Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

Catholic homeschooling post-secondary options in Ohio

Originally posted March 15, 2017.

The big news in the Catholic homeschool world last year was that Homeschool Connections has partnered with Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH to offer a post-secondary option to junior and senior high school students. Kimberly Hahn was even the spokesperson for it on Youtube. 

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I have used Homeschool Connections in the past and was even an affiliate for a few years (until they unceremoniously ended that program and didn't pay the commissions - which is still a sore spot with me). Some of my children really enjoyed being a part of the subscription program and listening to pre-recorded classes. I listened to a few of them and found them to be educational, engaging and worthwhile. I particularly enjoyed the apologetics course two of my sons did. We also enrolled in some of the literature courses.

Overall, I would say that for two of my kids, this was an excellent resource.  For one of my children, it wasn't a good fit, but I don't think we should ever expect any homeschool curriculum or product to be a "one-size fits all."  That's why we homeschool in the first place!

This one-year-old partnership (ongoing for 2018) offers eligible Homeschool Connections junior and senior high students a chance to take online college courses through Franciscan University at a 10% discount.  Their web site breaks it down this way.

With a HomeschoolConnections.com membership: 
  • $270 per credit hour

  • $810 per 3-hour course
- See more at: https://www.franciscan.edu/homeschoolconnections/#sthash.xi8x1BCG.dpuf

Eligible students will be able to take up to two discounted Franciscan University classes per semester, including summer, for a maximum total of 12 undergraduate courses while still finishing their high school-level coursework. - See more at: https://www.franciscan.edu/News/Homeschool-Students-to-Receive-Tuition-Discount/#sthash.9LJcxniu.dpuf

So that's a little over one year's worth of tuition at a 10% discount. I wasn't able to find what qualifies as "eligible" on their web site, so I do not know how many Homeschool Connections courses you have to take to qualify for the Franciscan discount.

However, for families in the state of Ohio there are some other things to consider. In Ohio, (where Franciscan is located)  post-secondary classes at local universities are FREE - even for homeschooled students. 

I had been reluctant to participate in post-secondary programs before. I blogged about that here.  These days there are so many high-schooled students on the college classes it's almost like going to a regular high school. Noah sees several younger friends at his campus, and even has one in his Latin 2 class. So I don't think the worry of having young kids with older college kids is as much of a concern as it was a few years ago.

So I wondered, what would be the benefit of an Ohio student participating in this program instead of just going through the College Credit Plus program and going for free? One of the immediate benefits would be that Franciscan is a Catholic University and their courses would reflect solidly Catholic values.  Another might be that these credits could transfer to another school and perhaps be NCAA eligible for student athletes.

But I wanted to see what Franciscan saw as the benefit to paying 10% vs. Free tuition for Ohio students - so I asked. 

Screenshot 2017-03-15 10.04.35

Franciscan DOES participate in the post-secondary program.   You can take classes there on the campus for $100/course.

High school students must be 16 years of age by the last day of add/drop for the semester they will enroll and must have completed their sophomore year of high school. Students must have a current high school grade point average of 2.4 or a C+ average to participate in this program. A maximum of twelve (12) courses at Franciscan University at $100 per course may be taken.

So if you live close to Franciscan, it would probably be cheaper to go that route.

If you live in other parts of Ohio, I would also check out some of the other Catholic Colleges. Walsh University in North Canton, OH  participate in this post-secondary program.

So does Ursuline, University of Dayton, John Carroll and Lourdes.

There are also other less expensive options of earning college credit from home. My family has been successful with CLEP Testing.  Each CLEP test runs roughly around $100 including the cost of the test and whatever the testing center charges.

The HSLDA offers a list of other AP classes that can also be accessed online. Student Athletes who wish to participate in college sports should pay particular attention to the Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP courses as they have done the extra work of becoming NCAA approved!

Want more help in planning high school and college classes?