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What is most "rigorous" Catholic curriculum?


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I've read here criticisms of the main RC curricula; that they are not rigorous enough in the younger years. We're Eastern Orthodox but I'm very comfortable using RC sources because it is so similar to Orthodoxy.

 

Any opinions about the major RC curriculum; MODG, Seton, Kolbe, OLVS? Is it true that they are not as rigorous as their Protestant counterparts?

 

 

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AMDG

 

We use The Angelicum Academy. In the lower greades we didn't enroll but just followed their suggestions. In middle school we followed their suggestions but enrolled in the online Socratic discussion classes. For high school we enroll in their Great Books discusson for college credit.

 

We never followed their suggestions for math, though, and add our own latin and classical gk.

 

I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the education.

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They are all very different. Seton and OLV are both more like traditional school approaches (textbooks and assignments). OLV has some unique books/courses. The West vs. Communism is definitely not like one found through the other providers. Kolbe and MODG are both more influenced by Great Books/classical approach. I think Kolbe has better organized, more thorough teacher materials. But both of them are still influenced by traditional school models......less so than Seton and OLV, but I think their focus is more on the knowledge/comprehension side of education than deep critical thinking assignments. Angelicum Academy is probably the most Great Book /classical education like. The Socratic sessions are deeper type questions than simple comprehension. The drawback I see with Angelicum is that I don't like many of the books they have selected in the younger yrs (Henty, for example.....he is not a writer I find worthy of time but they include a lot of his titles.)

 

I am not real big on providers, so I. Wouldn't give a rave review of any of them bc I see deficits in all of them. ;). But that is my assessment of the main ones, anyway.

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Not exactly what you are asking, but I will say we're Catholic and happy with using some CLE materials. The Mennonite stuff seems like it fits more with my Catholic worldview than other protestant stuff does. Similar ideas about working out your salvation in life and such. Just to say that might be something to consider. 

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AMDG

 

Agreeing about Henty. We've read a couple through the years . . . The first one we came up against we read but dis liked it so much that we didn't read more for several years. We picked uo another later just to make sure we didn't sell him (or oirselves) short. We still didn't like him.

 

Conversly, I quite despised Girl of the Limberlost . . . I forget the author . . . And told my kiddp she never had to read that author again, ever. She didn't for quite a while but ended up giving a second chance and loved the rest of the books. I still haven't read them.

 

I'll also agree with the comment re discussions. They are very thinky discussions and I'm often very surprised at the turns they take. Comprehension questions are not a feature of the discussions.

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FWIW, my DD loved "Girl of the Limberlost". She said it reminded her of the later "Anne of Green Gables" books.

 

I've used materials from Seton, OLVS, and Catholic Heritage Curricula. I also have Laura Barquest's book, which is what MODG is based off of. I haven't used Kolbe or Angelicum because of the cost, but those are the two programs that I would most likely consider for high school if we decide to keep DD home rather than enrolling her in a B&M school.

 

Catholic Heritage Curricula is *VERY* gentle when it comes to academics, at least with their elementary books (I haven't ever seen their high school materials). If you're looking for rigor, they're not the provider to choose.

 

Seton I find rather hit-or-miss. I do like and incorporate some of their workbooks but overall, I feel like they are over-the-top in their desire to have their material be Catholic. Sure, I want my kids to learn about our family's faith, but I don't need EVERY exercise in an academic subject to be about something Catholic.

 

OLVS is very old-fashioned and I find the materials I've gotten from them to be incredibly dry. They are solid but if neither my children nor I can stand the book because it's so dull, it's just going to gather dust on my shelf.

 

I can't compare the Catholic programs to Protestant ones because I've got a general policy of avoiding materials from Protestant publishers because I don't want to financially support companies selling books with an anti-Catholic bias.

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I use pretty much all secular materials, and am choosy with history stuff to avoid bias as much as possible.  There is a great breakdown of using SOTW for Catholics and how to supplement/skip certain chapters.  SOTW is by no means perfect, but there isn't really another grammar stage history quite like it.

 

After we finish SOTW4, I will spend a year doing a big overview using A Little History of the World (NOT a Child's History of the World) as it is supposedly more neutral.  I think I will purchase the Classically Catholic Memory timeline materials to go with it.  CCM appears to have a lot of cool stuff, but I know I wouldn't be able to implement the full memory program. 

 

I love the Kolbe, MODG, and Angelicum booklists for ideas, and am also considering enrolling in some of the classes as kids get older. 

 

My personal thought is that a box curriculum can be very good, but rigorous is probably something that will be child-dependent.  My son is a grammar nerd- if we were to be stuck plodding through FLL or whatever other first grade program a box contained, he'd be miserable.  Rigorous for him means moving at a much faster pace.  On the other hand, first grade handwriting is about right for him.  :-)  A box implies a one-size-fits-most, which probably works for many kids, but definitely not all, so be sure to adapt as necessary!  

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I have used Seton and MODG.  Both very different approaches, but both very good. Seton is very rigorous even at a young age.  They are known for their English and writing.  I have known a lot of kids use Seton and they are excellent readers and writers.  MODG is more mom intense and starts out gentle with a classical approach.  I don't think their writing is as good if you are looking for a more traditional way of learning school type writing. 

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I've had to piece together to get "rigor" and enjoyment.

 

Connecting With History (otherwise known as RC History) is a great history program.

I really enjoy (as does engineering/physics hubby) CHC's science (Behold and See).

For literature, you can't go wrong with Kolbe (very rigorous).

For language arts, Seton is great.

For religion, I like Seton and OLVS (OLVS carries some of the older religion materials, which are very sweet).

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I drool over Kolbe's literature... :-D

 

 

 

I find Kolbe's high school literature very surface oriented.   The questions are nothing more than comprehension questions which really annoys me.   There is so much depth that could be explored in the works they have selected.   I don't understand why they don't really dig into them.

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I find Kolbe's high school literature very surface oriented.   The questions are nothing more than comprehension questions which really annoys me.   There is so much depth that could be explored in the works they have selected.   I don't understand why they don't really dig into them.

This mades me very, very sad. The booklists are just so lovely. :( 

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I've never used Seton at any length, but I've owned some of the books and tutored a few kids in it.  I would not consider it rigorous. Certainly not at the high school level, which is what I have the most experience with. 

 

I remember the chemistry book in particular being very simplistic, and I agree with Crimson Wife that they are often over-the-top in wanting materials to be Catholic. Too much of already-short chapters were used to talk about religion, and I absolutely cringed (on behalf of both science and religion) when they compared chemical reactions to the transubstantiation of the host. It looks like they have changed texts, though, and I don't know about the new one. 

 

I'm also not a fan of their high school literature. I personally love me some Louisa May Alcott, but three of her novels in a year qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment for most people. Little Women? An iconic work that exemplifies a certain time and place, with great subtext on one of the most influential beliefs of the era (transcendentalism). Rose in Bloom and Jo's Boys? Overkill, lesser quality works, much lower reading level, not suitable for 11th grade. So, three works for Alcott, but only Tom Sawyer for Mark Twain, when Huckleberry Finn is by far a more important work, of higher quality, and a more suitable reading level. 

 

I'm not picking on Seton in particular, it's just the one I happen to be familiar with. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's not as rigorous as its Protestant counterparts, because very little of the religious curricula I have seen (and I have seen a lot) qualifies as rigorous in my eyes. 

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We've dabbled with a little bit of Seton here a couple of years back - it's a little over the top for us. We did try MODG one year - it was OK. Not as rigorous IMHO. We are now with Kolbe for oldest DS. LOVE it. Very, very pleased with all of it. The Jr. High Lit program is wonderful - the study questions themselves are solid and the weekly writing assignments have the student dig a lot deeper. The feedback from the academic advisors is extremely well thought out. We are big fans of Kolbe now.

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I find Kolbe's high school literature very surface oriented.   The questions are nothing more than comprehension questions which really annoys me.   There is so much depth that could be explored in the works they have selected.   I don't understand why they don't really dig into them.

 

I don't I've found ANY literature questions more than surface oriented. Really, the parents must read the book if there's any depth to be explored. 

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AMDG

 

We use The Angelicum Academy. In the lower greades we didn't enroll but just followed their suggestions. In middle school we followed their suggestions but enrolled in the online Socratic discussion classes. For high school we enroll in their Great Books discusson for college credit.

 

We never followed their suggestions for math, though, and add our own latin and classical gk.

 

I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the education.

 

I've read some very negative things online about Angelicum. Supposedly the literature guides contain typos and they have terrible customer service. Their program looks very interesting but I worried about them because of the negative reviews. Have you had any issues with them?

 

What do you think about their religious studies? I've read their website but am not familiar with the books so I can't figure out where they fall in terms of trad or conservative. We're Orthodox but I have no issues with reading RC religious texts to my daughter as long as they are very traditional.

 

ETA a question about history. From their website, it looks like they don't do any history until the 3rd guide. It looks history in the earlier grades is the Bible. Am I missing something? 

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I can't speak to the suitability of Catholic curricula since we piece together our own plans, but have you checked out the Orthodox Homeschoolers group here on these boards? You should find some help there with regards to specifically Orthodox resources.

 

 

ETA: there's also a Yahoo group called Orthodox classical homeschooling that's a great resource. 

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I find Kolbe's high school literature very surface oriented.   The questions are nothing more than comprehension questions which really annoys me.   There is so much depth that could be explored in the works they have selected.   I don't understand why they don't really dig into them.

 

That is disappointing as Kolbe is my #1 choice for high school.  Literature is not my specialty.  I certainly plan (hope!) that I'll be able to read the books along with or ahead of my kids, but I will still need helps for the deeper questions/topics.  Any suggestions?

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I've never used Seton at any length, but I've owned some of the books and tutored a few kids in it.  I would not consider it rigorous. Certainly not at the high school level, which is what I have the most experience with. 

 

I remember the chemistry book in particular being very simplistic, and I agree with Crimson Wife that they are often over-the-top in wanting materials to be Catholic. Too much of already-short chapters were used to talk about religion, and I absolutely cringed (on behalf of both science and religion) when they compared chemical reactions to the transubstantiation of the host. It looks like they have changed texts, though, and I don't know about the new one. 

 

I'm also not a fan of their high school literature. I personally love me some Louisa May Alcott, but three of her novels in a year qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment for most people. Little Women? An iconic work that exemplifies a certain time and place, with great subtext on one of the most influential beliefs of the era (transcendentalism). Rose in Bloom and Jo's Boys? Overkill, lesser quality works, much lower reading level, not suitable for 11th grade. So, three works for Alcott, but only Tom Sawyer for Mark Twain, when Huckleberry Finn is by far a more important work, of higher quality, and a more suitable reading level. 

 

I'm not picking on Seton in particular, it's just the one I happen to be familiar with. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's not as rigorous as its Protestant counterparts, because very little of the religious curricula I have seen (and I have seen a lot) qualifies as rigorous in my eyes. 

 

The Chemistry book they use now is Abeka.:) I have talked to several people who thought Abeka was a very good choice for their student. My child used it. One mom shared her son was very well-prepared for the Chemistry subject exam--I think she said he got over a 750 on it--using only the Abeka text and a review book. 

 

With regard to Seton's English, here is the book list for English 11 and American Lit, both of which are required. With the American Literature, there is also an anthology that is read, and the student chooses one book per quarter and will write several essays per book. None of the Alcott books are a requirement. There would also be poetry included. 

 

English 11

Included Literature Texts (All books for the course are sent with your shipment. There are no book analysis books to be acquired.)

American Literature

Included Literature Texts (These are sent with your shipment):
Book Analysis List (One book per quarter must be acquired from a book store, library, or the SEM Department):

 

1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
3rd Quarter
4th Quarter

 

- See more at: http://www.setonhome.org/high-school-book-list/#sthash.ueMRIkc6.dpuf

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That is disappointing as Kolbe is my #1 choice for high school.  Literature is not my specialty.  I certainly plan (hope!) that I'll be able to read the books along with or ahead of my kids, but I will still need helps for the deeper questions/topics.  Any suggestions?

 

I think that the best questions I have seen in a packaged plan are Smarr's or Oak Meadow's.   I agree with Justamouse in that nothing can beat reading the material with your kids.   But, Kolbe's questions are definitely lacking.

 

I have never used Angelicum Academy, but I had a ds take the online Socratic discussions through Great Books Academy and I think at that pt they were the same???  I can't remember the details b/c it was back when my 22 yr old was in 9th grade.

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Just as a side note, the books themselves aren't where the rigor is - it's in the lesson plans.

I've never used Seton at any length, but I've owned some of the books and tutored a few kids in it.  I would not consider it rigorous. Certainly not at the high school level, which is what I have the most experience with. 

 

I remember the chemistry book in particular being very simplistic, and I agree with Crimson Wife that they are often over-the-top in wanting materials to be Catholic. Too much of already-short chapters were used to talk about religion, and I absolutely cringed (on behalf of both science and religion) when they compared chemical reactions to the transubstantiation of the host. It looks like they have changed texts, though, and I don't know about the new one. 

 

I'm also not a fan of their high school literature. I personally love me some Louisa May Alcott, but three of her novels in a year qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment for most people. Little Women? An iconic work that exemplifies a certain time and place, with great subtext on one of the most influential beliefs of the era (transcendentalism). Rose in Bloom and Jo's Boys? Overkill, lesser quality works, much lower reading level, not suitable for 11th grade. So, three works for Alcott, but only Tom Sawyer for Mark Twain, when Huckleberry Finn is by far a more important work, of higher quality, and a more suitable reading level. 

 

I'm not picking on Seton in particular, it's just the one I happen to be familiar with. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's not as rigorous as its Protestant counterparts, because very little of the religious curricula I have seen (and I have seen a lot) qualifies as rigorous in my eyes. 

 

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Just as a side note, the books themselves aren't where the rigor is - it's in the lesson plans.

 

I honestly don't see how you can add significant rigor to a subpar textbook, or subpar literature selections. The chemistry plans would have to be a book unto themselves to make up for what was not in the text, and the best lesson plan in the world isn't going to make Rose in Bloom worthy of spending school time on in 11th grade. 

 

If you have examples, I'd be interested, because I really cannot see it. I actually think I had the lesson plans for the chemistry book, but it's been a few years and I can't swear to that. 

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I can't speak to the suitability of Catholic curricula since we piece together our own plans, but have you checked out the Orthodox Homeschoolers group here on these boards? You should find some help there with regards to specifically Orthodox resources.

 

 

ETA: there's also a Yahoo group called Orthodox classical homeschooling that's a great resource. 

 

How do you get to the Orthodox Homeschoolers group here? I've tried clicking it multiple times and it says I don't have permission to view it. I tried joining it and got the same message. Do you have to be invited?

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I honestly don't see how you can add significant rigor to a subpar textbook, or subpar literature selections. The chemistry plans would have to be a book unto themselves to make up for what was not in the text, and the best lesson plan in the world isn't going to make Rose in Bloom worthy of spending school time on in 11th grade. 

 

If you have examples, I'd be interested, because I really cannot see it. I actually think I had the lesson plans for the chemistry book, but it's been a few years and I can't swear to that. 

 

I can't speak for the chemistry (I would never use their science, to be frank) - but their Language Arts is what they're know for (as far as rigor), and I know that the lesson plans contain the bulk of the writing instruction for their ELA program, and the substance of their literature program (regarding essay assignments, etc). I wouldn't know for sure, but that's what I've been told. I shouldn't have sounded like I know firsthand - I'm sorry that I came across that way. I just know that when I complained that their English text seemed "incomplete", I was told that the bulk of their "rigor" was in the lesson plans (for language arts/literature). They aren't well known for their science, lol.

 

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I like the Kolbe lesson plans for literature, but pass on the study guides, which I agree are just the typical "read and regurgitate" type comprehension questions.  I do like their lesson plans for pace of the readings and for the discussion questions and paper topics they have each week.  Definitely not an in depth look at the books, but a good first pass through them, much like the Memoria Press guides, but I think I like the Kolbe lesson plans more.  (Thinking of The Iliad and the Odyssey here.)

 

 

 

 

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How do you get to the Orthodox Homeschoolers group here? I've tried clicking it multiple times and it says I don't have permission to view it. I tried joining it and got the same message. Do you have to be invited?

 

 

I wasn't aware you needed an invite... maybe the group settings have been changed, but I sent you one, so hopefully that will work for you. Let me know if it doesn't.

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I've read here criticisms of the main RC curricula; that they are not rigorous enough in the younger years. We're Eastern Orthodox but I'm very comfortable using RC sources because it is so similar to Orthodoxy.

 

Any opinions about the major RC curriculum; MODG, Seton, Kolbe, OLVS? Is it true that they are not as rigorous as their Protestant counterparts?

 

 

Have you looked into St. Raphael, the Online classical orthodox homeschool program? I hear it is rigorous and there is also the classical learning resource center, if you want more orthodox options.

 

ETA: Links

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AMDG

 

We use The Angelicum Academy. In the lower greades we didn't enroll but just followed their suggestions. In middle school we followed their suggestions but enrolled in the online Socratic discussion classes. For high school we enroll in their Great Books discusson for college credit.

 

We never followed their suggestions for math, though, and add our own latin and classical gk.

 

I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the education.

 

What do you think of the GB discussions for college credit?

 

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A friend of mine uses MODG exclusively and it seems to be rigorous, especially in the high school years. She graduated one child so far and he was accepted to a prestigious college.

 

I have a few IRL friends who have had the same experience. Their kids got into some wonderful colleges with ease. 

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I think it all depends on what you want your child's education to be, what  for, and what you consider an excellent college. 

Even knowing that MODG finishes students that get into excellent schools--I still would never put my kids into those programs because we are after something completely different. 

 

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I was very disappointed when I noticed that too. I am also saddened that they all use apologia for high school science, except kolbe. Someone, please correct me if I'm wrong there.

 

You're right. Well, CHC doesn't, but it isn't rigorous, and it hasn't really a high school program, but yes, Seton does use Apologia, and I believe MODG may as well.

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Speaking as someone who hasn't used them, but knows a couple of families who have used the high school program, I think Kolbe [high school] is "rigorous" compared to boxed Protestant versions (BJU, Abeka). Not necessarily as rigorous as some of The Hive's plans.  :laugh:

 

I don't know enough about any of the other's high school programs to comment.

 

Dd#1 is using Light to the Nations 1 (Catholic Textbook Project) this year. I'm not using the Teacher's Edition or the CD of supplemental materials (worksheets?). I like it very much as a spine for her history studies. It seems a lot more balanced that most other Catholic history texts.

 

FWIW, CHC doesn't suggest or list Apologia science for high school. They mostly have secular textbooks (Miller & Levine Biology, Saxon Physics) with some supplemental books to add pseudo-Catholic flavor. (Unfortunately, they use Anne Carroll's books for some of high school history.  :thumbdown: ) 

 

Edited to add: I really would love to know more about the Didache series. And I would love to see plans for using it. So far, I think only CHC has plans for it.

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Edited to add: I really would love to know more about the Didache series. And I would love to see plans for using it. So far, I think only CHC has plans for it.

I have only used Church History. I love the book. I love the art in the book. But, we used it as a supplement vs as a textbook.

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Edited to add: I really would love to know more about the Didache series. And I would love to see plans for using it. So far, I think only CHC has plans for it.

I have only used Church History. I love the book. I love the art in the book. But, we used it as a supplement vs as a textbook.

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I have only used Church History. I love the book. I love the art in the book. But, we used it as a supplement vs as a textbook.

 

I don't want to derail the thread, but .... They seem like such a lot (price & content-wise) to only use as a supplement...  :confused1:  :blink:

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I don't want to derail the thread, but .... They seem like such a lot (price & content-wise) to only use as a supplement... :confused1: :blink:

I used it several yrs ago with several of my kids simultaneously. We read books and then we would read corresponding sections in Church History. We didn't go through the entire book. I have pulled it off the shelf often for a reference.

 

Fwiw, $50 (which is what I pd for it) is cheap for a book of that quality. The artwork is beautiful. I have had to pay outrageous prices for thin, useless college textbooks. :(

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  • 1 month later...

I use pretty much all secular materials, and am choosy with history stuff to avoid bias as much as possible.  There is a great breakdown of using SOTW for Catholics and how to supplement/skip certain chapters.  SOTW is by no means perfect, but there isn't really another grammar stage history quite like it.

 

 

Does anyone have this list they could email me? 

 

The link doesn't seem to be working and I would love to have this!

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Does anyone have this list they could email me? 

 

The link doesn't seem to be working and I would love to have this!

 

The link is still working fine for me, but you can try these even more direct links:

Catholic Resources for Vol II

Catholic Resources for Vol III

 

Or google "Seven Times the Fun Catholic Resources SOTW" and you will find it!

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CLAA put up their classes for free. Caveat Emptor, I think the director is a bit of a cracked nut, but I've heard he expects a lot out of the students.

 

 

I had not been on that site for yrs. It sent up major red flags back then. It now contains only a fraction of what used to be on there. I spent a little while reacquainting myself with the info there and it soon jogged my memories of one of the major issues I had with his "school"--its lack of realistic appropriate age level skills.

 

https://sites.google.com/a/claaonline.com/claa-world-history/

 

That is a link for a course labeled for 4-8 yr olds, kids pre-k to 3rd grade. Click on the lessons on the top left.

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That is a link for a course labeled for 4-8 yr olds, kids pre-k to 3rd grade. Click on the lessons on the top left. Bolded words are mine.

 

Ooh, the abridgement of Oliver Goldsmith's History of Greece.  That's nothing.  My kindergartener is reading the full version.   :laugh:   

 

Seriously, anyone can take an old textbook and put it online.  Actually teaching real live children is the hard part.  

 

I think this might be why they've put together a whole new site, and quietly dropped all the Latin and Greek language prerequisites for their "reasoning" (formerly dialectic/logic) and philosophy courses.  Looking around on boards and blogs, I'm not seeing evidence that any of the students even got beyond Latin Grammar I in the original course sequence.  And yet they've been in operation for five years.  Something seems not to have gone as planned.
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I have never enrolled anywhere and doubt that I ever will.  I don't really fit into anyone's box.  That said, I have used a lot of materials from different Catholic sources.  I plan to give my children a Classical education (think Circe and the Jesuit Ratio) so Latin is a main focus in our homeschool.  I do most of the supplemental subjects in a more CM way.  Honestly, I am not sure why more Catholic curricula don't have Latin as more of a focus.  Maybe it is because that would stress out the parents?  I'm not really sure.

 

I absolutely love Seton English.  I use it starting in the second grade.  The stories are beautiful and the sentences are nice sentence and not just twaddle.  My son has learned so much grammar this year.  I don't do all of the composition exercises.  

 

This year, I ordered a lot from OLVS and I am very excited about it.  I love the younger years.  It can be used in a very CM way.  The science books are delightful with nice language, interesting content and simple experiments that I can actually do at home with a limited budget and limited time.  I also really love the nature readers.  Their religion books are also nice.  They are very orthodox Catholic which I really like.  I prefer Seton's grammar and Explode the Code phonics which is the main reason I wouldn't enroll.  I also do my own history and add Latin.

 

I am doing Kolbe's 9th grade history and literature on my own now that my kids are small.  I love their book selections.  I need to look more closely at the lesson plans to see how they are because I really don't do the writing assignments.   :laugh:   I think you are a long way from teaching high school though.

 

I love listening to Laura Berquist talk and have her book, but I don't really like the MODG program.  Her main focus (according to her) is on different forms of government and everything leads to that as the culmination.  I also think there is way too much focus on American history only in the younger years.

 

I have used some things from CHC.  I hated their ball and stick handwriting (my kids cried when I got it out).  I love their Little Stories for Little Folks (it is not a stand alone phonics program in my opinion, but they are nice readers).  I also love their Bigger Stories and other readers.  I use them along with the Catholic National Readers which are my favorite.  Their grammar was way too gentle for our needs.  I was shocked when I got it in the mail and looked through it.  We use Faith and Life at our parish for Faith Formation so I don't use it at home.

 

As far as rigor, I definitely can't say for sure.  Seton is pretty rigorous, but it is too workbooky for me to use all the time.  CHC is not rigorous.  Kolbe is not rigorous in the younger years.  

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