, etc. Be aware, also, that most brick-and-mortar school teachers are unable to finish textbooks assigned to that grade within the school year! Thus, it is almost impossible for a dedicated homeschooling family NOT to provide the student as good an education as he would receive in a public school.

Case after case bears this out: ‘unschooled’ students who went on to graduate from Harvard; Abraham Lincoln who, with about three months of formal education, became a lawyer and then President of the United States. Nationwide testing of homeschoolers reveals that homeschoolers score at about the 87th percentile on achievement tests, compared to the 50th percentile score of public schooled children. Significantly, less than one-fourth of all homeschooling families use a pre-packaged curriculum. You can be assured that you are teaching everything that you child needs to be well educated by following the lesson plans.

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Traditional Catholic Homeschooling

Do CHC materials promote the Latin or Novus Ordo Mass?

CHC educational workbooks promote neither the Latin nor the Novus Ordo Mass, but rather focus on sound academics permeated with love for Our Lord, Our Lady, and the saints; respect for and obedience to parents; and faithfulness to the teachings of our One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Both ‘traditional’ and ‘Novus Ordo’ Catholics utilize CHC materials to homeschool their children.

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Transcripts

Do you provide transcripts?
‘Transcripts’ can be an intimidating word to beginning homeschoolers. However, transcripts are simply a record of which subjects the student studied each year, and the grade received in each subject. If you keep a yearly report card, you essentially have all the information found on a transcript. Additionally, transcripts are not needed in most states until the end of high school, when a transcript of the high school years can be useful. CHC’s High School of Your Dreams does provide a transcript to be filled with your student’s personal record.

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

For more information, see “Accreditation.”

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.

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
“My oldest had an early interest in company stocks and realized the best way to pursue his passion was to remain homeschooled. Using High School of Your Dreams, he had the flexibility to study business subjects such as economics, accounting, marketing, management, and lots of finance, in addition to a standard high school course of study. He wrote articles for online finance journals and had a financial internship with the investment department of a large local company. With one community college course, three AP courses for which he self-studied, and many other courses on his transcript, he was wait-listed at two Ivy League Schools and accepted at our state’s flagship university where he will start next month. Homeschooling has allowed him to challenge himself academically and pursue his intellectual passions as well as remain very close to his faith and family. He has thanked me and now I thank you, CHC, and High School of Your Dreams.” -- Pati, NC

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Used Books, Purchase of

I bought one of your books used, but found out that part of it is missing. Is there some way that I can buy missing pieces of your materials?

How frustrating! We do encounter this dilemma from time to time, as many of our materials include additional activities for practice and reinforcement of the skills taught in the body of the program. Sadly, it isn’t unusual for ‘parts’ to turn up missing as materials are passed from one person to another. It is perfectly understandable that you would like to have the complete program that you paid for, so your student has thorough exposure to the subject!

Because CHC is a small, family-operated home business, we operate under a tight budget. This means that we must print relatively small quantities of our materials, as complete units. The only way that we could provide the missing parts would be to take apart a complete, new set, and then throw away the remainder. (Imagine someone going to Walden books and asking them to tear out a section of recipe cards from a brand new cook book that the customer had bought used elsewhere. That is more or less the position we are in.) We are truly, truly sorry that someone has taken advantage of you in selling their used materials. In all fairness, the seller should refund your money.

I just bought a used copy of Language of God and the answer key had already been removed from the back of the book. How can I get an answer key?

I’m sorry! That must have been a big disappointment. CHC doesn’t sell separate answer keys, in an effort to keep prices low for CHC families. Since answer keys are included in our workbooks, the customer has to purchase only one book instead of two, which results in considerable cost savings to customers, particularly if they are purchasing several titles. (In fact, we have been told that some have paid almost the same price when buying used from a private party as they would have buying new from CHC. That is particularly unfortunate when the seller hasn’t been honest about what they are selling, and the buyer ends up with an incomplete program.)

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