High School

Connecting with History Vol. I

Andrea Chen
Sonya Romens

A guide for implementing a very comprehensive history program for all ages from preschoolers through adults (yes, even mom!), Connecting with History also incorporates religion, literature, discussion, composition, scripture and poetry memorization, hands-on activities, and more. The stated goal of this program is to help families better understand the Catholic Faith through the study of history, and to better understand true history through the study of the Catholic Faith.

Memoria Press' Henle Latin Guides

Cheryl Lowe
Martin Cothran

Fr. Henle's Latin course is now well recognized as a superior choice among Catholic homeschoolers. Many curricula have adopted it and recommend it, and also publish syllabi and course plans of their own to aid families in breaking it down the lessons day by day. For instance, Mother of Divine Grace School and Kolbe Academy both have their own plans available beginning at the High School freshman level.

The Four Questions Logic Tutorial

Shirreware, a small independent producer of educational software based in northeast Kansas, has two new products available now for High School and College students who are studying logic. Descriptions from their website state:

Our first program, Labyrynth™, presents students of traditional, or Aristotelian, logic with a series of questions and problems to solve through the medium of a three-dimensional, graphical world.

Toward Morning, A Story of the Hungarian Freedom Fighters

Alta Halverson Seymour

Long out of print, Toward Morning is a gripping and emotional tale of the turbulent days surrounding the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. We follow Janos, his friends, younger sister Teresa, and younger brother Belo, as they become immersed in the battle for freedom. Since much of the story is based on actual events, the story is all the more intense. Will the Russian soldiers capture and torture their brother for his activities? Where can he hide? After reading this book, you will have a greater appreciation for your freedom.

Crusader King, A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades

Susan Peek

In 1174 at only 13 years of age, Baldwin IV ascended to the Throne of Jerusalem. What makes his story so unusual, however, is not so much his age, but his extraordinary accomplishments while experiencing incredible hardship. In Crusader King, we soon discover that being a member of a royal family is not all glamour and glory. It is also a responsibility and at times a heavy burden. Rather than focus on Baldwin’s outstanding military career, Susan Peek brings to life the qualities of his noble character in the midst of a corrupt court.

How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization

Thomas Woods, Jr

Thomas Woods, Jr. wrote a book to amend the erroneous attitude prevalent in society today – the Catholic Church has had only a negative impact on Western Civilization. Titled, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Dr. Woods, a history professor at a community college in New York, details the many contributions of the Catholic Church throughout history, primarily during the “Dark Ages” and “Middle Ages”.

Can Homeschoolers Get Accepted into "Good" Colleges?

Can Homeschoolers Get Accepted into "Good" Colleges? Absolutely! See List of Colleges that have accepted Homeschoolers. Homeschooling has moved well beyond the stage of having to convince colleges that our students are capable of handling their programs. Harvard has been accepting homeschoolers for many years and has a full-time admissions officer dedicated solely to homeschool applications. The College Board, which administers the SAT tests, has many pages of information on their website dedicated to homeschooling. Homeschoolers have been accepted into all kinds of Colleges and Universities - religious, secular, military, etc.

Preparing for the SAT/ACT -
Doing well on these tests will be one of the biggest factors in the college admissions process, particularly for homeschoolers. Set academic goals that will help you do well on the SAT and prepare for it as well. Don’t let the SAT define your high school academics, but don’t underestimate its importance. By the way, studying Latin has been a real help to many homeschoolers in the English part of the SAT.

You can find books on preparing for the SAT at any bookstore - they contain practice tests and other tips and suggestions. Remember that the test has a time limit. Practicing timed tests would be a good idea.

The SAT includes timed tests in Grammar and Math and a Test of Standard Written English. Some colleges (such as University of Notre Dame) will require homeschoolers to take the SAT II (formerly called ACT tests) which tests in English, Math, Science, History and a Foreign Language. This is to give them a more objective record of your abilities in these subjects. You’ll have to find out the policy of the college you’re interested in.

Transcripts -
It’s a good idea to keep detailed records of your highschool education - grades, subjects and books studied, and samples of your work. Don’t panic if it’s not complete, however, because many (but not all) colleges are quite lenient on this point if you can write up a good summary of what you’ve studied and if you do fairly well on the SAT. (Also see Thomas Aquinas College's homeschooling information.

Letters of Reference -

Many colleges require letters of reference to determine intellectual ability, leadership qualities, etc. Many times parents will be considered somewhat biased in this area. Be creative in thinking about appropriate people for this task. If you’ve had some classroom experience outside the home during highschool, that teacher would be a possibility. People you’ve worked with in extracurricular activities and volunteer work are other possibilities.

Admissions Essays -

The Admissions Essays (where required) can be a great place to display, among other things, your abilities, interests and writing skills. Be humble enough to admit your weak areas, but don’t be afraid to let them know your strong points too. Be sincere.

Other Suggestions -

Collect information from colleges early on to get an idea of what you should be aiming for.

Apply to several colleges. Dr. Andrew Tadie, in an article from The Catholic Home Educator makes the following recommendation. "...apply to several schools I the fashion of triage: apply to two or three dream schools, two or three that are highly desirable, and two or three that are minimally acceptable. Make your choice after you know which institutions have approved admission and after you know the amount of financial aid they offer." (Lent 1997 issue)

It would be nice if regional homeschooling newsletters would print lists of colleges that have accepted homeschooled highschoolers from their group. (As is the norm with many high school newsletters.)

The Edge of Sadness

Edwin O'Connor

At first glance, Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor is a walk down memory lane. A memory of the American Catholic church before Vatican II, before the priest scandals. A lovely, nostalgic read.

But the thing that makes this book worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it won in 1962 is the fact that O’Connor’s story is truly ageless. The characters are drawn from humanity, painted with the author’s word-brush so lovingly and carefully that by the end of the book you know each of these folks intimately. And, you like them, in spite of their less-than-virtuous actions.

Faith Charts: Catholicism at a Glance

Book cover: 'Faith charts: Catholicism at a Glance'
Reverend Raymond Cleaveland

This is a really nifty overview of the faith organized into 16 segments over 6 pages:

The Transmission of Divine Revelation
The Blessed Trinity
God the Father
God the Son, Jesus Christ
God the Holy Spirit
Creation and the Fall, Redemption
The Holy Catholic Church
The Four Marks of the Church
The Blessed Virgin and the Saints
The Seven Sacraments
Grace, Justification and Virtue
Catholic Moral Teaching
The Commandments
The Last Things

Homeschooling with Gentleness

Book cover: 'Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling'
Suzie Andres

Foreward by Ralph McInerny

This is a "February book". You know---one of those books you need to read when the dark gray days of February stretch out as endlessly as the school year, when it seems that no one has accomplished anything despite your unwavering effort, and when you realize that you still have fifteen years to go before your youngest graduates from homeschooling. Reading Homeschooling with Gentleness will reassure you that your work has not been in vain and that your children are likely learning much more than it appears at this moment.


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