Sunday, May 20, 2012

Our Homeschool Curriculum for 2012-2013 for Cor Iesu Academy

After much testing, trying, and searching for the right curriculum, we believe Todd and  I, have found the right one for us.  I am so excited!  We have selected the curriculum for next school year!  We first began by looking for something just for our rising high schooler but decided that all the kids needed to be on the same page.  We are going to follow the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy Classical Liberal Arts Curriculum.

Why Classical Liberal Arts Education?  We really would love a program that would allow for at least some of our children to work together, in addition to allow a natural approach to learning (read not so much seat work).  From our experience thus far, with our children, they strive best when they are challenged and engaged in learning (maybe all children are like this?  I'm not sure.)  In addition, our homeschool has a strong devotion to the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and this program not only is named after the patron of our school but his works served as excellent model for the classical liberal arts approach!  The Classical Approach has an emphasis on what is known as the “trivium” – teaching in the sequence of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The classical method is decidedly better at training the mind to think, reason, and even to contend and argue one’s case against contrary ideas.  The way things are going in our world, we believe this is one of the best ways we can better prepare our children through home education.

This statement, from their website, is what finally SOLD us on using this curriculum for our family:
"Our program gently prepares the child to learn from the great books and understand the great ideas essential to that same work of integrating faith with reason. A classical presentation of English and Latin grammar and the arts and sciences equips the student with the tools of learning; a cyclical study of the grand eras of western civilization--Greek, Roman, Old World and New--guides the student (and the teaching parent!) through the historical and literary masterpieces that for centuries have inspired students to such noble academic effort."
There are Cycles to choose from, and after a thirty minute conversation with a representative of their's I believe this is what we are going to set our goals towards (before you say it's too expensive, please see my suggestions at the bottom of this post on ideas of saving on books):

Our 2012-2013 Curriculum

Grade 9: Greek Cycle:  Greek History & Astronomy
1.  RELIGION:  Old Testament I & II:
  • Introduction to the Bible
  • Ignatius Bible

  • Christ the King: Lord of History
  • Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History: Volume I to 1740, 3rd Edition
  • Old World and America
  • Herodotus’ The Histories
  • Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War
  • Xenophon: The Expedition of Cyrus (Anabasis)
  • Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History: Volume I to 1740, 3rd Edition
  • Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 1 (Modern Library Classics)
  • Plutarch’s Lives, Volume 2 (Modern Library Classics)
  • Great Dialogues of Plato
  • Alexander the Great: Man of Action, Man of Spirit
  • Alexander of Macedon: Journey to World’s End

3.  LITERATURE:  Greek Literature I & II:

  • Bulfinch’s Mythology: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne
  • Homer : The Iliad
  • Iliad, The (Cliffs Notes)
  • Herodotus’ The Histories
  • Homer: The Odyssey
  • Odyssey, The (Cliffs Notes)

4.  FINE ARTS:  
A)  Art Appreciation &; Analysis: 
  • Art And: Critical Thinking and Art Analysis
B)  Greek Playrights:
  • Aeschylus : The Complete Greek Tragedies: Aeschylus II
  • Aeschylus : The Oresteia : Agamemnon; The Libation Bearers; The Eumenides
  • Sophocles : Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Electra (Oxford World's Classics)
  • Euripides: Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae (Focus Classical Library)
  • Great Dialogues of Plato
  • Aristophanes: Four Plays by Aristophanes: The Clouds, The Birds, Lysistrata, The Frogs
5.  SCIENCE:  Astronomy I & II:
  • Creator and Creation, 3rd Edition
  • Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist
  • Essential Cosmic Perspective, The (5th Edition)
A)  Formal Composition II:
  • Format Writing
  • Great Writing: A Reader For Writers
B)  Formal Grammar I:
  • Jensen’s Grammar 

C)  Formal Logic:
  • Traditional Logic 1 : Intro. to Formal Logic 

D)  Pennmanship:
  • Handwriting 5 for Young Catholics (to review the basics)

E)  Punctuation:

  • Jensen’s Punctuation

7.  FOREIGN LANGUAGES:  Classical Latin I

  • Wheelock’s Latin : 6th Edition, Revised
  • Wheelock’s Latin : Workbook for Wheelock’s Latin, 3rd Edition, Revised
  • Wheelock’s Latin : A Comprehensive Guide to Wheelock’s Latin: Newly Revised for Wheelock’s 6th Edition
8.  MATHEMATICS:  Algebra II
  • Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 Kit

NOTE: I wish my kids would be ready for Cycle E:  Greek History & Astronomy so that they would be able to discuss things with our older son but that Cycle is labeled as appropriate for Grades 4 - 8, my two would be too little for their book selection.

1.  RELIGION:  Religion 4
  • Faith and Life 4: Jesus Our Guide
  • Baltimore Catechism

  • Story of the World : Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition
  • Story of the World Vol. 1 : Ancient Times, Activity Book
3.  LITERATURE:  Literature
  • Landscape With Dragons, A : The Battle for Your Child’s Mind
  • Paideia Program
  • Let the Authors Speak : Guide to Worthy Books

4.  FINE ARTS:  
     A)  Art Appreciation:
  • Faith and Life 1: Our Heavenly Father (Student Book)
  • Faith and Life 4: Jesus Our Guide (Student Book)
  • Art-with-an-Active-Eye Notebook
     B) Art Practice:
  • Art With a Purpose : Artpac 3
  • Art With a Purpose : Artpac 4
     C) Music Appreciation:
  • Classical Kids
  • Mozart’s Magic Fantasy: A Journey Through ’The Magic Flute’
  • Hallelujah Handel!
  • Beethoven Lives Upstairs (Audio CD)

5.  SCIENCE:  Anatomy & Health
  • Body Book, The
  • Blood and Guts: A Working Guide to Your Own Insides


     A)  Grammar/Composition 2:  
  • Voyages in English 2006 Grade 2, Student Edition

     B)  Pennmanship:
  • Handwriting 2 for Young Catholics

    C)  Reading Skills:
  • Catholic National Reader Volume 2

     D)  Spelling/Reading Skills:
  • Explode the Code Book 5
  • Explode the Code Book 6

  • Minimum Repertoire of Plain Chant

8.  MATHEMATICS:  Mathematics G
  • Math U See Gamma : Student Kit
  • Math U See Gamma : Teacher Pack
  • Starter Set 1 (Manipulatives)
  • Skip Count and Addition Facts CD and Book
  • Math in a Flash Multiplication flashcards

1.  RELIGION:  Religion 1
  • Faith and Life 1: Our Heavenly Father

     A)    Grammar/Composition 1
  • Voyages in English 2006 Grade 1, Student Edition

     B)  Pennmanship:
  • Handwriting Without Tears 2 : Printing Power
  • Handwriting Without Tears : 2nd Grade Printing Teacher Guide
  • Handwriting Without Tears : Slate Chalkboard

     C) Reading/Spelling Skills
  • Little Angel Readers Set A-D : Readers, Workbooks, and Teacher’s Manual

3.  MATHEMATICS:  Mathematics B
  • Math U See Beta : Student Kit
  • Math U See Beta : Teacher Pack
  • Starter Set 1 (Manipulatives)
  • Skip Count and Addition Facts CD and Book
  • Math in a Flash Addition flashcards

For the little ones ages two (2) and four (4), we are going to use a new curriculum (which I will also be reviewing):

by Sarah V. Park (Hillside Education)

In this creative curriculum, you'll find easy-to-use activities to introduce your preschooler to the alphabet. For each letter, Sarah has provided:
1) Saint of the Week suggestions
2) Virtue and Scripture verse,
3) Crafts & Activities,
4) Collage ideas,
5) Picture Book lists, and
6) Recipes.
Tot School
For our two year old we will also use a little of the Preschool curriculum above but mostly Montessori Activities: Puzzles, board books, hands on activities!

Three Simple Strategies on Funding this Approach:
The Classical Liberal Arts approach *can* be pricey and when I posted our curriculum selection, that was one of my friends pointed out.  I will be taking advice from veteran homeschool moms whom have been using this approach in the past.  

1)  Use your local public library:  You *can* buy all the books and build your library but if you don't have the money to do that, you can always use your local library system and supplement your curriculum (this just requires more planning on your part ahead of time).  

2)  Buy your curriculum by Semester:  Plan your lessons ahead of time by semesters and months.  Look up what you need and budget yourself so that you purchase it in two parts.  Semester One would be ordered in the Summer and Semester Two books would be ordered in the Winter (December)

3)  When possible, buy used:  There are so many ways (when allowed by the publisher) to buy books and textbooks used.  You can do this by either asking locals in your area if anyone happens to either be selling a book or have one sitting on their shelf without being use (who knows maybe they might even loan it to you, if they know you and would like to do it?).  Another method is to look online.  Here are three places I search for used curriculum:
     A)  CathSwap (on Yahoo Groups)
     B)  Catholic Swap/Chat (on Facebook)


  1. I am wondering if you still use St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what led your family in a different direction? I'm having such a hard time finding any reviews of them to get a better grasp. I really like the idea of putting certain subjects together for multiple grade levels, and having some of the learning be less hard core text.

  2. @Renee: We never ended up with them mainly because I had to register all the children with them and I didn't want to do that. I wanted to be able to run this curriculum and grade everything myself and keep my own records. So really, this is the only reason I never went with them in the end. Instead, we use Our Lady of Victory for our spine and then I change it up a bit as I need. With them, you can just purchase their lesson plans without having to enroll the children. :) Their approach is wonderful, if you can afford it, I say do it! ;)