Blessings beloved ones,
I, “a soul”, am excited to offer this guest blog post by Mary Fernandez of HumbleHouseWives.com. Mary is a devout Catholic mom of 4 children (age 2 to 10) whom she homeschools while also running her own Christian blog and prayer forum for like-minded and similarly-situated mothers. Mary is also a dear follower of this blog, MaryRefugeOfSouls, as she is a believer in Catholic prophecy, including private revelation given to Mary of Agreda and St Anne Catherine Emmerich. In fact, she incorporates much of the heavenly teachings and insights gained from such saints in her blog and prayer forum.
Based on her expertise, I, “a soul”, have asked Mary if she could share on this blog, her recommendation on curriculum resources for homeschoolers; and I am honored that she graciously agreed.
The reason I asked Mary for this recommendation is two-fold. First, I know that there may be many people who desire to homeschool their children now due to the Covid-19 virus and the related vaccines. And second, there may be people who are creating a refuge and they need help in planning an appropriate curriculum for the children. For both groups, it might be daunting to wade through all the possible resources available for homeschooling.
So, below is Mary’s recommendation for a traditional, well-rounded and affordable curriculum (preschool to 12th grade) for both homeschoolers and refuges. Please note, that the recommended resources are meant for those who want to teach from a Creation-science point of view, as well as a pre-Vatican II religious view (avoiding modern heresies).
Click below for a free downloadable PDF copy (5 pages) of this blog post:
Recommended Curriculum Resources For Homeschoolers and Refuges – HumbleHouseWives – MaryRefugeOfSouls (PDF)
RECOMMENDED CURRICULUM RESOURCES FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
By Mary Fernandez of HumbleHouseWives.com (2021)
There are so many resources for homeschoolers it can be quite overwhelming, so this list is just my absolute favorites. I don’t think you need to buy a lot of different textbooks and things anyway… all you need are a few essentials, sprinkle in some good literature, and you’ll have a complete curriculum for K-12!
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Preschool-1st Grade)
This book is a complete, step-by-step program to teach your child to read. It is very simple to use because every lesson is completely scripted for you. All you need is 20 minutes per day and your child will be reading in no time! Depending on age and personality, some kids may find this book boring whereas other kids will beg to read it with you. I think the key with hesitant readers is not to force it, and supplement it by reading lots of entertaining picture books together (whatever your child enjoys).
Institute for Excellence in Writing (K-12)
I think, and many will agree, that this is hands down the best writing program for homeschoolers out there. The founder, Andrew Pudewa, also happens to be a traditional Catholic who embraced the “Benedict Option” by moving from San Diego to rural eastern Oklahoma near the Benedictine monks of Clear Creek Abbey. If you choose to buy the videos, students will get to receive their instruction from Andrew himself (and laugh at his corny jokes). IEW also offers programs in phonics, spelling and grammar.
Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl (Grades 2-3)
You can download this classic book (written in 1911) for FREE online and get lots of great exercises for younger elementary students. Young kids will enjoy the emphasis on nature and the great outdoors.
Grammar-Land by M.L. Nesbitt (Early Elementary)
Here is another fantastic book you can download for FREE. Written in 1878 in an entertaining story format, Grammar-Land introduces students to “Judge Grammar” and his subjects (the Parts-of-Speech). Worksheets to accompany the book are available here, and you can listen to the LibriVox recording here.
Logicary Press (Grades 2-12)
This excellent series of books teach kids the foundation of all correct reasoning. Highly recommended for all young Catholics!
Even students who struggle with math will find this program easy to understand. Manipulatives are used as a very helpful tool to get a solid grasp of the concepts, and plenty of worksheets are provided so students can go as fast or as slow as needed to achieve mastery. The videos with the lovable “Mr. Demme” are clear, succinct and entertaining.
Math Mammoth (Grades 1-7)
Although you only need one math curriculum, I have to mention Math Mammoth because it really is a treasure trove of resources at a dirt cheap price (in fact, you can download over 400 sample worksheets for FREE). The nice thing about Math Mammoth is that instruction is built right into the worksheets and is written directly to the student– if you have an independent learner, all you need to do is hand the page to your child and let him have at it. There are also lots of helpful videos available to watch for free.
Connecting with History (K-12)
Connecting with History is a Catholic, classical, literature-based, unit-study program encompassing not only history but also language arts, geography, arts & crafts and more. All you would have to do is add math and science to make this your entire homeschool curriculum!
This program is especially great for large families with children of all ages. The lesson plans are designed so that you can sit down all together and learn as a family (reading aloud mostly), like the old “one-room schoolhouse”. Although everybody will be covering the same topics, each individual student will receive developmentally appropriate assignments based on the four classical levels of education: Beginner (K-3), Grammar (4th-6th), Logic (7th-9th), and Rhetoric (10th-12th).
In year one you’ll study Ancient History & the Old Testament, year two is the New Testament, the Early Church & the Early Medieval Period, year three is High Medieval through Post-Reformation, and year four is American History. Once you’ve gone through all four years, you’ll simply cycle back around to year one and dig deeper into the topics at a higher level. It’s an ingenious system!
I like the fact that I can use as little or as much of the suggested materials as I like; the program simply gives me lots of great ideas and a structure to follow. My kids particularly enjoy the CD with short songs that help you memorize important events, and they love doing a little presentation for Mom and Dad at the end of each unit.
The only thing that I think would make this program better is to incorporate the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich. She gives a completely different perspective on ancient peoples than most scholars would have you believe (hint: our ancestors were NOT uncivilized cave men!), so I think it would be valuable to read her visions to your kids in addition to the literature they recommend.
Berean Builders (K-12)
OK, science is a really tough subject to cover as a faithful Catholic who upholds the traditional teaching of the Church and what the Fathers have always taught. A good Catholic science curriculum simply doesn’t exist (yet), but the next best thing is this Protestant curriculum. (If you’ve heard of Dr. Robert Sungenis, author of Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right, this is what his family used.)
I really like that Berean Builders covers science in a chronological order, beginning with the Genesis creation account and proceeding to tell the story of what scientists have discovered (or where they were mistaken) throughout history. This way, you aren’t only focusing on biology one year, physics another year, etc. but you get to jump around which makes things more interesting. It’s easy to integrate this program with Connecting with History, or with any other curriculum. Each lesson and experiment is for families to do together, but assignments vary in difficulty depending on age. Experiments use common items that you already have laying around the house, or items that are inexpensive to acquire.
Just be careful when you get to the chapter on Galileo because they get it wrong and put the Church in a bad light. I recommend skipping that chapter. Older students might listen to a talk by Dr. Robert Sungenis on YouTube, watch his movie The Principle, or read a chapter from his book instead.
As far as evolution goes, Berean Builders does a decent job of explaining why that theory is incorrect, but they do not go into a ton of detail. For older students, check out the Kolbe Center: they have tons of great books, articles, videos and more to satisfy even the most inquisitive student.
St. Jerome Library & School
St. Jerome Library & School is dedicated to helping homeschoolers provide their children with a truly Catholic education. They’re a unique resource for traditional, pre-Vatican II books, with beautiful pictures and quality binding added to bring them back to life again. If you can’t afford to buy, you can rent books for 1 year. I can’t say enough good things about this apostolate! Simply look up your child’s grade level or subject and you’ll find tons of beautiful books.
Cathy Duffy Reviews: Catholic Curricula
I’m just one mom and haven’t tried everything that’s out there, but chances are Cathy Duffy has. Check out her website for helpful reviews on even more Catholic and Christian curricula.
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist
If you need help to get started with homeschooling, here is a great book for Catholic home educators. Rather than giving you a specific curriculum to follow, this book empowers you with the principles you need to know to put together your own curriculum based on the classical Trivium (grammar, logic and rhetoric). This was a helpful read for me when I first started homeschooling my children.
I hope that list helps! Oh– for religion we just use the Baltimore Catechism along with various readers from St. Jerome Library. We also study Latin using Phenomenon of Language and Jenney’s First Year Latin.