Catholic Heritage vs. Seton vs. MODG - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 01-15-2010, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My oldest will start kindergarten next fall. I'm not one to make hasty decisions so I've been researching my options now. I'm looking for opinions from people who have used any of these curricula.

First...my early childhood philosophy is more of an "un-preschooling" philosophy, so to speak. I do intend to be somewhat structured from k and above but I think kindergarten should still be fairly light on academics. If I were to send my kids to traditional school, I'd be looking for a half day kindergarten.

Right now I'm leaning toward CHC (Catholic Heritage Curricula). I already have the preschool/kindergarten lesson plans and a few of the books. My biggest concern is that it will be *too* easy and laid back for my ds, especially the language arts. Also, the lesson plans only include language arts, math and religion, so if I want to do any other subjects I'd have to come up with the lessons myself. I don't think it would be a big deal for me once I have a few years under my belt but as a newbie I'm wanting a little hand-holding, so to speak.

With Seton my two options are to 1.) buy the materials but come up with the lesson plans myself (which again, I'm feeling like right now I need help with having lesson plans laid out for me, even if I don't follow them completely), or 2.) enroll in the program to get the lesson plans, but then I'm accountable to them. I'd give up some flexibility and also have more work to do (submitting things for grading, ect.)

I've also been reading a little about classical education and like some of the concepts. I don't feel completely drawn to it though, mostly because it seems a little overwhelming to me. I also like the idea of literature-based curriculum. I've looked at Sonlight but to be honest my biggest concern, other than the cost, is that it would be too much reading for *me*. MODG (Mother of Divine Grace) seems to be more literature based than CHC or Seton, and they allow you to purchase the lesson plans without enrolling in their program. So I was thinking that maybe I could go with CHC for the basics (religion, math and language arts) and then using MODG for some of the supplementary material.

Thanks if you have read this far, lol. I'm trying to work this all out in my head and would appreciate any input. Thanks!

Mom to DS March '05 and : DD Feb. '08
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#2 of 10 Old 01-16-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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I've used some of each curriculum but not wholey any... My experience is that CHC "gentle" means a year or 2 behind average curricula. We enjoy their Little lessons for little folks as part of our religion activities. Just to add an example.. my dd is 2d grade. The Grammar workbook had her practicing putting a period at the end of a sentence. Even she said, "really?"... so we dropped it. Science was even worse...

I've been hesitant to use Seton based upon some other's opinions that it's too demanding. Though we are using their Science 2 and really enjoy it. We just have the book, not lesson plans. We read a chapter, pull some books from the library to compliment it and do an experiment. Not sure what the actual lesson plans would do. Also as a note the folks that thought Seton was too demanding went to CHC and love it! So I guess it's more what fits for your family.

We make our hsing decision yr to yr so I need my kids to be close to grade level for re-entry if necessary. That's why it's such a weight in our decision - your priorities may vary.

We currently follow Well Trained Mind and I think MODG might make the planning easier for me next year when hopefully I start back to school myself. I hear from more experienced mothers that MODG is great for large families due to their flat fee and the volume of reporting. They say it's the same academic workload for students but less paperwork reporting than Seton for parents. And still on grade level.

Hope this helps, though I'm certainly no expert... I rely heavily on the fab mothers in our TORCH group. Do you have one close by? Then you could really peek at the materials too...

Librarian & mommy to my jog.gif(2002) & jammin.gif (2005) married to superhero.gifsince 1999
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#3 of 10 Old 01-17-2010, 10:16 PM
 
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I agree with the pp on CHC, we've used it for the summer to help our boys for prek/k. However, I don't think that would choose it for older kids. Although I think that's more personal taste than anything. Different programs click with different families & styles, kwim?

Have you looked at Kolbe Academy's homeschool program? It's another good program out there, not as much required as Seton & you can purchase lesson plans without being enrolled like MODG. Another good one is Angelicum Academy--you can also just purchase their lesson plans & books without being enrolled.

As it looks like we'll be moving to HS year round now we are trying to decide right now as well. I think we are leaning toward Kolbe or MODG for most of our what we'd need, but am not sure. We have a little bit more time to decide. I had thought more about Seton before, but we really don't need as much support given I teach university & have more than enough experience in teaching all ages (I was also a sub teacher of younger children), combined with Hubby's knowledge & background we don't require all the checks/balances of Seton.

--lots of love from one busy momma of 4 & loving wife of 1--
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#4 of 10 Old 01-17-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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I've used a little of all of them but never the whole curriculum from either. We currently use Sonlight for history, Seton for religious ed/phonics and another charlotte mason inspired for science. We fill in other areas with other workbooks/books/projects. I guess you can say we are "eclectic"

the one thing that has disappointed me with Seton per say is the quality of the books themselves. The text and pictures are great however my books were literally falling apart from the binding straight out of the box. When I contacted seton about it they were no help and these were textbooks which should be constructed better than say the workbooks. I was planning on keeping them to use down the line but Im am pretty much taken to taking the book apart punching holes in it and putting it in a binder. As far as their lesson plans. With the their books the table of contents is divided very easily (at least from the books we have ordered). For example the table of contents is divided and could be used easily as a 4 day program. I guess a schedule more less

lesson 1-1 sound of m (this would be week 1)
lesson 1-2 sound of a
lesson 1-3 sound of d
lesson 1-4 sound of g

lesson 2-1 sound of....... (this would start week 2)

So I basically just do a lesson a day and it would take 36 wks to complete. I *think* they have all their work divided into 36 wk school year.

I do like the simplicity of the text in the religous ed books as they have nice text that is easy for my children to understand a subject.
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#5 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the great feedback!

No, there isn't a TORCH group in my area, but we do have a local Catholic homeschooling group which I intend to join as soon as I am eligible. In order to join I need to be currently homeschooling at least one child age 5 or older. My oldest will be 5 in March and will start doing kindergarten in the fall so I can't join the group until the end of this school year (June).

I'm looking forward to attending a Catholic homeschooling conference that will be held at a local seminary in May. I believe there will be some curriculum providers there and I think there's going to be a curriculum fair in my area in April. Sooo...eventually I'll get to take a look at some of the material.

I did look at the Kolbe Academy website several months ago when I started looking at curriculum options. I emailed them with a few questions and never got a response. I do see that they recently changed their website. I see that the lesson plans are sold separately for each subject...and wow, they are pricey, lol.

I haven't really looked at Anglicum but thanks for the suggestion...I will check them out.

I do think that I will end up being somewhat eclectic. It's just overwhelming to be trying to find the right fit for us without having started yet.

Mom to DS March '05 and : DD Feb. '08
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#6 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 11:56 AM
 
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Just wanted to pass on a good site that is a one stop shop for all things related to Catholic Homeschooling. It has a ton of resources, it can be really helpful when trying to figure out what *fits*/*clicks* for you & your family. http://www.catholichomeschool.org/

Also, here is an online shop that offers a lot of the books that different Catholic programs use but it's a little less expensive (some are secular books used by the programs too). http://www.acbooks.net/

And then there's this forum is for Catholic HS mommas (open to anyone but is focused on Catholic HSing). Good for getting a feel about programs & just feedback overall on figuring out the day. Even if you just do a search & read some of the older posts. http://4real.thenetsmith.com/

Can you tell that I've been obsessing over what to do for a while now

--lots of love from one busy momma of 4 & loving wife of 1--
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#7 of 10 Old 02-12-2010, 08:07 PM
 
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I will tell you what I have been doing with my 5yo and what I plan to do with her. I use the MODG as my jumping off point and then change things to suit us. First off is poetry. I follow the MODG plan, except that my dd memorizes the poems way faster so we have to jump ahead. For phonics I *hated* what MODG uses (something like learning to read in 100 easy lessons). I have used CHC LSFLF and we have really liked it. For handwriting I just bought a notebook with the lined paper in it and started off teaching dd how to make each letter. Now that she has learned all the letters I have her do copy work each day. I have her copy things like Bible verses that she has learned in her Little Flowers group, the 10 Commandments, and will likely next take Bible verses from the daily readings. For Religion I am following the MODG program which is reading from the Golden Book Bible (I think that is what it is called). For Art I am basically following the MODG program, but sometimes we change it up and do something else like homemade Valentines. For Math I didn't like the MODG suggestion so I just used the Seton K book. I have hated it, it is just a modge podge of topics. DD will be finishing it in the next week or so and then we are switching to Singapore math. We don't do the music program since we are Byzantine Catholic, so the hymns are not familiar to us. We listen to a lot of music and DD sings in Liturgy and if we watch tv it is often musicals, so she is definitely exposed. For literature we will check books out of the library and I rely heavily on their book list for suggestions.

For next year I will be following the same plan as above, except I think I will add in spelling using CHC even though MODG doesn't call for spelling until 2nd or 3rd grade. I think it is something that DD would really enjoy since she loves to write and is always having to ask how to spell things. I am not sure what I will do for handwriting. Perhaps just more copywork chosen by me, or one of the CHC handwriting books. DD is definitely advanced in her writing so I am looking to start her with cursive at least by 2nd grade if not sooner. We will continue the CHC reading/phonics program and Singapore math. I am not sure what I will be doing for Religion yet because the MODG suggestion is like a FHC prep (I think) which we don't do in the Byzantine church (our kids receive all the sacraments of initiation as infants). Also, I looked at a sample and I think the first day is something like making the sign of the Cross and learning the Our Father. My kids pick that up by age 2.5 at least. My dd has been going to CCD since she was 3, so she will continue that (our church has a good program), but I will definitely be supplementing with something here at home as well.

I would shy away from Seton because it is so demanding. Everyone I know who has done it seems to drop off the face of the Earth because they are so busy trying to keep up with the curriculum. I think it takes all the fun and spontaneity out of homeschooling. They are never able to come to our monthly meeting or do any field trips. But this is just my observation, I have never used it myself.

hth,

Beth

Beth wife to Tom and mommy to Therese 11/4/04 Anna Mary 6/15/07 and Veronica 10/20/09
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#8 of 10 Old 04-16-2010, 01:01 AM
 
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Hi, We're a Seton family over here, so, I can let you know how our experience has been. At the K level, you do not have to turn in any work, attendance or tests. You have the option of turning in State Testing at the end of the year, if you want, which is included for free with the $200 tuition. . You can enter all your own grades online, as well as print weekly lesson plans online, which is very convenient. The actual curriculm for K and 1 is light. I supplement these years a great deal with CHC and the sugggestions from the book Well Trained Mind (great book, btw... if your library has it, I would start there!) but I wanted to enroll at Seton for the accredidation and record keeping. Science and History at this level are awful... do your own thing! We have a blast using Story of the World and the plans laid out in the Well Trained Mind. As my children have gotten older, I don't make them do EVERYTHING on the lesson plan. This is key to making Seton work. It is meant to be adaptable to your family, but some moms just try to do everything. As long as they understand the concepts and do well on the tests, I see no reason for busywork, although it is nice to have extra practice avaliable when they are struggling with a concept. We school only from 8am-12pm each day basically year round and I have not had any problem getting schoolwork done on time. They don't push reading until the end of first grade, which has been great for me with three boys who have september b-days. It is also nice when you get going with lots of children at once with limited spare time because they seem to pick up reading much faster when they are older. Hope this helps!

Stacy Homeschooling Mom to 6
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#9 of 10 Old 04-27-2010, 06:57 PM
 
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I know it's probably been a little while since anyone posted on here. I have looked at all those schools- used some of Seton, Kolbe, CHC, etc. I think Seton and Kolbe are going to be more structured (and demanding), though Kolbe is extremely flexible, and if you are enrolling I don't think they really are any worse price-wise than the others. It mislead me at first. High school grades are probably a different story, but that may be true for all of them. I only have an eight year old and an eleven year old that have been out of "real" school for a couple years now, so I have minimal experience.
Recently, I enrolled the kids in a couple of classes at CLAA (Classical Liberal Arts Academy). Just google it and you should be able to find it easily, if interested. I am pretty unschoolish, though, so maybe I'm not being fair to Seton.
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#10 of 10 Old 05-03-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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My oldest is eight now and we are just finishing second grade.
For K and 1st we used Kolbe complete with enrolling in the program and receiving lesson plans. This year we used the Kolbe books but did not enroll since I did not care for all of the reporting and really there was not much feedback, but, my son really breezed through the work too. It is pretty light for K and we really enjoyed their K program. This year I did a little bit of everything and it went well. I have always been on the fence about switching to Seton and do have some friends who use Seton. I have heard from others who have not started from the beginning that the program is intense, but, I believe as with Kolbe you can really do what you want and tailor it to your child's needs. I have many times spoken with counselors from Seton and they are very accommodating and helpful as are the ones from Kolbe. The prices between Kolbe and Seton are really the same as Seton's program includes all of the books and a CAT too. The only things I really did not care for with Kolbe were the reading materials for 1st and 2nd and MCP math. We switched to Saxon which we purchased from Seton and my son really flew through math this year and it was a great switch for him.

Hope that helps a bit.

Ann-Marie
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