Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting your "Homeschool Train" back on track

from Catholic Heritage Curriculum ~

The homeschooling journey shares some interesting parallels with a vacation by train; in fact, derailing of the ‘Homeschooling Express’ has occurred more than once in almost every family who is making the trip.

If your ‘homeschool train’ is wobbling on the rails, the following tips might be just the ‘ticket’ to put your train safely back on track.

1. Start with the Core
Particularly if this is your first year, stick to the basics. By so doing, your students will cover all the key subjects as you learn the ropes and they settle into your homeschool routine.

2. Use Lesson Plans.....at least for the first year or two. Lesson plans save preparation time and eliminate the uncertainty of that pit-in-the-stomach question: Am I covering all that needs to be covered? CHC lesson plans highlight core subjects for those who wish to begin with the ‘easiest route’ to the same destination, but also include all subjects as your family gradually ‘picks up speed’ toward implementing a complete curriculum, along with enrichment materials and attention-grabbing activities.

3. Don’t Add or Substitute
If you are stressed and confused by decisions about what and how much to teach, stick with the lesson plans. Additions and substitutions add to the expense, preparation time, and workload. The lesson plans are complete and thorough without confusing additions.

4. Don’t Compare Your Children.....to one another, or to children outside the family. This creates a fear of ‘being ahead’ or ‘being behind.’ Remember that God creates each of us as individuals, with differing abilities. Children in public school are rarely exactly at grade level in each and every subject; it is not uncommon for children to be a few grades ahead in one or more subjects, a few grades behind in one or more subjects, and right on target in the rest. Homeschooled children are no different in this regard. However, the significant difference between the two settings is that homeschooled children can move ahead at their own pace, and receive immediate, personally tailored instruction for those areas in which they lag.

5. Avoid Burnout……by adding too much and expecting too much, too soon. Enjoy each mile of the train trip, without expecting to arrive just after the train has left the station. Just as it is only at the end of the journey, when your family has returned from vacation, when you can truly assess the success of the trip, so also with homeschooling does a retrospective reveal the territory covered. Certainly, keep track of strides in learning, but don’t make a final assessment of progress from last year to this, until year’s end.

6. Without Discipline…...children may make a break for the door and take a flying leap from the train. If your children don’t listen or mind outside of homeschool, they won’t listen or mind during homeschool. It is impossible to succeed at homeschooling without discipline. [If you are having discipline issues, put all academics on hold and work on this pivotal parenting skill first. Click here for helpful resources.]

7. Combine Grades Where Possible
Do you have children who are close in age? Grades are somewhat arbitrary divisions that don’t necessarily reflect a student’s readiness to learn. [It is not out of the ordinary for parents to notice that, while Mom is teaching a kindergartener, the preschooler is catching on just as quickly.] There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with having two children in the same grade, or using the same materials for two children. [One helpful resource is the Multi-Level Science Guide.]

8. Praise
Praise at least twice as much as you correct. Point out and applaud your children for the good points and improvement in their work before you suggest corrections or further improvements.

9. Pray
Begin each school day with a simple prayer for wisdom, guidance, and the desire to use skills learned to help others to the glory of God. Use the free Wednesday that is built into CHC lesson plans and make a mini-holiday/holy day of it. Assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and take the kids to the park for a picnic, or go out to lunch.

10. Relax
Just as you would on that train-travel vacation, take photos and create a brief written record of those ‘ooh and ahh’ moments. Keep a portfolio of the year’s activities [and collection of best papers] so you can look back on all the happy times, surrounded by evidence of your children’s progress, and warmed by soul-satisfying memories.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Government schooling is .... Weapons of Mass Destruction

from Mama's Littly Ditty blog -

The following essay was published in the Wall Street Journal on July 25, 1991. It was written by John Taylor Gatto the same year he was he was the New York State Teacher of the Year and titled "I Quit, I Think".

It explained his reasons for ending his teaching career in spite of having no savings and no idea what to do with himself in his mid-fifties to pay the rent.

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its "scientific" presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be "re-formed." It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel "learning disabled" and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, "special education" fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.
In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.

His latest book is again receiving acclaim - http://www.amazon.com/Weapons-Mass-Instruction-Schoolteachers-Compulsory/dp/0865716315

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Newest Homeschool study

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement
Ian SlatterDirector of Media Relations
August 10, 2009


Despite much resistance from outside the homeschool movement, whether from teachers unions, politicians, school administrators, judges, social service workers, or even family members, over the past few decades homeschoolers have slowly but surely won acceptance as a mainstream education alternative. This has been due in part to the commissioning of research which demonstrates the academic success of the average homeschooler.

The last piece of major research looking at homeschool academic achievement was completed in 1998 by Dr. Lawrence Rudner. Rudner, a professor at the ERIC Clearinghouse, which is part of the University of Maryland, surveyed over 20,000 homeschooled students. His study, titled Home Schooling Works, discovered that homeschoolers (on average) scored about 30 percentile points higher than the national average on standardized achievement tests.

This research and several other studies supporting the claims of homeschoolers have helped the homeschool cause tremendously. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an opponent of homeschooling who says that homeschoolers, on average, are poor academic achievers.
There is one problem, however. Rudner’s research was conducted over a decade ago. Without another look at the level of academic achievement among homeschooled students, critics could begin to say that research on homeschool achievement is outdated and no longer relevant.

Recognizing this problem, HSLDA commissioned Dr. Brian Ray, an internationally recognized scholar and president of the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI), to collect data for the 2007–08 academic year for a new study which would build upon 25 years of homeschool academic scholarship conducted by Ray himself, Rudner, and many others.
Drawing from 15 independent testing services, the Progress Report 2009: Homeschool Academic Achievement and Demographics included 11,739 homeschooled students from all 50 states who took three well-known tests—California Achievement Test, Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, and Stanford Achievement Test for the 2007–08 academic year. The Progress Report is the most comprehensive homeschool academic study ever completed.

The Results
Overall the study showed significant advances in homeschool academic achievement as well as revealing that issues such as student gender, parents’ education level, and family income had little bearing on the results of homeschooled students.

National Average Percentile Scores
Homeschool =HS Public School = PS
- 89hs 50 ps
Language - 84hs 50 ps
Math - 84hs 50 ps
Science - 86hs 50 ps
Social Studies - 84hs 50 ps
Core A - 88hs 50 ps
Composite B - 86hs 50 ps
a. Core is a combination of Reading, Language, and Math.
b. Composite is a combination of all subtests that the student took on the test.

There was little difference between the results of homeschooled boys and girls on core scores.
Boys—87th percentile Girls—88th percentile

Household income had little impact on the results of homeschooled students.
$34,999 or less—85th percentile
$35,000–$49,999—86th percentile
$50,000–$69,999—86th percentile
$70,000 or more—89th percentile

The education level of the parents made a noticeable difference, but the homeschooled children of non-college educated parents still scored in the 83rd percentile, which is well above the national average.
Neither parent has a college degree—83rd percentile
One parent has a college degree—86th percentile
Both parents have a college degree—90th percentile
Whether either parent was a certified teacher did not matter.
Certified (i.e., either parent ever certified)—87th percentile

Not certified (i.e., neither parent ever certified)—88th percentile

Parental spending on home education made little difference.
Spent $600 or more on the student—89th percentile
Spent under $600 on the student—86th percentile

The extent of government regulation on homeschoolers did not affect the results.
Low state regulation—87th percentile
Medium state regulation—88th percentile
High state regulation—87th percentile
HSLDA defines the extent of government regulation this way:
States with low regulation: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact or State requires parental notification only.
States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress.
State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials).

The question HSLDA regularly puts before state legislatures is, “If government regulation does not improve the results of homeschoolers why is it necessary?”

In short, the results found in the new study are consistent with 25 years of research, which show that as a group homeschoolers consistently perform above average academically. The Progress Report also shows that, even as the numbers and diversity of homeschoolers have grown tremendously over the past 10 years, homeschoolers have actually increased the already sizeable gap in academic achievement between themselves and their public school counterparts-moving from about 30 percentile points higher in the Rudner study (1998) to 37 percentile points higher in the Progress Report (2009).

As mentioned earlier, the achievement gaps that are well-documented in public school between boys and girls, parents with lower incomes, and parents with lower levels of education are not found among homeschoolers. While it is not possible to draw a definitive conclusion, it does appear from all the existing research that homeschooling equalizes every student upwards.

Homeschoolers are actually achieving every day what the public schools claim are their goals—to narrow achievement gaps and to educate each child to a high level.
Of course, an education movement which consistently shows that children can be educated to a standard significantly above the average public school student at a fraction of the cost—the average spent by participants in the Progress Report was about $500 per child per year as opposed to the public school average of nearly $10,000 per child per year—will inevitably draw attention from the K-12 public education industry.

Answering the Critics
This particular study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken. It attempts to build upon and improve on the previous research. One criticism of the Rudner study was that it only drew students from one large testing service. Although there was no reason to believe that homeschoolers participating with that service were automatically non-representative of the broader homeschool community, HSLDA decided to answer this criticism by using 15 independent testing services for this new study. There can be no doubt that homeschoolers from all walks of life and backgrounds participated in the Progress Report.
While it is true that not every homeschooler in America was part of this study, it is also true that the Progress Report provides clear evidence of the success of homeschool programs.
The reason is that all social science studies are based on samples. The goal is to make the sample as representative as possible because then more confident conclusions can be drawn about the larger population. Those conclusions are then validated when other studies find the same or similar results.

Critics tend to focus on this narrow point and maintain that they will not be satisfied until every homeschooler is submitted to a test. This is not a reasonable request because not all homeschoolers take standardized achievement tests. In fact, while the majority of homeschool parents do indeed test their children simply to track their progress and also to provide them with the experience of test-taking, it is far from a comprehensive and universal practice among homeschoolers.

The best researchers can do is provide a sample of homeschooling families and compare the results of their children to those of public school students, in order to give the most accurate picture of how homeschoolers in general are faring academically.

The concern that the only families who chose to participate are the most successful homeschoolers can be alleviated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of parents did not know their children's test results before agreeing to participate in the study.

HSLDA believes that this study along with the several that have been done in the past are clear evidence that homeschoolers are succeeding academically.

Final Thought
Homeschooling is making great strides and hundreds of thousands of parents across America are showing every day what can be achieved when parents exercise their right to homeschool and make tremendous sacrifices to provide their children with the best education available.

Read the full report.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Preparing to Homeschool

by Linda Schrock Taylor

It's that time of year again. Parents are worrying and debating, "Should we let the children return to public school for just one more year?" Parents are refiguring budgets and wondering, "Could we drive the old car another year and put the kids in private school?" Parents are reevaluating long-range financial goals to determine which might be put on the back burner until later; so as to homeschool children who are growing up quickly now. Many parents arrive at the decision to homeschool, but then fail to act upon their decision, fearful of taking 'The Giant Step,' as we called it in our home. Do not be fearful. Act. Your children will be all the better for it, and you will never regret your decision.

Too often parents have believed the official state slogan, "You need to be a certified teacher in order to teach." That is nonsense, and one need only look at the failure of the public school system to see how 'well' those thousands of certified, degreed, experienced administrators and teachers have failed America. That system of 'educated professionals' has hurt the American people so severely that millions of individuals, and our nation, may never recover. America now ranks alongside countries long noted for having unskilled workers, low literacy rates, and the destructive effects of illiteracy: poverty; crime; welfare; gangs; illegitimacy; large prison populations; industry and manufacturing moving to countries where literate workers can read orders, blueprints, and manuals for operating high-tech production machinery. Mexican workers have a 90% literacy rate; American workers have about a 70% literacy rate. Eventually, Mexico may have to close its borders against Americans sneaking in to find work.

Certainly loving, committed parents can educate their children better than the State is doing. Children being homeschooled by parents who are focused; who willingly sit and learn with their children; who mediate experiences and information; are far better off than the children in most public schools in America. However, children who are being kept home from school by parents who lack plans, goals, and a commitment to truly educate their children, are better off in school where, hopefully, they will have a few good teachers and come away with something.

Parents do not need to "know everything" in order to homeschool. I have a master's degree and I certainly could not begin to teach my son everything that he needs, and I want for him, to know. Luckily the world is full of books, videos, and websites on every topic. Help is available for those who honestly seek it. Bring your children home, but do it with forethought, planning, and a commitment to provide the best education possible. Homeschooling is hard work, but it is most rewarding.

There are some things that you do need to know as you begin homeschooling: Know Your State Homeschooling Laws; Know Yourself; Know Your Child; Know What you Want Your Child to Learn; Know Your Timeframe; Know That the First Two Years Will Be the Roughest; Know that Reading must be the Number One focus; Know That It Is OK To Be Flexible.

Know the homeschooling laws in your state, and learn as much as possible about homeschooling. As a first step, visit the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) website and learn the laws for your state. If you must file paperwork with the state, call the homeschooling office at your state department of education, and ask to be sent a homeschooling packet. Read it carefully for some states, like Michigan, require that you check a certain box stating that you sincerely believe that your children do not need certified teachers. Otherwise, the state expects that a certified teacher be involved in your homeschooling. Also, do not forget to tap into resources within your circle of family and friends. Maybe a relative is a retired certified teacher and would enjoy teaching some French lessons; a neighbor might be willing to act as consultant and advise on materials and lesson plans. Be innovative in finding help and support. Check for a homeschooling group in your area to join. Some of those groups are so large that they have orchestras and offer courses for the more difficult high school classes.

While at HSLDA, read a variety of articles so you can better understand the rights, and the responsibilities, of homeschooling. When you decide to homeschool, consider joining that association. The knowledge that you have immediate access to lawyers and advice is invaluable and especially reassuring to families as they begin this new venture. As protection against a day when the state might decide to interfere with our homeschooling, we keep every paper; every workbook that David completes. At the end of each school year, I bundle everything into a brown expanding file, label with grade level and year, and store. If I am ever questioned about whether I 'really' provide him with schooling, I can rent a hand truck and wheel the tall stack out for all to see.

Know yourself and your spouse. Communicate with your spouse to assess the commitment, skills and goals of your team. If the mother is strong in language and reading, but feels shaky with the math and science, plan educational schedules so that both parents can participate. No bus will pick your child up at 7:30 AM, and you don't have to run your homeschool as a typical public school day. You may choose to, as an aid to developing structure and accomplishment of goals, but you do not have to 'be in session' from 8:00–3:30. We homeschool four long days, then David has Friday off because he and his father have jobs in the meat department of a small town general store. Sometimes we have English classes on the weekends when I am more available to work with writing assignments. Flexibility is important, even in choosing or discarding materials. If you chose something that simply is not working, chuck it and find something that does; change the schedule; cut or increase the workload. YOU are the teacher, the principal, the superintendent and the school board. You make the decisions. Be flexible as you meet the needs of your children, yourselves and your household.

Know your child, and understand that you know your child better than any other educator. For example, if you know that your child hates early mornings, you adapt for that, plan schooling around it, and maintain an environment conducive to learning. David gets up just about the time that the bus he used to ride passes the house. With book in hand, he eats a leisurely breakfast while reading his literature assignment. After a relaxed beginning to his day, he feels more ready for pencil and paper assignments. You can be flexible and still complete the lessons plans that you wish to accomplish.

For the complete article, click HERE.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Emmanuel Books ~ God IS with them!

Who knows how long I was on the phone with Paola?

What I do know is that I came off happy, relieved and confidant in what curriculum choices to make for next year. She remembered the names of my children, their ages and interests. How many times have I heard other homeschoolers say the same.

Where else will someone talk through every decision and give you such pertinent advice on curriculum? Their catalog reads like a homeschooling manual, with descriptions like no other vendor.

This year has been hard on many financially, us included. When the coupons came from places that undercut Emmanuel Books, I asked my husband if he felt we should go that route and save some money? Knowing that I consistently talk to Paola who always has time for me and experienced advice with each item in her catalog, he said no. I was relieved. We both feel it is important to support this small, Catholic, family business!

The quality of what they offer has a price to us.

What they stand for has a price to us.

We remain grateful for Emmanuel Books and the time and care for homeschoolers that the Ciscanik family provides! That family embodies exceptional service in building relationships with their customers!

May God continue to bless them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fordham Univ. Professor of Philosophy on Homeschooling

Dr. William Marra on Home Schooling

The late Dr. William Marra, a philosophy professor at Fordham University for many years, gave numerous speeches at Catholic conferences, including homeschooling conferences. He homeschooled his own children. Dr. Marra passed away on December 12, 1998, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom he had a great devotion. The following is a brief part of a speech he gave in Toronto in 1993. May he rest in peace.

In homeschooling, aim at certain academic excellence. I claim that is the bonus that is always thrown in. If you seek first to defer harm, if secondly you permeate the situation with a Catholic atmosphere, the easiest part is the academic subjects.

Those few people who are destined to be the cultural leaders will have a far better preparation homeschooled than they will going to the most prestigious, expensive private school around.
The moment a child is four or five, don’t let him go to the government schools. That is when the most damage is done to Faith, reason, intelligence, and everything else.

If you keep them home for at least eight years of schooling, and hopefully for four or five more years, by that time they can even survive Fordham or Notre Dame. They can survive anything! The main thing is to protect the innocence of young people.

There are about six or seven small Catholic colleges in the United States. Home schooled children going to places like Christendom, Thomas More, Magdalen, Thomas Aquinas, Steubenville—they are the hope.

These will be the serious Catholic parents and the serious Catholic citizens. Those who want to be cultural leaders will need a college education. College is the easy part. Grade school and high school are the hardest parts.

Where there is a Catholic culture, it is founded on Catholic truth. However, this no longer exists except in a few pockets. Quebec probably was that way fifty years ago. Where one sees the churches, the streets named after saints, there once was the wonderful sense of the French Catholicism. Large families abounded and no one begrudged a new baby coming in the world. A new baby was celebrated. Of course there were problems, but there was a sense of the Catholic adventure of life.

When culture is a cause, anytime a given culture exists, you don’t need formal education in anything. The citizens of that culture, from the babe in arms up to the oldest man, everyone will gain strength and light and solidarity as it were, through a spiritual osmosis: the very stones of the street, the very stations of the cross at the crosswalks, the very names of the cities, the very fact that we say “on St. Michael’s Day, we are going to do this,” instead of saying “on September 29th.”

When you start using the saints as your chronology, illustrations from the Bible and the lives of the saints, when Joan of Arc is a topic among you, and not some rock star—that is Catholic culture.

The beauty of Catholic culture is that the more you practice it, you don’t have to articulate your Faith—you live it. That is where we get the great treasures of our culture, like music, the fine arts, architecture, without any great effort on our part, because this always accompanies Catholic culture when it is authentic.

Catholic culture is the cause of the wonderful harmony and the high level of civilization that has been enjoyed in the past. There is no such culture today.

Today we are having these small homeschools. Because there is no Catholic culture, Catholic culture has to become the effect. Thanks to Christ-centered homeschooling, these children, born into this barren culture, will be the future heroes. These heroes will have a dedication to Truth.
These homeschooled heroes will understand who is Christ, what is Truth, what is the Church, what are the enemies of the Church.

Some of these heroes are going to swear a vow to be holy, and they will mean it. These home schooled heroes will reject our secular materialistic world and all its vices. These homeschooled heroes will understand that life on earth is a pilgrimage. Some of these home schooled heroes will be dedicated to a zealous pursuit of the Truth, no matter what it costs them in study, dispute, or controversy.

Because of their dedication and formation in homeschooling, these parents will give us the young people who will be the heroes of sanctity in the first place, and the heroes of Catholic culture in the second place.

It is these homeschooled heroes who will make the cultural barren desert bloom once again.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Delmarva homeschooling in the news

June 7, 2009
Home schooling on the rise
By Candice Evans - Staff Writer

SALISBURY -- When Amy Miller finished her final year at the Southern Delaware School of the Arts, the eighth-grader asked her mother if she could be home-schooled.
"It was a little scary at first because she's a really good student and I didn't want her to fall behind," said Amy's mother, Nancy Miller, who began home schooling her 15-year-old daughter about a year ago.

Characterized as an "artistic student" by her mother, Amy decided not to attend a public or private high school because home schooling allowed for more flexibility in her daily schedule. Now, the Laurel resident can devote more attention to the performing arts, while "staying on track" academically in all subjects. "It's been an awesome experience," Nancy, 50, added.
Plus, Amy's choice isn't all that unusual. Every year, the number of home-schoolers continues to rise across the country.

As of spring 2007, an estimated 1.5 million, or 2.9 percent of all school-age children in the U.S., were home-schooled, up from 1.7 percent in 1999, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Education.

"Home schooling has been growing every year since 1980," said Manfred Smith, the founder and president of the Maryland Home Education Association based in Columbia, Md. "Currently, there are about 26,000 kids home schooling in the state." Ten years ago, the number of home-schoolers landed in the 15,000 range, Smith said.
Why the change?

The new federal government annual report, "The Condition of Education," found that 36 percent of parents said their most important reason for home schooling was to provide "religious or moral instruction"; 21 percent cited concerns about school environment; 17 percent cited "dissatisfaction with academic instruction"; and 14 percent cited "other reasons," including family time, finances, travel and distance.

Either way, Brian D. Ray, president of National Home Education Research Institute, said the switch to a home-school education is not an easy decision for most parents. "Each type of schooling has its benefits and drawbacks," said Rebecca Jones, co-administrator of the Hand and Hand Homeschoolers group that uses the Internet to connect more than 30 families in Sussex County. "Parents need to decide what fits their child best of all." And sometimes, it takes a while to figure out the ideal academic setting for a student. For example, Jones' oldest son, now 16, attended public and private school prior to home schooling. "If the child is having problems, you can stop and go over it until they grasp that concept," said Jones, 42, whose son had difficulty focusing in the classroom. "That's quality of education instead of quantity."

Right now, Jones' three younger children also learn from home. But she always gives them the option of ending their home-school education each year. As it turns out, the high school prom wasn't enough for her son to give it up. The home schooling online network has allowed him to make new friends, take field trips, play on athletic teams and participate in group activities with other families.

"Is home schooling easy? No," Jones said. "But we teach our children out of love and commitment to their education." Even though Mckenzie Conley earned her diploma in a nontraditional environment, the Salisbury resident, like most high school seniors, is heading to college in the fall.

"We didn't like some of the influences my girls were being exposed to in the public schools," said McKenzie's mother, Cherry Conley, who has been home schooling her children for the last 10 years. Another Delmarva mom, Rita Clucas, started home schooling her oldest son after he completed kindergarten in the public school system.

"He wasn't getting the education we had hoped for and we weren't impressed with what we saw coming home with our son," said Clucas, the mother of four children, who range in age from 2 to 14. "We thought he would do better being around his family, to pass on our values."

Other parents like Nancy Miller say home schooling offers a chance to develop a closer relationship with their children.

"I wanted the extra time with Amy before she grew up and went away," Nancy said.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Support for Catholic Homeschooling

Father Corapi is a supporter of Catholic Homeschooling....so many priests are. In June, the annual IHM conference will take place. For 2 days a sea of Catholic homeschoolers will converge and be nourished by the encouragement of dozens of well-known (again, many EWTN)priests, even illustrious authors like Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand! For a complete description of each talk -

It has been said by priests that they see the Catholic homeschooling movement as the work of the Holy Spirit to strengthen the Catholic church. See THIS link for quotes from Catholic documents, Popes, and catechism supporting Catholic Homeschooling.

You may be surprised and impressed by a list of "famous" homeschoolers.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

local homeschool co-op meeting

We will be having an information meeting for parents interested in finding out more about Blessed Jose’ Luis Academy for your own family or to pass along information to others who might be interested in participating in the school in the fall. We will hold the meeting Monday, March 30th at 7:00 pm (location to be announced).

If you would like more info please feel free to leave a comment here and your contact info will be forwarded.

Also, If you would like to join us – we are having a Seder Meal on April 1st. This is a service project our school is executing to more fully partake in the Passion and Death of our Lord. I have attached an invitation with more information.

Please feel free to forward this information to others you feel might be interested.

Below is a little information about our co-op.

A home schooling educational cooperative (for grades K-8) that integrates Catholic spirituality with academic, human and apostolic development for each child, and practical tools to continue this formation at home. It will establish an orderly, creative learning environment, which encourages growth in Christ’s virtues, especially charity, in both children and their parents.

Blessed Jose’ Luis Academy
The vision of the Academy is to raise strong Catholic leaders who will actively pursue the unique missions given to them by Christ at baptism.

The students and parents will meet one day per week, with the work to be continued at home throughout the remainder of the week. The children will be broken into age categories, with a teacher and assistant in each class. The classes covered at Blessed Jose’ Luis Academy will be Art, Language Appreciation/Literature, Excellence in Writing, History, Religion, and Science.
An additional part of the mission of the school is to have the children work together on apostolic projects and we encourage the older children to take a more active role in leadership within the school.

Some Excerpts from our Philosophy:
All people are endowed with a specific set of human talents and struggles, which are inherent to the individual. Schooling which encourages the development of human virtues (human formation) and assists each student with overcoming his/her natural passions will produce solid citizens who can adapt to a multitude of environments without compromising Christian beliefs.

The principle of Integral Formation as defined by St. Ignatius of Loyola is the core of the educational system employed at Blessed Jose’ Luis Academy.

The effect of integral formation brings us back to our universal vocation accepted at baptism – to preach to all nations. God has asked each of us to be leaders in the environment in which he has placed us. It is not sufficient simply to be good people; we must encourage others toward the good. The graduate of Blessed Jose’ Luis Academy is a Christian witness, fully integrated, ready to lead in any environment to which God calls him.

The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.” (CCC 1879)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Homeschooling studies just keep getting better and better!

Homeschool Students Score Better Academically and Socially
Basic Statistics


Home school students scored significantly higher than their public and private school counterparts. The studies below prove homeschool students do exceptionally well when compared with the nationwide average. In every subject and at every grade level of the ITBS and TAP batteries.


Studies also show homeschoolers mature and better socialized than are those sent to school. Dr. John Wesley Taylor's nationwide study revealed that the self-concept of home school students was significantly higher than that of public school students for the global and all six subscales of the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale. The Galloway-Sutton Study (performed in 1997), showed that from five success indicators (academic, cognitive, spiritual, affective-social and pyschomotor), comparing with public and private schooled students, "in every success category except pyschomotor, the home school graduates excelled above the other students."


The average amount spent on home schooling per child in the US is $450.
Household Income18% of home school families earn less than $25,000,
44% of households between $25,000 and $49,000.
ReligiousOver 75% attend religious services

Links to Studies

Homeschooling Works!Findings of an independent study by Lawrence M. Rudner, Ph.D., Director of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Assessment and Evaluation

Home Education Across the United StatesStudy on home schooling, conducted by Dr. Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute. (1997)

General Research Fact SheetFrom the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute was founded by Dr. Brian Ray.

Fact Sheet I From the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute was founded by Dr. Brian Ray.

Fact Sheet IIb From the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute was founded by Dr. Brian Ray.

Fact Sheet IIIb From the non-profit National Home Education Research Institute was founded by Dr. Brian Ray.

Homeschooling on the ThresholdA Survey of Research at the Dawn of the New MillenniumBy Dr. Brian Ray.


What Research Says About Home Schooling
This professionally produced video features an informal interview with Dr. Brian Ray, President of the National Home Education Research Institute, simple graphics that summarize main points about the research findings, and a minimum of technical language. Information about topics such as "who is home schooling and why," the "socialization of the home educated," and "academic achievement" makes this a useful tool for presenting home education to critics, professional educators, or anyone for whom home schooling is a novel concept. (18 minutes, 1993)

Homeschooling in Action
This exciting video is an hour-long documentary on how to get started homeschooling. By getting a candid glimpse into the daily homeschooling habits and activities of three experienced families, along with some great advice from many homeschooling "experts," you will get a realistic view of what a successful homeschool "looks like." After watching the tape, you should have a basic idea of how to get organized, set up your schedule, choose curriculum, find resources, and get connected with other homeschoolers in your community and state. Produced by Kevin Lundberg.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who knows your child better than you?

Washington Times Op-ed—Homeschooling: It’s the Teacher, not the School
by J. Michael SmithHSLDA President

If you want your child to get the best education possible, it’s actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.” This quote is from Bill Gates’ January 2009 annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a group that has spent billions of dollars trying to improve education.

Mr. Gates also notes that overall, only 71 percent of children graduate from high school within four years. His conclusion is that America’s schools are doing a poor job.

He went on to say that most of the schools helped by his foundation fell short of their goals in trying to increase college-ready graduation rates. MORE.


2nd Annual C.H.A.P.L.E.T. Catholic Homeschool Mother's Retreat (www.chaplet.org)

Sat., March 28th 10-2pm www.stpeterrcc.com in Merchantville, NJ

EXCELLENT last year, gorgeous Church and inspiring talk with Fr. Ronan Murphy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Considering Catholic Homeschooling?

This article may be helpful...


For parents contemplating homeschooling their children, it can be a scary endeavor. In order to make the right decision for your family and to take this big step, parents need to prepare themselves. The best way to prepare is through prayer. One has to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. He will help. It is also a good idea to read as much as one can on the subject of Catholic homeschooling.

As a starting place, the following quotes and prayers are offered to assist new Catholic homeschooling parents and their families.

Prayer for Mother Seton's Intercession

Lord God, You blessed Elizabeth Seton with gifts of grace as wife and mother, educator and foundress, so that she might spend her life in service to your people.
Through her example and prayers may we learn to express our love for you in love for our fellow men and woman. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-From the Roman Missal

Quotes by Catholics

"He who is faithful to God is faithful to his country and to his family, and the more the fear of God animates the citizens of a country, the greater and the more respected will the nation be. Moreover, as it is said that nations are formed on the knees of the mother, it follows that the more the mother is venerated in the family, and the more she herself conforms her conduct to that sublime model that we have in her, who, repairing the faults of Eve, raised the status of humanity, so much the greater will be those future generations who will form the glory and the prosperity of their country. These principles...you should teach in your school, because as educators, you must not only form good Christians, but good citizens for the State, which we wish to be great and respected."
...Mother Frances Cabrini in a letter to the daughters in her Community.


An educator was once asked by a mother of a child of five years of age, at what age she should begin educating her child. His answer was that 'it it already five years too late.'"
"It is a great fallacy for parents to believe that the education of their children depends on the school. The school is not the primary educator, but the secondary; its authority to teach the children is delegated by the parents, the right inherent in the father and the mother. Nor is the school ever a substitute for the parents."

"In the definition of education it was observed that the purpose of education is to enter into contact not merely with enviornment but with the totality of environment, with an end to explaining the purpose of life. But the purpose of life cannot be understood without God, nor can any one enter into contact with the whole of environment unless he enters into relationship with God, in Whom we live and move and have our being."

"We are in a condition of society where the school has replaced Church in education, and we are coming to a condition where the State will replace the school. Such is always the logic of history; when the family surrenders its rights, the State assumes them as its own. In order to avoid that condition, the new order must integrate in some way religion to education."

"Unless a man's will has a purpose and it is a good one, education will do nothing for him except to forify his own egotism."

"The prime purpose of education is the making of aman, and it is impossible to make a man without giving him the purpose of being a man."

"Modern education makes no distinction between error and sin, it teaches that what we call evil is only an intellectual error."

"Never before has there been so much education and never before so little coming to the knowledge of the truth. We forget that ignorance is better than error."

"Our so-called liberal and progressive educators who denied the reality of guilt, did not, as they promised, relieve man from the shackles of 'medieval morality'; but they did relieve the person of his responsiblity and therefore of his freedom."

"If a little boy loses his temper and inslults his father, he is not told that he is at fault; our progressive educators would not warp his mind by speaking of wrong--they blame it on his naughty ductless glands. Today nobody is wrong; they are anti-social or have bad tonsils."
...Bishop Fulton Sheen


It is very important that children learn from their fathers and mothers how to love one another--not in the school, not from the teacher, but from you. It is very important that you share with your children the joy of that smile. There will be misunderstandings; every family has its cross, its suffering. Always be the first to forgive with a smile. Be cheerful, be happy.
...Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"The parents have been appointed by God Himself as the first and principal educators of their children...their right is completely inalienable"
--Pope John Paul - (Familiaris Consortio 40)

School and the Holy Spirit
When a child goes to school, he takes his soul with him. What he learns will have an effect on whether he saves his soul, and how he fulfills the purpose for which God made him."

"St. Paul says, 'Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.' Thus, going to school involves God every hour and minute and second, and everything a child learns that is truth, he learns with the help of the Spirit of Truth. That is why going to school has a particular relation to the Holy Spirit."

"Parents can teach it all, if they want to. There is no shortgage of doctrine to teach or grace to help with the teaching. There are the Gospels to read and apply, discussion groups to attend, pastors and nuns and libraries and literature within reach of a phone call or a postage stamp. There is the Mass, the sacraments, the prayers of the universal church offered for all her members, the love of God and the help of the Holy Spirit. There are the tremendous graces peculiar to the vocation of parenthood, given especially to help with this most important duty of all. We are not in this think alone. God is in it more than we are. All that is necessary is to understand that it must be taught, and to pray for the grace to do it."

Every child once he reaches the age of reason should automatically pray to the Holy Spirit..."Please, Holy Spirit, help me in school today."
...(excerpts from We and Our Children by Mary Reed Newland)

Upcoming Homeschool Conferences

The 10th annual Chaplet Homeschooling Conference in New Jersey will be held on Saturday, April 25th. http://www.chaplet.org/Conference.html

Schedule of Events

The itinerary for the conference allows visitors plenty of timeto browse the merchandise, chat with vendors, listen to our speakers, attend a workshop, break for lunch, and even attend Mass. Refreshments will be available during the conference.

8:00am Traditional Latin Mass

9:00am ~ 5:00pmHomeschool Conference

5:00pm Traditional Latin Mass

Click here to view a partial schedule of events

We are excited to announce our 2009:

Conference Guest Speakers

This all-day event includes guest speakers from our area, and also from around the country to enrich and enlighten us.

Tim Ferris, Kolbe Academy: “The Value of a Classical Education”

Danielle Bean:Catholic Author and Homeschool Mom

Maureen Wittman:Catholic Author and Homeschool Mom Subject: Her new book “For the Love of Literature”

Scott Woodruff, HSLDA Staff Attorney:Subject: “Homeschooling With Confidence”

Soon to come: details on our speakers’ talks


The IHM Conference is in June, the 12-13th http://www.ihmconference.org/national/ EWTN'S Raymond Arroyo will be speaking this year along with...

Fr. Andrew Apostoli of EWTN, Fr. Philip Chavez, Fr. John DeCelles,Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, Fr. Robert Levis of EWTN , Fr. Stephen McGraw,Fr. Luke Sweeney, Fr. Matthew Zuberbueler, Dr. Mary Kay Clark,Dr. John Cuddeback, Dr. Ray Guarendi, Dr. Catherine Moran,Mr. Dale Ahlquist of EWTN, Mrs. Carole Breslin, Mrs. Laura Berquist, Mrs. Rebecca Dussault, Mr. Michael Kalscheur,Prof. Brendan McGuire, Prof. Joseph Pearce,Mrs. Virginia Seuffert, Mr. James Stenson,and Mrs. Elizabeth Yank! A football field of vendor tables make this a not-to-miss event.

The support and information at both of these power-house conferences are a years worth of encouragement for homeschooling families! If you can't make it, they sell conferences tapes. :)

Books helpful to Catholic Homeschoolers

Links to some of the BEST reading materials and support for Catholic homeschooling.

Catholic Homeschooling - best for supporting Papal documents

Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum

Teaching Tips and Techniques

Homeward Bound by Scott Hahn's wife, Kimberly

Real Learning

Haystack Full of Needles

Designed to Fail

A Catholic Homeschool Companion

Mater et Magistra Magazine

Keeping it Catholic

For the Love of Literature

Saintly Resources

Catholic Mosaic

A Year With God

PACE - Character education

A Catholic Homeschool Treasury