by | Dec 29, 2022

Our 2023 Book Sale

I’ve been stalling on having another annual book sale since we moved in 2018… It’s hard to believe that we have been in our new home for nearly 5 years now! On top of still having a few boxes of books that were never unpacked due to lack of shelves, plus the annual new school year additions, I am really starting to feel the effect of not doing our yearly cull. There are books stashed everywhere!

I finally had a free afternoon to take pictures for another book sale! (I had the extra motivation of an earlier than usual ski lesson bill coming up, after just paying this semester’s college tuition!) If you are interested in purchasing any of the items in this post, please leave a comment listing the books you would like, along with your email address. (The email address box is part of the comment form here at Shower of Roses and it won’t be displayed publicly.) I will send you a private email with your total, including shipping.

Once payment is recieved, I will ship your books via USPS media mail which usually takes 7-14 days. Shipping will be added to your order by actual weight/media mail cost with a minimum shipping of $5.00. If you are local let me know and I am happy to arrange a time for pick up!

Please only request items that you intend to purchase and are able to submit payment for promptly. I can accept Paypal or Venmo. Comments are moderated, but I will do my best to approve/publish them as quickly as possible and update the post with “sales pending.” If multiple visitors request the same book it will be sold to the first request. I’m also open to reasonable offers on any of the books listed and will probably drop the prices on anything that is left at the end of the sale. Thank you!

Note: Most links are affiliate links.

  • Saxon Math 1 Teacher’s Edition (with Saxon Math 1 Student Workbook Part Two) – $15.00  (sold)
  • Saxon Math 3 Teacher’s Edition – $15.00
  • Saxon Math 5/4 Solutions Manual, cover is falling off – $2.00 
  • Saxon Calculus, ISBN 156577146X – $15.00
  • Saxon Physics, ISBN 1565770056 – $15.00
  • Saxon Math Two Home Study Kit including Teachers Edition, Two Workbooks and Meeting Book (NEW), (Retails for $144.95 on sale at Rainbow Resource) – $50.00 or best offer (sold)
  • Fix It! Grammar Robin Hood Teacher’s Manual Book 2, 3rd edition, missing cover -$2.00
  • Fix It! Grammr Little Mermaid Teacher’s Manual Book 4, 3rd edition, $5.00 (sold)
  • Fix It! Grammar Chanticleer Student Book 5, 3rd edition, New, $8.00 (sold)
  • Fix It! Grammar Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Student Book 6, 3rd edition, New, $8.00
  • The Elegant Essay Teacher’s Manual and Student book, duplicate set, Teacher’s cover creased, Asking $25.00 for the set (sold)
  • Kolbe Academy Study Guides – All in like new condition:
  • The Merchant of Venice Study Guide Set Teacher Book and Student Book, Asking $4.00
  • Wuthering Heights Study Guide Set Teacher Book and Student Book, Asking $4.00
  • Oliver Twist Study Guide Set Teacher Book and Student Book, Asking $4.00
  • Out of the Silent Planet Study Guide Set Teacher Book and Student Book, Asking $4.00
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Guide Set Teacher Book and Student Book, Asking $4.00
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Study Guide Only, Asking $2.00
  • Human Generis Study Guide, Asking $2.00

Small Hardcover American Girl Books – $3.00 each or all 10 for $25.00 (sold)

Paperback American Girl Books – $2.00 each or all 5 for $8.00

These are also all in new/like new condition:

These are all in new condition, duplicates of books we own:

All in new condition, most were sent to my by publishers:

A few books from the boys time at Christendom:

I think these are mostly books from Christendom as well.

Please leave a comment, or email me directly, if you have any questions. 

Thanks for taking a look!

College Bound: Thomas Aquinas College

Last December I shared our curriculum for the year, a little bit about how we have homeschooled for high school, and the current plans we had for our latest high school senior to graduate with enough credits to finish an AA in just one more semester after graduation… A month later, to the day actually, those plans changed.

Our daughter asked if she could just graduate a semester early (at that point she already had fulfilled all the requirements and had more than enough credits to graduate with the Magna Cum Laude diploma from Kolbe Academy), drop her spring classes (no point since TAC doesn’t accept any transfer credits), get a job (she has LOVED working as a receptionist for our favorite orthopedic surgeon this year), and apply to Thomas Aquinas College.

When she decided to apply in January I told her it was going to be a long shot… It was getting late for fall applications, she had dropped math her junior year after completing Algebra II (she had finished her high school requirements and it wasn’t necessary for the online degree she had been working towards – my own SAT math scores were part of the reason I wasn’t accepted to TAC years ago), and she also hadn’t done any college test prep since her Freshman year of high school (no need since she was already taking classes from Franciscan and Holy Apostles which were the two colleges she had been considering for the online degree)

She crammed for a week and quickly took the CLT (did amazing!), wrote her five essays (she let me read them and I was impressed), and submitted her application by mid February. She found out just two weeks later she was accepted!

The admissions office had tried to reach her but, with her new job, she hadn’t been checking emails or answering her phone. She ended up getting the news when they picked her up at the airport on March 2nd for an Open House. It had been 7 years since her first visit to the campus!

So much for my plans of her finishing her degree online and keeping our college kids closer to home in the future… I’m sure going to miss having her home but I am excited for her too. It’s also a bit of a bummer that her dual-enrollment classes won’t transfer, but I know they definitely helped prepare her for the rigorous education she’ll be receiving at Thomas Aquinas College!

I’ve honestly been in denial that she would actually decide to go… but flights are booked and her suitcases are packed! We fly her down in the morning… Please keep her in your prayers!

“Go forth without fear for thou hast a good guide for thy journey!” -Saint Clare of Assisi

On the Feast of St. John Vianney

Aug 8th is the traditional feast of St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests and confessors, and one of our youngest daughter’s patron saints! We were blessed to be able to venerate his incorrupt heart while I was pregnant with her.

I pulled out a couple picture books to read and picked up some Orecchiette to make for dinner! Orecchiette from the Italian orecchia, meaning “ear”, and -etta, meaning “small” is a variety of pasta from southern Italy. Its name comes from its shape, which resembles a small ear.

“St. John Vianney was especially known for his gift as a confessor. He drew thousands of penitents to line up, sometimes days in advance, to experience what many recalled as his ability to see into the deepest recesses of the soul. For this humble priest who was known to hear confessions for up to 16 hours a day, the ear pasta seems a fitting symbol.” – from Catholic Cuisine contributor Mary Machado

You can find my August book list here which includes many books about St. John Vianney. I especially love John Mary Vianney: The Holy Cure of Ars and A Story of Saint John Vianney (also available from TAN).

Prayer for Priests by St. John Vianney

God, please give to your Church today many more priests after your own heart. May they be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd. May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining models of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments. May their loving devotion to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary his Mother be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry. Amen. 

St. John Vianney, pray for us!

My Name is Philomena {Review + Giveaway}

The lives of the saints point us to God.

Can you persevere in faith? Do you have the hope of the saints?

The children’s story of St. Philomena is recaptured here in “My Name is Philomena”, highlighting her examples of heroic virtue.

By reading this story, it challenges all Christians, boys and girls alike, to follow the example of St. Philomena’s perseverance and her longstanding trust and hope in God.

St. John Vianney’s strong devotion to St. Philomena testifies that even the patron saint of parish priests can rely on her intercession.

Do you have what it takes to imitate Philomena?; to be a true and loyal companion of God?

The life and example of St. Philomena, thoroughly captured in this story, is sure to point us in the virtuous path that leads us to God. Don’t miss this opportunity!

My Name is Philomena can be ordered directly from TAN Books or from Amazon here.

“My children, Saint Philomena has great power with God, and she has, moreover, a kind heart; let us pray to her with confidence. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom have rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us.” – St. John Vianney (THE CURE D’ARS)

To celebrate the feast of St. John Vianney (August 4th on the new calendar and coming up on August 8th on the traditional calendar -one of our daughter’s patron saints!) who loved St. Philomena very much (and built an altar for her which is still in Ars today!) and the upcoming feast of St. Philomena (August 11th- another daughter’s confirmation saint!) I get to giveaway a couple copies of this beautiful new picture written by Fr. Peregrine Fletcher and published by TAN Books.

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment on this post. (Shipping to continental USA only.) The giveaway will close at 11:59PM EST time on August 7th, 2023 and the winner will be announced on August 8th. You can enter for a second chance to win over at Instagram.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Amanda! Please check your email and get back to me with your shipping address. 🙂

St. Philomena, ora pro nobis!

Requiescat in Pace: Fr. Terrence Gordon, FSSP

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with love, cards, texts and messages and most importantly prayers for the soul of my brother-in-law and for the whole Gordon family. We are so very grateful! For those who haven’t yet heard, my husband’s brother passed away at the end of April. Father Terrence was the third of the five Gordon siblings, just two year’s older than my husband Sean. It was such a heart-wrenching shock to receive the news of his sudden and unexpected death while we were in North Dakota the night before our oldest two sons graduation from the University of Mary… I apologize for my silence here on the blog and social media… I tried to start a post a number of times but it was just too hard to type the words… It still feels hard to believe. We will miss him so much.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. And let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

My husband wrote the following for the funeral home. You can also find the FSSP’s post here.

The Rev. Terrence Patrick Gerard Gordon, FSSP, 52, passed away unexpectedly Friday evening April 28, 2023 from a heart attack. His brother Father James Gordon was with him and administered Last Rites. Father Terrence was assigned alongside his brother at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Father Terrence was born on March 17, 1971 in Nogales, Arizona to James Patrick and Beatrice Luz (Tena) Gordon. He attended Salpointe Catholic High School (1989), Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland (1994) with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. He served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps in the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, attaining the rank of Captain. He was an Anti-Air Warfare Officer, earned the Airborne Parachutist Wings and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. He served at the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point, North Carolina and the Marine Corps Base in Okinawa, Japan.

Father Terrence was ordained a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter on June 3, 2006. Representing Our Lord as a priest was his definitive calling and upon his ordination, he immediately flourished and throve in generously emptying himself for the people he served. His priestly assignments included St. John the Baptist, Little Rock, Arkansas; Immaculate Conception Church, Omaha, Nebraska; Mater Dei Catholic Parish, Dallas, Texas; St. Joseph’s Parish, Richmond, Virginia; and Immaculate Conception Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Father Terrence brought the joyful light of Christ to people’s souls as a humble servant of God. Throughout his priesthood he was known for his holiness, humility, kindness, and spiritual depth. He never wavered from God’s Eternal Truths and held us all to this higher standard, not for his benefit, but for ours and for God’s glory. The greatness by which he will be remembered wasn’t achieved in human superiority, but rather in the humility of Christ, which we are all called to follow.

Father Terrence was preceded in death by his parents James (1934-2017) and Beatrice (1937-2019) and is survived by his sister Melissa (Gordon) Steenson (Thomas) and his brothers Rev. James Gordon, FSSP, Sean Gordon (Jessica), and Rev. Dennis Gordon, FSSP; many Gordon and Steenson nieces and nephews; and many faithful parishioners whom he served devotedly across the country.

A Rosary and viewing will be held Monday, May 8, 2023, 9:00 AM at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Colorado Springs, Colorado, followed by a Solemn Requiem Mass at 10:00 AM, also at the cathedral. Reception will follow in the cathedral hall. 

On the day of burial, a viewing will be held Thursday, May 11, 2023, 1:00 PM at Immaculate Conception Church in Omaha, Nebraska, followed by a second Solemn Requiem Mass at 2:00 PM, also at Immaculate Conception. Interment will follow at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Denton, Nebraska.

“The Lord led the just man through the right ways, and showed him the kingdom of God, and gave him the knowledge of holy things; He made him honorable in his labors, and has finished his labors.”

– Chapter from the Office of None on April 28, 2023

October 2, 1999 – The Gordon Family before mine and Sean’s wedding at Sacred Heart in Southern Oregon. Pictured on the bottom left, Fr. Terrence was a first year seminarian at the time and still able to be one of our groomsmen.

June 4, 2006 – The Gordon Family at Carmel following Fr. Terrence Gordon’s first Holy Mass.

July 27, 2021 – All the cousins together one last time before my niece Miriam (now Sr. Lucia) entered the Carmel of Jesus Mary and Joseph. This photo was taken just before Fr. Terrence returned to his parish in Colorado Springs so that Fr. James Gordon (not pictured) could come up to North Idaho and join us for the rest of the visit.

I’ll be back with more pictures to share and updates from the rest of this year.

Thank you all again for your prayers! May God reward you!

A Christmas Carol {Book Review}

Last December St. Nicholas gave one of our daughters an illustrated edition of The Christmas Carol and the Charles Dickens Tribute Lego Set (which was a gift with purchase awhile back). I asked this Dicken’s lover of ours if she would write a review for you all! 
A Christmas Carol Book Review 
by Clare Gordon

Christmas is a time of magic! It’s the day the Light of the World filled the void darkness we humans had thrown ourselves into through sin. Our Lord shines through the night, not just spreading light, but dispelling darkness all at once; taking away, as He fills. Both Christmas celebrations and mindsets has greatly altered through the years, but one thing has remained from in the stable to under the Christmas Tree; hope. Christmas brings hope of redemption for our souls by giving us a Savior, who will open the gates of Heaven and give us Eternal Life, all of us Eternal Life! Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol gives us an example of this hope.

Ebenezer Scrooge, a real Mr. Potter, is a greedy, selfish, cruel man, who cares for no one but himself. He cheats workers of their money and doesn’t even use the wealth he has. Money is his only security. He has shut out his adopted family, he broke the heart of his beautiful, kind fiancé, and he lacks any sort of religion. Money fills his whole life. He has no one and nothing to turn to, save the “almighty dollar.” But there is hope even for him. Every human is made in the image and likeness of God and, even the most miserable of wretches, can reinvigorate his or her hurting, feeble soul. Be a good Nephew Fred and always reach out to those in need around you or help instruct those who are ignorant like the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future.

A Christmas Carol is one of the most wholesome works of Christmas fiction that has ever been written. It is family friendly and a great read aloud, especially Palazzo’s edition (illustrated by Robert Ingpen). This edition is very easy to read and has illustrations on nearly every page to keep the little ones entertained. By reading it aloud, you can have some great family time around the tree, in front of the fire, on a cold dark winter’s night. But, though Christmas is the theme, the message is for all year round and can be enjoyed whenever!

And, if you’re a fan of the book, the Charles Dickens Tribute Lego Set is a great start to your Christmas Carol merchandise collection and is super cute! It’s perfect decoration for a bookshelf and desk. Me, being a pretty big Charles Dickens fan, love it when a big corporation like Lego brings such a traditional work of literature to their magazines in the form of a book instead of a TV screen!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
 I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future.” 
– Ebenezer Scrooge, ‘A Christmas Carol’

Beloved Son: Joseph and Jesus {Book Review}

Catholic author Maura McKeegan once again invites readers to explore the biblical prefigurements of Christ. Maura brings biblical academic scholarship and research to an enjoyable and understandable level for any reader. Here, we explore Old Testament Joseph the shepherd as a prefigurement of Christ, the Good Shepherd and see how indeed God weaves with a golden thread. Do not miss this experience!

This is one of the books in our 2022 Advent Book Basket!
I’m giving away another copy over on Instagram!  Click over if you’d like to enter. 
Ends 12/19/2022 at 11:59PM PST. 

The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the “O Antiphons” on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.

The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat. 

(Picture from a past Advent Season) 

The “treats” have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn’t need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

In case you are looking for some inspiration, I’ve listed some of the treats I’ve given my family over the years (along with my picks for this year)… Special food ideas, activities and gifts (or you can simply decorate chocolate coins!) for each of the O Antiphons can be found below. 

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package including seven Cookie Stamps, one to represent each of the seven O Antiphons!  Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: December 17th – O Sapientia (O Wisdom) :.
Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. 
Coffee from Patris Roasting Co. would be perfect to pair with a book! (I first mentioned this coffee in this post – it’s now available to purchase! Save 5% with coupon code FRIENDS)
O Wisdom Ideas from Over the Years:

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

.: December 18th – O Adonai (O Lord) :.
“Burning bush…” or maybe a bonfire!  Perfect evening to pray the family rosary around the bonfire and maybe roast some marshmallows afterwards! 

In the past we would always emphasize the word “house” in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas or New Year’s Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses. 

O Adonai Ideas from Over the Years:

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

.: December 19th – O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) :.
Our 2022 Family Ornament will be wrapped up for the 19th!
O Root of Jesse Ideas from Over the Years:
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

.: December 20th – O Clavis David (O Key of David) :.
The boys arrive home from college on the 20th this year!!! 
As St. Padre Pio, said: “Prayer is the best weapon we have. It is a key opening God’s Heart.”  
We are planning to take our children to Mass or Adoration and then pick up a Key Lime Pie from Birdie’s Pie Shop to enjoy after dinner with some Sparkling Cider! 
O Key of David Ideas from Over the Years:
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
.: December 21st – O Oriens (O Dayspring) :.
We’ll once again make hot cocoa, and we’ll pile in the car (or two!) to go look at Christmas lights downtown weather permitting! I might give them their Christmas PJ’s (purchased last Jan on clearance or save them for Christmas Eve depending on whether we plan to go to Midnight Mass or Mass at Dawn). 
O Dayspring Ideas from Over the Years:
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
.: December 22nd – O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) :.
O King Ideas from Over the Years: (many are perfect for Epiphany too) 
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! 
O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

.: December 23rd – O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) :.

Once again we’ll bake our Christmas Cookies, fill a box/basket to take to Carmel, and maybe even pull out another Christmas puzzle (from our now large collection) to get started on!

O Emmanuel Ideas from Over the Years:
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!


Win a Set of Cookie Stamps

Here are the cookie stamps I picked out to go along with each of the O Antiphons.
The winner will receive one of each!

Wisdom: #460 – Triune God
House: #214 – Home Sweet Home
Root of Jesse: #520 – Willow Tree
Key of David: #543 – Key to My Heart
Dayspring: #291 – Moravian Star
King: #448 – Norwegian Wedding Crown
Emmanuel: #368 – Nativity

(7 cookie stamps with recipe booklet @ $12.99 ea = $90.93 value)

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 
Once again, send me an email if it doesn’t work for you and I’ll add you manually! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read more about our family’s traditions here:

Rorate Caeli Mass in Honor of Our Lady

Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum, 
aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, 
and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened 
and bud forth a Saviour.
– first words of the Introit from Isaiah 45:8
“The Rorate Caeli Mass is a traditional Advent devotion wherein the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary for Advent is offered just before dawn…

…The Rorate Mass is lit only by candlelight. Because it is a votive Mass in Mary’s honor, white vestments are worn instead of Advent violet. In the dimly lit setting, priests and faithful prepare to honor the Light of the world, Who is soon to be born, and offer praise to God for the gift of Our Lady. As the Mass proceeds and sunrise approaches, the church becomes progressively brighter, illumined by the sun as our Faith is illumined by Christ.” FSSP

We braved the falling snow (fishtailing only once on the drive home!) and made it to the beautiful and inspiring Rorate Caeli Mass at our parish early this morning. Perfect way to start the day and pray for some special intentions! Deo Gratias

Our 2022-2023 Curriculum {And How We Homeschool High School}

We are wrapping up our first semester of this school year! At the beginning of the year I promised that I would share our curriculum this year and I’m finally getting a chance to finish up this post… This year we have a 12th grader, 9th grader, 7th grader, 5th grader, Kindergartner and Pre-schooler!

Pictured above:  Rose Floral Clipboard, Homemade Checklists, an outdated Teacher Lesson Planner (I didn’t use it much last year so I’m re-dating some of the weeks to use this year instead), and a beautiful 2023 Catholic Planner (I was given the planner as a review copy and love how beautifully it coordinates with my other planning tools). I haven’t started using it yet! This past year – with my right hand in a cast like brace for a few months and still not fully recovered – I’ve found myself opting for my phone calendar instead of having to write… Looking forward to using an actual planner again!

Here’s how we homeschool high school…

Before I start with the specifics I want to share a little more about how we have been homeschooling for high school. That seems to be what I’ve been getting the most questions about! It’s always nice to have someone share what’s worked for their family to help inspire you with your own… As the oldest of twelve, I was able to watch how my mom homeschooled all of my siblings (over many years with different styles/curriculums) and I have a dear friend with young adults a little older than mine who has been a huge inspiration to me. Maybe hearing what we’ve done will help you figure out what is best for your family!

Like my youngest two brothers (who are now 26 and 28 – our oldest son is four years younger than my youngest brother!) I’ve enrolled our first four children with Kolbe Academy for high school. It was mainly for the paperwork/transcript side of things in case our teens decided to pursue college sports like my brothers. I have loved the flexibility offered by Kolbe and that we can continue tailoring our curriculum to our family’s preferences and our students’ needs. I submit graded samples twice a year and they keep all the necessary records for the transcripts. So far we have had three Kolbe Academy graduates and will have a fourth this upcoming spring!

We actually decided not to enroll our new high schooler this year due to the extra cost… With the cost of everything going up (and our grocery and gas bills skyrocketing) I opted to put our limited homeschooling funds towards a few live high-school classes and some dual-enrollment college courses instead of the enrollment fees. (Thankfully we live in a state that gives parents total freedom over home educating, and doesn’t have a set curriculum that must be followed, so I don’t need enrollment for any of those reasons.)

My hope is that our current freshman will actually graduate with (or very close to) an Associate’s degree by the end of his four years of high school so I’m not as worried about having that official high school diploma this time around.

Kolbe no longer has it on their website, but our first four high schoolers all worked towards Kolbe’s old Magna Cum Laude Diploma.  The courses I’ve chosen to complete the requirements prepared them all well for college.

*Kolbe’s current options are a little different, it looks like they are no longer requiring that extra year of English/Literature (my kids all completed at least 10 semesters) and Foreign Language (now it’s two years instead of three). Here is their current college preparatory recommended track.

NOTE: Any one semester college course counts as a full YEAR of high school credit. For example this school year our daughter is taking 4 college classes in the fall and 4 in the spring. This will equal 8 high school credits on her high school transcript (as well as 24 college credits).  The college classes are taught at a much faster pace than a typical high school course.

Here’s an overview to give you an idea of how I plan high school courses for our students and minimum graduation requirements for each subject:

Theology – 4 credits

Our current senior completed the first three and then took Christian Moral Principles from FUS. She is actually planning to get an AA in Theology from Franciscan and will be taking more Theology this upcoming semester and next school year.

Our current “freshman” has already completed Understanding the Scripture and Intro to Catholicism so this year he is taking Apologetics as you’ll see below.

English & Literature – 5 credits (including at least 2 credits of Literature) 

Pretty sure our kids have all exceeded this requirement, taking both English and Literature courses most years. We use Institute for Excellence in Writing for English and a few Homeschool Connections and/or Lukeion live courses for Literature. My current college students have told me that IEW’s The Elegant Essay was especially helpful for college. You can find my IEW page here!

History – 3 credits (World History, US History, History Elective)

Our students have typically completed the three years of history and followed it with Government and Economics their senior year. Our current senior is the first to take history as a dual-enrollment class and has really enjoyed the course!

Mathematics – 3 credits (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II or higher)

Our second son completed Advanced Math his senior year. The girls opted to finish with Algebra II. One daughter finished with Foundations in Personal Finance her senior year. Our current Freshman is already working through Algebra II and I plan to put him in dual-credit Pre-Calc/Calc classes etc as soon as he is old enough. One son got his Geometry credit by working through Saxon Algebra I, II and Advanced Math.  Another son and one daughter completed Teaching Textbooks Geometry on top of Saxon Algebra I and II, and one daughter completed Jacob’s Geometry in addition to Saxon Algebra I and II. As you can see it has varied depending on the student.

Science – 3 credits (Biology +Lab, Chemistry +Lab, and a Physical Science)

We have used Taylor Science  for high school biology and chemistry for our older students. I prefer having two siblings take it together when possible so they can work through the experiments at the same time. It was nice having the older boys go through high school science together and then the older two girls. It’s harder now that we have bigger age gaps with the younger ones.

Foreign Language – 3 credits (2 credits must be in the same language)

We now start with a Grammar Intensive in 8th grade, followed by Latin online with The Lukeion Project. We’ve had four students take Latin from Dr. Sue Fisher and we love her so much! Charlotte was the one to introduce us to Lukeion and the live classes my high schoolers have taken have all been excellent.

For students with auditory processing challenges/dyslexia, ASL is an excellent foreign language option.

Our first completed 1 year Latin, followed by 2 years ASL.

Our second completed 4 years of Latin.

Our third LOVES ASL so she also choose to take it on top of Latin.

Our fourth completed 2 years Latin + 2 years college Spanish (6 high school credits all together since each semester of college counts as a year of high school credit)

Our fifth is taking his first year of Latin now.

To quote Lukeion: “There are many programs now available for younger students. In our experience, however, these programs demand a lot of busy work but deliver very little in the way of learning the functional nuts-and-bolts of Classical languages. Students are not generally prepared to master these languages until they have reached the logic stage. You will accomplish much more in a fraction of the time if you wait until your student is 12 to 15 before you start formal instruction in Latin and Greek. Better still, waiting to start these logic based languages may mean your student will enjoy them more.”

I’ve found this to be true and no longer attempt to teach Foreign Language to my younger students. It’s just not worth the effort, time and frustration.

Academic Electives – 2 credits (we have always exceeded this requirement) 

This is usually additional Math, English, Literature, Philosophy, and Government/Economics – lots of options! Academic areas only.

Visual/Performing Arts – 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 

Choir, drama, art, music lessons, etc

Physical Education – 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 

Our high schoolers have all participated in our local public school(s) sports.

  • Captain- Varsity Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Ranger – Varisty Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Junior Varsity Basketball (1 year), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Twinkle Toes – Varsity Golf (4 years), Varisty Soccer (1 year), Ski Lessons
  • Chiquita – Varsity Golf (1 year), Ski Lessons (both girls were in Irish Dance for awhile too)
  • Scout – Junior Varsity Golf (just completed his first year), Hockey, Ski Lessons

We’ve been grateful that we live in areas (both in Southern Oregon and North Idaho) that allow homeschoolers to take advantage of the public school sports programs.  It’s usually right around $100 for the season (when else can you golf nearly daily for a 2-3 months for so affordably?!) and thankfully the hockey and ski options here are fairly affordable too.

Home School Help!

Homeschool Connections

We’re still paying the monthly fee for access to all of their recorded classes which the kids can take at their own pace. Middle School favorites have included science classes with MacBeth Derham and history classes with Philip Campbell. For high school we have loved Joseph Pearce, Gregory Pyne (Screwtape Letters), and Eleanor Bourg Nicholson’s literature classes, as well as American Sign Language.

My high schoolers can’t get the “Kolbe designation” on the non-Kolbe courses, but they still qualify for high school credit (the high school level courses do anyway, with pre-approval from Kolbe) and they have worked well for us!

This is our very first year using LIVE classes from Homeschool Connections! Our 15 year old is very excited to be taking America History from Philip Campbell and his older sisters are a bit envious that he gets to take literature live from Elenor Nicholson (they loved her recorded classes).

Franciscan University of Steubenville Fast Track (11th-12th)

I wish our oldest children would have had access to these dual-enrollment online courses! We could never make it work for them, since we didn’t like the idea of community college classes, plus they never worked with their sports schedules anyway. Our current high school senior will have completed at least her first three semesters of college (with great content/courses!) for so much less than what we are paying for our other college kids. Spring registration will open on December 15th for dual-enrollment students so her course plans for spring aren’t confirmed yet.

Holy Apostles Take Credit! Program (11th-12th)

The price for the Take Credit! Program unfortunately went up this school year… It was more affordable last year, but it’s still worth it and I just enrolled her for two more courses this upcoming spring. (Still need to pay the bill though…) I’m grateful to have dual enrollment options from faithful Catholic colleges! As I mentioned above our daughter highly recommends Rhetoric with Patrick Reilly!

Math Tutor – I really miss having a math tutor.  If we could afford to add anything right now (we’ve had way too many medical expenses and college expenses the past couple years) another math tutor would be at the top of my list.  I loved having someone (from outside our home) come once a week to review all completed lessons, the weekly test, and go over any questions and mistakes. It really helps keep my kids on track having them accountable to someone other than mom! We are managing without the help, but the middle/elementary kids are slipping a bit behind where I’d like them to be and they will most likely be finishing up in the summer (again) this next year to make up for weeks of sickness, ski days, etc…

English Editor – I also love having someone edit IEW papers for me when I can get the extra help… Right now our 9th grader emails his papers to our oldest son who is off at college and once it’s edited I send him a little payment through Venmo… I get help and he gets a little spending money at college. Win win!

Moving on!  Here is a closer took at what we are working through this school year…

.: High School :. 

I asked Chiquita to take a few pictures for me to include in the post!
Chiquita :: 12th Grade
She had the option of graduating a year early, but we decided to take advantage of dual-credit courses for her senior year to offset some of the expense of college. She’s currently enrolled in classes at Franciscan University and Holy Apostles for this school year and is on track to graduate with 45 credits, basically just one semester away from completing her AA through Catholic colleges! This girl has been so busy, working hard, and doing amazing. So proud of her!
Theology: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits)
Foundations of Catholicism (THE 101) Franciscan University, Online – Spring 2023
Sacred Scripture (SAS 101) Holy Apostles College, Online – Spring 2023  
  • Faith and Revelation ‎
  • Catechism on Scripture CCC §§ 101-141 (onlne link provided)
  • Dei Verbum (onlne link provided)
  • Interpreting the Bible in the Catholic Church (onlne link provided)
  • Verbum Domini (onlne link provided)
*This may end up changing… She is also considering Logic and Intro to Sociology. 
Philosophy:(Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits)
Philosophy of the Human Person (PHL113) – Franciscan University Online – Summer 2022
Foundations of Ethics (PHL 212) – Franciscan University, Online – Fall 2022
English/Literature:(Dual Credit: 2 High School Credit + 6 College Credits)
Epic and the Person (ENG 210) – Franciscan University, Online – Summer 2022
History: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
American History (HIS 100) – Holy Apostles College, Online – Fall 2022
Math/Economics: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
Economics (SOC 275) – Holy Apostles College, Online – Spring 23
Foreign Language: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits – 6 College Credits)
Intermediate Spanish I (SPN 201) – Franciscan University, Online – Fall 2022
Intermediate Spanish II (SPN 202) – Franciscan University, Online – Spring 2023
Fine Arts: (1/2 High School Credit)
Gregorian Chant Choir
Physical Education: (1/2 High School Credit)
High School Golf (Varsity Team)
Alpine Skiing
* I haven’t shared our curriculum from last year yet… The other college classes she completed last year included:  Human Biology, Elementary Spanish I, Elementary Spanish II and Catholic Moral Principles from Franciscan University. She also took Rhetoric from Patrick Reilly (founder of the Neumann Guide) over at Holy Apostles which has been her favorite college class to date!
Scout :: 9th Grade
Theology: (1 Credit – Apologetics / Recorded Classes with Homeschool Connections)
Confirmation Classes at our parish
Introduction to Catholic Apologetics for High School Students with Gary Michuta
Theistic Apologetics – Other Evidence for God (Miracles and Other Phenomenon) with Gary Michuta
English: (1 Credit – Introduction to English Composition I)
Literature: (1 Credit – Victorian Literature / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections)
The Nineteenth-Century Novel (Victorian Classics) – Fall 2022
The Victorian Detective (Modern, Victorian Mysteries) – Spring 2023

We’ve used the recorded courses many times in the past and we’re excited to try live courses this year!
World History: (1 Credit – American History / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections)
Early American History (1492 to 1763) with Philip Campbell

U.S. History: Revolution, Republic, and Union (1763-1865) with Philip Campbell

Mathematics: (1 Credit – Algebra 2)

Science: (1 Credit)
Introduction to Computer Science
*He’s already completed his High School Physical Science and Biology… taking a break this year to focus on Computer Science before moving on to Chemistry. 

Foreign Language: (1 Credit)
Last year he took and loved Witty Wordsmith and Barbarian Diagrammarian: Visual Grammar for the Bold and Daring in preparation for Latin I. 
Physical Education: (1 Credit)
High School Golf
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Skiing
.: Middle School :. 
Rose :: 7th Grade
St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (with Dad on Sundays & Class at SJA)
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Highway to Heaven Series Book 7/8)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets
Language Arts:
*Find my IEW page here!

Literature: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)
Anne of Green Gables, Part 1 with Emily Henry
Anne of Green Gables, Part 2 with Emily Henry
History & Geography: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)

Middle School U.S. History: Part 1 (1492-1847) with Phillip Campbell

Middle School U.S. History Part 2 (1847-1990) with Phillip Campbell
(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.)

Physical Education:
Alpine Ski Lessons
.: Elementary School:. 

Bud :: 5th Grade

Before Christ Came (Highway to Heaven Series Book 4)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets
Supplemental Readers and Additional Literature
The Best of Children’s Literature with Kevin O’Brien – Fall 2022
Here is what he has been reading this semester. 
Some were read online, linking favorite editions we own: 
Still not positive for spring semester… Considering:

A Mastery of Mysteries for Middle School with Kevin O’Brien

or maybe some American Historical Fiction.

History & Geography:
Saxon 6/5 with Solutions Manual and Tests/Worksheets
Saxon Math 6/5 Homeschool: Saxon Teacher CD ROM


(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.) 
*Might move on to TAN’s new Science books next!
Physical Education:
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Ski Lessons

Grace & Joy :: Ages 5 & 3 (Kindergarten/Pre-school)

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we really don’t need to assign grade levels, at least not until we hit high school sports. Our five year old (who turned 5 over the summer) may end up spending two years in Kindergarten. I suspect she may have some auditory processing challenges/dyslexia but we’ll see how it goes!

Seasonal Picture Books
Lots of fun learning Toys and Puzzles
Occasional Crafts and Baking with Older Siblings

Primary Arts of Language:Reading & Writing
They each have their own Phonetic Farm.
I tried starting Math Mammoth’s Little Blue Series (I really love this for 1-3 before switching to Saxon in 4th grade), but I don’t think my current 5 year old is quite ready for it yet.

Little Saints: A Catholic Pre-School Program

I’m just choosing a couple themes each month as time allows… In September we completed I Belong to God and Alphabet Fun! During October we moved on to Colors/Guardian Angels and Fall is Here! For November it was Number Fun and Thanksgiving.  This month I’m taking a break from Little Saints and we are focusing on Advent – reading books, bible stories to go along with the Jesse Tree, and celebrating all our favorite feast days. I’ve used parts of this curriculum enough times to know that’ll I’ll most likely never complete it in full, but I enjoy using some of the themes as inspiration and a starting point for themes for my little ones! 

“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery– the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.” – The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223

Our Family

Sean & Jessica, Captain-23, Ranger-21, Twinkle Toes-19, Chiquita-18, Snuggles-16, Rose-13, Bud-11, Grace-6 and Joy-4 (blog nicknames)

A Little About Me

Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

My Other Blog: Catholic Cuisine

Please Visit My Sponsors…

This Week's Popular Posts

Shower of Roses Affiliate Links

All About Spelling
All About Reading
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Our Advent & Christmas Books

Shower of Roses Christmas Gift Guides

Looking for Something?

Looking Back

  • 2023 (5)
  • 2022 (48)
  • 2021 (48)
  • 2020 (57)
  • 2019 (61)
  • 2018 (89)
  • 2017 (128)
  • 2016 (148)
  • 2015 (172)
  • 2014 (227)
  • 2013 (238)
  • 2012 (308)
  • 2011 (297)
  • 2010 (313)
  • 2009 (486)
  • 2008 (564)
  • 2007 (148)